G Adventures Wants To Know How You Want To Change The World

G Adventures introduces the G ProjectAdventure travel company G Adventures is well known for its grassroots and sustainable approach to travel. Working closely with local guides, the company offers unique and affordable trips to nearly every corner of the globe, while still delivering authentic travel experiences that respect the health of the planet and the people that live on it. Now, they’re taking that philosophy one step further by launching the G Project, an initiative that invites us to share our ideas on how we might be able to change the world, while giving us an opportunity to do just that.

The concept behind the G Project is simple. G Adventures and its non-profit Planeterra Foundation are seeking submittals for ideas that could have a positive impact on our planet. They could be something simple and small, but still meaningful, or it could be grandiose and far-reaching. What ever it is, they want to hear about it, so if you have such an idea that you’ve been dying to share, be sure to visit the G Project website and fill out the online application.

Submissions are being accepted in the categories of Community, Freedom, Beauty and Knowledge between now and June 3. Each of the proposals will be showcased online, where they’ll be able to garner attention from others who can rally behind the ideas that they feel are the most relevant and viable. On June 4, the top 16 contenders will be posted on the G Project website and sent to an esteemed panel of judges for further review. That panel includes the likes of conservationist Jane Goodall, survival expert Les Stroud and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Wade Davis, amongst others.
On June 24, the judges will narrow the field down to just four finalists, who will be invited to attend the first ever Summit in the Jungle in Costa Rica. Once there, they’ll get the opportunity to pitch their ideas directly with the hopes of claiming the top prize – $25,000 and a chance to actually bring their dream to life.

It isn’t often that we’re given the opportunity to have a positive and lasting impact on the planet, but the G Project is going to give someone that chance. It should be interesting to see what creative ideas come out of this project and just how big of a change it can make.

[Photo Credit: G Adventures]


A Q&A With Plastiki Adventurer David de Rothschild On The WHOLE WORLD Water Campaign

Three years ago, adventurer, entrepreneur and activist David de Rothschild sailed from San Francisco to Sydney on a catamaran made of 12,500 reclaimed plastic bottles.

His goal with the Plastiki project was to bring awareness to environmental issues like global warming and plastic pollution, and he has continued to stay active in the environmental movement. Most recently, de Rothschild signed on as an advisor to WHOLE WORLD Water, a three-year campaign that aims to unite the hospitality and tourism industry to combat global clean water issues.

Launched on March 22 to coincide with World Water Day, WHOLE WORLD Water uses a social enterprise model to generate funds for the clean water movement. The process of signing on is relatively simple. First, hotels and restaurants sign on to the WHOLE WORLD Water campaign for a nominal per-property fee. Then, they use the suggested Vivreau water filtration system to filter, bottle and sell their own water to guests. Finally, they donate 10 percent of the proceeds to the WHOLE WORLD Water fund, which benefits safe, sustainable clean water projects in the places that need it most.

Founders Karena Albers and Jenifer Willig estimate that if the world’s three largest hotel groups joined the campaign and sold just one bottle of water per day, the campaign could raise up to $1 billion for its mission, while contributing up to 25 percent toward the company’s bottom line. The campaign has already signed on a number of well-known hotel groups, including Virgin, Dusit and Banyan Tree, along with a number of restaurants, nightclubs and Ritz Carlton properties. Advisors include high-profile names like Virgin mogul Sir Richard Branson, designer Yves Behar, actor and filmmaker Edward Norton and de Rothschild.

In an email exchange, de Rothschild shared with Gadling what sailing the Plastiki taught him about the world’s water supply, why he decided to sign onto the WHOLE WORLD Water campaign and what travelers can do to get on board.

What did sailing the Plastiki teach you about the world’s water supply?

What the Plastiki taught me is sometimes it’s just as important to unlearn as it is to learn. We had to unlearn that it wasn’t all plastic that was the issue, but rather dumb uses of the material. And more importantly it was about redefining the story we tell ourselves about the value of the material – moving it away from valueless to valuable. That in turn will then have an influence over how we use and reuse. I believe the same applies to water issues; we all have to start to leave behind the concept that we have an endless supply of water, if we are to have any chance of creating a future.

Why did you decide to sign on to the WHOLE WORLD Water Campaign?

I can’t see any reason not to! I have been working for a while now to ban plastic straws across the world of hospitality so this seems like an easy and logical extension.

Why tackle hospitality of all industries?

Has to be a whole system approach to have an impact!

What will the WHOLE WORLD Water campaign achieve that other water campaigns haven’t?

That’s yet to be seen, but I have no doubt with such a great team behind the campaign it will produce something positive!

What can travelers do to support the efforts of the WHOLE WORLD Water Campaign?

Just say no to plastic water bottles! And encourage establishments that you come into contact with who haven’t engaged to sign up!

[Photo Credit: WHOLE WORLD Water]

Heifer International: Working To End World Hunger, One Llama At A Time

bolivian farmerGot an extra $20 burning a hole in your pocket and want to make a difference in the lives of others? Buy a flock of ducks. Eighty-five dollars will get you a camel share, while a mere $48 purchases a share in a “Knitter’s Gift Basket (a llama, alpaca, sheep and angora rabbit).”

