Forestis, The Scarlet, and surely someone is driving one of these wind-powered cargo ships under too low a bridge?
As Spring reaches down and pulls us out of the cold, boggy trough of another British winter, writing up a Green Spot intro peppered with gloomy updates on the climate feels a little like I’m trying to push the daffodils back into their bulbs.
As Obama’s former speechwriter Jon Lovett said on Lovett or Leave It:
Still waiting on one news report that climate change is causing something cool, like better chocolate or more parrots. Every change is bad. What are the odds of that? It’s never “one unexpected side of climate change is apples are doubling in size”, it’s always jellyfish, ticks, and hayfever on Christmas.
But, as with Ukraine, it’s too important to turn away.
So let’s start with something light, like this fantastic story on Dezeen about ingenious (and occasionally hilarious) climate-resistant homes.
Come for the floating boat/house (pictured) and stay for the waspish 3D-printed clay abode from Mario Cucinella Architects.
Now that you’re impressed by the ingenuity of man, let us then look at what that ingenuity needs to be turned to 11 for:
War-induced fossil fuel buying frenzy is closing the door on COP26 hopes.
Still with these ghost flights?
And the Amazon is on the verge of transforming into grassland.
Now let’s find a sustainably sourced couch for a lie-down:
FORESTIS, SOUTH TYROL
The South Tyrol is one of my favorite places in the world. An autonomous region of Italy, it’s as much its own country as it is a part of the Bel Paese (and Austria with which it shares a border).
Alto Adige, as the Italians call South Tyrol, is Dolomites country, so expect tiny, bright villages lodged within jagged mountain valleys.
Also, Forestis is found here.
Forestis is a five-star luxury mountain retreat located on the southern slope of the Plose mountain. At 1,800 metres above sea level, it’s a place of crisp, pine-scented air, gurgling streams, and elusive ibex.
Blending in with its pristine surrounds, Forestis is CO2 neutral, zero-waste, and uses 100% renewable energy, produced by the retreat’s plant and wood heating system.
Its exteriors and interiors are created with eco-friendly materials sourced from local suppliers. Surrounding the retreat are felled trees used as fences, with two new plantings made for each tree used. The hotel also plants a tree as a thank you when you choose to limit your housekeeping requirements.
There’s a spa, of course. With one of those indoor/outdoor pools connected by a drive-thru window that makes me both hungry and relaxed. Spa products consist of 100% natural ingredients “inspired by the elements and surrounding native trees”, and come in biodegradable packaging.
Water collected from the Plose mountain is recycled by the spa and used to fill non-plastic, refillable bottles for guests.
And South Tyrol is no culinary backwater. Packing in more Michelin stars than any other Italian region (while still being only about double the size of Kent) the region flouts this attribute through various foodie events. In the winter, try the ‘ski safari’ where Michelin chefs staff mountain huts.
I could tell you more about Forestis’ Head Chef Roland Lamprecht’s culinary philosophy, his love of spruce sprouts and wild herbs, but instead I’ll just show you a pear of his puddings:
Something of a nautical sensibility to this issue of Green Spot with yet another bit about a futuristic-looking, climate-friendly vessel.
In this case it’s the Oceanbird. In case you missed it when it blew into the imagination towards the end of 2020, the Oceanbird is a 200-metre long car carrier powered by wind. Its sleek good looks are inspired by aircraft design.
The wind propulsion tech from Swedish companies Wallenius and Alfa Laval claims to be able to reduce emissions of some of the largest ocean-going vessels by 90%. Those ‘wings’ stand at 105 metres above the waterline.
Seeing them reminded me of the time I drove a canal boat under too low a bridge. The squealing, crunching, grinding horror of the chimney pot being mangled against the curving stone roof of the bridge has remained with me. Apparently, I was meant to remove the chimney pot first.
Anyway, there’s still some fine-tuning to happen before the Oceanbird prototype has a chance to block the Suez a la the Ever Given. But once it’s up and running, it’ll be looking to blow across the Atlantic in 12 days at 10-knots with 7,000 cars in its belly.
Scarlet Hotel, Cornwall
The Scarlet inhabits an enviable cliff-top perch above the picturesque beach of Mawgan Porth, about fifteen minutes’ drive north from stag-do-blighted Newquay. Its modern design merges with the rocks.
There are incredible views available from practically every comfy perch at this Cornish ‘eco-sanctuary’. The interior is bright and airy with paintings and sculptures - many for sale - catching the eye.
The Scarlet was created with ‘environmental concern’ as a key principle. A green discount is applied to your room if you arrive via foot, bike, rail, or bus. And £5 of your booking is donated to local environmental groups.
The roof is lined with sea thrift, encouraging insects to stay for free. Your log-fired hot tub won’t bubble so as to reduce energy consumption, but all the better for you to absorb the coastal ambiance.
All the electricity is from renewable sources, and the modern European cuisine at the restaurant is prepared with a nose-to-tail philosophy (still a term that I believe vegans created).
As you wander through the lantern-lit treatment rooms of the Ayurvedic spa, you’ll be walking on flips-flops made from recycled tyres.
Vertical wooden posts dotted around the gardens used to be coastal erosion barriers at a nearby harbour. Oh, and there’s a cotton bag in your room to take your half-used soap home with you.
The gorgeous outdoor swimming pool is naturally filtered using reeds and algae, while the indoor pool is warmed by a solar system and a biomass boiler. Toilets are flushed with wastewater gathered from the showers and baths.
Meanwhile, the mattresses are deep, the evening meals come with wine flight options, and it’s adults-only/peaceful.
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