The effects of climate change are everywhere. I just visited my beloved Coney Island only to find famous Nathan’s (among many other businesses and communities) still not back on their feet post Hurricane Sandy. Monster tornadoes in Oklahoma have swept through entire towns. The twister that hit near Oklahoma City May 31 was the widest ever recorded. Clearly we need to do what we can to make our lives more sustainable.
Solar power is perceived by some as a drop in the bucket, but it can really make a difference, particularly in remote places where sun is plentiful and power is expensive to import.
Turtle Island, set in the Yasawa Islands in the Republic of Fiji, and scene of the 1980 Blue Lagoon movie starring Brooke Shields, is an all-inclusive private island, a high-end resort with a long history of sustainability. This spring, the installation of 968 solar panels rendered the island nearly 100 percent self-sufficient, using the sun’s energy to power not only the resort but the surrounding community. The new solar project will save an estimated 85,000 liters of diesel fuel per year, or an estimated 220 tons of carbon emissions, significantly reducing the island’s carbon footprint and thus becoming one of the world’s most prestigious and socially conscious getaways for the pampered set.
More than 900,000 trees have been planted on the island since 1972 to foster reforestation and provide the Island with a 90 percent tree canopy.
Other projects promoting sustainability include a four-acre natural hydroponic garden, extensive composting and recycling. The Turtle Release program, which is designed to help save the threatened Green and Hawksbill turtles, is a particularly tangible success. Visitors can snorkel and see the fruits of the labor.
The locals are integral to the success of the resort. Medical clinics and schools for the native population have always been a part of the resort’s master plan.
The cost for a Turtle Island dream vacation is not cheap, it’s a bucket list/special occasion type destination perfect for weddings or a once-in-a-lifetime event. There are 14 private beaches with cottages called “bures,” eco-friendly, locally sourced tropical villas. You can even rent the whole island and live out your own Blue Lagoon fantasy.