British Explorers: The Mausoleum of Sir Richard Burton

British Explorers: The Mausoleum of Sir Richard Burton

The Mausoleum of Sir Richard and Lady Burton (pictured above) is a Grade II listed tent-shaped mausoleum of Carrara marble and Forest of Dean stone in the churchyard of St Mary Magdalen Roman Catholic Church Mortlake located in London.

burton-gravesiteSir Richard Burton, who died in 1890, was an explorer, geographer, translator, writer, soldier, orientalist, cartographer, ethnologist, spy, linguist, poet, fencer, and diplomat. He was famed for his travels and explorations in Asia, Africa and the Americas, as well as his extraordinary knowledge of languages and cultures. According to one count, he spoke 29 European, Asian and African languages.

Burton’s best-known achievements include a well-documented journey to Mecca in disguise, at a time when Europeans were forbidden access on pain of death; and a journey with John Hanning Speke as the first Europeans to visit the Great Lakes of Africa in search of the source of the Nile.

Do you love learning about famous explorers throughout history? Watch our mini series The Lost World of Joseph Banks.

 

Legal Cannabis in California

Legal Cannabis in California

Any visitor to Californian cities, such as Los Angeles, can’t help but notice the proliferation of shops selling cannabis legally to the public. In addition, a number of industries have sprung up to support this growth.

Here are ten questions answered about California’s legal cannabis boom.

1. Why has it happened?

California has always been known as being amongst the most socially progressive states in America, so its relaxed laws on cannabis come as little surprise. Indeed, cannabis has been decriminalised in California since 1975 before being legalised for medicinal purposes in 1996. Thus, there has been much precedent for cannabis’ complete legalisation in 2018. Due to these long-term relaxed laws, cannabis has been a major part of Californias cultural identity. Even prior to the complete legalisation of cannabis, the state has been generally accepting of recreational marijuana use. Thus, the legalisation of cannabis in California is a culmination of its cultural and legal history within the state in addition to the significant potential economic benefits. 

2. What is the extent of the boom in shops selling cannabis?

Prior to the official legalisation of cannabis at the beginning of 2018, cannabis was available for medicinal use through dispensaries. These are prevalent throughout the state. Since legalisation, however, there has been a considerable uptick in cannabis-associated businesses covering a number of different brands. Due to the robust infrastructure already in place from the medicinal marijuana industry, it has been very easy for recreational cannabis sellers to rise up quickly. There are currently 261 separate dispensaries in addition to many more medicinal dispensaries. The only state with more dispensaries is Oregon, where cannabis has been legal for a longer period of time. None of these dispensaries have permanent licenses yet, instead being endowed with temporary ones. In addition to dispensaries, a number of other businesses have emerged including delivery services such as Eaze and dispensary locator apps. A full-fledged, sophisticated industry has emerged surrounding the cannabis industry.

3. What do these shops sell? Are there different types of cannabis reflecting brands and strengths?

Cannabis products in California are divided into four major categories: Flowers, Concentrates, Edibles and Applications. Flowers refer to the marijuana plant itself – dried buds, which are by far the most popular form of cannabis consumption. There are hundreds of different varieties of strains, each slightly different from the other. Concentrates refer to a number of different products created through the extractions of trichome from marijuana plants. Trichomes are the small, shiny crystals found on mature plants. These are generally stronger than flowers and are made into a number of different products including wax and oils. These are most often consumed through the use of a vape pen, a more inconspicuous means of consumption. Edibles, as their name indicates, refer to food items incorporated with cannabis extractions. These often have more of a delayed effect than other means of consumption. Applications are a more medicinal means of consumption, containing high doses of CBD in the forms of patches used to alleviate physical pain or mental disorders such as anxiety. 

Cannabis is divided into two main forms – Sativa and Indica, with hybridised forms of the two also being available. Sativa strains are known for being more cerebral effects with a higher THC content whereas Indica strains are known for their more sedate effects and have a higher CBD content. 

4. Is the cannabis sold for medicinal purposes?

cannabis-in-california-by-pilot-productionsCannabis has a number of medicinal functions and has been legal in California for medicinal purposes in the state of California since 1996. There has been evidence to suggest that cannabis has beneficial effects in alleviating pain and nausea for those suffering from illnesses such as cancer, HIV/AIDS and even multiple sclerosis. Its use for mental disorders is more inconclusive such as PTSD, anxiety and depression. Cannabis can have adverse effects, including cognitive impairment and psychosis. However, these effects differ from person to person. Its medicinal purposes, while they doubtlessly exist, are not supported by overwhelming evidence due to laws over its legality restricting research. 

