If you had asked us at the beginning of our journey how green we were going to be in the development of our Eco Retreat, our answer would have been in the range of Kermit the Frog to The Incredible Hulk. Nearly two years in, with the realisation that it really ‘isn’t easy bein’ green’ and that desire does not always equate to reality, we are finding we are a bit like Spock - we bleed green, but on the outside, we are more in the range of Yoda...still green, just a bit paler (older and hopefully wiser too!).
Being truly, 100% eco friendly in every way is a far more complex process than most people realise.
A fundamental problem is that going green comes at a prohibitive (for now) cost. Like so many consumerist human dilemmas, going green isn’t a level playing field. Sure, eco friendly products are now more readily available...but they more often than not come with higher price tags - from electric vehicles to boxed water, recycled plastic roads to effluent disposal, going green comes at a cost. Those with the means can more readily buy their way to climate responsibility. For those without, they must battle with the dilemma of destroying the earth versus the struggle for what they can afford. And that, quite frankly, sucks.
Less obvious perhaps, is the fact that even making choices that you think are green, are often a bit more aqua or turquoise in reality. It’s a bit like Pandora’s box and like some of the great diet myths of our time (red wine is good for your heart but also causes cancer, eat red meat but don’t, carbs are the worst but also essential, don’t even get started on sugar!). Sometimes, buying something that states it is eco friendly has in fact come from a country where deforestation is rife, before being sent to another country where they use giant, air polluting factories for assembly, and then finally arriving after many air miles at your door. Not so green, after all. And just like almond milk and cane toads, what’s good for you today might not be considered so good tomorrow once the true cost to our planet is realised. As with so many things that we as humankind interfere with, it takes a bit of trial and error before we truly know what we are doing.
It’s still relatively rare to find tourism experiences that strive to fulfil the three basic principles of ecotourism - sustainability, commitment to visitor understanding and appreciation of the natural environment, and respect and acknowledgement of the regional indigenous history and culture. Most likely, it has less to do with intention and more to do with economics and education. Going green shouldn’t come at a premium or require a manual...because given an equal price and easy to digest, honest information, who wouldn’t?
We are proud that Noosa Eco Retreat will tick so many of the boxes for being a sustainable, eco friendly development. From our accommodation structures, energy needs, water collection and effluent disposal, through to our re-use and repurposing of materials, our focus is always green. Our restoration framework will see our land rejuvenated and protected as a Land For Wildlife property and our activities will ensure visitors’ gain an understanding and appreciation of the natural environment. It was never a marketing ploy for us, in the time we live in, it’s simply intuitive.
Dreams and desires do not always consider practicalities and there are always some compromises to be made. In our case, for everything we can’t do perfectly now, we will strive to do better in the future. It’s a bit like climbing our own green Mount Cooroora...it takes time and effort, but (channeling our inner Yoda) ‘worth it, it is’!