Sustainable...but is it fun?
An often-quoted Fundamental Law of the sustainability movement is "If it's not fun, it's not sustainable". But really now, what's so amazing about making compost with kitchen scraps for my holidays?
Sustainable tourism is about connections. Connecting and sharing with new people, maybe with other cultures, experiencing different ways of life. It is reconnecting with Nature - the search for healthy ways to live in the modern world - healthy in body, healthy in our relationships, and healthy planet. Composting is one way to close the cycle. A conscious commitment to building fertility. A small step towards mindfulness.
Like you, we care about the people around us and the planet that our children will inherit. We understand that we should not use more energy than is absolutely necessary, nor waste any of the earth's resources that we use.
As a business catering for many people during the year, we are especially aware that our choices - what to put on the menu; how to keep the place warm in winter; what to do with our waste - have a real impact on our community and natural environment.
What we choose makes the difference between being a burden on those around us, or being a support for them. It is the difference between being part of the problem, or being part of the solution.
When you choose to spend your time and money at one of the growing number of places in Araucanía that pursue the sustainable tourism ideal, you too become a key part of that solution. In doing so, you too create an opportunity for yourself to step out of the ratrace for a while, switch off the digital world and reconnect with your essence.
We think of sustainability at several levels: on the one hand, it is about simple management practices as relevant in the home as in the business, that together serve to help consume less, contaminate less, cause less loss of wildlife habitats or less suffering to farm animals. Thus composting kitchen waste creates rich humus for the gardens; a solar collector preheats water for free; efficient woodstoves mean less air pollution and less impact on woodland habitats.
However on another level, all those little positive acts remind us many times a day of our connections with nature, and our interdependence with the community in which we live. We create for ourselves a culture of caring: caring for the farmland and animals that provide the food we sell; caring for the health of those that eat that food; and caring for each other - those that work here, our neighbours and friends.
This is the essence we all share: caring for our own, caring for our community, and caring for our environment. It is in this spirit we invite you to join us, share a meal with your family and friends, hold your workshop or seminar here, or to spend a few nights in the woods in one of the cabins.
It is one thing to have good intentions to protect the environment, quite another to achieve it in practice, when the pressure is on.
To help us make sustainability a part of our day-to-day management at Kodkod, we entered a certification scheme with Smart Voyager, run by the Ecuadorian NGO Conservation and Development. Their certification is based on thirteen principles of good practice which range from conservation of ecosystems to integrated waste management.
These principles mark out a holistic framework for developing a tourism business that is both efficient and environmentally positive. The record-keeping that is involved also generates useful statistics that help to measure progress at meeting the sustainability targets.
At Kodkod, we were first certified in 2011, after which this achievement was recognised by prizes from both the Municipality of Pucón and the government agency for tourism, SERNATUR. Some of the specific initiatives we have pursued since then include:
1. Active support and participation in postgraduate projects in wildlife ecology, training young professionals in research and environmental education skills. The Kodkod park is used as a Field Station for wildlife research by the Fauna Australis Laboratory of the Pontificial Catholic University in Santiago.
2. Active participation in Transition Town Pucon sustainability initiative, run by the Pucon Environmental Council.
3. Active support for the Cañi Nature Sanctuary initiative, a 400ha private conservation area neigbouring the Kodkod Park.
4. Development of innovative high efficiency wood-burning stoves for the Raices Meeting Chambers building, itself a high efficiency construction, incorporating a high proportion of local and recycled materials.
5. Development of a local network of environmentally conscious producers and providers of food for the restaurant. Together our providers represent the biggest part of our ecological footprint, so it is an inspiration to work with people who make that footprint work for nature.
6. Support for a community education initiative, Waldorf Pucon, a local educational charity providing a holistic education for 100 children in Pucon.
7. Collaboration with the practical training of students taking diplomas in tourism in Pucon. 8. Lastly, taking on the challenge of pioneering certified sustainable tourism in the region. We made many modifications to meet the standards, particularly in implementing record-keeping, and training procedures that make explicit what was formerly implicit. So, is it fun to be sustainable? Well, actually, yes it is. It's creative, spontaneous, deep, respectful to Life, connecting, inspirational, a gateway to meeting interesting people from around the world.. all those things, yes!
Sustainable Tourism in Araucanía.
Why not visit our friends, too?
Meet some animals we care about too.
Very difficult to see, the kodkod, or guiña, is specialized for life in the woods, and able to catch mice by the light of the moon.
Hear them in the trees, endlessly searching out tiny insects.
Our endemic opossum, this fascinating (and cute) marsupial eats insects and fruit.
The green-backed firecrown manages to survive here all winter. They may be small, but you can find them from their loud calls