Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sustainable Tourism Criteria

Around the world there are hundreds of certification systems and best practices that define sustainable tourism. Consumer interest is growing. Travel industry leaders are coming to the forefront. And governments are paving the way.
STC Sustainable Tourism CriteriaBut what does sustainable tourism really mean? How can it be measured and credibly demonstrated to build consumer confidence, promote efficiency, and fight greenwashing?
The Sustainable Tourism Criteria Initiative has been designed as a way to bring together -- for the first time -- a globally relevant set of sustainability criteria for the hotel and tour operator sectors. Through this common understanding of what sustainable tourism really means, the travel industry, media, governments, and consumers will be better positioned to differentiate, recognize, and support sustainable tourism.
Whether you represent the travel industry or other stakeholders in sustainable tourism, your involvement is critical to ensure that the criteria are usable and relevant to the industry, that they address industry needs and customer interests, and forge a path towards greater sustainability.
Please take a moment to review the criteria and complete the our online survey ( ). Note that your participation in the survey does not imply endorsement of the global baseline criteria, but will help shape the direction of sustainable tourism for the industry.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ship Wreck Diving in Dore Bay of Manokwari West Papua

Dore bay is one of scuba diving destinations in West Papua (formerly known as Dutch New Guinea). It is where Manokwari town is located. As the capital of the newly formed West Papua province, the town stretches along the shore of Dore bay.

View of Dore bay seen from Mansinam island, Manokwari - West Papua
During the Pacific War (World War II), Japanese troops made it as one of their bases putting cargo and warships in the bay. This is a beautiful deep water bay which is also a natural harbour surrounded by Arfak mountain range. When allied forces led by General Mc Arthur attacked Dutch New Guinea, they sunk some of Japanese ships sailing or anchoring in this bay. There are more than twenty wrecks in this bay but only six that can be dived on. There are two islands in the middle of the bay, Mansinam and Lemon island. Coral reefs can be found around these islands.

Town of Manokwari, West Papua

One of the best ship wreck worth of diving is Shinwa Maru. It was a cargo ship with five holds. Its length is around 120 meters and lies on its port side. The ship was bombed. Divers can see big holes, bottles, cables, batteries and other equipments.
Scuba divers like to do night diving because the ship wreck attracks fish and various marine creatures. Beside Shinwa Maru wreck, there are other wrecks such as Pasir Putih wreck (navy coastal patrol boat), Pillbox wreck, Cross wreck, Mupi Wreck, and Australian plane wreck (P-40 Kitty Hawk fighter plane).
Read also:

Monday, July 28, 2008

Combining Music, Dancing, and Food in Gourmet Tourism

by Charles Roring
Recent rising in food price has influenced many restaurant owners to make adjustments in their businesses. Besides reducing the variety of food menu, mixing food and entertainment is considered a good solution. More empty seats mean lower profit and higher overhead spending. When facing this unfavorable situation, some restaurant owners in Indonesia launch special night package for their customers.
The package incorporate a two hour contemporary dancing and music entertainment as addition to delicious dinner presented on every table. This package is sold for 100 to 150 US dollars per table of 10 seats. Employers of big companies, as the usual frequent customers of the restaurants, have shown their interest to this kind of package as an affordable way to treat their staff. This package is considered cheaper than one week holiday package to famous tourist destinations in the country. Besides, the employees do not have to leave office when celebrating their achievement. In addition, they can bring all their family or friends to enjoy the food and entertainment in the restaurants.
High school and university students are recruited as contemporary dancers whereas only professional singers are allowed to perform on the stage. Every dancer can get more than 20 US dollar for every performance, the amount which is considered high in Indonesia.
"Double Happines," one of the restaurants in Surabaya city of Indonesia that incorporates food and entertainment program can fill all its fifty tables with corporate customers.
Through this kind of program, gourmet tourism will not only rely on the taste of the food and experienced chef but also in mixing food and entertainment.

