What would you like her to see and what tips would you share with her?
The Planet D bloggers Dave and Deb will be exploring Fiji’s adventurous activities from mountain biking to zip lining. For you adrenaline junkies, see what other action-packed options Fiji has to offer.
Peachy Green blogger Stephanie Hicks has been anticipating her trip to Fiji for several weeks, and here is her first description of what she will see on the FijiMe Tour.
By Bridgette Meinhold
I’ve got high standards. As Architecture Editor for Inhabitat.com, I write about green buildings and companies all the time, and I’m especially picky when it comes to companies that call themselves green. So it has come as a pleasant surprise to find out that the Jean-Michel Cousteau resort is exactly what an eco resort should be. It’s not just about the architecture, energy efficiency and the organic and local food. An eco resort, like JMC, also gives back to its local community and the surrounding environment.
Yesterday, we were led on a tour of the resort by their resident Marine Biologist, who is such a delightful and lovely individual, excited not only about the life below the water, but also about the overall sustainability of the whole resort. You could tell he was proud of all the good work the resort is doing and his enthusiasm for sustainability was infecting - and not just because he was in charge of his own private marine reserve that the resort had created.
The resort itself is based upon the traditional model of the Fijian village with high-pitched thatch roof bures (huts) using sustainably harvested wood and palm fronds. There are no glass windows, no air conditioning, and no tvs. Hot air escapes up out of the tops of the roof, while louvered windows on either side encourage cross breezes with the help of fans. Traditional construction employs the local villagers and keeps alive their historical crafts.
An organic garden on site supplies some of the restaurant’s needs, while the rest of the food is sourced locally and sustainably. In fact, the resort only buys sustainable caught fish from the local fisherman, which has created its own eco market. Food waste and scraps are composted for use in the garden along with garden clippings. No pesticides. No herbicides, all natural and incredibly delicious.
Meanwhile all blackwater and wastewater is treated on site through a multi-step filtration process, which finishes up in a couple of ponds that provide water for landscape irrigation. Hot water heaters are replacing old gas hot water heaters. Energy and water conservation are heavily encouraged and guests are advised to conserve and recycle during their orientation.
While the resort is working to minimize their environmental footprint, they’re also actively working to return the surroundings back into its native state with an on site tree nursery for native plants, mangroves are being replanted to minimize erosion, clams are being cultivated right off the beach and their resident marine biologist actively monitors the surrounding reefs. Guests are even encouraged to volunteer in various eco-oriented activities to buoy the local eco system.
Sustainability is not just about the environment, but also about people too and the resort employs mostly locals from the surrounding village and provides job training. A local community foundation was also recently started to provide additional services for the locals.
Certainly the resort has an environmental impact, most notably from the guests’ flights to and from Fiji, but they are taking an active role to minimize that impact, encourage change in the local village and even helping regrow the local ecosystem. I also appreciate their honesty about their faults - they still rely on backup diesel generators, have a bit of an addiction to bottled water, and could definitely take more advantage of solar poweer. They would like to change all of these things, but as with all things, it takes money and time. All in all, it’s an impressive operation from a sustainability standpoint and from what I’ve heard from locals around here, they run the best eco-show in the whole country.
By Bridgette Meinhold
After having safely arrived on an easier than expected 10 1/2 hour flight from LA (thank you ambien) we hoped skipped and jumped over to Savusavu and the Jean-Michel Cousteau eco-resort.
A number of things strike me upon arrival:
- Fiji is one of the most lush places I have ever visited.
- The people are incredibly friendly.
- We are not quite as close to surf as we were hoping, but excellent snorkeling and diving can be found anywhere.
- Having a marine biologist on hand at your resort is immensely interesting. All resorts should have such an expert.
Pristine beaches, romantic bures and relaxing couples spa treatments are just the beginning of Fiji’s wedding and honeymoon offerings. We’re sending Megan Finley of Off Beat Bride to Fiji to uncover our romantic side. We took a little chunk out of Megan’s busy schedule today to talk to her about the upcoming FijiMe tour. Read her twinterview: