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What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.
I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps. See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Things change

Nicola, Pete, Lola and Nell want to travel the world with a difference. We hope to get a taste of loads of countries without adding to climate change (with needless emissions from aeroplanes) or havaing to waste hours of holiday time in airport terminals. We hope our adventures inspire you to take a Grand Tour of your neighbourhood. This post is from Nicola who flew more than she should have done when she worked as a VSO (journalist trainer) in Solomon Islands between 1990-92...

Recently Lola and Nell helped convince our council to delay felling a lovely avenue of trees near where we live. These still may be felled but after the girls ran a campaign, gave out flyers and set up a tent HQ which was photographed for the local paper the trees have a reprieve until September 2007. Councils sometimes move fast, but nature is the winner when it comes to transformation. I've just been sent an email from a friend of a friend, Jan Pana, who has been trying to cope with the enormous changes that the April tsunami and subsequent earthquakes are doing to an area of Solomon Islands in the South Pacific known as Western Province.

Over to Jan: "For those of you who know the Solomons the affect of the recent quakes and tsunami have been devastating and having just seen Gizo and Munda I can say it's like watching thousands of years of geological change happening before yours eyes; reefs/islands, once well submerged, now 3-8 metres out of the water and islands in other areas now completely submerged. There has been terrible physical damage in Gizo, Simbo and Ranonnga and Rendova with many coastal villages destroyed but even more significant, long term, is the terrible fear people have that this will happen again as quakes of 5.1 are still occurring frequently. A lot of work needs to be done to help people overcome something that has no precedent in living memory."

Back in 1991 when I knew less about carbon footprints and the damage flying does to our atmosphere I flew over a brand new volcano. The volcano had sprouted over night in the middle of the Coral Sea and was only a short detour for the pilot flying out of Gizo back to the capital, Honiara. It was grey, huge and had a red fizzing core which spat out rocks as we flew over. That volcano's raw power was the most amazing thing I'd ever seen.

I am not sure how to help my friends in Western Province and the other Solomon Islanders.You can send donations to Solomon Islands Red Cross to help their immediate needs, but how can any human cope knowing that things they thought they took for granted - the view of an island say - may change at any jar of the Richter Scale? It must be so very scary.

Thank goodness climate change has not yet got to such a unbiddable state. We started it, we can help tackle it. My promise to myself today is not to push doing something about being more energy efficient to the back of my mind as I try and cope with family routines, work etc. No, today I will make sure I nag the council's planning department yet again about whether I can have permission to put solar panels (to heat water) on to the roof. But I bet I get destracted by the need to keep the trees...

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