Today is like New Year’s Day for the eco-conscious. It’s Earth Day and for those who are serious about helping Mother Earth it’s time to re-commit to making some positive changes in our ecological life. The least eco-friendly person on the planet makes an effort not to litter and recycles but a recent survey by Element Hotels found that even the most eco-conscious of us ignore normal environment habits when traveling including turning off the lights and using less water.
So today would be a good time to renew our Earth Day Resolutions not only at home but when we are a guest in another country. The environmental impact of travel is significant. With more than 900 million worldwide travelers we are globally challenged to preserve and protect the culture, heritage and geographic character of sites we visit. To do less would be irresponsible. To do more would be a way to show your appreciation for a chance to see the wonders of the world.
The Global Sustainable Tourism Council web site has some tips. Here are a few others from the National Geographic Traveler web site to help lighten your ecological footprint when traveling.
Radda is one of my favorite places in Chianti and it’s all about location. Radda is located 50 km southeast of Florence and 30 km north of Siena. On the see and savor map that means it’s well placed for day trips throughout the region visiting some of Chianti’s most storied villages and towns. Castellina in Chianti, Greve, Gaiole, Castelvecchi, Volpaia, Certaldo are only a few of the many postcard stops you can make along the way eating the food and drinking the wine that connects you to the historical landscape of medieval villages, still intact, set on hilltops with ancient walls that overlook the woods and vineyards of Chianti.
On my mind map, Radda is a place that connects me to artisan producers that are still committed to preserving the handcrafted traditions of the region. L’Azienda Agricola La Pensiola in Radda in Chianti is one of those places. It is here that Eugenia and “the kids” live and work. The “kids” I’m referring to are a herd of Cashmere goats husbanded by Nora, the owner. In an era that has marked the destruction of the small farm and lessened the ability of artisan producers to remain true to their traditions L’Azienda Agricola La Pensiola remains a model for small-scale agricultural enterprise and a guarantee that MADE IN ITALY means all fine things Italian. With meticulous care and attention, Nora oversees the entire process that transforms the raw materials of wool into finished cashmere yarn used to make hand-woven shawls and scarves of unsurpassed quality. Capra (goat in Italian) Eugenia and her family freely roam the Tuscan hillsides busily producing the milk and wool used to make skin care products and hand-woven shawls and scarves with production methods that go beyond organic using sustainable agricultural principles to renew and reclaim the land .
I spent an afternoon in the farm house kitchen at La Pensiola discussing the craftsmen and artisan producers behind the brand. Over un caffe’ Nora and I shared our thoughts on small business enterprises in the States and in Italy and what it was like to take a dream and a passion and make it into a life’s work.
A panel of travel experts from the National Geographic Society’s Center for Sustainable Destinations recently measured the worlds’ most iconic and celebrated travel destinations on how well they have weathered the pressures of mass tourism. 437 well-traveled experts rated 133 world travel sites on their ability to retain a sense of place, remaining relatively unspoiled in the face of mounting threats to their environment and culture. Tuscany, Italy was rated as a Place Doing Well stating that “If there is a region in Europe that exemplifies the exact mixture of natural and cultural heritage with harmony and beauty, it is Tuscany. No place else has this harmonious mix between landscape, monuments, and cities”.
At ItalyTasteandTravel we believe in there is a different way to travel in Italy, a way that is more than a “show and tell” tour, savoring rather than sampling all that Italy has to offer, traveling with a sense of place with like-minded travelers to see the Italy of our family and friends. We’re happy to know that one of our favorite regions to see and savor Italy is doing well. With more than 900 million worldwide travelers we are globally challenged to preserve and protect the culture, heritage and geographic character of sites we visit. To do less would be irresponsible. To do more would be a way to show your appreciation for a chance to see the wonders of the world.