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A new eco-conscious expo in South Korea

At the Expo Digital Gallery, you can watch the advanced IT and LED lighting art interwoven to create an outdoor marine culture art gallery. That amazing overhead LED screen measures 218m by 30m. — Photos by MAJORIE CHIEW/The Star and courtesy of Expo Yeosu Korea 2012

THE exhibition halls are fully booked and impossible to get into, says our tour guide, Jinny Kim. And it wasn’t even opening day at the International Exposition Yeosu Korea 2012!

Our group, though, has special permission to enter, as we are there to report on this extraordinary expo. Even before we get in, though, we hear details that are jaw-dropping: The expo, which began on Saturday and runs until Aug 12, will draw 10 million visitors, and its expected economic effect will be 12.2 trillion Korean won (RM32.7bil) as well as the creation of 80,000 new jobs, explains Yeseul Oh, a spokesperson for the expo’s organising committee.

To draw all those visitors, the 93-day expo will be jam-packed with over 3,000 cultural programmes, with 40 performances and events daily!

The venue is Yeosu’s 2.71sq km New Port development where the expo site covers an area of 250,000sqm. The result of four years of work and US$10bil (RM31bil) in investment, Expo Yeosu is the country’s second international fair since Expo Taejon (Daejeon) in 1993.

While that event was about development, this year’s theme is “The Living Ocean and Coast” and emphasises the importance of the marine environment. To quote the expo’s website, the event “will provide an opportunity to enhance the international community’s perception of the function and value of the ocean and coast, share knowledge on the proper use of the ocean and coast, and recognise the need for cooperation in the marine sector.”

In keeping with that very green spirit, the entire expo site was constructed using environmentally-friendly methods and recycled materials to produce the least amount of waste possible. All preparations and events are designed to leave a limited carbon footprint.

Basically, the expo forms a model city exhibiting the low-carbon lifestyle of the future. It is an open-air gallery housing artworks of architectural grandeur and providing a glimpse of a high-tech city circa 2050 against the backdrop of the sea.

The Aquarium is well worth visiting as it is the largest in Korea and offers an up close look at rare marine species such as beluga whales.

The construction and operation of the expo facilities and exhibitions are based on South Korea’s cutting-edge information technology allowing for novel experiences involving virtual and augmented reality.

The major exhibition facilities are the Theme Pavilion, the Korea Pavilion, and the International Pavilion, which comprise a joint pavilion hosting 56 developing countries and the individual pavilions of 49 countries.

Among the areas our tour takes in on the expo’s second pre-opening day are the Aquarium and Japan Pavilion. (Our guide informs us that the Malaysian Pavilion would be worthy of a visit but that it is, unfortunately, not ready at this time.)

Just getting to the International Pavilions is fascinating because a supersized LED screen with fantastic digital shows stretches over the walkway; the 218m long by 30m wide screen is part of the Expo Digital Gallery, which is a pedestrian mall offering a variety of electronic art.

After that experience, we head to the Japan Pavilion where we are treated to footage of the beautiful seas around that country and receive sobering information about the sea’s connection with forests, cities and the March 2011 tsunami disaster. There is also a screening of an animated story about a Japanese boy, Kai, a tsunami survivor who rides a magical flying bicycle to see residents restoring their hometowns.

Dazzling: The night-time musical fountain show at the Big-O, one of the iconic structures at the International Exposition Yeosu Korea 2012.

Visitors are also introduced to Japan’s advanced ocean technology that help people enjoy the bounties of the sea.

If you can’t make it to every facility at the expo, do be sure to get to the Aqua Planet Aquarium – it is definitely worth a visit. It is the largest in South Korea – comprising a 6-tonne water tank – and displays 280 species of fish and rare marine species such as beluga whales from Russia. It’s awesome when you walk through a transparent tunnel and find marine life teeming around you – makes you wonder just who is in the tank!

