Join Earth Hour tonight and make a change

They all say that travelling changes the way you see the world. At the occasion of Earth Hour, Adnan, my travel companion, shares in this article his thoughts about travelling and green responsibilities. Anyone who recognize him/herself?

Traveling in South America made me think about humans role on this planet. How are we supposed to live without destroying this beauty? Or are we supposed to end it all? Is it our role here? I don’t think so, we are build up by the same building blocks as all life on the planet and in a way we are the same. What differs us from the rest you might think? We humans are the only living species that can take control on our own actions, good or bad, happy or sad. That’s why we today more than ever need to take responsibilities for our acts who affect the planet  and discuss how to live in a sustainable way. In this posts I am sharing my thoughts about the problem and why, as a traveller, I feel more than ever concerned.

This is what the problem is about (you probably already know that)

Photo 2014-12-10 07 18 37You have heard that before, the ennemy is called Green House effect and the responsible : CO2. CO2 is a colorless, oderless gas vital for all plant life on the planet. The gas is mainly a biproduct from animal respiration, yes we breath out CO2, its also a product from organic combustion such as a camp fire. Also CO2 is produced from natural decomposition done by microorganism or fungi (some kind of mushroom)

Interesting enough, its almost impossible not to produce CO2. Breathing and even dying for example, produce CO2. CO2 is a natural part of our life cycle, it is necessary for all plant life on planet earth. It is also needed to keep our home warm enough to be habitable. CO2 acts as a greenhouse gas and reflects a part of our sunlight back, which warms up our planet. Without CO2 our home would have an average temperature of around minus 18 degrees Celsius. The perfect mix of CO2 in the atmosphere is actually around 300ppm (parts per million) which is roughly 0.03% of all the gases in the atmosphere. 

But today, following the industrial revolution, the concentration of CO2 is climbing above 400ppm – a rise of 130% in the latest century and its accelerating. This is due to huge unnatural production of CO2, emission coming from all kind of fossil fuels: petrol, coal, natural gas etc. In 2100 scientists predict that the level of CO2 in the atmosphere would be around 900ppm if we continue business as usual, a rise of 300% from the “normal” mix of 300ppm! This means a rise of 5 degrees of the average temperatures on Earth ; with all the disastrous consequences we know: glaciers are long gone, sea level rises, forests becomes deserts, land becomes sea and fragile eco-systems are destroyed, with million species disappearing for ever. After spending more than 7 months admiring wonders of nature (Amazonas, Galapagos, Atacama desert, glaciers… among many) it cannot leave me insensible.

Looking at this fact, there is no doubt: green revolution must happen now if we want future generations to be able to enjoy views like this.

The amazing 27km long campo hielo sur, grey glaciar, Patagonia Chile

The amazing 27km long campo hielo sur, grey glaciar, Patagonia Chile

And we have to start acting now! 

Our thoughts as travelers

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Starting the South American journey but an transatlantic flight… not so great for the planet. Unfortunately, you don’t always have alternatives…

It might be difficult to know where to start. Why not doing something simple first? Tonight, I’m turning my lights off during earth hour (8.30pm local time), and if you have recently admired landscapes that you would be sad to be gone, why not doing the same? Earth hour is just a small step to spread awareness.

During our trip, we got inspire to try to make a change in our life to try to reduce our carbon footprint. A first step was to try to measure it. So we have been traveling for 7 months and during our months of travel we spent a lot of fossil fuels, for transportation, but also to just to live. To be precise we evaluated that we spent around 60000kWh of energy, Which can be translated to around 60000kg of CO2. Using a simplified conversion where 1kWh of coal produces around 1kg of CO2 (the conversion differs depending on which energy source you are using). Its a lot! Is there a way to pay back our carbon dept? Sadly today there are not so many payment plans and the debt is just rising bigger and bigger. Luckily plant earth has some answers, by making plants breath in CO2 and breath out oxygen. But if we would like to compensate for all our CO2 produced during our travel we would need to plant 8500 trees (one tree can offset around 7kg of CO2/year)! Just for us two… 

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The fragile eco-system of bio reserve Limoncocha, at the border of the Amazonas

Is there a better solution? Can technology help us? This of course triggers many questions…

Have you ever tried to measure your carbon footprint? Which tools did you a use?  In a future article we will  share our own energy calculator, it is our small contribution but first, let us switch off the lights.

