“Making an Impact by NOT making an Impact”: Source Collaboration

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We’ve been huge fans of the hydration systems by SOURCE for years now. Their water bladders last forever and are super handy companions on every hiking trip. In fact, we also use them in everyday life when we go running or biking. Now, the company asked us to write a little something about what “sustainable travel” means for us. In return, they gifted us a new hydration system about which we will write a product review soon. Best part though, they published our article on their blog, sweeeeeet

Thanks a bunch for this reSOURCEful collaboration!

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Photocredit of first pic: Shantina Rae Photography, Quadra Island. Thanks again, you crazy talented person!!

Striking Strathcona Pt.1: The Elk River Trail

As much as we love Quadra Island, we feel that one thing is missing here: “proper” mountains. We started to craaaaaave some higher peaks again and decided to explore BC’s oldest and Vanisland’s biggest provincial park: Strathcona. The first Europeans didn’t get here before the 1860s but way before that, the area was already the traditional territory of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation.

The region was declared as a Provincial Park in 1911 but that did not prevent the government to allow logging and even mining in some areas! This explains why you come across an active (!) mine deep inside the park. Trust us, the sight of that disturbed us more than the fact that we had to pass through a security checkpoint to reach the trailhead to Mt. Myra… Luckily, further governmental plans to remove more parts from the park for industrial use were stopped by activists so today, Strathcona remains a huge nature conservation area. In fact, they have just recently added parts on to it. Yes!

Except the mine and some remnants of logging, Strathcona looks like the most pristine paradise for outdoor lovers: Year-round glaciers, roaring waterfalls, alpine mountaineering, crystall-clear lakes…

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When „We“ becomes „Three“

One information beforehand: Gesa is NOT pregnant. But we did add another team member and are now an adventure trio: Gesa, Sebastian and … *drumroll* … Freya. Freya is a little furbaby aka an 8month old Shepherd-Mix. She’s a rescue dog from a shelter in Vancouver and we fell in love with her cute little eyebrows and almond-shaped eyes instantly.

Nope, it wasn’t a spontaneous decision – we had wanted a dog for a long time and kept postponing that plan year after year because we were not ready for the commitment. We lived with dogs in the past and are well aware of how much time and energy they require. Furthermore, we knew that travelling would become a whole lot different. But here in Canada, we felt like we finally had the flexibility and time to make that step.

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A Culinary Christmas, everyone!

Don’t worry, we won’t develop into a foodie-blog and we have another couple of posts about other topics lined up. Yet, we felt like we wanted to offer you guys a ‘lighter’ read for the holidays. Which is why we decided to share two recipes with you which we just recently learnt here on Vancouver Island. In fact, we think they could make a great gift for your loved ones. Who needs another half-arsed, impersonal and uncreative present anyways? Screw the consumption hype and bring something that can be enjoyed together on the spot!

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Making it to the Frontpage

Wow! We have only seen recently that Jack Wolfskin chose one of our shots from Val Grande for their front page!! In fact, it’s the FIRST video they show! What an honour 🙂

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A screenshot of the front page. We captured this stunning view from the Alpe la Colma (1,726m above sea level). Read here about the wet hike up there.

 

And then, only a couple of days later, we saw the same ad on facebook. It feels REALLY weird when you suddenly see your own footage popping up on your timeline. Technically, more than 700,000 people have by now seen one of our travel videos – even if it’s only these 2 seconds. Crazy.

 

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Screenshot of Jack Wolfskin’s facebook ad (16.09.2017).

Darling, let’s be EcoVenturers!

alp_0407Tomorrow morning, Sebastian and me are starting a big road trip. Two other lads and us will be driving all the way to a very remote area in the South of Spain, close to the ancient city of Ronda. Why? For the past few months, I’ve voluntarily helped the EcoVenture Camps with all sorts of public relation, coordination and planning tasks. They are an ecological, non-profit travel agency and offer some great adventurous outdoor programs. I was instantly hooked:

www.ecoventurecamps.com

So after a hopefully awesome 3day road trip through France and Spain, we’ll be preparing the camp for the first participants next week and probably stick around for a bit longer to help them settle in. After that, we still have a few days left for private travels. Maybe to the Algarve, maybe deeper into the Sierra Nevada. We have the luxury of spontaneity and are determined to make the most of our 10day holiday!

