Monday, 29 November 2010

Responsible Christmas Shopping – is it possible?

There are so many things the ‘green’ shopper has to think about these days; reducing your carbon footprint, supporting local and ethical businesses AND getting buying something’s that’s just right … is all this actually possible?!

Tom Cox, founder of brand new website claims to have found the answer…

Reducing your carbon footprint
15gifts is an online shopping service which works with efficient and ethical gift companies that deliver directly to your door; no petrol needed to trudge endlessly to the shops and back. 15gifts also source their products from within the UK, so don’t encourage importing from abroad and splurging greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Supporting local and ethical businesses
All the sellers on 15gifts are handpicked for the quality of their gifts rather than the popularity of their brand name. Tom Cox thinks it’s ‘about time’ that smaller, under-sung businesses should be put on an equal footing with big names such as the Tate Gallery and Red Letter Days. “We recognize that the perfect gift could just as much come from a household name as an un-known artist. So long as they offer genuinely good gifts and great service, they’re invited to join 15gifts”.

Getting something that’s just right
15gifts is the UK’s first intelligent gift recommendation service and only shopping website that is powered by the people who use it – it learns from the likes and dislikes of similar people throughout the country, to find unique gift ideas which perfectly match the recipient.

That’s all good and well, but does the site actually work? Only in its third week of launch, 15gifts has already been featured as ‘the website - in demand’ in the Mail on Sunday’s Live magazine and has been dubbed as ‘a lifesaver’ by But of course, the only way to really find out is to have a go for yourself…


For travel journalism and copywriting services visit

Sunday, 28 November 2010

£2500 BSES bursaries available to Channel Island Students

The British Schools Exploring Society (BSES), based at the Royal Geographical Society London, has secured bursaries of £2500 for young people aged 18 and over, who are residents of the Channel Islands.

The bursaries, offered on a first-come-first-served basis, are available to residents of the Channel Islands, who apply for BSES Extreme Arctic 2011.

This two month long 'Gap Year' trip is open to anyone aged between 18 and 23, and gives young people the opportunity to learn essential Arctic survival skills such as polar bear defence, ice-axe arresting and cravasse rescue whilst staying in the comfort of a guest-house in Norway's Svalbard archipelago, before heading deeper into the Arctic wilderness to complete adventure and research phases of their expedition.

The expedition departs the UK on in April 2011.

If you're up for the challenge, check of the finer details of the trip at or contact

For travel journalism and copywriting services visit

Thursday, 25 November 2010

RYA Go Green!

This month, the RYA launched their new book, aimed at 7-12 year olds, entitled ‘RYA Go Green!’. Researched and written by author, artict and experienced sailor Claudia Myatt, this illustrated book promotes environmental awareness of our planet’s water resources, yet steers purposefully away from ‘preaching’ about environmental impacts.

Claudia describes the book as starting ‘big’ and then homing right in. It takes youngsters on a journey from the very beginnings of the planet, when it’s thought there were no oceans at all, before taking a closer look at shorelines, rivers, our homes and, finally, the water inside out bodies.

Working alongside children during the creation of the book, Claudia hope that it will inspire the ‘scientists of the future’. She suggests that by getting people to understand how things work is the key to driving environmental awareness. She believes that every child, and preferably adult, should read this book, and that it’s as important for those who live near an ocean as those who don’t.

An official launch will be held in March 2011at the RYA Volvo Dinghy Show in London, but the book is available to pre-order now from the RYA and will be delivered when stocks arrive in the New Year.

For more details, visit the RYA

For travel journalism and copywriting services visit

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Places available for gap-year students on BSES Svalbard Expedition

Gap-year students with a lust for adventure and a passion for environmental science are urged to apply for the last few places for The British Schools Exploring Society’s Extreme Arctic expedition to Svalbard this Spring. The young explorers will be working alongside highly qualified scientists to conduct glacial geomorphology and phrenology studies, contributing to long-term projects concerning the measurement of key indicators of climate change.

BSES’ press release:

Last few places available for Arctic adventure of a lifetime
November 18, 2010

Gap-year students with a lust for adventure and a passion for environmental science are urged to apply for the last few places for The British Schools Exploring Society’s Extreme Arctic expedition to Svalbard this Spring.

Svalbard, a far-flung snowy archipelago on the edge of the Arctic Ocean, is just 600 miles from the North Pole. At 78 degrees north, the average temperature on arrival in April is -20C, with the islands already experiencing 24 hour daylight.

