12 Best Eco-Spas in the World!

April 28, 2011 by  

By no means is this list immutable. Indeed the notion of ‘spa luxury’ is changing and a high honorable mention must be credited towards ‘Six Senses Spa’ at Zighy Bay in The Musandam Peninsula in Oman where ‘environmental sustainability and style’ is just not a catchphrase but corporate policy – where hotel fees are channeled towards wind farms in India and where buildings are aesthetically camouflaged into its desert fjord-like surroundings. But in the end, it is the eco-sophisticated treatments of these twelve best in the world that leave little doubt that they are in a class by themselves.

But first, let us define the essence of an ‘eco-spa’ in comparison to its better known eco-siblings —- the ‘day spa’, the ‘resort spa’, the ‘medical spa’, the ‘cruise line spa’ and the ‘destination spa’. What makes an ‘eco-spa’ both unique and fascinating is not only its natural setting, its environmentally friendly recycling practices and organic skin care products, its sensitivity to wild flora and fauna and the local indigenous culture as well as its aboriginal healing traditions and green food cuisine — but its eco-crafted emphasis on a “zero-waste philosophy” and “carbon neutrality” – to fashionably put it – its chic interpretation of pampering yourself and the planet with a minimal demand on the Earth’s ecological capacity to regenerate. And that is the key – not only using nature’s ‘healing force’ as part of the spa experience but giving back ‘wellness’ to nature’s wondrous eco-systems.

Based then on this criteria of what constitutes an ‘eco-spa’, the twelve best eco-spas in the world (listed in alphabetical order by country) are as follows:

1- Austria, StyriaROGNER BAD BLUMAU SPA – www.blumau.com/
2-Australia, Daintree, Queensland
Canada, Mont-Tremblant, QuebecSPA SCANDINAVE –
Costa Rica, La Fortuna De San CarlosTABACON GRAND THERMAL SPA RESORT – www.tabacon.com/
5- India, RajasthanAMANBAGH PALACE SPA – www.amanresorts.com/amanbagh/
6- Ireland, EnniscorthyMONART SPA – www.monart.ie/
7- Maldives, Vabbinfaru BANYAN TREE SPA – www.banyantree.com/

9- Morocco, ImlilKASBAH DU TOUBKAL SPA – www.kasbahdutoubkal.com/
10- Peru, Machu PicchuTHE UNU SPA AT INKATERRA HOTEL – www.inkaterra.com/
11- USA, Big Sur, CaliforniaTHE POST RANCH INN SPA – www.postranchinn.com/
12- USA, Jackson Hole, WyomingCHILL SPA AT TERRA HOTEL –

To update an old 17th century proverb, “The proof is in the eco-pudding” and what better way to rejuvenate oneself than to take a vacation at any one of these eco-spas. In addition to customized color, gem, aroma, phyto, and thalasso-therapy treatments — highlights include everything from organic gardening, beekeeping and henna body painting to volcanic mud and brass bowl polyphonic massages, to solar-infused cliffside tree houses, thatched-roof cabanas, and fuel-free mule rides, to repurposed Mayan stone pools, sacred cave sweat baths, and pristine rainforest water to a cycle of Norwegian steam baths and Finnish saunas transplanted in an Olympic-inspired village wonderland of endless ski trails.

Are you ready now for that special ‘eco-spa’ getaway?

25 Years Since Chernobyl: Europe’s Radioactive Wild Boars, Reindeer, Mushrooms, Lichen, & Truffles to Name Just a Few

April 27, 2011 by  
Filed under Global

On the evening of April 26,1989 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant located in the Republic of the Ukraine, a devastating accident occurred – the equivalent in toxicity of 400 Hiroshima bombs. Radioactive isotopes, plutonium, strontium-90, iodine-131 and caesium-137, were suddenly released into the air from the melt down of Reactor Number Four. Carried by the winds and deposited by spring rains, much of the caesium-137 travelled westward over southern Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, and onto southern Germany and northward to the upper reaches of Scandinavia and across to the north-western sheep farming regions of the United Kingdom.

And today, 25 years later – radioactive levels are still at a high in these particular regions of Europe’s wild plant and game reserves. Today thousands of wild boars shot by Bavarian hunters are still excessively radioactive – unfit for human consumption – only to be thrown by the wayside and set fire to in the hopes of reducing radioactive contamination elsewhere in the forests for wild boars feed on mushroom and truffles which concentrate radioactivity.

And in the Lapland regions of Norway, Sweden, and Finland, the indigenous Sami people have had to cope with contaminated reindeer meat as well – for reindeer eat lichen which is very sensitive to radioactivity – storing it like a sponge – much the way truffles and mushrooms do. And in parts of Wales, hundreds of Welsh farmers are still living with rigorous safety test restrictions on their sheep herds who graze on radioactive soil. Indeed, there are estimates that it will take a 100 years before the total radioactive levels in the whole of Europe go down to pre-catastrophic levels.

In the meantime, there are certain natural foods and flavorings that do help detoxify radioactive build-up in the human body – in addition to iodine and spirulina supplements – the best foods are seaweed, kelp, miso, brown rice, garlic, ginger, onions, broccoli, beets, olive oil, green and black tea, rosemary, leafy greens, apples, citrus fruits, pumpkins, alfalfa sprouts and bee pollen.

As for our favorite pets, studies have shown that aloe vera reduces radiation sickness in animals and is an effective topical treatment for animal radiation burns.

But for now, the verdict is still out regarding the long-term effects of radiation exposure on humans and animals – indeed the focus for the next few years will be developing new types of technology that will be able to quickly assess the amount of radiation thousands of sufferers will have contracted after a radiological disaster. For no two radiation victims are exactly alike.