This facility has three zones: The Coastal Life zone allows visitors to see rare ocean animals such as white whales, Baikal seals and sea dragons; the Marine Life zone can be viewed in all directions, the first of its kind in South Korea; the Eco-Terrarium zone recreates the ecological system of the Amazon and houses rare South American freshwater fish such as the pirarucu and piranha.

While we can’t get to it, we hear that the Climate & Environmental Pavilion is a hit with visitors too, as they get to experience the extreme cold of the Arctic ice-edge in the Arctic Glacier Experience section.

A myriad of futuristic robots await visitors at the DSME (Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering) Marine Robot Pavilion. Meet Navi, the tallest robot ever introduced in South Korea. An adult comes up just knee-high to the 6.5m tall, 1 tonne machine.

Led by Navi, a fleet of robots present the performance of marine resource exploration and mineral mining in a 6,000m-deep virtual underwater environment.

There is also Ever, a feminine robot that has 30 different facial expressions, and Mero, which dances to famous songs by Korean boy band Super Junior. Also, a seven-colour robot fish and robots from other countries such as the United States, Britain and France, join a total of 73 robots on display.

The Sky Tower, the tallest structure at the expo, is a monumental piece of art, recycled and redesigned from a pair of abandoned 55m-high cement silos. It has a harp-shaped exterior, an embodiment of giant waves, but really, the tower is a fully functioning pipe organ that plays tunes related to the sea!

The main Theme Pavilion is the country’s first offshore pavilion.

The Ocean Experience Park is part of the city’s concrete shore-protection project that has been turned into an eco-friendly park. It is a great venue to learn about the significance of coastal ecosystems while lapping up the pristine beauty of the sea.

And at Energy Park, you can have hands-on experience with the latest technologies using renewable energy sources such as wind and tides. This eco-friendly park also offers a place to rest while exploring these green technologies.

Apart from the different pavilions and other facilities, the expo also offers large scale events such as the state-of-the-art Night Multi-Media Show of a dazzling display of laser lights. The Big Ocean Show is a weekly performance that uses the sea, beach and ships to create different performances that reflect the expo’s theme. And the World Ocean Performance features artists on a floating stage, thus using the sea as a platform for cultural activities.

Celebrities gracing the Big-O shows include nine-time Grammy Award winner John Legend and a host of K-pop stars such as the Wondergirls, Dynamic Duo & Simon D, Beast, Jay Park, Apink, BTOB, Busker Busker, Leessang & JeongIn, 2AM, B1A4, 2PM, MissA, Infinite, Shinee, Super Junior, CNBLUE, MBLAQ, Ailee, FTIsland, and ZE:A & c.

And if you are separated from your travel companions amidst the throngs of people and carnival atmosphere at the expo, the Big-O is the place to converge. This 48m-tall round steel structure is the iconic centrepiece of what is truly an amazing expo.

For more information about the International Exposition Yeosu Korea 2012, go to eng.expo2012.kr.

The writer was part of a eight-member delegation comprising representatives of the Malaysian media, Korean Air and Korea Tourism Organisation that toured the expo before it opened. The trip was organised by the Korea Tourism Organisation and supported by Korean Air.

Article excerpted from www.thestar.com.my

A-Z health information for smart travelers

Malaysians are traveling overseas in ever- increasing numbers. It is important to prepare before you leave (whatever your age or destination) and stay in good health while traveling can help you to have a happy and enjoyable trip.

Immunisations

  • Immunisation is ONE OF THE BEST FORMS OF PROTECTION for all travelers.
  • You need to make sure that you receive all compulsory vaccination before your trip.
  • If possible, set an appointment with doctors 4 to 6 weeks before your trip.
  • Most vaccines take time to become effective in your body and some vaccines must be given in a series over a period of days or sometimes weeks.
  • If it is less than 4 weeks before you leave, you should still see your doctor. You might still benefit from shots or medications and other information about how to protect yourself from illness and injury while traveling.