On the roads of Chilean Tierra del Fuego (Porvenir and around)

There is nothing to see there“. “Yes, it’s precisely what we want to see“. “?” He could not get it, why should we spend 2 days on a small town where there is nothing to do? But for us, it seemed like the only way to truly discover it. Tierra del Fuego. The name inspires hectares of emptiness as far as the eye can see. Wind and desolation. After reading about the small town of Porvenir in our Lonely Planet, we were determined on exploring the place. We didn’t regret it. Adventure starts where good roads ends.

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A dream vacation in the Galapagos for $150 a day, all included


The day tour to Bartholome is not cheap, but you will get the best views of the Galapagos

Galapagos: a remote archipelago of the Pacific Ocean, 1000km from Ecuador, home of fearless blue footed boobies, playfull baby sea lions, giant tortoises, funny iguanas and inoffensive sharks. The Galapagos islands are unique. What if you could make the dream come true for $150 a day?

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Snorkelling in Galapagos: because you don´t need to dive to see sharks (or sea turtles)


“Did you say sharks?”

I never thought I would ever swim with sharks. I recently took my diving open water certificate, but I didn´t really feel at my ease, so I started to accept that I will never see sharks and other sea turtles in wildlife. So when the sales guy from the agency talked about seeing sharks during a snorkelling session in Galapagos, I was suspicious. Was it one of his sales trick?

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Picture of the day: tenderness moment on the Galapagos Islands

This is probably our cutest picture from the Galapagos Islands… Can you stay indifferent to this one? We couldn´t.

New born sea lion cuddling with his mum under the sunset at La Loberia, Isla San Cristobal (Galapagos).

New born sea lion cuddling with his mum under the sunset at La Loberia, Isla San Cristobal (Galapagos).

Did you know? During the 10 first days of the life of her pup, the mum sea lion will nurse her new born baby 24/7 and never leave the shore.

Diving in the Galapagos in 2 min

With clear waters and a large variety of marine species, the Galapagos archipelago is considered as one of the best spots in the world to dive.

Adnan went down to 20m below the surface to check what the buzz was all about. Here is what he saw:

Make it happen: diving in the Galapagos

  • Dozens of diving agencies are competing on the Galapagos islands and it might be difficult to make an educated choice. Don´t go too cheap to preserve your security. A day tour with 2 dives cost around $170.
  • Choose your spot wisely (the diving school is the best one to advise you depending on your level). Gordon Rock, is one of the most popular diving spots of Galapagos but you need to be experienced (minimum 30 dives).
  • Be aware that the Galapagos islands are both cursed and blessed with strong currents, making diving over there challenging for beginners. On the flip side, this means that there is plenty of life under there!

Picture of the day: observing vicuñas at the Chimborazo reserve

Observing vicuñas is one of the highlights of a visit at the Reserva de Produccion de Fauna Chimborazo.
Threatened of extinction a couple of decades ago in Ecuador, it’s now thousands of them that live around volcano Chimborazo, thanks to a ambitious program of reintroduction.
The vicuñas are camelids and belong to the family of lamas, but their wool is much thinner. Under the Inca empire, it was actually forbidden to anyone but royal family member to wear clothes made of vicuñas wool.

The vicuñas are quite shy and will not let you approach them closely. At sunset, you will get the best shots opportunity.


First timer: fishing piranhas in the Amazonas

Known for their voracity and their sharp teeth, piranhas are among the most popular species of the Amazonas.

You need a fishing line, a hook and some meat (the bloodiest the best!), not much differs from traditional fishing. But you will be surprised by their ability to torn little pieces of meat without getting stuck on the hook!

Fishing piranhas is one of the highlights of many Amazonas trips, and most likely your guide will offer to cook your catch in big leafs, over the fire. Mmmmm.


Piranha fishing by night in bio reserve Limoncocha, Amazonas

Well, you have to catch some first… Adnan:2, Amandine:0.

I never liked fishing.