5. What are the legal issues?

As of the beginning of 2018, cannabis is legal for recreational use in the state of California. Despite this, there are still certain restrictions in place regarding its consumption and distribution. Users of cannabis must be over the age of 21, the same as alcohol. Furthermore, like alcohol, consumption is legally prohibited in public spaces and there is a penalty of a $100 fine for those who do this. Cannabis in excess of one ounce must be privately stored in ones residential property away from a public space. There is a limit of six plants at any one residence. Consumption of cannabis while driving is also illegal, as is possession within a school area. 

6. Is there a similar boom in the number of growers?

Cannabis plantations can be found throughout the entire state, although production is mainly in the region of Northern California nicknamed the Emerald Triangle. Prior to legalisation, a vast network of authorised growers were active, producing vast quantities of cannabis for medicinal consumption. Following legalisation, the law allowing adults to grow up to six plants within their own residence has been ratified. There are no limits to the amount those growing marijuana for medicinal purposes, although these laws are rumoured to change. There are over 68,000 cannabis cultivators in California, although fewer than 1% of these are licensed. Many growers have struggled to adapt to the new regulations of cannabis production. Despite the legalisation, a black market still remains intact. 

7. How is cannabis taxed? Is it a revenue earner for the government?

Since legalisation, a number of different taxes have been imposed upon the emerging cannabis industry. In the first quarter of 2018, the California State Government collected $60 million in tax from cannabis, well below expectations. The excise tax generated $32 million. Cultivation tax comprised $1.6 million while the sales tax comprised the remaining $27.3 million. Despite falling short of initial predictions, cannabis is projected to generate a considerable tax windfall for the Californian government in the coming years. Prices are increasing from an average of $54 per ounce to $65 per ounce. 

8. Is big business getting involved?

There are so far 6,000 licensed cannabis businesses operating within California. A wealth of start-ups have emerged in tech hotspots such as Silicon Valley and Los Angeles in addition to boutique businesses. Larger conglomerates, having sensed the industrys highly lucrative potential, have gotten involved. This development has left a number of smaller operations concerned, with there being government motions drawn up to protect small-level businesses from being put out of businesses. Despite this, given the ripe potential for the cannabis industry, it is only a matter of time before major companies become more intimately involved. With taxes driving up prices, wealthy companies may look to combat this by flooding the market and dominating supply and demand. This will drive small businesses out of work or alternatively consolidate them.

9. What other states and counties allow cannabis for sale? 

cannabis-in-california-by-pilot-productions-1Currently, cannabis is legal for recreational use in 9 US states – Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachussetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington as well as in the District of Columbia. With the exception of Vermont and the District of Columbia wherein the commercialisation of cannabis is prohibited, the laws are generally the same between these states. An additional 13 states have decriminalised recreational marijuana use. Furthermore, medicinal marijuana is legal in 31 states. Indeed, only in 3 states – Idaho, Kansas and South Dakota – is cannabis consumption entirely illegal. Despite this, cannabis use and possession is classified as illegal under federal law, which causes conflict and confusion over laws surrounding the drug throughout the country.

Outside of the United States, only three countries have legalised recreational cannabis use – Canada, Georgia and Uruguay. However, a wealth of countries around the world have decriminalised cannabis or have some form of medicinal marijuana laws. Portugal and Spain are well-known for their relaxed laws and the Netherlands is particularly well-known for its cannabis culture. While it is not legal all across the country, in certain areas such as the capital city Amsterdam, it is legal to consume cannabis within coffee shops. This style of cannabis culture differs from the more heavily-regulated one which exists in California and elsewhere in the United States.

10. Can anybody buy cannabis? What documents do you need to produce when purchasing?

Cannabis is available to purchase for those who are over the age of 21, producing a valid form of ID such as a passport or a drivers license. In regards to medicinal marijuana, customers must be over the age of 18. Since the legalisation as of the beginning of 2018, it is legal for non-citizens to buy and consume, although it remains federally illegal.

Interested in all things Californian and revolutionary? In our Metropolis – Los Angeles episode presenter Charlie Luxton learns that LA’s unique architectural legacy stemmed from a freedom afforded no-where else on earth. In many ways, this was a city where anything goes, and did. Here, revolutionary ideas were tried and tested with spectacular results.