New Diving Sites should be introduced to visitors to reduce pressures on Bunaken Marine Park

by Charles Roring

The conservation of Bunaken Marine National Park has been the main objective of all stakeholders to create a sustainable eco tourism industry. This effort can only be done if there is a profesional management system doing the job with adequate logistical supports such as money, community development and participation, facilities, and specific laws and regulations.
Most Marine Protected Areas generate significant funding from the entrance fee levied from visitors (both domestic and international). The money is then used to finance activities intended to protect the park. Such activities are marine patrol against destructive fishing practices, deliberate littering of the park and ilegal fishing in the No Take Zone. Villagers living in the Bunaken Park territory have to be involved in the protection or conservation works and also be supported to generate income through sustainable business schemes.
So far, the number of bombings, poisoning of fish conducted by fishermen in Bunaken diving sites has been reduced to near zero. I can also see that some businessmen in North Sulawesi have entered such sustainable aqua culture production as sea grass cultivation, pearl farming and shrimp ponds. These businesses can absorb more workers and generate significant income for them.
In the beginning, the implementation of marine patrol was intended to protect the park from being destroyed by irresponsible people who had been practicing ilegal fishing techniques. It has to be the principle duty of the marine patrol and it should not become a secondary objective. Another additional task of marine patrol in Bunaken park is the supervision on visitors diving or snorkeling in the park on whether they have purchased the entrance tickets.
As a matter of fact, solid waste from the Manado city, flowing out from the rivers or drifting to the park, is the real threat to the coral reefs underwater environment. Therefore, local government must allocate large amount of provincial budget to process them. The money obtained from the entrance tickets is not enough to finance the project. But it can be used to launch public awareness campaign in the city telling the citizens not to throw garbages to the rivers. Public notice boards and advertisements placed in the newspapers and magazines will also inform the citizen about the negative impacts of marine pollution to the underwater environment of Bunaken coral reefs.
Certain dive sites around Bunaken islands receive more divers during high season period i.e. May - September. This raises concern over the reef carrying capacity. For the diving sites whose capacity have been exceeded, the disturbances from divers on the habitat will reduce the number of fish population, and influence the growth of the reefs. The management of Bunaken Marine National Park must implement and distribute diving quota to operators in order to lower pressures on certain coral reefs that have exceeded their carrying capacity. To minimize diver impacts, new diving sites such as Lembeh strait, Bentenan, and Bangka island should be introduced. Bentenan is located in the sourthern part of the province of North Sulawesi. Bentenan islets have coral reefs that are potential to be developed as another tourist destination in the province. Unfortunately, the roads connecting the Bentenan village to the city are still in poor condition. If the government are serious in developing these diving sites, good facilities have to be constructed in the Bentenan similar to what have seen in Bunaken National Marine Park.
Through the distribution of fair naumber diving quota to operators, and the development and introduction of new diving sites, the sustainable eco tourism industry in North Sulawesi will bring more benefits to local people as well as maintain the quality of underwater environment in its best condition.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Pilatus Porter, a suitable aircraft for travelling across mountainous region

While I was about to board into a Boeing 737 200 on a trip to Surabaya, I saw a small plane parking on my left. It was Pilatus Porter. It belonged to AMA (Association of Mission Aviation), a Catholic missionary airliner which has been operating in West Papua for years.

Travelling across mountainous region and other areas that are inaccessible by land transportation can only be done by using airplanes. Most of Papuan population live in many small villages scattered throughout the mountainous region of the island. The construction of roads to connect these villages needs enormous amount of money. Therefore, the fastest way to connect them to the outer world is by using airplanes. Most villages in West Papua have airstrips. Unfortunately they are unprepared, rough and short.

Small airplanes can serve these airstrips without needing the construction of modern airstrip. Supplies from nearby towns such as food, oil, clothes, office equipments, and other products of modern civilisation as well as passengers are transported by these Pilatus Porter aircrafts. On their return flights to towns, they will carry the villagers and vegetables, meat and other agricultural products.
Pilatus Porter aircraft is designed and manufactured by Pilatus Aircraft Limited. The company was founded in 1939. It is one of the market leaders in manufacture and sale of small turbo prop aircraft. Its headquarter is in Central Switzerland employing 1,100 workers.
Missionary airliners in West Papua prefer to use this type of aircraft due to its versatile performance. It can carry up to 1,000 kilograms of goods and 12 passengers.
Besides having high payload in comparison to its size, the aircraft also has STOL capabilities which enable it to operate in rough airstrips or unprepared areas only reachable by helicopters. It can even land on sloped airstrip. There is a video showing how Pilatus Porter landed on this kind of inclined airstrip in Apowo of West Papua.
The capability, reliability, and versatility of Pilatus Porter will make this small aircraft the most preferred choice for many communities living in remote regions around the world. by Charles Roring
Also read: Pilatus Porter a robust aircraft

Bunaken National Marine Park to host international event "Sail Bunaken 2009"

As a world known diving site, authorities of Bunaken National Marine Park will conduct Sail Bunaken 2009. It is an international event which is intended to share experience and explore the marine beauty of Bunaken sea park.