The EcoVenture Camps about themselves…

“The camps take place in a 450ha large, remote valley in the South of Spain, about 130km West of Malaga. This unique area belongs to Theo, who’s been living here as an ecological farmer, architect and entrepreneur since decades. He mainly cultivates his own fruits and vegetables. To keep the grass short and prevent erosions he keeps about 20 horses who are allowed to roam freely through the land. We are combining this way of living with sportive activities in nature to enjoy a life as sustainable as possible: As an EcoVenturer you will be sleeping in a tent, do fun outdoor activities like climbing, hiking and yoga, go exploring all day, learn about alternative lifestyles and eat mainly vegetarian/vegan dishes. We want you to go out and reconnect with nature, but the camp is also meant to be a retreat for you – giving you the chance to unwind and relax: In between the activities, there will always be enough time to chill out, laze in the sun and bond the with other participants (…)”

 

 

A demobilized Wanderer

Nope, this injury didn’t happen when we climbed up and down some slippery slopes with the help of chains and ropes. And neither when we came into a raging thunderstorm. It happened in full-on civilization on the day after our return: Eager to maintain our fitness level, we went Bouldering. Sebastian fell down from a height of 3m and twisted his ankle badly – soon after, his foot resembled blue, fluffy dough more than a human foot. Luckily, it’s not broken but he has most likely torn a couple of ligaments. The doctors can’t pinpoint the exact diagnosis though until the bruises and the swelling have gone down a little… Poor fella.

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I guess there’s only one good thing about this: We have plenty of time to edit our videos and pictures… 😉

Boardwalking the Dawg

mapOh how I love waking up on a sunny Sunday knowing that I have no plans except for a date with my two favorite lads Thor and Sebastian! And since those free afternoons are rare enough, we usually plan some fun, sporty activity. This time, we took along our longboards as well as the cheeky dog with the godly name (he belongs to Sebastian’s sister) and set out for a cycle path going from Berlin all the way to Usedom (“Panke-Radweg”). Indeed, it offered a lovely landscape and overall great skating conditions, so we followed it for about 20km until we took the train back from Bernau to Berlin.

 

What a GREAT day out 🙂 Watch this short clip to find out how an amiable, old geezer can ruin all your efforts to create a we’re-cruisin-cool-as-ice-video…

 

 

P.S.: Psssssst, have you seen the countdown on the right hand side of this page? Yes, it’s true: We only have a few more days to kill until we’re setting off for a next big trekking adventure! Whoop-whoop!!

Yes, we are Fairtrade!

We did it! The Save80 Climate Protection Group is now officially the first Fairtrade carbon credit producer organisation worldwide! Furthermore, it adds an additional country to the family of Fairtrade by being the first project in Lesotho!

Wait…? Carbon Credits? Fairtrade? Save80? Explain, please!

So as Gesa already explained in “The Save80 Project” post, the reason why I´m here for is a climate protection project using an efficient stove called Save80. During the last year, the two companies atmosfair and Solar Lights were working intensively on the first carbon credit project implementing a new standard together with Fairtrade which is commonly known for the fair trading of coffee, tea, chocolate, fruits and much more stuff.

At this point I would like to give you a brief introduction to what is called carbon credits and the work of atmosfair (the German project partner I´ve been working for). With our world mainly consuming fossil fuels and therefore increasing emission due to the rising energy consumption, the awareness of Climate Change has become a constantly growing political issue over the past 20 years. And as carbon dioxide is the most common greenhouse gas, its reduction has become the main objective to fight Climate Change.

Therefore, there is a limited market for carbon credits which regulates the emissions of our industry in a way that you have to pay for your pollution in buying those carbon certificates. Basically you pay a certain price per ton (1 ton = 1 credit) of greenhouse gas emission. Well guess what, these certificates are way to cheap and not as rare as it might sounds.

NGOs like atmosfair work with a different system. First of all, they stand for avoiding, reducing and only then compensating emissions. To start working with them changed my perspective on carbon offsetting. Well, I guess I didn´t really have a clue about it in the first place but I´ve heard a lot of criticism which I was curious to talk about. As a briefly introduction the principle of carbon offsetting is to reduce your carbon footprint by saving greenhouse emissions somewhere else. This so called “somewhere” else mainly takes place in countries of the global south. For the Lesotho project I´m working on right now, DHL payed a subsidy for efficient stoves to reduce the consumption of firewood and therefore the emission of carbon dioxide. But that´s a topic for another day, or for the comment section – you decide if you want to know more about carbon offsetting! For a better understanding of what coffee, tea and chocolate now have in common with carbon credits, check out the clip below:

Well, it´s still really abstract because you can´t buy them in a shop like usual Fairtrade products. But it´s now the Fairtrade standards applying to this producer organisation, the so called Save80 Climate Protection Group, giving them the ability to start their own projects and raise from a customer to an equal project partner. Furthermore, all participating project partners have to be approved by Fairtrade standards to be able to produce, trade or use the first Fair Carbon Credits.

For more information, check out the joint press release by Fairtrade and DHL or our project website at atmosfair.