Captain Cook continues to inspire travel habits

Captain Cook continues to inspire travel habits

As the 26th of August marked the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s maiden round the world voyage, take a look at some of the amazing destinations that were discovered on this epic journey.

Departing from Plymouth in 1778, Cook and his 100-strong crew embarked on the trip of a lifetime that would have even today’s jet-setters jealous.

Madeira, Portugal 

This tiny island off the coast of Portugal, rising out of the Atlantic’s waves, was the first stop of the Endeavour. The iconic harbour of the island’s capital, Funchal – with its dazzling firework displays and botanical gardens – will be sure to keep you entertained. The island is also famed for its wineries, its sports fans and the CR7 Museum is also a must see!

madeira-portugal

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil  

Cook used Rio De Janeiro as a supply stop, but travellers today will take in the sights of Copacabana Beach, Christ the Redeemer and shimmy to some Samba Music. Revellers will also marvel at the views from Sugarloaf Mountain or party the days and nights away in Rio’s carnival atmosphere. One thing’s for certain, Rio is a far cry from the days of Captain Cook.

rio-de-janeiro-brazil

Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina 

When Cook ventured ashore at Tierra Del Fuego, he described the locals as, “the most miserable group of people on the planet”. Tierra Del Fuego truly could be ‘The End of the World’. But nowadays, travellers are blown away by the staggering scenery offered at the gateway to Antarctica. The snowy mountains and glaciers are timeless or visit Ushuaia’s busy port and take a boat trip to Penguin Isle.

tierra-del-fuego

Tahiti, French Polynesia

Just the thought of Tahiti brings images of palm trees and sandy beaches. In fact, when it was time for Cook’s voyage to leave the island, two of his crew attempted to desert, due to falling for local women. The Polynesian hospitality and staggering natural scenery will make you fall in love with this little piece of paradise in the Pacific.

tahiti

New Zealand

When Cook first arrived on the coast of New Zealand, he was greeted by the Maori people and the Haka. Nowadays, the traditional war dance can be experienced by watching the world famous All Blacks rugby team. New Zealand is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, and it’s not hard to understand why. The ultra-modern city of Auckland, the beautiful 15,000-kilometres coastline, and of course, the scenery and landscape that made Lord of the Rings possible.

new-zealand

Australia

When Cook landed at Stingray, New Holland, as the land Down Under was known back in 1770, he can’t have known that just 250 years later, the area would be home to the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and some of the most amazing beaches on the planet.

sydney

Jakarta, Indonesia 

Indonesia’s capital was the port where the Cook’s ship, the Endeavour, received repairs after damaging itself on the Great Barrier Reef. Back then, it was part of the Dutch East Indies, but now, it could be one of the most multicultural spots on the planet. Javanese? Arabic? Malay? European? You name it, there is some part of the culture in Jakarta! Visit the old town for a taste of what Cook experienced when he sailed to this former Dutch Colony.

jakarta

Cape Town, South Africa

Cook’s final stop on his epic voyage, Cape Town, sits on the Cape of Good Hope. Dramatic cliffs, table top mountain and Robben Island – the prison that held Nelson Mandela for 25 years – are tourist hotspots for visiting holiday makers. Cape Town can truly be seen as one of Africa’s jewels, and no true around the world voyage can be completed without seeing this incredible city.

cape-town-bo-kaap-south-africa

More Information

Kiwi.com

To replicate Captain Cook’s journey, check out the Nomad feature on this travel website.

Love learning about famous explorers throughout history? Watch our mini series The Lost World of Joseph Banks.

The world’s most liveable cities in 2018

The world's most liveable cities in 2018

The Austrian capital, Vienna, has beaten Australia’s Melbourne to be named the world’s most liveable city in 2018.

It’s the first time a European city has topped the rankings of the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) annual survey.

The worldwide league table ranks 140 cities on a range of factors, including political and social stability, crime, education and access to healthcare.

In the survey, Manchester saw the biggest improvement of any European city, rising by 16 places to rank 35th.

Interestingly, Manchester’s rise puts it ahead of London in the rankings by 13 places, the widest gap between the two cities since the survey began two decades ago.

The ten most liveable cities in 2018:

1. Vienna, Austria

2. Melbourne, Australia

3. Osaka, Japan

4. Calgary, Canada

5. Sydney, Australia

6. Vancouver, Canada

7. Tokyo, Japan

8. Toronto, Canada

9. Copenhagen, Denmark

10. Adelaide, Australia

The ten least liveable cities 2018:

1. Damascus, Syria

2. Dhaka, Bangladesh

3. Lagos, Nigeria

4. Karachi, Pakistan

5. Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

6. Harare, Zimbabwe

7. Tripoli, Libya

8. Douala, Cameroon

9. Algiers, Algeria

10. Dakar, Senegal

Inspired to travel (or move) to this incredible European city? Watch our Vienna City Guide below!

