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Earth Island Reports

Center for Safe Energy

Lessons in Ecotourism

In April, ten Russian environmental leaders from Siberia’s Lake Baikal were hosted in the SF Bay Area by the Center for Safe Energy to study ecotourism practices from some of the United States’ leaders in responsible tourism. The planet’s oldest and largest freshwater lake, Lake Baikal is fast turning into a hot tourist destination. As a result, local parks and nature reserve officials, tour operators, and environmental groups are grappling with finding the right balance between local economic development, tourism, and preserving this precious natural resource.

While in the Bay Area, the Russian delegates learned about best practices in raising awareness about environmental conservation from other Earth Island projects such as Plastic Pollution Coalition, KIDS for the BAY, and Baikal Watch.

After hearing Plastic Pollution Coalition director Daniella Russo speak about the deleterious impacts of plastic pollution and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, these keepers of the UNESCO World Heritage site were inspired to change their own practices to keep Baikal clean. “No more plastic water bottles on our tours!” they chanted. It’s exchanges like these that remind us that environmental stewardship has no borders.

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