Mongolian Quilting CentreMarch 28, 2018
One Day Tours – Experience Local MongoliaMay 7, 2018
Earth Day Mongolia
April 22nd is Earth Day in Mongolia as it is around the world. Earth Day was launched on April 22nd, 1970 as a day to celebrate the planet and encourage people to be more environmentally friendly. It is widely regarded as being the start of the modern environmental movement. And Earth Day matters as unprecedented climate change events the world, including Mongolia, with existential challenges.
For centuries, the traditional nomadic way of life helped to sustain Mongolia’s natural environment. By nature of their lifestyle, Mongolia’s herders have an in-depth knowledge of conservation practices which are key to limiting any ecological impact. That knowledge has been fundamental to the herding way of life 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. Severe weather threatens the way of the local herders (with more extreme and frequent dzuds and dust storms leading to loss of life, livestock, and livelihoods) as well as the country’s cashmere industry, as well as food security.
There are various activities associated with the day with people worldwide getting involved. The list includes raising awareness about the environment, recycling or energy use, planting trees, and volunteering for green projects. So in honour of Earth Day Mongolia, we have highlighted some small ways you can make a positive contribution to the philosophy of Earth Day during your time in Mongolia. And have highlighted some things that 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 believe it helps to get some sort of message across. 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 for a lot of our tours as a free service. We do this as it gives the opportunity for those that want to, to go and explore independently and to help break the reliance on the tour vehicle.
- Our homestay experiences include options for travelling to/from the homestay by public transport (where such a route exists) and where possible, our experiences promote travelling overland (as opposed to by domestic flight) and include journeys on the local Trans-Mongolian train route.
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 that we work in long-term local community partnerhsip with, 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. 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 Eternal Landscapes actively supports is Gobi Oasis, a family-operated project formed in 1975 that plants trees in the Gobi Desert to help stop desertification and erosion. Gobi Oasis has approximately 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. 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 food store or restaurant rather than the chain.
What are we doing?
- We already consider our ‘foodprint’ as part of our Climate Action Plan. Pineapples? Brie? Oranges? Sure, they taste delicious but one thing is for sure, they’re not local to Mongolia. We encourage our EL trip assistants to think about what they’re buying and food miles and our teams already purchase local seasonal produce to help support each community they pass through. Examples include blueberries, strawberries, and blackcurrants, wild onions, rhubarb, pine nuts, watermelons (small and fresh), cucumbers or tomatoes, and salad leaves. Our team still prepares traditional meat-based Mongolian dishes but they also prepare vegetable-based dishes as well.
- Also, how we manage food and food waste can have significant implications for the environment. But, food waste is a complicated problem especially as we work solely in Mongolia – a country currently without any form of food waste collection. There’s no one-step fix but, there are actions that we can take and you can find out more here about what we’re doing – https://www.eternal-landscapes.co.uk/measuring-our-food-waste/
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 located at the information centre 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.
What are we doing?
If we’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.
Jess @ Eternal Landscapes.