In 2022, flee the gloom, set course for the optimism of these countries, these regions, these cities, these islands which offer a greener vision of the world, of the way of living and of travelling.

The response to greenwashing and greenbashing lies in these long-term initiatives. The antithesis of the trend. In addition to inspiring hope and ideas, here are trips that do good.

Costa Rica

This small Central American state has stood out for more than twenty years. By enshrining in its constitution the “right to a healthy and ecologically balanced environment”, Costa Rica has put an end to years of logging. Today, a quarter of the territory is protected, there are around thirty national parks and around fifteen reserves in which a biodiversity unique in the world flourishes. The country also produces electricity that is almost 99% from renewable resources and will certainly be one of the first to achieve carbon neutrality. Among other actions, Costa Rica encourages rural tourism, in connection with local populations: educational farms, craft initiations… Beautiful ideas are springing up all the time.

Vancouver, British Columbia

Canada’s last bulwark before a tumultuous Pacific, Vancouver Island displays raw nature: 32,000 square kilometers of rainforests, jagged coastlines, waterfalls and snow-capped peaks. A very wild universe in which humans blend since the first occupants, the “First Nations”: Kwakwaka’wakw, Nuu-chah-nulth and Coast Salish , aboriginal peoples who today represent 6% of the population of the island. Preservation of the environment is one of the main concerns of British Columbia, which watches over Vancouver and the neighboring islands of Haida Gwaii ., that the original guardians of this territory are involved in its development. Treaties formalize the ancestral ties that unite them with the forests and the ocean and establish their rights. The “Natives” are also the key players in a tourism that listens to nature.

Nile, Egypt

It has been more than a century since Nile cruises made their first rotations. Today, the shores of Upper Egypt stretching from Aswan to Luxor receive millions of visitors each year carried by ships of all sizes. Faced with the behemoths of 200 passengers, the Steam Ship Sudan, an early steamer with just 23 cabins, stands out with an ingenious mechanism that uses river water and solar panels to limit its fuel consumption. In its wake, the Flaneuse du Nil, a dahabieh with seven cabins, has also had its electrification reviewed, now 80% produced thanks to the generous rays of the god Re. A saving of nearly 300 tonnes of CO2 per year. This small ecological revolution hopes to generate a wave of inspiration on the Nile.

El Hierro, Canary Islands

Long kept off the radar, the smallest and westernmost of the seven Canary Islands arouses the curiosity of its European neighbours. For good reason, this volcanic and arid grain, recognized as a biosphere reserve by Unesco, is not content with accumulating the highest rate of sunshine on the continent (4800 hours per year) and an exceptional nature, on earth as well as under the water. From 2015, Ile du Meridien (former name of the island at the western tip of which, until the end of the 18th century, the prime meridian was established) distinguished itself by producing punctually 100% of its electricity consumption thanks to its wind and hydraulic installations. One more reason to seek inspiration on what was for centuries considered the end of the Western world.

Kamikatsu, Japan

For two decades, the village of Kamikatsu, lost in the rice terraces of Shikoku, has been encouraging its 1,500 inhabitants to recycling and the circular economy. The zero waste objective, announced in 2003, challenges in a country with the second largest plastic production in the world, and where less than a quarter of waste is recycled. Kamikatsu already transforms 80% via a community center, the WHY, which distinguishes no less than 45 categories of waste. Recoverable items – clothing, books, accessories and others – are put back into circulation free of charge in the adjacent store. The WHY also includes a minimalist hotel, built from recycled materials, which accommodates travelers and offers them, among other activities offered by the surrounding mountain, to participate in the project.

Patagonia, Chile

In the deep forests of Pumalin-Douglas Tompkins National Park, felines and three-year-old trees have a bright future ahead of them. The site now forms, with sixteen other natural entities of Patagonia, an area of ​​28 million hectares protected “forever”. Spinning over 2700 kilometers, from Puerto Montt to Cape Horn, the “Ruta de los parques” is the spectacular result of a crazy bet initiated by the Tompkins couple (Kristine and Douglas). For a quarter of a century, these “nature lovers” have acquired hundreds of thousands of hectares in Argentina and Chile to protect them. An irreplaceable natural heritage that they then regularly entrusted to the Argentinian and Chilean governments, in exchange for a protection agreement without time limit.

