Boracay joins Bali as climate-friendly tourist destination

Feature story - June 19, 2008
Various stakeholders from one of the world’s best beaches and premier tourist destinations in the country today came together to launch an initiative to make Boracay a climate friendly destination through the collective implementation of energy efficiency measures amongst resorts, restaurants, bars and other establishments on the island.

Mayor Ciceron Cawaling (centre) switches on the solar system installed at Boracay Tourist Center. Boracay island joins Bali in the Greenpeace initiative to enlist top island destinations in Southeast Asia to decrease their carbon footprint and promote awareness of climate change and solutions that can be implemented by tourists and the entire the tourism industry.

Stakeholders sign the "Save the Climate, Save Boracay" manifesto. From left to right: Mike Fincken (Rainbow Warrior captain), Julian Amador (Director of Environment Bureau), Oscar Palabyab (Dept of Tourism), Jimmy Coscoluela (Philippine Chamber of Commerece and Industry-Boracay), Mayor Ciceron Cawaling (Municipality of Malay), Von Hernandez Greenpeace SEA Executive Director), Virtus Gil (Group Secretary of Eminent Persons Group and Commander of Task Force Boracay, Loubelle CAnn (President of Boracay Foundation .Boracay island joins Bali in the Greenpeace initiative to enlist top island destinations in Southeast Asia to decrease their carbon footprint and promote awareness of climate change and solutions that can be implemented by tourists and the entire the tourism industry.

Students pose for photo during the installation of a solar system at Boracay Tourist Center. Boracay island joins Bali in the Greenpeace initiative to enlist top island destinations in Southeast Asia to decrease their carbon footprint and promote awareness of climate change and solutions that can be implemented by tourists and the entire the tourism industry.

With the launching of the "Save the Climate, Save Boracay" project, the island joins Bali in an ongoing Greenpeace initiative to enlist top island destinations in Southeast Asia to decrease their carbon footprint and promote awareness of climate change and solutions that can be implemented by the tourism industry.

"Boracay can become a model of a climate-friendly destination for many other tourist destinations in Asia and around the world. We are pleased that many resorts here are already implementing various energy saving measures which with a little more assistance and encouragement could be heavily replicated in all the establishments in Boracay. Climate change poses real and huge risks to the tourism industry and the people who depend on the viability of this sector for their livelihood," said Von Hernandez, Executive Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, who sailed into Boracay along with the crew and volunteers onboard the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior.

The Philippines is an archipelago of about 7,100 islands, many of which are vulnerable to sea level rise and extreme weather events caused by climate change. A Greenpeace research in 2007 showed that sea level rise due to climate change can cause the inundation of 700 million square kilometres of coastal areas throughout the country, including the island of Boracay, as well as the low-lying areas of Sulu, Camarines Sur, Palawan, and Zamboanga amongst others.

In order to fight climate change, Greenpeace campaigns for an Energy Revolution which envisions that by 2050, emissions from the power sector can be effectively reduced by 50% following a massive uptake of renewable energy and the implementation of energy efficiency measures. Drastic emission cuts are required to keep global mean temperature rise below 2 Celsius degrees in order to avoid the catastrophic impacts of climate change.

"Save the Climate, Save Boracay" project is a partnership between Greenpeace, the municipality of Malay, Department of Tourism, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Boracay Foundation Inc, Boracay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Mother Earth Foundation.

The project is based on a five-point manifesto signed by all stakeholders and which will require the inclusion of energy efficiency measures and promotion of renewable energy use as part of the environmental management plans for the island especially in the construction or expansion of establishments; the provision of regular energy audits, skillshares and workshops amongst establishments to ensure the continuation and replication of successful practices in the areas of energy and water conservation, as well as ecological waste management. The project will also endeavor to promote the island as a climate-friendly destination through the provision of energy efficiency workshops for tourists and visitors. In addition, Greenpeace and its partners committed to campaign for the immediate approval of the Renewable Energy bill, whose ratification is also seen by project partners as vital to the continuing viability of the country's tourism industry.

"It is not too late to act and turn the tide against climate change. Tourists and resorts in Boracay, with strong support from the government can help lead the way in addressing the gravest threat that we are all facing right now. It is our hope that other travel destinations will follow the positive examples set by Boracay and Bali,"

added Hernandez.

In December 2007, Greenpeace and Bali Hotels Association also announced the "Energy Efficient Bali" project to turn the island into a climate friendly tourist destination. The largest hotels and resorts in Bali signed up to

use energy efficient and renewable energy systems, with Discovery Kartika Plaza already installing solar panels to power the water-heating system of the entire complex.

The Rainbow Warrior is in the Philippines to spearhead the Greenpeace "Quit Coal Tour" in Southeast Asia and the Pacific. The tour aims to promote solutions to stop climate change -- an energy revolution away from the use of climate-damaging coal, and a massive shift to renewable energy.

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