Sustainable Investing in Tree Archives, Oyster Castles, & Floating Islands? – Meet the New Eco-Technology Portfolio!

In order to understand sustainable investing or eco-investing, it helps to understand the ‘eco-functions’ of nature at its most basic level – facts that we as humans take for granted, sometimes ignore, but more often overlook.

To begin with – let’s take a look at some of the ‘eco-functions’ of a tree – for who hasn’t crayon-colored a tree in school when they were just a kid? For me, it’s one of the earliest memories of my childhood – a brown stick-looking figure with an out-of-control leafy hairdo! But it wouldn’t be till much later that I figured out how important trees are to my health rather than to climb them.

Fact#1 – Trees are in essence bio-filters – they filter out pollutants from the air and the soil as well as store carbon dioxide in their wood, leaves, and roots.
Fact#2 – Trees are not only a tremendous source of food for birds, insects, mammals, and rodents (and our own dinner table) – but 40% of our medicines can be traced back to trees.
Fact#3 – Trees are not only drainage stoppers – controlling our soil erosion by straining and slowing down storm water runoff and recharging our aquifers – but they also act as outdoor control panels – moderating ground temperatures and providing windbreaks and glare reduction from nearby sidewalks, pavement, and buildings.

Today, there are many non-profit organizations and companies that now specialize in tree conservation projects and tree restoration programs in which one can invest in – but the one that intrigues me the most for it’s creative new age way of promoting ‘tree-technology’ aka ‘the eco-functions of a tree’ – is that of the “Archangel Ancient Tree Archive” based in Michigan – a non-profit group dedicated to collecting, archiving, and cloning genetic material from the ‘granddaddies’ of all trees – the oldest, the biggest, and the most important trees on the planet such as the California Redwoods, the Giant Sequoia, and the Ancient Irish Oaks.

Another fascinating non-profit group bringing new light to the meaning of ‘eco-technology investments’ is that of “The Nature Conservancy” now operating in the coastal waters off South Carolina – specifically promoting ‘oyster-technology’ as it pertains to oyster reef restoration. For it is an ‘eco-functional fact’ that the average oyster filters 50 gallons of water per day. Multiply that by thousands and you can see why oyster reefs are not only important for maintaining healthy habitats for fish, shrimp, and crabs (and providing an alternative source of protein for our own dinner table) but these same oyster reefs protect the shoreline from erosion. So in order to stimulate growth of the threatened oyster reef around South Carolina’s Jeremy Island, “mini-condos”, or “castle-like structures”, are being built using recycled oyster shells and cement to lure millions of oyster larvae to settle into and attach themselves rather than sink in the mud and die.

Lastly, a third kind of ‘eco-technology investment’ that has truly grabbed my imagination (and my wallet) is that of the Montana-based company, “Floating Island International”, started by outdoorsman, Bruce Kania, a proponent of biomimicry (the art of examining and mimicking nature’s ‘eco-functions’ to solve man-made problems), and the inventor of a new type of ‘plant raft’ or “floating treatment wetland”, a mesh of seeded recycled plastic bottles and carpet which allows plants to flourish, float, and filter out waterway pollutants. According to Bruce’s company website – “Over 4,000 islands have been launched and over 30 different applications have been identified for floating islands.”

In summary, what I love about this new eco-technology portfolio is the simplicity of both the initial eco-investment idea and the ‘eco-functions’ they were modeled after – and the simple fact that both kids and adults alike will always want to have a backyard tree, a community pond and a public beach to call their own and where recreation is safe and fun for all who use it.

Do You Know Your U.S. Presidential Eco Trivia?


1-Which U.S. President planted the First vegetable garden and ornamental trees on the White House Lawn?
2-Which U.S. President created 150 National Forests, 5 National Parks, 18 National Monuments and the conservation of 230 million acres of U.S. soil?
3-Which U.S. President created the First American ornamental landscaped garden, the First ‘Regimental Gardens’ and the First American stercorary – a covered dung depository where manure could be stored, aged, and mixed?
4-Which U.S. President established the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, the National Academy of Sciences, and the protection of Yosemite Valley in California?
5-Which U.S. President created a natural resource conservation program that utilized thousands of unemployed young men to restore and develop rural lands owned by Federal, state, and local governments?
6-Which U.S. President signed the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act and created the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency?
7-Which U.S. President signed the Soil and Water Conservation Act, the Surface Mining Control & Reclamation Act, the Antarctic Conservation Act, the Alaskan National Interest Lands Conservation Act, and created the U.S. Department of Energy?
8-Which U.S. President saved the Australian koala bear from extinction by signing an order prohibiting the importation of koala furs?
9-Which U.S. President and agronomist campaigned for sugar maple orchards to be planted by farmers across the country in order to rid America’s dependence on British West Indies sugarcane?
10-Which U.S. President was the most respected farmer of his day – the First President of the Agricultural Society of Albemarle, the First American to espouse “the symmetry of nature-the interrelationship between earth and mankind” – and the forgotten Father of American Environmentalism?

1- John Adams, 2nd U.S. President (1797-1801)
2- Theodore Roosevelt, 26th U.S. President (1901-1909)
3- George Washington, 1st U.S. President (1789-1796)
4- Abraham Lincoln, 16th U.S. President (1860-1865)
5- Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd U.S. President (1933-1945)
6- Richard Nixon, 37th U.S. President (1969-1974)
7- Jimmy Carter, 39th U.S. President (1977-1981)
8- Herbert Hoover, 31st President (1929-1933)
9- Thomas Jefferson, 3rd U.S. President (1801-1809)
10- James Madison, 4th President (1809-1817)