Ljubljana, Slovenia

If the capitals of northern Europe monopolize the attention in terms of sustainable development, we must also look at the center of the continent. With a territory 60% covered by forests, including two of the last European primary forests, varied landscapes, from the Julian Alps to the Mediterranean, Slovenia is naturally spoiled. Gratefully, the country teaches the main principles of sustainability as early as kindergarten. Ljubljana, the capital, has been committed for more than ten years against global warming: pedestrian city center, zero waste policy, short circuits of local products with surrounding farms, rainwater harvesting… The green city is buzzing with great initiatives. The roofs (that of the cultural center and certain hotels, for example) also house beehives.

Tarangire, Tanzania

Northern Tanzania is home to three of Africa’s most legendary safari hotspots. Tarangire Park, Serengeti Park and Ngorongoro. Since the 1950s, people have come here to observe the Big Five, to witness the great migrations. The “game viewers”, these large 4x4s with an open cockpit, have revolutionized the approach to the bush, allowing millions of tourists each year to get closer to the wildlife. Yet where big cats are light-footed, the carbon footprint of these vehicles leaves something to be desired. Today, some Tanzanian lodges choose to slow down. Conscious of their crucial role in the preservation of their environment, the establishments have equipped themselves with an electric fleet, run on solar energy, recover the abundant water during the rainy season.

Malmo, Sweden

Malmo, the third largest city in Sweden, is also the first to have positioned itself on the path of sustainable development. Its rapid urbanization, at the end of the 1990s, was made in the image of Bo01, a former industrial port rehabilitated into a residential area. A foretaste of the city of the future, running on 100% renewable energy and whose green roofs help recycle rainwater. The environmental and societal policy is reflected even in the municipal kitchens, which mainly use local and organic products. Malmo has thus taken the reins of the 2030 Agenda to fight against global warming, dragging other Swedish cities in its wake. Among them, Gothenburg stands out as the best student,

Samso, Denmark

In Denmark, one island can hide another. Bornholm, the greenest and sunniest in the country, needs no introduction, particularly through its Green Solution House, a hotel concept entirely designed with a sustainable dynamic in mind. Today, it’s Samso’s turn to be in the limelight. Rewarded at COP26, at the end of 2021, by the prize for global climate action, this 114 square kilometer island on the Kattegat Strait has already achieved carbon neutrality (the balance is even negative), Copenhagen, the capital, is aiming for 2025. Benefiting from two natural resources, the sun (a little) and the wind (a lot), Samso has become a model for experts from all over the world who flock there every year. Next challenge for 2030: completely abandon the fossil fuels still used in transport and agriculture, major emitters of greenhouse gases. A biogas plant is under study: straw and slurry should soon replace the LPG which allows the ferry to reach the continent. The best way to visit Samso is of course by bike.

Amorgos, Greece

The easternmost island of the Cyclades is also one of the most preserved. On the mule tracks clinging to the hill, between the old mills, sheltered by its miniature chapels, Amorgos cultivates the sustainable spirit without even realizing it. This slender island (33 kilometers long on an average of 2 to 6 kilometers wide), reachable only after nine hours by ferry, has made its isolation an asset. Here, every food that makes up your plate – fruit, vegetables, meat, cheese, olive oil – is produced on site. Just like pomegranate Turkish delight and rakomelo(mixture of hot raki and honey) that make life on the island even sweeter. Despite growing success, its capacity and its ascetic nature limit the number of visitors. Trekking and diving enthusiasts, film buffs nostalgic for the Big Blue (several sites were used for the filming of the film, including the famous perched monastery of Chozoviotissa) and travelers in search of simplicity have found the ideal refuge in Amorgos.

Fakarava, Polynesia

The Polynesian dream has a fragile heart. In half a century, the lagoons of Bora Bora and Moorea have deteriorated considerably. The two main factors: global warming and the development of tourism, are now raising awareness. Local actions are multiplying in waste management, water treatment, but also in the restoration of the coral reef and the protection of species. The myth of the overwater bungalow adopts less impactful architectural approaches based on traditional techniques. 360 kilometers from Tahiti, the Tuamotu archipelago, with its 20,000 square kilometers and its seven atolls, is learning from this. Fakarava, the second largest atoll in Polynesia, in which manta rays and large pelagics have happy days,

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