Our world is faced with one of its most extreme challenges yet, so Al Gore is preparing his ‘Truth Force Team’ for the road to Copenhagen. After three exhilarating days of training at The Climate Project, Asia-Pacific Summit, held in Melbourne, Intrepid’s Responsible Travel Manager, Jane Crouch reports…
“Intrepid Travel’s five sponsored trainees and I have emerged from an amazingly inspiring ‘incubator of learning’ from a fabulous range of teachers including the Honourable Al Gore, geneticist and environmentalist David Suzuki, eminent scientist Dr Graeme Pearman, Andrew Hewitt, Executive Director of OXFAM in Australia, Sharan Burrow, the President of the International Trade Union Confederation, Gaurav Gupta, Director of The Climate Project India, Agus Purnomo from Indonesia’s National Council on Climate Change and many more.
Al Gore referred to the concept of satyagraha as espoused by Gandhi – roughly translated to meaning ‘holding on to the truth’. So there we were, 300 delegates from 19 countries across the Asia Pacific region, there to be updated on the truth of climate science and solutions to this diabolical problem, and be empowered to go forth and share this knowledge in the coming months leading up to the December summit in Copenhagen. Here’s some of the impressions gained by the enthusiastic bunch of Intrepid’s sponsored trainees:
The Intrepid Foundation’s ‘Intrepid Perpetual Fund’ has chosen to defy the global financial crisis and spend big on three causes we consider very important, timely and worthy.
The Australian Conservation Foundation and The Climate Project AU$40,000:
Congratulations to the five successful Intrepid Foundation-sponsored applicants (out of more than 120 through the Intrepid Travel promotion and over 2000 entrants in total), who will be trained by former US Vice President Al Gore at The Climate Project – Australia Asia Pacific Summit (A-P Summit). They are:
Aarti Bhalla, India – Intrepid group leader and responsible travel coordinator;
Harley Spence, New Zealand – the director of two environmental organizations;
Marita Manley, Fiji – agriculture and forestry policy adviser at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community
Penny Crossley, Australia – account manager with Flight Centre; and
Indira Naidoo, Australia – television journalist, broadcaster and producer.
Intrepid group leaders in Russia are sponsoring two babushkas (grandmothers) in Kyrgyzstan this year. Pensions in this region are inadequate and ‘babushka adoption’ enables these vulnerable women to meet their financial needs. Our adopted babushkas, Alexandra and Nina, look forward to visits from Trans-Asia Express groups when they are in Bishkek.
Alexandra, eighty, was born in Kyrgyzstan, attended school for seven years and then worked on a collective farm. She was married in the village and gave birth to one daughter. After becoming divorced, Alexandra moved to Bishkek in 1953 and started working as a seamstress in “Kirgiziya” factory. She was promoted to a tailor and then a manager and worked for forty-three years.
Intrepid Travel has given away more than 15,000 cotton bags to travellers in Thailand since 2005. Each printed with the important message, ‘Intrepid Supports No To Plastic’.
In addition to being a trendy keepsake, these bags have contributed directly to a cleaner and greener world in a remarkable number of ways…
The bags are produced by a women’s cooperative named Tae Moh Hai, or Our Friends Hands, in Sri Saket, north-eastern Thailand. The initiative was set up by ex-Intrepid Group Leader Dtor Dtae in her home village, to create work for families and to motivate local people to support environmental conservation.
It can be easy to put a foot wrong when we travel, but thanks to our Intrepid Russia team, here are some responsible travel tips to help you get it right…
In Moscow it won’t cost you a ruble to visit the Sakharov Museum, which tells the history of repression and human rights in Russia from the revolution onwards. Another great option is the newly-designed ‘Eco Walk’ to Vorobyovy Gory. The walk to the city’s highest point marks Moscow’s first attempt at recycling bins, bird feeders for the local wildlife and information about the nature of the area.
When a young man from Ghana announced his goal to ski in the Olympics, you could imagine the responses. But he’s done it! Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong has just qualified and will be Ghana’s one-man ski team in Vancouver next year. A great good news story to come out of Ghana, and here’s another from Intrepid’s Erin Farmer..
“It’s 6 am and I’m sitting on the veranda watching the mist roll through the mango orchard and listening to the echoes of the school choir practising their hymns. As I sip my coffee and coax my eyes to open fully, I think of the day ahead.
What is it about a volunteering adventure that makes the experience so special? John Holland has travelled the world and spent six weeks backpacking around South America after joining Peru Teaching & Building, so it was easy for him to pinpoint why this trip was a personal highlight…
“Forget the work, it’s the people that make an Intrepid Volunteering project brilliant. First are the local villagers: friendly, hospitable and they love any excuse for a party. Second is our own group of volunteers, a knock-about group of Poms, Aussies and Irish who shared everything for a period of up to six weeks with no major whines, issues or arguments.
Together with eight others I signed up through Intrepid, who works with local partners to organise community projects around the world. Sometimes they build schools and teach. Other projects, such as the one I am doing, involve providing a safe water supply for the village of Peccacacho, high up in Peru’s Andes mountains – an hour walk from the small town of Chinchero and an hour drive from Cuzco, the former Inca capital and well-known jumping off point for Machu Picchu.
Given any opportunity the Intrepid team will head off to wild and wonderful corners of our world. Sarah Moore from our NZ team has recently jumped aboard Intrepid’s Reunification Express and her journey continues on Day 3 in Vietnam…
“Everyone was looking forward to today – we’d all heard so much about Halong Bay with its emerald waters and unusual jutting islands. But first it was all aboard the Intrepid bus for a trip to the Blue Dragon Charity – another institution set up to help disadvantaged children earn an education.
We were welcomed into a beautiful building decorated with children’s art and brought upstairs to a breakfast of thick coffee, cakes and fruit (including the popular dragon fruit – a watery but tasteless produce specked with seeds that look identical to black sesame seed. Huong assured us that dragon fruit is very delicious and refreshing, but I’m not sure she’s going to secure any devotees on this tour).
We are very proud to announce that Intrepid Travel has just signed up to the United Nations Global Compact! Intrepid has joined over 4700 companies worldwide in signing the UN […]
When travelling in Vietnam, Express reader Pam Shackleton enjoyed a special Intrepid real life experience that embraced the spirit of Christmas…
“We were travelling on the Reunification Express from Saigon to Hanoi. It was late evening and next day we were to have a celebratory Christmas breakfast when we arrived in Hanoi. We were delayed by several hours, stopped in the middle of nowhere during the night. We realised that our breakfast would not materialise and it was changed to lunch. Our guide Dave didn’t tell us too much about where we were going for our Christmas Day dinner, but we knew enough to be expecting a lot!