When volunteering in countries like Nepal, many visitors oversimplify, using stereotypes such as ‘the people here are poor but happy.’ The ‘poor but happy’ description verges on condescending, and underlines the assumed privilege of many volunteers.
Going from mere charity to community-led social enterprise, Albert Teo shares with Gaia Discovery a few learning points from his ecotourism development efforts of Sabah.
Most people who see piles of junked or abandoned bike-share bicycles simply tut-tut and walk past blaming the local authorities for the mess. One public spirited Burmese man takes a different approach: he is shipping them to countries in desperate need of transport for students who just want to get to school.
When some people learn to dive, they want to travel and dive as many places as they can. But Cecilie Benjamin was so taken with her first dive site she decided this was a place where her passion for the marine environment could flourish. She was so enthused, she helped establish a thriving future environmental education centre.
What started out as a PhD investigating behaviours has transcended into a whole social approach to making a better life for elephants – and safer lives for the humans who live and farm near them.
Katherine Connor set up an elephant sanctuary in Thailand purely to benefit itsanimals - and to educate their owners. Not just for tourists wanting a memorable snap for their online account.
No stranger to bird lovers and forest trekkers in Malaysia, guide Andrew Sebastian has more tricks up his sleeves in promoting ecotourism and habitat conservation than anyone can imagine. Gaia Discovery’s Mallika Naguran catches up with the bird expert to find out more about the Wallace Project through Sebastian’s own NGO - Ecotourism & Conservation Society Malaysia, and about his views on how tourism can help raise ecological awareness.
Bio-Resin, reusable metal in bar chimes… these are just a couple of materials that are surprisingly part of the Illumaphonium, a musical structure that stands tall, colourful, entrancing and strong at the I Light Marina Bay 2018 festival in Singapore. Gaia Discovery’s Mallika Naguran gets on the same bandwidth as its British creator Michael Davis as he speaks about his musical interest, beliefs, style and role as a responsible artist.
A ground up, industry-led responsible tourism movement is picking up in Bali. Mallika Naguran speaks to the founder or 'Chief Alchemist' of Book Greener, Alex Tsuk, about this special group of operators and the role they play in dealing with crisis as volcano Agung continues to disrupt tourism in this island of paradise.