The event will include yacht rally, fleet review, sailing pass, Manado Bay Festival, Bunaken Carnival, Bunaken Diving Festival, Jetski Tournament, Sandeq Race and Gala Dinner.
The committee has claimed this event as the largest and international marine event in 2009 tobe conducted on August 12 to 20, 2009.
Bunaken National Park is located in Manado Bay of North Sulawesi. Bunaken is one of the islands in the national park which has become the centerpiece of the diving sites. There are also world class diving sites in such nearby islands as Manado Tua (volcanic island), Siladen, Montehage and Nain.
Tourists divers can bring their own diving equipment when travelling to Bunaken National Marine park but if they do not want to get busy carrying heavy things, they can rent them in many diving centers.

The Bunaken diving sites are located in tropical region with air temperature stays between 29 and 32 degrees Celcius all year round.
The region is in dry season during April to November with wind blowing from southeast but the sea is relatively calm. It is the time when many visitors like to come to Bunaken with clear sunny sky, divers can enjoy 20 - 25 meters diving visibility.
Bunaken National Marine Park offers the best and the most comfortable diving and snorkeling experiences due to its close location to Manado city. On the average, it only takes 30 minutes boating from the city to this famous diving place.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Singapore of Surabaya

by Charles Roring
Surabaya is the second largest city of Indonesia. It is located in the East of Java island. For years, the city has become the trading hub of all businesses in Indonesia beside Jakarta. People who are looking for cheaper Indonesian agricultural commodities can choose Surabaya as the export point.
But in this article, I am not going to talk about doing business in this city. I am talking about travelling around the city. Surabaya has a lot of malls where tourists can shop various kinds of products ranging from electronics to clothes.
While I was in Surabaya, I visited Singapore of Surabaya. It is not located in a strategic place where public transportations pass by. Instead, this little Singapore is located in Citraland in the western region of the city. The nearest mall is Pakuwon Trade Centre.
Singapore of Surabaya looks like little Singapore. It has statues that are similar but smaller than the original ones in Singapore.
At night, city dwellers like to visit this area for eating out and socialising with their friends. Cars are parked along the middle part of the streets and there are no parking attendants like what we see in most big cities of Indonesia. The restaurants offer delicious Asian foods in affordable prices. It also has wide pedestrian foot path with rows of trees along the streets making the area look green and cool.
Despite all the similarities that we can compare between the real Singapore city and the Singapore of Surabaya, there is one thing that I think different. It is the language the people use. If we are in Singapore we will easily communicate in Singlish - the mixture of English with little Mandarin, and Malay dialects.
Here, people speak Indonesian or Javanese.
When I ordered some food, I asked for spicy fried rice which looked attractive. It was very hot and I had to drink more water to cool down my mouth.
After all, Singapore of Surabaya is a great place to visit at night, it offers you romantic scene which is suitable for couples who are in love. But it is also suitable for any single person who wants to look for somebody there for a romantic dating between the statues of Raffles and Lion of this little Singapore.

Scuba Divers must observe standard rules to help protect the Bunaken national marine park

by Charles Roring
Bunaken is one of the most favorite diving sites in the world. It is located in the province of North Sulawesi near Manado city. It has very rich variety of marine species with more than 2,500 fish species and 70 genera of corals. There are five islands in Bunaken national marine park, Bunaken, Siladen, Manado Tua, Mantehage, and Nain with 25 world famous diving sites around these islands. Underwater marine bio diversity of this diving area is very high.
At least nine thousand divers dive in Bunaken national marine park every year. With the number of divers coming to see the coral reefs there tend to increase every year, efforts to protect the underwater environment are needed due to frequent damages or disturbances caused by tourist divers and their guides, and boat manuevers in shallow waters.
In general, tourism activities might create damages which can be categorised as follows:

- boat collision with reefs
- pulling or disturbance of propellers on shallow seagrass
- diver damage
- anchoring
- pollution from sewage,
- pollution from solid wastes
- pollution from sediments during the homestay construction
- increasing number of fishing activites in supplyng the tourists.
On the other hand, due to its closer location to Manado city, the Bunaken national marine park is facing more damages from:
- urban coastal development which is not related to tourism
- river flooding
- pollution from the city
- poison fishing for ornamental aquarium fish business
- and etc.
Therefore, the protection of the diving sites of Bunaken must include the citizens of Manado and other nearby towns, the government and tourism industries. All these stakeholders must cooperate in such activities as cleaning up programs, waste treatment and the implementation of existing laws that have been intended to protect the national marine park of Bunaken.
Divers both tourists and guides are the ones who are directly in contact with the coral reefs. To prevent more damages to these diving sites, standard rules for the protection of above and underwater environment must be observe:
- avoid capturing, collecting, harvesting, and or disturbing any living natural resources in the NO-TAKE zones which officially been protected including the plants, animals, fishes or other marine life.
- practice body control and buoyancy to keep safe distance from life corals and marine life.
- never stand or walk on living corals. In case of strong current, look for large rock.
- do not dispose of rubbish into the ocean or onto the ground.
- When finding drifted plastic bags or other waste materials that cover the corals, please take them up as your contribution in cleaning up these coral reefs.
Scuba Diving activities should be seen as sustainable tourism industry which will support the protection and conservation of marine life. By practicing environmental awareness during scuba diving and snorkeling activities, we will be able to maintain and preserve this wonderful environment for future generation.
Photos in this article are taken from Scott Gietler website