France’s Chaîne des Puys joins the UNESCO World Heritage List

France's Chaîne des Puys joins the UNESCO World Heritage List

On Monday 2 July 2018, the World Heritage Committee inscribed the Chaîne des Puys, a group of 80 dormant volcanoes, on the UNESCO World Heritage List – making it the first natural site in mainland France to be listed. This unique landscape now joins sites such as the Grand Canyon, the Okavango Delta, Kilimanjaro and the Great Barrier Reef on this prestigious list.

The alignment of the Chaîne des Puys volcanoes and the Limagne fault provides evidence for a large-scale process which has fashioned the Earth’s surface continental break-up. A natural showcase, the site demonstrates how the Earth’s crust was faulted and underwent collapse, allowing magma to rise up and the surface to be significantly uplifted.

Backed by the government, this inscription is the culmination of a long process initiated 11 years ago by the president of the Puy-de-Dôme department, Jean-Yves Gouttebel. The nomination is deeply rooted in the local territory, drawing on local authorities, businesses, associations and inhabitants to further the recognition and preservation of this exceptional natural heritage. The dossier was compiled by the departmental council of the Puy-de-Dôme, in close collaboration with local universities for the scientific component, and the Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Park for that of the management. This international recognition follows more than 40 years work of protection and management of the site.

More Information

UNESCO

World’s first open air planetarium debuts in Canada

World's first open air planetarium debuts in Canada

National Geographic and the award-winning Au Diable Vert ‘Station de Montagne’ outdoor resort in Glen Sutton in the Eastern Townships of the Canadian province of Québec, have joined together to present the world’s first open air augmented reality planetarium, the ‘National Geographic ObservEtoiles’. This innovative new activity, that combines the technology of several cutting-edge companies from around the globe, will be officially launched to the public on 23 June 2018.

A world first, made in Quebec and signed by National Geographic

Recently certified as a Canadian Dark Sky Preserve by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC), Au Diable Vert Station de Montagne and National Geographic present a truly unique experience. National Geographic ObservEtoiles is an open air astronomy show combining science and education. Perched at over 1,000 feet of altitude with heated stadium seats, this open air show takes place in a multilevel mountainside amphitheatre, specially designed for this purpose at Au Diable Vert in Glen Sutton.

Guests will be able to witness the night sky take on another dimension, as high definition digital overlays of 17th century illustrations align with the stars and planets. For the first time anywhere in the world, innovative technology in the form of an augmented reality headset will enable visitors to unlock the mysteries of the night sky! Narrated by talented astronomers, each night’s presentation will be tailored to the ever changing beauty of space. One of the key collaborators in developing this experience is the National Geographic astronomy expert, Andrew Fazekas (also known as the ‘Night Sky Guy’) who will be creating content for this Quebec-made and Quebec-based experience.

A unique and innovative concept

Jeremy Fontana, co-owner of Au Diable Vert, well known for creating unique projects such as the VeloVolant canopy cycle activity, the world’s highest suspended bicycle ride at over 1,000 feet high, developed the concept and joined forces with leading technology partners to bring the National Geographic ObservEtoiles to life. To name a few, he called upon the expertise of Escapist Games developers and the developers of the Star Chart application (widely used by astronomers around the world), Aryzon from the Netherlands to create the custom AR headset, as well as National Geographic, in order to present the world’s first open air augmented reality planetarium.

About the National Geographic ObservEtoiles

Thanks to its heated seats, this open air planetarium will be running shows for nine months of the year, immersing up to 184 guests in a time of astronomical discovery. This immersive experience will be enhanced by a high-performance sound system and theatrical lighting. The activity is made possible through the use of an application running on a smartphone and an augmented reality headset. The headset enables the viewer to see digital overlays of the sky, with the names of the stars and more, while seeing the actual sky in real-time. It will also be possible to augment the experience by adding animations and going on a tour of the solar system. Even cloudy weather will not keep the show from running, as the projection made by the smartphone will compensate for any clouds. At the end of the night, guests can take home their augmented reality headsets, so they can relive the experience anywhere in the world, by downloading the application on their own smartphones (download and headset included in the price of the activity).

