There are various activities associated with the day with people worldwide getting involved. On the list includes raising awareness about the environment – recycling or energy use as an example, planting trees and volunteering for green projects.
And that’s the reason I’m writing this post.
Mongolia. For centuries, the traditional nomadic way of life helped to sustain the natural environment. By nature of their lifestyle, herders have an in-depth knowledge of conservation practises which was key to limiting any ecological impact. That knowledge has been a fundamental ingredient of the herding way of in Mongolia, even into the 21st century.
But, more and more challenges face the country. Mongolia’s rich oil and mineral deposits have caught the interest of developers. Environmental problems include desertification due to excessive grazing, inadequate water supply, and air and water pollution.
So in honour of Earth Day Mongolia, I thought I would highlight ways you can make a positive contribution to the philosophy of Earth Day during your time in Mongolia. And highlight what we’re doing as well.
* I can hear murmurings from the back. What’s the point? Is one day of the year enough to make an impact? Well. I’m an optimist. And I don’t carry out statistical studies so can’t be put off by facts. So yes. I do believe it can -if it helps to get some sort of message across, to draw attention to the issues raised by Earth Day. Yes, you’ve heard them before. Yes, you’ll hear them again. Is it worth repeating them? Yes.
Leave your tablet, your SmartPhone and any other modern life technological must-haves behind and go unplugged. It will mean you see things from a different more refreshing perspective. Take a deep breath and exhale. Don’t treat any walk as an exercise regime – that’s best left for the gym when you get home. Instead, slow your thoughts down and just observe the world around you.
Use Public Transport
You’re not going to get there quickly. But, It allows you to be part of the local community for a brief while and you’ll see the area from a more local perspective.
What are we doing?
We provide a city nomads folding bike in each vehicle. As a completely free service. Why? It gives the opportunity for those that want to to go and explore the smaller details independently and to help break the reliance on the tour vehicle.
Ditch The Plastic
Whether it be a bag or bottle. Yes, it is frequently written and it almost sounds like a ‘nag’. Well, it is. Use that tote bag or bag for life. And a reusable water bottle.
What are we doing?
As well as providing our guests with a tote bag hand-made by the Mongolian Quilting Centre, we also work with Water-To-Go. For any purchase made by an EL guest, our guest receives a 15% discount and we give a 15% donation to the Mongolian well-project of CAMDA NGO. This is the perfect reusable alternative and sustainable solution to plastic pollution. To illustrate this, a 75cl Water-to-Go filter (200 litres) is the equivalent of 400 single-use plastic bottles.
Plant A Tree
One of the projects that I and my Eternal Landscapes team actively support is Gobi Oasis – based in Dundgobi Aimag’s provincial town – Mandalgobi. Located in the middle Gobi in an area of desert steppe, Gobi Oasis is a family operated project formed in 1975 – planting trees in the Gobi Desert to help stop desertification and erosion.
Get in touch, come and get digging and add to the (roughly) 6200 different sizes of saxaul trees, 1500 elm trees (Siberian elms – native to Mongolia, Turkestan, Eastern Siberia and Korea) and a small number of aspen and almond trees that currently grow at Gobi Oasis.
And as the saying goes …’from small acorns…’
Choose to explore the local markets and shops. Choose eating options that are appropriate to the area where you are. Support that local independent rather than the chain.
What are we doing?
The key focus here is local produce. We provide most meals on an EL experience. Pineapple? Brie? Oranges? Sure, they taste delicious but one thing is for sure, they’re not local to Mongolia. I encourage my EL trip assistants to think about what they’re buying and its country of origin. We look out the locally produced sweet-tasting tomatoes and cucumber. There’s also great local salami, freshly made bread and smoked fish. And later in the year, delicious watermelons (yes, really).
Become More Aware
Africa has the ‘big five.’ Mongolia has its own version – snow leopards, saiga antelope, Przewalski’s horse, Khulan wild ass and the wild Bactrian camel, to name a few.
Khustain Nuruu National Park is noted for its successful reintroduction of the endemic Przewalski horse (Equus przewalskii) – the only wild horse to survive in modern times and known as Takhi in Mongolian. The Khustain National Park Trust deals with the management of the national park contracting with Mongolia’s Ministry of Nature and Environment and Khustain is now run as an NGO.
Located just under 100km from UB, why not visit for the successful conservation story and for the wilderness. En-route visit the small on-site shop where you can purchase excellent books such as the Flowers of Hustai National Park and Birds of Hustai National Park – both produced by the Khustain Trust.
If I’ve inspired you to do your part for Earth Day during your visit to Mongolia then please get in touch. Visit our Mongolia tours page to find out more about what we offer.
Please do get in touch if interested.
Jess @ Eternal Landscapes.