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Pacific Islanders know how to built an energy efficient house

by Charles Roring

In the Pacific region where sun shines all year long, the need to create a house that does not absorb heat is important. If a house is made of concrete walls and metal roofs, it will be hotter during the days and cooler during the nights. Such extreme weather conditions make people who live in this kind of house cannot enjoy their daily activities.

Sea water evaporates from the Pacific ocean makes the surrounding islands always in high humidity. Therefore, house materials that are suitable for Pacific region are the ones that maintain temperature and humidity.
For years, the Pacific islanders have built their houses using sago or coconut bark that absorbs much of moisture during the rainy season and emits water vapor during the dry season. In addition, instead of installing metal corrugated roof, home builders use leaves (for instance sago leaves) as the roof materials for their house. Well tied and arranged sago roofs can endure harsh weather condition. The old roofs can easily be replaced with the new ones in two or three days working depending on the size of the house. Sago leaves roofs are sold in traditional markets.
Resort owners prefer to use sago roofs installed in the cottages to eliminate the need for installing air conditioning (AC) equipments. AC appliances consume high amount of electricity which is not always available in small islands. In certain cases, to provide electricity resort owners must run their own power plant. They do not like installing big diesel generators because besides they produce electrical energy, they also emits noise. Such noise is unwanted in a peaceful tourist resorts. The climate condition along the shore lines is very hot during the dry season, to make their houses cool, Pacific islanders construct their house above water or under the trees. By constructing houses near or above water, home owners who are also fishermen can tie the boats around a pillar thus making the house as a pier.
House design styles of low and high plains are different. Houses in higher plains do not have many openings in them. If built on the ground most of them have fireplace in the middle of the house to keep the houses hot whereas houses in the low land have separate kitchens built at the back of the houses.

If you are interested in taking a holiday in Manokwari town, one of the tourist desinations in the Pacifi region, you can stay in Kagum Inn. It is an affordable choice for budget travellers. The inn has 11 rooms. Each room costs 180 US dollar per night. Every room can accomodate 2 to 4 travellers.

The inn is located in Jalan Brawijaya (formerly known as Panorama weg) near SD Negeri 1 (formerly known as Klim en Daal). For futher information on the availability of the rooms, you can call the inn's manager: Miss. Ivana Roring.

She can be contacted at her mobile: +62 81 283 07 331. It is better to book in advance to ensure the availability of the rooms. Sometimes groups of 30 to 50 people stay and occupy all the 11 rooms of the inn. On the average the travelers stay for three to one week in the inn.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cleaning up bunaken diving site

Scuba diving is a fun under water activity. We can dive through colorful sea corals and at the same time see various kinds of ornamental fish.
One of world class diving sites is Bunaken. It is a famous diving site located near the Manado city of North Sulawesi. The Bunaken sea park is always full with travellers from around the world. Bunaken sea park is exposed to harmful marine pollutants produced by city dwellers of Manado. Wastes from the city drift to the sea park and cover many of its live corals.
City authority must take serious actions to prevent more destruction of the corals. So far, the bombing practices of the fish have been banned for years but the amount of waste from the city flowing out to the sea has not been reduced. It takes tens of years to restore the condition of coral reefs. Citizens of Manado and scuba divers can cooperate to protect the Bunaken sea park. Citizens should demand the municipality authority to install incinerators for burning the waste and produce electricity from it. In addition, the citizens must regularly do the cleaning up activites along the coastal areas of Manado and Minahasa regions and the nearby islands of Manado Tua.
Scuba divers can also be asked to participate in the cleaning up programs of underwater Bunaken coral reefs for lifting up plastic bags, metals and other waste materials that cover the corals.
Through this kind of cooperations among the government, citizens, and scuba diver tourists, we hope that soon we will be able to create healthier environment both above and under water. Eco-tourism which has become the goal of todays modern tourism industry will effectively be implemented in Minahasa region. - by Charles Roring

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


The sun was about to set in the West when I and Lucky Kaikatui, a Papuan artist, arrived in Franky Yenno’s house. It is located in Sanggeng area, Manokwari, the capital city of the Province of West Irian Jaya. The appearance of his house haven’t changed. It has a small room at the front. He displays all his artwork here. This time he could not recognize me anymore. Two years ago I came to his house as a tourist. But this time I visited him as Lucky’s friend. Lucky introduced me to him and I began to take pictures and chat with him. The batteries of my digital camera were nearly exhausted.