National Geographic ObservEtoiles would like to thank the Quebec Ministry of Tourism and Eastern Townships tourism for their generous financial assistance, without which this project would not have been possible. Home to 22 regions, Québec is Canada’s largest province. Last year the province’s tourism body, recognised under the brand QuébecOriginal, launched ‘14 Experiences of Québec’ a new tourism strategy which aims to highlight what makes Québec such an original destination. Home to vast protected areas including 28 national parks, Quebec’s forests, mountain ranges, rivers and lakes make the Great Outdoors one of its key signature experiences. As a year-round adventure playground Québec offers an array of activities for visitors to experience its stunning lakes, rivers, forests and wilderness first hand. Visitors are therefore invited to embrace the great outdoors, and the new National Geographic ObservEtoiles experience joins a range of interactive light shows available across the province which help bring the great outdoors to life thanks to the creativity of Québecers and their expertise recognised worldwide in the fields of multimedia and technology.

More Information

Quebec Original

National Geographic

The world’s best airports in 2018

The world's best airports in 2018

Singapore Changi Airport has been named as the World’s Best Airport by air travellers for the sixth consecutive year at the 2018 Skytrax World Airport Awards, held at Passenger Terminal EXPO in Stockholm, Sweden. This is the first time in the history of the awards that an airport has won this prestige title for six consecutive years.

See the rest of the results below.

The World’s Top 10 Airports

1     Singapore Changi
2     Incheon
3     Tokyo Haneda
4     Hong Kong
5     Doha Hamad
6     Munich
7     Centrair Nagoya
8     London Heathrow
9     Zurich
10    Frankfurt

The World’s Cleanest Airports

1    Tokyo Haneda
2    Centrair Nagoya
3    Incheon
4    Taiwan Taoyuan
5    Singapore Changi
6    Tokyo Narita
7    Hong Kong
8    Zurich
9    Doha Hamad
10   Helsinki

The World’s Most Improved Airports

1    Rome Fiumicino
2    Perth
3    Calgary
4    Taiwan Taoyuan
5    Athens
6    Nadi
7    Montréal
8    Moscow Sheremetyevo
9    Houston Intercontinental
10   Manila

The World’s Best Airport Terminals

1    London Heathrow – T2
2    Munich – T2
3    Singapore Changi – T3
4    London Heathrow – T5
5    Tokyo Haneda – Int’l
6    Madrid – T4
7    Dubai – T3
8    Paris CDG – T2-M
9    Mumbai – T2
10   Baku Heydar Aliyev Airport – T1

The World’s Best Domestic Airports

1    Tokyo Haneda
2    Shanghai Hongqiao
3    Tianjin
4    Kagoshima
5    Osaka Itami
6    Ordos
7    Changsha
8    Kumamoto
9    Shenyang
10   Hohhot

The World’s Best Airport Hotels

1    Crowne Plaza Changi
2    Pullman Guangzhou Airport
3    Hilton Munich Airport
4    Fairmont Vancouver Airport
5    Sofitel London Heathrow
6    Hong Kong Sky City Marriott
7    Langham Place Beijing
8    Regal Airport Hong Kong
9    Sheraton Amsterdam Airport
10   Hilton Frankfurt Airport

The World’s Best Airport Staff Service

1    Incheon
2    Tokyo Haneda
3    Taiwan Taoyuan
4    Centrair Nagoya
5    Singapore Changi
6    Hong Kong
7    Kansai
8    Narita
9    Amsterdam
10   Vienna

The World’s Best Airports for Dining

1    Hong Kong
2    Singapore Changi
3    Incheon
4    Tokyo Narita
5    Doha Hamad
6    Munich
7    Houston Intercontinental
8    Vienna
9    London Heathrow
10   Rome Fiumicino

The World’s Best Regional Airports

1    Centrair Nagoya
2    Hamburg
3    Durban
4    London City
5    Denver
6    Dusseldorf
7    Cologne / Bonn
8    Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky
9    Haikou
10   Xi’an

The World’s Best Airport Shopping

1    London Heathrow
2    Singapore Changi
3    Hong Kong
4    Doha Hamad
5    Amsterdam
6    Incheon
7    Dubai
8    Rome Fiumicino
9    Paris CDG
10   Frankfurt

The World’s Best Airport Security Processing

1    Tokyo Narita
2    Centrair Nagoya
3    Copenhagen
4    Taiwan Taoyuan
5    Tokyo Haneda
6    Singapore Changi
7    Zurich
8    Incheon
9    Hong Kong
10   Amsterdam

