Aug 10, 12 | 12:00 am
By Nicholas Gill
In a highly biodiverse Andean rain and cloud forest in northwest Ecuador, the recently opened Mashpi Lodge is outdoing every old-guard enviro-conscious hotel. Here’s how:
Old Eco: Build the lodge on the border of a national reserve, to take advantage of its abundant wildlife.
New Eco: Become the reserve. Mashpi created a 42,000-acre protected area and employs an on-site biologist who spent two years there before the hotel was even built.
End Result: Mashpi’s resident scientists are studying one of the last tracts of this kind of forest; they’ve already discovered new birds, mammals, plants, insects, and frogs.
Old Eco: Unpredictable solar panels and loud diesel generators provide electricity and (lukewarm) water.
New Eco: Mashpi built its own hydroelectric plant. Hydroelectricity is waste-free and silent, and Mashpi’s little plant uses a stream, so there’s no need for a landscape-changing dam.
End Result: Hydroelectricity is expensive, but it has less of an impact on natural resources than a generator’s gasoline would—and produces no nature-endangering emissions.
Old Eco: Organic produce is hauled from the nearest capital or transported many hours down a river.
New Eco: Hyperlocavorism: Cooks forage for fruits and berries, grow herbs, make chocolate from cacao trees, and harvest biodynamic foods such as guava, uvilla, and plantains.
End Result: Less food is brought in from Quito, so fuel is saved. Plus, Ecuador’s famed Arriba Nacional cacao bean is preserved, and fresh herbs and fruits are always on hand.
There's more… Read the full article "Why Ecuador's New Mashpi Lodge Is Better than the Rest" on CNTraveler