Boracay Island to be a climate friendly tourist destination: Greenpeace

Feature story - December 13, 2008
Greenpeace called on tourists and the tourism industry in Boracay island to join hands to make Boracay the country's model climate-friendly tourist destination.

A Paraw or local sailboat with the message "Save the Climate, Save Boracay" sails by Boracay Island, one of the Philippines' premier tourist destinations. Greenpeace today called on tourists and the tourism industry in the island to join hands to make Boracay the country’s model climate-friendly tourist destination.

A Paraw or local sailboat with the message "Save the Climate, Save Boracay" sails by Boracay Island.

As part of 'Save the Climate, Save Boracay,' activities, Greenpeace and experts from the Green Architecture Movement of the United Architects, Aklan Electric Cooperative (AKELCO), and Solar, Wind and Electric Power, Inc. (SWEP), conducted a workshop on energy efficiency and what resorts can do to lessen their climate footprint.  A Renewable Energy (RE) exhibition demonstrating how solar power can work for resorts as well as tourists was also organized by Solar Generation, Greenpeace's youth movement.

"This is an initiative to focus attention on the climate change issue and the need for all to take assertive action. Mitigating climate change is a matter of our very survival. Tourism that is so dependent on the natural and the socio-cultural environment needs to be in the forefront working with conservationists and all citizens in achieving this," said Greenpeace Southeast Asia Campaigner Beng Reyes-Ong

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, the tourism sector has become a non-negligible contributor to climate change through greenhouse-gas emissions largely from the transport and accommodation of tourists, contributing as much as 5% of all carbon dioxide emissions from human activities(1).

But at the same time, the tourism sector is particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts.  For example, in the Philippines, eight out of twelve provinces of the Department of Tourism's 'Anchor Destinations' are vulnerable to permanent or episodic flooding.  These sites include premier beaches, mangrove forests and world-class dive spots.

The "Save the Climate, Save Boracay" project aims to enlist Boracay resorts and tourists to decrease their carbon footprint and promote awareness about climate change and the solutions that can be implemented by the tourism industry. The objective is to transform Boracay into a climate-friendly destination through the implementation of energy-efficiency measures, zero waste management, and responsible tourism.

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"Going renewable and becoming energy efficient to address climate change is a win-win situation.  Resorts will save money by saving electricity, and at the same time will contribute to mitigating climate change impacts. Through the project, tourists can also learn about climate change solutions from the resorts, and they can go back home or visit other places with the awareness that each of us can make a difference in stopping global warming," Ong added.

'Save the Climate, Save Boracay,' the first project of its kind in the Philippines, was launched last June 2008 during the 'Quit Coal, Save the Climate' Philippine tour of the Greenpeace ship M.Y. Rainbow Warrior.  The project is based on a manifesto signed by Boracay's tourism industry stakeholders.  Among the points in the manifesto are: the inclusion of energy efficiency measures and promotion of renewable energy use as part of the environmental management plans for the island, particularly in the construction or expansion of establishments and the provision of regular energy audits, skillshares and workshops for establishments to ensure the continuation and replication of successful practices in the areas of energy and water conservation, as well as ecological waste management.

'Save the Climate, Save Boracay' is supported by the Department of Environment & Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Tourism (DOT), the local government of Malay, Aklan, Task Force Boracay, Boracay Foundation, Inc. (BFI), Philippine Chamber of Commerce-Boracay (PCCI-Boracay), Boracay Association of Resorts, Restaurants & Independent Allies (BARRIA).  The initiative is made possible through a grant from the Foundation for the Philippine Environment. Greenpeace is an independent, global campaigning organization that acts to change attitudes and behavior, to protect and conserve the environment, and to promote peace.

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