Prevention of Foodborne Diseases: Five Keys to Safer Food

Things you should bring during traveling

  • Insect repellent containing 25-50% DEET
  • Over-the-counter anti-diarrhoeal medicine
  • Alcohol-based hand gel (with at least 60% alcohol)
  • Sun block that offers at least SPF15
  • Your prescription medications in their original containers (including a copy of the prescription)
  • Your travel health kit should remain with you at all times, including in your carry-on baggage.

The voyage
Traveling by Air
Low level of oxygen level within the aircraft, dehydration from low humidity and crossing time zone may cause fatigue.

  • To reduce jetlag, drink plenty of water, avoid alcohol, rest on the flight and avoid a hectic schedule on arrival.
  • Minimize foot swelling and increase circulation in the legs by moving your feet and toes around while seated.
  • When taking off or landing, chewing gum or sucking on sweets may reduce ear discomfort as the jaw action helps to equalize middle ear pressure.

Traveling by bus, train or ship
To reduce or minimize motion sickness from this journey

  • Take anti-motion sickness drugs, such as dimenhydrinate or promethazine, before the journey.
  • Opening the window for ventilation and avoiding smoky environments.
  • Avoid reading in the cabin.
  • Sitting near the front of the vehicle & looking ahead.

What to do if you get diarrhoea?

  • Most diarrhoeal attacks are self-limited and clear up in a few days.
  • Diarrhoea may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting and/or fever.
  • The important thing is to avoid becoming dehydrated.
  • Ensure that you always drink sufficient amounts of fluids (especially children).
  • If you are restless or irritable, or shows signs of strong thirst, or has sunken eyes, or dry skin with reduced elasticity, dehydration is already progressing and immediate medical attention should be sought.
  • If your bowel movements is frequent, very watery or contain blood, or last beyond 3 days you should seek medical help.
  • As soon as diarrhoea starts, drink more fluids, such as Oral Rehydration Salt (ORS)* solution, boiled, treated or bottled water, diluted (weak) tea, soups or other safe fluids (bottled or can drink).
  • Avoid any drinks that tend to remove more water from the body, including coffee, overly sweetened drinks, some medicinal teas and alcohol.

*If ORS are not available

The Best Apps for the Eco-Conscious Traveler

Image by AFP via @daylife

With the rise of ecotourism throughout the United States and the world, “green” travel has never been more in demand.  Ecotourism is the fastest growing sector of the tourism industry, boasting annual growth rates as high as 10-30%.

“Green” applications for your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch can help to conserve while you travel, with functions that track your CO2 emissions for your vehicles, identify organic and sustainable businesses in your location, calculate the most environmentally efficient route to your destinations and measure your green footprint wherever you go.

1.  Green Globe – Certified Sustainability

Green Globe is the quintessential green travel app.  It finds sustainable hotels, resorts, cruise ships, tours and conference centers and provides photos of properties, videos and links to help you book travel directly.   Green Globe’s website details travel sustainability certification and the rigorous process involved for meeting the “sustainable” criteria for the Green Globe Standard for travel & tourism – so you can be sure you’re getting the real deal in green travel.

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later

Cost: FREE

2.  Green Travel Choice

Green Travel Choice tracks your CO2 emissions, whether you’re driving in a car, taking the bus, flying on a plane or riding on a motor bike.  It keeps a log of your trips, travel distance and your emissions over time, helping you to choose your future “modes of transport” more wisely.  Green Travel Choice is also partnered with The International Tourism Society (TIES) who are known for their invaluable work in ecotourism since 1990.

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later

Cost: $1.99

3.  In Bloom: The Eco App

The “See Goodness Nearby” button searches for green businesses, farmer’s markets, organic restaurants, green supply stores, ecohotels, grocery stores and biodiesel electric charging stations – it even indicates businesses that are powered by renewable energy.  In Bloom was created by musicians Andy Ross of OK Go and Eytan Oren of Eytan and The Embassy, who wanted to find a way to “make it easier for bands to tour more sustainably.”  In Bloom is currently formulated for the New York City area, but expect to see new cities added in the near future.

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS      4.2 or later.

