Pacific Treelodge Resort together with Micronesia Eco Divers, Micronesia Grand Tour and Micronesia Eco Corp. has a long-term commitment to operate business in a manner that is beneficial to the sustainable development of Kosrae. We do this because we want to protect our beautiful island, but also show her to the world. We believe small steps can do a lot, we can all help in many ways, whether big or small.
What are we doing?
Built in 1988 by the Sigrah, one of the oldest family in Kosrae, Pacific Treelodge has been a pioneer in sustainable tourism. In 1994, it was one of the few examples in the Pacific of “local-style accommodation that incorporates ecotourism principles” (1). Today, our environmental, economic and social policies include a pledge to help recycle waste materials, conserve energy, protect the mangrove forest and monitor the health of the ocean. We encourage the consumption of local food and produce and promote new eco-friendly investments. As we live on a small island in the middle of the Pacific, we wish to protect our environment from the destruction of global warming.
The Recycling Project
When a glass bottle enters Kosrae, a six cent tax is paid. After being used, local residents bring the glass bottle to the recycling operator (Micronesia Eco Corp (MEC)), who pays the local resident five cents for it. MEC receives six cents from the state of Kosrae. Therefore, every bottle brought to Kosrae, nets a five cent income for the local resident, the island is cleaner and the dredging in the ocean is minimized: the sustainable circle is closed.
MEC is run by Pacific Treelodge Resort management providing a crucial relationship between the two; a recycling project and a resort. Since 2007, Pacific Treelodge Resort has been experimenting with the use of the discarded glass bottles as an aggregate in concrete. With this new aggregate (using crushed glass instead of sand), we have paved the resort and built a new walkway and bridge. In 2010 the project was nominated as one of the “best sustainable projects in the world” and we were invited to attend the World Environmental Day in Rwanda were we received the award as national winner. This award has put Kosrae on the world environmental map(2).
The importance of our Mangrove Forests
Mangrove Forests are trees and shrubs that grow in saline coastal habitats all over the world. Kosrae is host to an abundance of these unique forests, but also has some of the most beautiful and well preserved coral reefs in the world. These coral reefs are thanks to the Mangrove Forests:
1) The trees filter runoff water and trap sediment preventing the sediment and excess nutrients in the water from damaging and ultimately killing the coral reefs.
2) Mangroves provide a vital habitat for juvenile fish, acting as a nursery where the young can survive, grow and flourish.
3) Mangroves protect the shore from erosion, extreme weather and even tsunami damage. In fact during the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean, the area surrounded by intact mangroves suffered less inshore damage (3).
Here at Pacific Treelodge Resort we strive to protect our mangroves from logging and educate people about their importance. At the same time we encourage people to enjoy this unique landscape rather than harm it so it remains for the future.
Mooring Buoy Project
Responding to an alarming decline in both the quantity and productive quality of the world’s coral reef ecosystems, the Kosrae Mooring Project began in 1996. Thanks to the generosity of several national and international agencies, buoys and equipment were bought. Kosrae Marine Resources, an international group of volunteer divers and the local diving operators started placing the buoys around the island as a form of “fence” to discourage fishermen and recreational boats from anchoring. During the past 14 years, thousands of dollars have been donated to the Project allowing the installation of 56 buoys around the island. With the last donation from the Australia Embassy and Project Aware Foundation new buoys, ropes and an engine for the drill have been bought. Now, we can replace the missing buoys!
The earth is surrounded by a blanket of gases which keeps the surface warm and protects life from harmful radiation. This blanket is currently getting thicker largely due to the release of greenhouse gases by burning fossil fuels and deforestation. As the blanket gets thicker more heat is retained on earth and climate changes. The ocean covers nearly 70% of the earth’s surface and is home to some of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. Global warming is significantly affecting our oceans and research indicates that global warming will increasingly challenge coastal and marine ecosystems in the next century. Kosrae is home to some of the most beautiful, pristine and untouched coastal and marine ecosystems in the world particularly coral reefs and mangrove forests. These ecosystems are on Pacific Treelodge’s doorstep and they are being damaged by global warming and we need to protect them. In September 2010, the Association for Micronesian Development (AMD) has donated 20 bicycles to Kosrae. More will arrive if the pilot project is successful. As member of AMD, we have been chosen to help the project. One of these bicycles is currently being used by our staff for daily duties (shopping, bank, post office, etc.). Hopefully this project will ultimately lead to less cars and therefore lower gas emission in the island. Furthermore, we are educating our employees in the use of the bikes as transportation, our slogan: “better health, less expenses, cleaner air”.
What can I do to help when I visit Kosrae?
Here at Pacific Treelodge resort we are doing our best to protect our island. So you may ask what can I do to help while I’m there? Here are some ideas;
- Even though we use energy saving bulbs and appliances, switch off your lights, air conditioning and electric appliances when not needed.
- Use one of our bicycles to explore the island.
- Reuse your towels.
- Outside each cottage there are coconut baskets for recycling cans or bottles, please use them.
- Eat local foods, buy local products.
- Pass on the importance of protecting Kosrae’s unique environment.
- Let other people know how important the mangroves and the ocean are for our ecosystem.
Thank you for helping us take care of our beautiful island, Kosrae!
(3)PADI “The Encyclopedia of Recreational Diving” PADI, RSM, CA 2006, pp 1-64, 2-49.