Living in tents and snow caves in sub-zero temperatures, the young explorers will be taught how to survive in the extreme cold before venturing further afield as weather improves, allowing access to unspoiled landscapes as far as the eye can see. Mountaineering, cross-country skiing and travelling with pulks across the mountain tops, valleys, and tundra, the team will experience the vast expanse of astounding natural beauty, with the freedom, under the guidance of world-class leaders, to explore wherever they choose.

The young explorers will also be working alongside highly qualified scientists to conduct glacial geomorphology and phrenology studies, contributing to long-term projects concerning the measurement of key indicators of climate change. In addition, an ornithological survey will also be undertaken, gathering and collating data on some of the indigenous species.

Those taking part will have to be physically fit, enthusiastic and resourceful in order to comfortably live under canvas for the duration of the expedition and to bear the mental and physical hardships of such an adventure.

The young explorers will benefit from contact with highly experienced volunteer leaders from the fields of education, industry, medicine and the armed forces, who will ensure that the expedition works to a professional standard so that ambitious scientific and adventurous training objectives can be safely undertaken.

Any young people inspired by this opportunity, brave enough to take on the challenge and keen to experience the adventure of a lifetime should see more details or contact Lucy Grewcock or Charlie Masding at

For travel journalism and copywriting services visit

Monday, 22 November 2010

Over 200 killed in Cambodia Water Festival

The BBC have just reported that over 200 people have been killed in a stampede during the Phnom Penh Water Festival in Cambodia.

Following a concert on the final day of the festival, several members of the crowd fell unconscious, allegedly causing panic in the crowd, which lead to a stampede across a bridge, causing people to become crushed and fall into the water.

Over 2 milllion people had been expected at the three-day festival, which celebrates the end of Cambodia’s Monsoon season.

Read the full story here

Article also published by Responsible Travel News

For travel journalism and copywriting services visit

Fishermen in Scotland's western Isles campaign over coral reef protection

Today the Scottish Herald reported that Fishermen in the Western Isles have accused Scottish National Heritage of ‘cultural imperialism’ . The accusation was made over plans for a new conservation area at sea that they claim will have a devastating impact on jobs and the local economy, particularly to local fishermen in the prawn industry.

The group Southern Hebrides Against Marine Environmental Designations (SHAMED) will fight the proposed designation of a site around East Mingulay as a new marine Special Area of Conservation (SAC), which has already been approved by the Scottish Government.

Aimed at protecting a rare coral reef, East Mingulay is the only location inside UK waters to feature the cold-water coral Lophelia Pertusa and scientists have identified at least 400 species living within the reef complex.

Around 900 local people have signed a petition opposing the plans, with fisherman directly influenced by the plans insisting that they strive to develop the renewable side of fishing and have no qualms about protecting the reefs, but that the conservation area will cut them off from important fishing areas.

Local fisherman claim that economic and cultural objections are being ignored and John Hermse, of the Mallaig and North West Fishermen’s Association, accused the government of enacting a policy of “cultural imperialism”, adding: “The contemporary movement towards environmentalism at any cost, threatens the fragile existence of the traditional communities of rural Scotland and does so without robust scientific evidence that the environment will be any better preserved as a result.”

Read the full article here

For travel journalism and webcopy, visit

Sunday, 21 November 2010

BSES Himalayas on youtube

Footage of the British Schools Exploring Society's 2010 Himalayas trip is now available for public viewing on youtube: click here to view.

The British Schools Exploring Society's Himalayas 2010 expedition witnessed the devastation caused by heavy rains and flooding in Ladakh. This meant that, in addition to conducting field work in the Thanglasgo and Palzampiu valley, hiking with Sherpas in the Tanjarta valley and summiting the 6000m mount Dawa, the young BSES volunteers worked on several successful projects, run in conjunction with local villages:

One set up a medical clinic [to care for victims of recent flooding]; a second assisted with repairs of the local water supply; the third project made visits to schools in nearby villages; and the fourth involved transporting stones for the repair and rebuilding of damaged bridges. All projects are proved a fantastic success and are provided the Young Explorers with a personal development opportunity potentially more significant than any summit attempt would provide them.

To discover more about the 2010 expedition take a look at footage of this year’s team or read the expedition blog.

To find out how to get involved with the 2011 expedition, email, or take a look at and choose ‘exploring’.

£1000 BSES funding for the Channel Islands and North East

The Royal Geographical's Society affiliate charity, The British Schools Exploring Society, is offering young people in the Channel Islands and North-East £1000 towards expedition costs.