Cost: FREE

For those outside of New York City, GreenEco is a similar app that will work anywhere in the USA.

4.  This Is Green

Make informed and energy efficient choices with this green health & fitness app.  Save money on your energy bills, keep toxins at bay and fill your life with healthier, eco-friendly alternatives.  The app will help you find green products for your home as it imparts green tips and tricks for a more sustainable lifestyle.

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later

Cost: $0.99

5.  Green Genie

Voted the #1 Green App by TechCrunch.com, Green Genie is more of an educational tool than anything else.  The app has a green glossary, descriptions of various types of plastics and their recyclability, tips on how to save money when adopting a greener lifestyle, certified green product lists and a submission tool so you can share projects and ideas with like-minded techies at Green Genie.

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.

Cost: $0.99

Take an eco trip and better your world.

BONUS: If you want to go green all the way, eco-friendly company Vers makes wood iPhone and iPad cases, and even wood headphones. Wood is inherently practical for optimal acoustics and crisp sound quality.  Their products are made of recyclable materials, naturally.

Article excerpted from www.forbes.com

Green Honeymoon Ideas

With increased awareness of environmental issues, many people are putting more of an effort into choosing green lifestyle options; this includes where to go and what to do on honeymoon.

It’s no longer popular to lie basking in the sun being waited on hand and foot, although plenty still class that as the ultimate luxury. Now honeymooners, keen to leave less impact on the planet and have more of an experience on their trip, are looking at various ecotourism projects, resorts or lodges in which to consummate their union… or just have a nice wee break if the union’s long been consummated! Well, it’s the rules of getting married isn’t it? Get married, have honeymoon. It’s the only reason people go through with it, right?

Eco-friendly Honeymoons Ideas

  1. Put some thought into the destination – do you really need to travel to the other side of the world when you haven’t explored what’s on your doorstep yet? There are ecotourism options practically everywhere so check out your own backyard (not literally) before booking a trip further afield. You may get an unexpected surprise.
  2. Make a list of all the places you’d like to go and then investigate them thoroughly. Maybe you could do a two centre holiday? Some people like to get involved in a community ecotourism project for one week and chill the next. Choose something that suits you both and book through a good eco travel company.

  3. Many popular honeymoon destinations have questionable practices. They build without any regard to the environment, pay pittance wages and treat staff with little respect yet they still manage to provide 5 star treatment to holidaymakers. So give a little something back by venturing out of your holiday haven and spending money in local communities rather than ploughing it all into an already wealthy resort.

  4. Book tours through locals when you get to your destination, not through your holiday rep. That way you know the local community will benefit directly from the money and you won’t have to sit on a bus with 50 other touros singing round choruses of Una Paloma Blanca when all you want to do is experience things first-hand.

  5. Use local transport to get around and use a local guide to explore; after all they will know the area better than someone employed through a company back home. If you do have a wonderful guide, spread the word about their services, leave info on websites for other honeymooners looking for similar experiences, that way you’ll be generating more work for your guide and potentially other guides too.

  6. Eco doesn’t always mean hippy, there are a number of luxurious eco escapes worldwide that have been built sustainably and employ responsible tourism principles so you can have your cake and eat it.

  7. As with any eco-friendly holiday, check the hotel or resort’s green credentials. It’s sometimes difficult to know whether the vacation you fancy is genuinely green or tainted with greenwashing tactics, so read up a few tips from Ecotourism Logue before you book.