The World’s Best Airport Baggage Delivery

1    Kansai
2    Tokyo Haneda
3    Incheon
4    Taiwan Taoyuan
5    Tokyo Narita
6    Zurich
7    Singapore Changi
8    Centrair Nagoya
9    Munich
10   Copenhagen

The World’s Best Airport Immigration

1    Taiwan Taoyuan
2    Centrair Nagoya
3    Hong Kong
4    Copenhagen
5    Helsinki
6    Tokyo Haneda
7    Zurich
8    Singapore Changi
9    Incheon
10   Tokyo Narita

The World’s Best Transit Airport

1    Hong Kong
2    Singapore Changi
3    Incheon
4    Munich
5    Taiwan Taoyuan
6    Doha Hamad
7    Tokyo Haneda
8    Amsterdam
9    Narita
10   Frankfurt

The World’s Best Airport Leisure Amenities

1    Singapore Changi
2    Incheon
3    Doha Hamad
4    Amsterdam
5    Hong Kong
6    Munich
7    Taiwan Taoyuan
8    Zurich
9    Frankfurt
10   Centrair Nagoya

The World’s Best Low-Cost Airline Terminals

1    Kansai – T2
2    Tokyo Narita – T3
3    Melbourne – T4
4    Kuala Lumpur – KLIA2
5    London Stansted
6    Brussels Charleroi
7    East Midlands
8    Luton
9    Berlin Schönefeld
10   Frankfurt-Hahn

More Information

World Airport Awards

Singapore Airlines to launch the world’s new longest flight

Singapore Airlines to launch the world’s new longest flight

Singapore Airlines has announced that it is preparing to launch a 19-hour flight travelling from Singapore to New York… making it longest in the world!

The flight will beat out fellow contenders, currently held by Qatar Airways for its Auckland to Doha route which travels 14,536 kilometres and takes 18 hours, followed by Qantas’ Perth to London route, which flies 14,499 kilometres and takes just over 17 hours.

Airbus, the maker of the A350 XWB, the ultra-long-range plane that will be used on the route, announced that the aircraft had recently successfully completed its first flights. The company says that the plane will enter service with Singapore Airlines by the end of 2018.

The Hive comes to Kew Gardens

The Hive comes to Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens in London is home to a multi-sensory architectural installation known as The Hive, which transforms the life inside a beehive into a sound and light show for visitors to enjoy.

The Hive, Kew Gardens, LondonThe activity of the bees – who communicate through vibrations – is monitored inside a real hive, also situated at Kew, by a vibration sensor known as an accelerometer. These vibrations are sent in real time to the man-made Hive which is located in the middle of a wildflower meadow at the Royal Botanic Gardens.

The structure contains more than 1000 led lights which are powered on and off in seemingly random patterns by the real life vibrational activity of the bees inside the real hive.

The soundscape at The Hive is composed of bee sounds and sounds from a pre-recorded library. Signals from the real beehive trigger noise gates at particular thresholds, activating the sounds.

The 17-metre, 40 ton structure, made up of 170,000 steel and aluminium parts, is a collaboration between artist Wolfgang Buttress and designer and engineer Tristan Simmonds.

img_0364The multi award-winning experience was inspired by scientific research into the health of honeybees. It is a visual symbol of the pollinators’ role in feeding the planet and the challenges facing bees today.

The installation arrived at Kew Gardens after a spectacular run as the centrepiece of the gold medal winning UK Pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo UK Trade and Investment.

More Information

Kew Gardens Official Website

Interested in visiting Kew Gardens? Check out our Slow TV episode Kew Gardens: Flora from around the world.

Earth Day: 8 Destinations That Have Sustainability In Mind

Earth Day: 8 Destinations That Have Sustainability In Mind

Each year Earth Day aims to highlight global environmental issues, raise awareness of the impact of climate change and encourage sustainable development. Tourism can play a key role in this approach when travellers can look to offset their carbon footprint when choosing which destinations to visit. From saving turtles in Florida to protecting Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to sustainable farming in Arizona, here’s a list of activities in locations all over the world that have the environment and conservation in mind ahead of Earth Day on 22 April 2018.

earthday

Bhutan: Breathtaking treks and outdoor adventures in a destination leader in conservation

