My two favorite things: chocolate and travel (eco-friendly, of course) combine to create this promising getaway in Belize.
The new Cotton Tree Lodge, where organic cacao orchards “flourish”, is debuting a unique program that allows guests to dive into every aspect of the local chocolate trade, including: chatting to local farmers, learning about the Free Trade practices and politics of production and—most importantly—creating their own rich, traditional Mayan chocolate that begins by plucking the cacao fruit from the tree.
Located in the heart of the Belizian rain forest, Cotton Tree Lodge’s sustainability practices were recently hailed by The New York Times. Travelers take note: private riverfront cabanas are standard, as is the chance to explore virtually untouched rivers and jungles among vast wildlife.
Rates start @ $245/night. For more info, visit cottontreelodge.com
Related: terrapass.com to carbon offset your trip
I was lucky enough to get a peek at the new environmental film, 11th Hour. A powerful and thought-provoking film that examines the ingredients — from economic philosophy to scientific certitudes — of the environmental cocktail that has brought us to the precipice of disaster. All manner of scientists and philosophers speak to the impending climate crisis and potential solutions. The film documents interviews with over 50 scholars, theorists and experts — from Gorbachov to — curiously featured, former CIA chief, James Woolsey — who take us on a journey that hopefully ends in motivating more planet-friendly actions by anyone viewing the piece.
As a some-time filmaker and fulltime movie afficiando my only major criticism is, like many Hollywood films, this baby is 15 minutes too long. On a minor note, the celebrity hungry public will probably wish Leo had more screen time; and the producers’ names are splashed all over the website and film like the credits in a first-time feature, but these are all minor quibbles. The film hits hard and will have a big impact. And it’s a worthy companion piece to that gentleman, Mr. Gore’s film.
(Oh, and one more thing. Why does Leonardo DiCaprio’s name hanging over the title harken me back to the days of super-producers like Dino De Laurentiis? Just asking.)
11th Hour’s snazzy website
Related: Leonardo DiCaprio does eco-sites (2.10.07, altCon)
We’ve all seen those outrageously expensive billboard bags, which makes it especially sweet to come across this company: Bazura, that offers chic recycled gear at (gasp!) a reasonable price. Made in Vietnam from recycled billboard banners that would otherwise be clogging up landfills, these bright bags and accessories succeed in making a statement and are as colorful as can be in a dreary closet.
I’m especially fond of this apron ($23.95), which would spice up any Labor Day BBQ @ bazurabags.com