Since 1944, Heifer International has provided livestock, and animal husbandry, agricultural and community development training to over 125 countries, including the U.S. The goal: to help end world hunger and poverty by improving breeding stock, providing valuable dietary supplements such as milk and eggs, and creating viable business enterprises for commodity products such as cheese, wool, honey, or crops cultivated by draft animals like horses and water buffalo.

The livestock species used to support disenfranchised communities are diverse, but traditional to their respective regions. They include goats, sheep, honeybees, beef and dairy cattle, water buffalo, yaks, horses, donkeys, llamas, alpacas, camels, rabbits, guinea pigs and poultry.

When I was a kid growing up on a small ranch in Southern California, we used to donate our male dairy goat kids (which, if sold here, would most likely be relegated to dinner) to Heifer. Although the program no longer ships live animals overseas (it’s easier and safer/more humane to ship frozen semen), the concept remains the same: using top bloodlines to improve the quality and enhance the genetic diversity of herds or flocks in impoverished regions.

Heifer teaches the concept of the “Seven M’s: Milk, Manure, Meat, Material, Money, Motivation and Muscle.” These are the benefits livestock animals provide to people in developing nations. With the training provided by Heifer employees and volunteers, the cycle of poverty can be broken, and families and villages can thrive. During the holidays or for birthdays, I like to make animal gift donations in the name of the recipient, an especially valuable lesson for children (who, let’s face it, really don’t need another electronic piece of crap to foster their ADD and lack of global awareness).

Never doubt the power of a furry friend to change the world. To make a donation, click here.

Check out this Heifer International gallery of animals and their proud owners from around the world:

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Travelbloggers Fundraiser Passports with Purpose Enters Year Four

Disclaimer: I helped found this initiative and I’m hardly neutral on it. I’ll do my best to stick to the facts here but first, I’ll say this: It’s been awesome.

Passports with Purpose, the travelbloggers fundraiser, turns four this year. Founded in 2009 by four Seattle based bloggers, the initiative pulls together bloggers and travel providers (and their PR reps) to raise money for carefully vetted nonprofit causes that focus on education as a channel to alleviate poverty and improve quality of life. Oh, and there are fabulous prizes, too — for example, last year, Gadling’s Mike Barish gave away a SkyMall gift card.

This year, Passports with Purpose (PwP) is supporting Room to Read, the literacy program founded by John Wood after he’d trekked through Nepal. PwP aims to raise enough money to fund the contstruction, staffing, and provisioning of two libraries in Zambia.

In 2010, PwP raised more than $60,000 for Land for Tiller’s Freedom (LAFTI). The funds were used for construction of 25 homes for families in Southern India. PwP co-founder Beth Whitman attended the ground breaking ceremony for the village in Karrungani, Tamil Nadu. On the conclusion of last year’s fundraiser, PwP recieved this note from Peggy Burns, Exective Director of Friends of LAFTI:

We are so excited that 25 families in Karunganni will soon have a decent place to live. It is all thanks to you, your generous sponsors, and over 300 caring individuals who wanted to make this world a better place. Bravo to all of you.

In 2009, PwP raised nearly double the original goal of $13,000 and funded the construction of a school in rural Preah Vihear, Cambodia. The overage was allotted to additional services that ensure the continued success of the project. Michelle Duffy attended a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Passports School in March, 2011.


Passports with Purpose uses social media, blogging, and the generosity of sponsors to achieve success. Repeat sponsors for 2011 include Round the World with Us, Traveller’s Point, and HomeAway.

But it’s individual bloggers that are the key to PwP’s continued success. Bloggers who want to participate will find detailed information on the Passports with Purpose website.

Travelocity video contest awards winners $5,000 voluntourism vacation grants

Travelocity knows you work hard. That’s why the online travel company would like to give you a $5,000 grant to go on vacation.

Calm down now. You have to work to win your just reward. And by work, I mean you or a team need to submit a winning video. Then you have to use your five thousand smackers to take a Signature Trip volunteer vacation offered by Travelocity’s voluntourism partners. Examples include doing trail work in Alaska with the American Hiking Society, developing community projects in Tanzania with Cross-Cultural Solutions, working side-by-side with scientists on an Amazonian riverboat with Earthwatch Institute, or living in a children’s home in Peru with Globe Aware. Oh, and there’s one more catch. The top 25 finalists will be determined based on the number of online votes they receive from social networking sites.

Since 2006, Travelocity’s Travel for Good® program has been annually awarding eight, $5,000 volunteer vacation grants to American applicants. Travel for Good’s main objectives are green hotels and voluntourism. As Gadling has previously reported, voluntourism is one of the fastest growing sectors of the travel industry.

If hands-on, experiential travel is up your alley, go to VolunteerJournals.com. The site will walk you through the easy process to upload your video. You can then promote your video on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, and send it to friends and family for voting.
Each video should explain why you deserve to win, and which Signature Trip from Travelocity’s voluntourism partners inspires you. Volunteers and grant winners also have use of the site’s free blogging platform to share their experiences.

The top 25 finalists will be determined by 50 percent audience support and 50 percent quality of their videos. There are two contest cycles per year, and Travelocity employees will select four winners from the top 25 finalists from each cycle. There are two deadlines for entries: March 31 (voting is April 1-May 31), and July 1-September 31 (voting October 1-November 30). Get filming!