The British Schools Exploring Society (BSES) has been running expeditions to extreme locations for 16-23 year olds since the 1930s. Most expeditions run during the school summer holidays for three or five weeks, offering young people the opportunity to explore the Arctic wilderness, Himalayan mountains, Amazon rainforest, Oman desert or Namibia's savannah.

Older students have the opportunity of spending extended periods of time in the Arctic or desert, on longer gap-year projects, and can opt for specialist expeditions such as 'Arctic Skills' and 'Polar Nights'.

BSES expeditions are called 'adventures with a purpose', meaning that environmental responsibility and research are an integral part of all trips. From monitoring glacier retreat to collecting data on river dolphins and caiman populations, all BSES conservation research is published, presented and archived at The Royal Geographical Society.

In addition to ongoing research and contributions to the society, BSES gives young people first hand experience and direct interaction with some of the most pressing global concerns of the 21st century.

Anyone aged 16 or over can apply for a place on an expedition and learn about fund-raising techniques. With BSES's strong ethos that no-one should be excluded from opportunities, to assist students in the North East, £1000 funding in now available to each student to apply for on a first-come-first-served basis. Young people in the Channel islands are also eligible to apply for this funding, to assist with additional travel costs they will incur flying to the UK to embark on their adventures. For students based outside the North East and Channel Islands, significant support and grants are also available to assist young people in meeting their expedition costs.

Find out more by visiting or contact to ask for expedition details.

This article was also posted at

Wednesday, 17 November 2010 is Top Rated Site

This month, was rated one of the top websites of the month by online guide, 'whats good on the web'.

The glowing review of this brand new, intelligent gift recommendation and reminder tool hailed the slick usability of this 'life tool' and the quality of it's hand-picked gift selection.

'What's good on the web' decided that ' is going to be a lifesaver for men', who 'don’t have a great deal of imagination' and 'more often than not get totally the wrong thing'

See for yourself at

Read the full review here

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Jersey teenager signs up for the Arctic

16 year old boy makes plans to head to the Arctic with the British Schools Exploring Society

Blue ventures wins responsible tourism award 2010

Since 2004 the Responsible Tourism Awards, organised by, have called on travelers to nominate the very best organisations, the most dedicated individuals and the most committed destinations in the tourism industry to be recognised for the most prestigious Awards of their kind in the world.

At the 2010 Awards yesterday, Blue Ventures won the 2010 volunteer tourism category, for the sixth consecutive year, recognised for its commitment to using responsible volunteer tourism to support grassroots marine conservation and community development projects in some of the world's poorest countries.

"It's a huge honour for our work to have been celebrated in this prestigious award for six years running" said Kathleen Edie, Blue Ventures' volunteer coordinator. "This global recognition shows the extent to which Blue Ventures continues to lead the field of volunteer tourism”.

Managed from headquarters in London, this funding supports a team of over 50 full time conservationists working on grass-roots conservation programmes in Madagascar, Belize and Malaysia.

Commenting on Blue Ventures' record success in the awards, the judges announced “Blue Ventures is an example of how social initiatives can contribute to local livelihood diversification, and support community resilience in the face of upheaval. In 2009 their project in Madagascar was threatened by the political crisis and many organisations chose to pull out of the country. Testament to their principles, Blue Ventures stayed committed to the project, with head office staff in London taking a 25% pay cut to ensure the maintenance of the jobs in Madagascar.”

Read full press release here
This article was also published on

Monday, 1 November 2010

Explore 2010

The annual expedition & fieldwork planning weekend is being hosted at the Royal Geographical Society, London from Friday 11th to Sunday 13th of November.

Three days of presentations, workshops, exhibitions and networking opportunities will be delivered by over 100 leading field scientists and explorers. The weekend kicks off on Friday with a 'pre-Explore lecture' from Pen Hadlow and the Catlin Arctic Survey. The weekend goes on to cover a huge range of talks and workshops for novices and experienced explorers, on areas as diverse as 'writing for newspapers and magazines', 'Polar & Arctic Environments', 'Education Projects', 'Bicycle Expeditions' and much much more.

Delegates include the Earthwatch Institute, BSES Expeditions, the Heart of Borneo Project and Connection Communities Worldwide, with lectures and workshops hosted by an impressive array of speakers, such as Jamie Buchanan-Dunlop (Digital Explorer), Ben Gorelick (Mountaineering Training School), James McNeill (ITV News' Ice Warrior Reporer) and Rita Gardner (Director of the RGS).

To find out more, visit the RGS Explore website, where you can also book tickets: RGS Explore