Terri is writer who loves to inspire with words. She is also a facilitator of Ecopsychology workshops & wellness retreats and loves being immersed in nature! For more on her work visit www.onelovelivity.com
Buying or developing an ecolodge can be an inspiring and savvy decision as the Caribbean region puts more promotion on ecotourism and travelers become more conscious of where they put their vacation dollars.
Unfortunately some ecolodges fall into a trap of ‘green-washing’ and substituting hardcore eco-principles for a few energy saving light bulbs and towel reuse policy! Whilst these are good baby steps, there is a lot more to ecolodges than a few pieces of gadgetry and a load less washing!
The International Ecolodge Guidelines is an essential book for anyone contemplating investing in an ecolodge property. The crux of the book is the essential criteria for what constitutes an ecolodge and the various chapters emphasize and go into detail on these principles.
The criteria for an authentic ecolodge are listed as follows and for an accommodation facility to be called an Ecolodge it must adhere to the first three points that embody the main principles of ecotourism. It then needs to have a minimum of two others although obviously the more the better!
Helps in the conservation of flora and fauna
Endeavours to work together with the local communities
Offers interpretive programs to educate both its employees and ecotourists about the natural and cultural environments
Uses alternative, sustainable means of water acquisition and reduces water consumption
Provides for careful handling and disposal of solid waste and sewage
Meets its energy needs through passive design and renewable energy sources
Uses traditional building technology and materials wherever possible and combines these with their modern counterparts for greater sustainability
Has minimal impact on the natural surroundings during construction
Fits into its specific physical and cultural contexts through careful attention to form, landscaping and colour, as well as the use of vernacular architecture
Contributes to sustainable local community development through education