Disabled travellers need not fear Japan. Accessible Japan founder Josh Grisdale tells us about his commitment to opening the country’s doors to everyone.
22 May is the International Day for Biological Diversity
The future of humankind is closely linked to biodiversity: it provides us with our livelihoods and brings joy in our lives.
The word biodiversity recalls lush forests inhabited by countless animal and plant species. Life, thanks to its blind determination, blossoms in a myriad of stunning environments: from deserts and volcanoes to mountains covered up by perennial ice. The most extreme and inhospitable ecosystems can host animals and plants that adapted in the name of survival.
Biodiversity, a world yet to be discovered
Our knowledge of the animal and plant kingdom is extremely limited: more than 700,000 species have been discovered and studied so far, but scientists think existing species are likely to exceed 12 million. Sea is a still unexplored world: oceans represent about two-thirds of the earth surface, but we only explored 5 per cent of them. Unimaginable monstrous yet beautiful creatures hide down there, in a foreign, dark and cold world, with no humans. Yet, our knowledge of the species we share the Planet with risks to remain fragmented as 50 per cent of the living species could become extinct by the end of the century due to our impact.
Celebrating the Convention on biological diversity
On the 22nd of May we celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity, established by the United Nations in 1993 on the first anniversary of the adoption of the Convention of Biological Diversity (1992). The 2019 theme is Our biodiversity, our food, our health. “From individual species through entire ecosystems, biological diversity is vital for human health and well-being,” in the words of UN Secretary General António Guterres. “The quality of the water we drink, the food we eat and the air we breathe all depend on keeping the natural world in good health”.
The inestimable value of biodiversity
However, judging biodiversity only on our interests would be wrong and superficial. Let’s imagine forests without wolves’ night-time primordial howl, seas without the mysterious migrations of eels, the sky without the swallows’ inventive flight paths, the profile of a mountain without the sinuous silhouettes of chamois, and a pond without the sound of tree fogs’ croaking. Life wouldn’t be possible without animals and plants, and, even if it would be, it wouldn’t be worth living.
Antarctica is becoming more accessible, so much so that tourism has seen a 53 per cent increase in the last four years. And climate change is on of the reasons people visit the frozen continent.
Alpinism has officially been added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) list. Its candidacy had been jointly submitted by France, Italy and Switzerland.
Not just skyscrapers: the Japanese capital is a much greener city that most people imagine. Let’s discover the best Tokyo parks and gardens from autumn to spring, and anytime in between.
Vienna will amaze you with the magnificence of its past and modernity of its services. A tour among the best sights of an environmentally-friendly city with award-winning quality of life standards.
Chile has unveiled the Patagonian Route of Parks, an incredible trail that connects 17 national parks with the aim of promoting nature conservation and community development.
Trekkers throughout the Himalayas have contributed to creating the highest garbage dump in the world. Sustainable tourism in Nepal is still absent, but sorely needed.
Eataly World in Bologna is a culinary city in the country of biodiversity, the largest agri-food centre in the world: an Italian food theme park, if you will. Photos from the opening, so you know what to expect.
Matera in Italy, famous for its Sassi, will be the 2019 European Capital of Culture. A travel itinerary of the city and province of Matera, including walking tours, to discover its extraordinary beauty with every passing hour.