As we move further into the 21st century, the ecological impact we as humans are leaving on the Earth and its climate become more and more apparent. Gigantic ‘islands’ of plastic waste are now forming as a result of the so-called “plastic crisis” in the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans. This is having toxic effects on delicate marine life, and coupled with warming sea temperatures the increasing acidity in the oceans is now starting to kill coral reef systems at an alarming rate. On-land, it is a similar gloomy picture: Rainforests are still disappearing as they were in the 1980’s, to make way for agricultural land such as palm oil plantations and for mines that scar the landscape. But it is not all doom and gloom: People are starting to fight back. And one of the ways they are fighting is opting for holidays in ecolodges and eco-resorts. So, what is an ecolodge exactly? Take a look at some of the characteristics to get you better acquainted with ecolodges and what they are all about.
Ecolodges are almost always located in areas of ‘nature’, i.e rural areas that are not affected by problems such as noise pollution, poor air quality and high levels of traffic. So locations along this criteria include the countryside, in rainforests and on coastline or even on remote islands.
Ecolodges are always designed to minimise the impact on the local ecosystems, and so will often be a small lodge made up of no more than 20 rooms and quite often even less. In addition, they will also implement water recycling (and rainwater collection systems), ban the use of plastics in favour of biodegradable materials and a waste system to prevent contamination of the local habitat.
Low or Zero Carbon
As well as taking measures to protect the local habitat, it is common for ecolodges to have systems and technologies in place that are designed to make the entire lodge low or even zero carbon, which will in turn help in the fight against climate change. Examples of such systems that reduce or eliminate entirely CO2 emissions include solar panelling and/or wind turbine for production of clean energy for the lodge, which also has the advantage of giving it self-sufficiency. Some ecolodges will also ban the use of road vehicles within a certain radius and instead have bicycles which guests can use instead.
Generally, ecolodges will hire local people who are highly educated on the surrounding environment, whether it is African bushland, island coral reef systems or a desert environment. Guides will offer visitors their knowledge and give them a greater understanding and appreciation of the environment and the ways in which to live in harmony with it.
Books, posters and photos are almost always found around an ecolodge to educate guests on current issues affecting the local wildlife and ecosystem.
Recreation (yoga, holistic therapies etc.)
Finally, many ecolodges will include activities such as yoga as well as holistic therapies. This is because many people who visit ecolodges are often interested in these activities too, and eco-lodges provide a wonderful environment in which to partake in activities such as yoga.
Now you should have a greater understanding about what the goals of an ecolodge are and how they are implemented, which will help you in choosing the perfect ecolodge for your holiday or weekend retreat.