Since 2016, atmosfair has been putting heart and soul into creating the very first climate friendly trekking path. The idea for this project, in collaboration with the forum anders reisen (FAR – an association of numerous travel agencies focusing on climate friendly travel), was sparked right after the destructive earthquake that hit Nepal in 2015.
The Trek in terms of numbers: 7 villages; 12 lodges; 46 kilometers; 7 days and 7096 meters ascent.
Along with the relief measures taken in 2015 – distributing solar home systems, low-smoke cook stoves providing light, electricity and warm meals – atmosfair and FAR decided to use the opportunity and reinvent a trekking path situated in the Helambu region in Nepal. This pilot project not only includes the reconstruction of destroyed lodges but also plans to provide long-term income possibilities by developing its tourism appeal. The lodges will therefore be built according to much higher comfort-standards than the usual Nepalese teahouses. The big plus: this comfort will be climate-friendly as the lodges will be equipped with renewable energies such as biogas, solar thermal energy, photovoltaic systems, efficient stoves, water treatment plants and many more.
A lot happened since the beginning of the project, and in autumn 2018 the Climate Trek will officially open!
The first five tours, organized by the travel agency Hauser Exkursionen (a member of FAR), are already fully booked. Here is a quick summary of all that has happened over the last few months, and all that still has to be done before the Grand Opening.
As the reconstruction of the lodges seemed to advance slower than planned and to not jeopardize a punctual opening in autumn, atmosfair and four members of FAR decided to visit the project on-site to help speed up the proceedings. The visit was a success. All lodges except one are currently under construction and some are even finished. However, time is running out, as the monsoon is already moving into Nepal and once it reaches the region, it will heavily impede the transport of construction materials and the construction itself.
Despite all obstacles, some lodge owners already received the first renewable energy technologies. Even comfort products like mattresses, bed linens, towels, small heating systems and many more have been made available and will be handed out to the owners in July.
Along with those lodges, atmosfair and Hauser Exkursionen launched a “Climate Education Program”, which will be executed by our partner “Communicty Development and environment Conservation Forum”. This program targets primarily school children but also lodge owners, associations, women’s groups and local politicians. The goal of the program is to raise awareness about climate change, its causes and consequences and what daily steps can be taken to make a change.
What lies before us
There is still a lot to do: finishing the construction of the lodges and equipping them, delivery of the renewable energy technologies and training the lodge owners so they can use them properly.
Lastly, atmosfair decided to build a model-eco-lodge in Sermathang, the last stop of the trek, which will be particularly climate-friendly. Hempcrete and double-glazing will keep down the energy consumption to a minimum and make the lodge the efficiency leader among its peers. The lodge will be completed by December 2018.
As you can see: the trek is on its way and will be ready to explore soon!