  8. Dare to be different!

Article excerpted from www.ecotourismlogue.com

11 Tips and Tricks for Greening your Hotel Stay

Let’s face it, as much as we love camping, hostels, and eco-lodges sometimes a hotel is the most reasonable option. Luckily, even when staying at the least environmentally-friendly hotel you have a lot of control over your environmental impact. Here are 11 of our favorite tips and tricks for being a little friendlier to Mother Earth during your next hotel stay:

  1. Unplug, unplug, unplug. The first thing you should do when you walk into a hotel room is unplug. 5 lamps? Unplug 4. Mini-fridge? Unless you’ve brought a turkey and mayo sandwich, unplug. Coffee maker? Unplug. Hair dryer? Unplug. Appliances drain energy even when they’re not on. If you just spend 2 minutes unplugging items you will already have made a difference.

    photo credit: trekkyandy

  2. Hang your towel. In my experience housekeeping is haphazard in their pledge to “save the environment one towel at a time.” Most times I hang the towel and come back later to find they’ve replaced it anyway; but about 50% of the time they leave it for me.
  3. Move the soap. An easy trick to reduce your waste is to bring the bar of soap with you to the shower when you shower and leave it by the sink the rest of the time. Seriously, when was the last time you used two full bars of soap at a hotel? (Or even one full bar?)
  4. Stick the “Do not Disturb” on your door. Or just call housekeeping and tell them you won’t need their services during your stay. To prevent the hotel from wasting water by changing your sheets and towels, wasting electricity by vacuuming, and spraying harsh chemicals all over your toothbrush, just ask them to refrain from cleaning your room during your stay.
  5. Adjust the thermostat. By lowering the temperature by 2 degrees in the winter or raising it by 2 in the summer you will save a lot of energy. And you won’t notice the difference.
  6. When you leave the room turn everything off:
    • Lights
    • TV
    • Thermostat (if the weather is mild)
  7. Flush less frequently. No need to flush every time. Practice the “if it’s brown flush it down, if it’s yellow let it mellow” rule.
  8. Bring your own toiletries. I personally know the pains of the 3 oz of liquids on planes rule. A liter of genuine, carried-back-from-Ireland Whiskey was confiscated from us on a 6 am flight the day the emergency (and now permanent) rule came down. True story. But think of all of the plastics that are used to create tiny bottles of shampoo and conditioner. And all of the extra packaging in luxury hotel items. Plus, by bringing your own shampoo you can prevent a bad hair day from bad shampoo.
  9. Take shorter showers. Sometimes a long, hot shower feels incredible. But do you need that every day? The average US shower head spits out about 2.5 gallons per minute, which means in a 15 minute shower you use nearly 40 gallons of water. Yikes!
  10. Leave the pen (and other freebies) behind. I don’t know why, but I’m a sucker for free pens. Even the crappy ones that explode in my purse on the airplane ride home. Do the earth a favor and leave these items behind.
  11. Recycle. Find out if the hotel recycles. If they do, ask if they separate it out from waste-bins. If they don’t, take your free USA Today and empty cans and bottles and toss them in an extra pocket in your suitcase to recycle later. They weigh almost nothing.

Article excerpted from www.gogreentravelgreen.com

What tips or tricks do you have that help you be a (more) responsible hotel-goer? It takes less than 5 minutes only to do the above, go green to protect this earth.

31 Reasons to Travel Green: In Pictures

Every green traveler has those days where she just wants to give up. Pollution, global warming, bad environmental policy decisions – how much of a difference can one person really make?

We’re launching our 25 Days to Green Travel series with photos that remind us why traveling green – and living green – matters. We’re going with the “a picture is worth a thousand words” concept. All of these images except one are from Flickr, many from amateur photographers. No matter what shade of green traveler you are, I hope these photos motivate you to keep traveling green. As I searched for these photos, I was reminded over and over that our travel decisions don’t just affect us; they affect people and wildlife across the world, and they will for generations to come.

The post wraps up with some truly amazing photos of beautiful places, people, and creatures around the world, so stick through the depressing photos to the end and you’ll be rewarded.

