When my frien told me she wants to get married in the domenican republic, I holded both hands over my face. I would say that out of all destinations I would like to discover in the next – let’s say 10 years – this island is definetly not part of it.
For me, DomRep and Haiti are mainly subjects you talk about when it commes to critizice how bad deforestation can go when there is no management in place. Not to mention the coasts and beaches being know for hosting some of the most radical mass tourism complexes, several floors, artificial pools, ….
Naively, I expected that I would not see a single palm tree and be shocked around 10 times a day. Basically the opposite of a nice vacation.
On top of that, well you have to get there. I think for our flight alone, we would need to plant a forest!
In the end she twisted my arm telling me it’s her childhood dream and showing me the temperature table – water and air – and I realised I could finally get a chance to go scube diving again.
When I started searching online for what to do in DomRep, it was the same dilema as always, hours of search with few results, but at least it looked like there are SOME interesting things happening. La ruta del café appeared as one of the main things to do to see eco-tourism there and learn about how they managed to make their coffee plantation more sustainable. We didn’t get a chance to see it, destiny took another path …
I decide to go for the couchsurfing network, that had helped me hundreds of times in the past. Getting to the involved people of a place you don’t know is quite difficult, but if you look through couchsurfing profiles you end up finding them 🙂
Pablo had just launched a perma culture farm in the middle of the jungle, and hosted us for a couple of nights. The place was literally awesome, and his ambitions to make it a truely positive and sustainable place gave it the extra bit. He sayy he is one of the first interested in perma culture, but that there is a very active facebook group, that they launched a year ago. Conferences and workshops on the topic start to appear.
But it is still a very small part of the population …
In the south ouest part, close to the border with Haiti, and in the middle of the national parc, poor farmers are paid to log the native trees and plant avocados instead. In a national parc ! Obviously it’s forbidden, but has been observed to become a widely common practice. So far nothing has been done against it, but Fernando told us he was right now writing up a letter to inform the environmental office of the CAFTA about this situation, so that they could increase pressure on the national gouvernment. The most difficult part of his mission seemed to be to get the local people involved into this act. “They don’t usually want to get involved, they don’t want to sign anything”. Seems like civil engagement is a challenge accross the globe, not only in Europe. Just talking to the domenican environemntal agency wouldn’t work according to him. It all depends on who is breaking the law: If they are influential enough, there won’t be really any consequences.
Some contacts if you want to learn more:
- dominicantreehousevillage.com – a fairspot I couldn’t check myself though
- www.facebook.com/GreenergyDom – involved into the transition to green energy
- La ruta del café