Bhutan, nestled in the Himalayas, is a global leader in environmentally sustainable development. The country is known for its long-term conservation goals to maintain its pristine landscapes and rich biodiversity, with the national constitution stating a requirement of a minimum of 60% of the country’s land is forested at all times. The country is home to less than 800,000 inhabitants and over half of Bhutan is designated to national parks, forests, nature reserves and wildlife sanctuaries. Bhutan is therefore able to achieve carbon neutrality, with trees taking in almost 6.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. Bhutan is an advocate of sustainable tourism activities, including exploring the natural and untouched landscapes throughout the country on foot. Druk Path Trek is one of Bhutan’s most popular short treks which takes visitors through stunning blue pine forests, along high mountain ridges and next to a number of lakes. Travellers also have the chance to see alpine yak pastures where nomads can be spotted in their natural habitat. The six day trek passes by a number of ancient lhakhangs, dzongs and villages and ranges at altitudes between 2,400 and 4,200 metres. The final descent of the trek leads into the capital city of Bhutan, Thimphu.

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Arizona: Agritourism, sustainable farming and fresh local produce on Mesa’s fresh foodie trail

Travellers can grab a hold of the grain, and get their hands dirty picking the day’s harvest, before heading to the kitchen to put together a menu with seasonal, local produce. Visit Mesa has launched the Fresh Foodie Trail™, a self-guided route that connects many of the culinary stop offs in Arizona’s third-largest city. The food-centric experience advocates long-table dinners and invites visitors to learn why their food choices matter. Pasta making classes with ancient grains, watching the cold-pressing of fresh olives, foraging for the freshest produce –in an educational trip that highlights the green and sustainable methods of producing and enjoying food. Serving as a culinary gateway to Greater Phoenix, the neighbouring farms in and around Mesa provide a bounty of seasonal goods for visitors to enjoy year-round. Citrus in January, peaches in May, olives in October and even, heirloom wheat in the winter. During the trail, travellers will stop off at True Garden, which features revolutionary hydroponic gardening techniques, where visitors can learn about organic growing practices and sustainable farming. True Garden uses 95% less water and 90% less space than a traditional garden, and contains no harmful chemical, pesticides or herbicides. Another stop off, Mesa Urban Garden was created to inspire sustainable urban living through education, community involvement and creative cooperation to strengthen families and enhance and beautify the region.

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Queensland: Go green on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

One of the seven wonders of the natural world, Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef (stretching for 1,800 miles) is a must-see for holidaymakers. Eco-conscious visitors have a number of different options when it comes to enjoying everything the Reef has to offer in a sustainable manner, including a stay on Lizard Island – the only resort located on a 1,013-hectare National Park on the Great Barrier Reef itself. The resort offers complete luxury on the world’s largest and most diverse reef system and is consistently ranked as one of the world’s top hotels. All activity on the island is undertaken with full commitment to protecting, nurturing and maintaining the critical balance between the resort and the diverse eco-system of Lizard Island and its surrounding waters. The island is also home to the Lizard Island Research Station which attracts reef researchers from all over the world. Tours to the Research Station are conducted twice a week and are available for all Lizard Island guests, where they can learn more about the reef. Alternatively, there are a number of other sustainable islands guests can stay on when visiting the reef including Bedarra – Australia’s most sustainable island resort – Heron Island and Lady Elliot Island. Those looking to visit Queensland over peak holiday periods can also volunteer at some Queensland National Parks including Lady Musgrave Island on the Southern Great Barrier Reef, where they can camp for free in exchange for volunteering as campground hosts, providing island interpretation with a conservation message. There’s also a chance to make the trek to Deepwater National Park to help nesting loggerhead turtles. Andy Ridley, the CEO and Co-Founder of Earth Hour, has recently been appointment CEO of newly launched concept “Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef” – a global social purpose movement founded to empower individuals from every place and all walks of life, to collectively change the world and ensure future generations can continue to learn about, protect, and enjoy our greatest natural inheritance, the Great Barrier Reef, which visitors can also sign up to.

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Nevada: Discover Animal Ark – a safe haven for injured, abandoned and otherwise non-releasable wildlife

The Animal Ark located north of Reno, aims to inspire environmental stewardship through wildlife education and provides a haven for North American predators, who otherwise would not be able to survive in the wild. Every effort is taken to stimulate their natural habitat with native trees, plants and boulders. Set in Nevada’s high desert, the sanctuary uses environmentally-friendly power, and can supply almost all the energy required to run, through solar panels and wind generation. The sanctuary holds a number of events to educate visitors on the fascinating animals, such as Ark at Dark where guests will hear the wolves and coyotes howling into the night as they take a nocturnal nature walk, see Cheetahs race around the Ark track at sunset or visit during Harvest Festival where animals receive carved out pumpkins filled with their favourite food.