The Bad

Destruction of Wildlife


Oiled bird from Black Sea oil spill. photo credit: marinephotobank


Polar bear on melted ice near Barents Island, Norway. © Arne Naevra


Dead fish in a polluted riverbed, Buenos Aires, Argentina. photo credit: blmurch

Global Warming


Exposed coral reef in Gili Meno, Indonesia. photo credit: yeowatzup


Fragment of a melted iceberg. photo credit: nick_russill


Floating iceberg chunk in Patagonia. photo credit: lrargerich


Melting icebergs in Jökulsárlón, Iceland. photo credit: csproete

Water Pollution


Polluted river in Cambodia. photo credit: davilla


Man finding plastic bags in River Yamuna in Delhi, India. photo credit: Koshyk


Metal barrel in a green river. photo credit: jantik

Air Pollution


Taj Mahal choking in early morning smog. photo credit: mshandro


Beijing smog. photo credit: diggingforfire


ir pollution in Nova Scotia. photo credit: ojbyrne


Car pollution in Cremona, Italy. photo credit: Simone Ramella


Mexico City smog. photo credit: arndw


Los Angeles, California smog. photo credit: cwsteeds


Santiago, Chile smog. photo credit: philliecasablanca


One way to avoid breathing polluted air in Tehran. photo credit: kamshots


Plane pollution, Anywhere. photo credit: mshades

Forest Destruction


Deforestation in Guatemala. photo credit: Pati’s Moment in Time


Deforestation in the Amazon. photo credit: dgidsicki


Deforestation in Wakayama, Japan. photo credit: T.Hagihara

Waste


Electronics waste in China from the Western World. photo credit: art_es_anna


Chinese baby surround by electronics parts from the Western World. photo credit: art_es_anna

The Good

Preserve the Sites and Wildlife


Cliffs of Moher, Ireland. photo credit: atomicpuppy68


Mountains in Brienz, Switzerland. photo credit: pilou


Elephants in Kenya. photo credit: wildcat_dunny


Moose in Alaska. photo credit: Paul Resh

Support the Local Economy and Way of Life


Fish vendor in Seoul, South Korea. photo credit: neaners


Indian street vendor. photo credit: utpal.

Article excerpted from www.gogreentravelgreen.com

All the pictures above have speak a thousand words. The pollution will getting worst if we still haven’t aware of it and no action is taken.  Let’s do our part when we travel to other countries so that others can enjoy the amazing view as well.

3 Important Reasons to Go Eco-Friendly

We hear it every where – reasons to go eco-friendly, green products, save the environment and recycle. But what does it all really mean and why do we need to become more eco friendly?

  1. One obvious reason is so that we can save our planet. Just thinking about the stash of plastic bottles that are thrown away every year which cannot disintegrate into the land.
  2. Saving animals from extinction is another reason. So many of the various breeds of animals and insects and all manner of living creatures are becoming threatened because of our habits.
  3. Greener, environmentally friendly products are kinder to our health.

For example when using plastic bottles the likelihood is those dangerous chemicals will leech into the liquid inside. We don’t know that it is happening because it neither discolours the liquid (even if it is transparent like water) nor has a nasty taste.

The manufacturers of these products do not put any warnings or labels on the bottle stating this fact and the poor unsuspecting customers (us!) are the innocent victims.

Chemicals such as phenynol A are toxic and can cause cancer. These bottles and food containers may be lighter in weight and cheaper to produce but is it worth the possibility of using something that could cause you to become ill?

I always buy stainless steel drinking and food containers even though they do weight slightly more and they do cost a bit more. I am more concerned with the health of my family.

But another reason to go eco-friendly is to be able to use organic fresh foods that will not be tampered with in any way. There is absolutely no point in having a environmentally friendly product and filling it with junk food or ready made meals that already contain certain chemicals and additives.

The same applies to drinks. I first filter my water from my own filtering system at home and I then fill up the children’s school bottles. I know that I am doing all that I can to keep my family safe.

I know that you too, wouldn’t want to see your family suffer with painful, life threatening diseases just because you didn’t make some changes.

It is very important to keep your water pure as this is a liquid that we use on a constant basis and without filtering it you have no idea what chemical compounds are being put into your body.

Be safe, be healthy and filter your water today. For more information on how to filter your water and the very best filters for giving you healthy mineralized water visit my website http://www.clean-safe-filtered-water.com today. And find your reasons to go eco-friendly.

Article excerpted from www.ezinearticles.com

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