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Namibia: The top destination for an eco-holiday in 2018

Climb the highest sand dunes in the world. Descend to the floor of the deepest canyon in Africa. Immerse yourself in the past at one of the Africa’s richest rock art sites, and watch wildlife shimmer against one of the most spectacular pans on earth. Explore the oldest, driest desert in the world and take time to listen to the silence and to your soul. Namibia is the place to go for an eco-holiday in 2018. Namibia was the first African country to incorporate environmental protection into its constitution and today more than 40% of the country is under conservation management. The outcome? Namibia is now home to the last free-roaming populations of black rhino and desert elephant, as well as 25% of the world’s cheetah, making it a superlative destination for responsible wildlife holidays. The best place to spot the endangered desert rhino is from the luxurious Desert Rhino Camp, situated in the private and protected 400,000-hectar Palmwag Rhino Reserve, operated in conjunction with Save the Rhino Trust and Wilderness Safaris. The rhino viewing is done on foot discreetly and respectfully. Travellers can stay in one of the eight large Meru-style tents, enjoy guided nature hikes with local conservationists and savour picnics in remote locations around the secluded property. A portion of revenue from Desert Rhino Camp goes to the Save the Rhino Trust to contribute towards its conservation operations.

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Palm Beaches, Florida: Save the loggerhead turtle

The Loggerhead Marinelife Centre is designed specifically to rehabilitate loggerhead turtles, and offers an array of conservation activities for visitors. Its mission combines the conservation of ocean ecosystems with a special focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles, replenishing dwindling numbers. Now internationally recognised as the most densely populated nesting beaches for loggerhead turtles in the world, The Palm Beaches serves as an international hub for sea turtle education, ocean research and conservation. The non-profit educational facility located on the Atlantic Ocean in Palm Beach County also houses a variety of exhibits, including live sea turtles and other coastal creatures, as well as a state-of-the-art full service veterinary hospital, exhibit hall, outdoor classroom, research lab, and resource centre. Exhibits include a prehistoric Archelon sea turtle replica, salt water aquaria and displays of local wildlife, as well as educational displays about South Florida’s marine environment and how to conserve it

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Ontario: Celebrate sustainability in Ontario with the 125th anniversary of Canada’s provincial parks

Home to 334 stunning provincial parks, Ontario, along with the rest of Canada, will celebrate the 125th anniversary of its provincial parks in 2018. This anniversary is particularly significant for Ontario as the province’s Algonquin Provincial Park, established in 1893, was Canada’s first. Year-round activities are planned to commemorate this historic milestone including unique pop ups and new initiatives. There are a number of eco-friendly accommodation options in or near these parks including Killarney Lodge in Algonquin Provincial Park and Elmhirst Resort in Muskoka. The parks offer visitors the chance to get back to nature and explore some of the planet’s wildest depths with a number of hiking and biking trails, canoe and boating routes and the chance to spot the stars and Northern Lights in some of the world’s clearest skies.

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Mauritius: Explore an eco-adventure park

A world biodiversity hotspot known for its natural beauty, Mauritius is on a crusade to reduce the eco-footprint for the benefit of the island. Volcanic mountains, savannah-style plains and pockets of ancient forest with endemic plants and wildlife offer plenty of opportunity for green adventure, from birding and zip-lining to blue marlin fishing and nature treks. For those interested in learning more about the island’s natural environment, some Sugar Estates have opened as eco-adventure parks offerings treks, horse riding, mountain biking and safaris to spot deer, monkeys and wild boar. Angsana Balaclava, a resort in the North of the island attained bronze benchmark status from Earthcheck and are planning a coral planting project. The resort also employs a marine biologist who will guide guests on snorkelling trips. Meanwhile, Shanti Maurice, has campaigns to conserve Mauritius’ coast and the Shandrani Resort & Spa has trained ‘Shandrani Rangers’ for coral conservation. The Attitude Hotel group has inaugurated Nauticaz, its educational and research centre which is open to guests and locals, one of its most important features is the equipper marine laboratory set up to monitor and protect coral reefs and the islands ecosystems.

More Information

Hills Balfour

Tourism Council of Bhutan

Visit Mesa

Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef

Travel Nevada

Desert Rhino Camp

The Loggerhead Marinelife Centre

Ontario Travel

Tourism Mauritius