"Peace Dancing" carved by West Papuan artist, Franky Yenno
Yes, I used to visit him two years ago. At that time I bought a wooden plate with Paradise Bird relief carved on it and a sheet of batik cloth which he made. I was surprised to know that he could make batik. I knew it was a special skill owned a small number of Javanese women in Jogja or Pekalongan city of Java island. I found the answer two years later.
For me Franky is a prolific carver. Most of his works tell us about the daily life of the Papuan people, their houses, god (Karwar –symbolized by paradise bird relief), and their rituals (please see oil painting of birds of paradise). He put carvings on the floor and paintings on the wall. Similar to Aborigin artists, West Papuan artists do not use canvas but bark. The rough surface of tree bark is an ideal media to put paintings on it.

Wooden Statues and tablets carved by Franky Yenno, a prolific artist from West Papua
One piece of artwork that attracts me much was the wooden relief carved in a large wooden panel. After admiring it for a moment, I began to ask him some questions.
“What do you call this artwork?” I asked.
“It is peace dancing.” He answered while folding his hands on his bare and hairy chest.
“Could you tell me the background story of that dancing?”
“Sure, as you know, West Papuan are coming from hundreds of tribes. Sometimes they live peacefully but often they fight against one another. These clashes have to be settled through Hukum Adat (customary law). When they had reached peace agreement, they would celebrate it in a number of rituals. One of them is Barapen (meaning Bakar Batu – burning stone) ceremony and Peace Dancing. Here hand in hand they danced around and around like a snake. So the tribes who were at war could dance together hand in hand as brothers and sisters.
“Conflicts among Papuan tribes still occur until today besides conflicts with the central government-Indonesia,” I interrupted.
“We really need peace. Therefore I created this artwork to remind our people that we need peace to develop our land and to live side by side with other Indonesians equally.”
“Wow, it’s fantastic,” I said. “How long does it take to finish this carving?”
“It takes around one and a half month.”
“What is it made of?”
“It is made of Lingua” Franky added.
“Do you have any other activity besides carving?”
“I like to grow orchid. It helps me to earn a living when I cannot sell my artwork. You know, I need money to support my family.”
“I bought a Papuan batik painting from you two years ago. How did you learn to make Batik?” I asked again.
“Well, similar to Lucky, I went to Jakarta, Jogja and Bali. There I learned art. Trying to get as much knowledge as possible from experienced artists there, including how to make batik.”
I have visited many of West Papuan artists. Many of them face a common problem. They cannot sell their artwork easily. They are isolated from the outer world. The local government have not been able to create special website to promote these briliant artists to the world.
I remember Alfred Russel Wallace’s comments, a famous British naturalist – a close friend of Charles Darwin. Together they built the theory of evolution. In his book entitled The Malay Archipelago, he said that West Papuan were briliant artists. It was unfortunate for them to remain isolated from the outer world in today's intenet era. by Charles Roring

Health benefits of cycling

This document is a summary of some recent studies on the health benefits of cycling.

Cyclists live longer!

Anderson, Lars Bo “All-Cause Mortality Associated With Physical Activity During Leisure Time, Work, Sports and Cycling to Work” Archives of Internal Medicine Vol 160 No. 11 June 12, 2000.

This study took place in Copenhagen, Denmark over 14.5 years. It found that cycling to work (an average of 3 hours cycling per week) decreased risk of mortality by about 40% compared to a sedentary control group. This study involved 30,000 people. The study took into account age, health status, and socio-economic factors such as education. It also found that older people gained even more from physical activity than younger people.

The full report can be found at:

Lower cholesterol and less risk of heart attacks

Department of Environmental Protection and BikeWest “Cycling 100 Trial” 1999 Cycling 100 was a year-long program in Perth in which free bikes were provided to 100 commuters who volunteered to replace some car trips to work with bicycle commuting. The participants’ health was monitored before and after the trial. The study found that the cyclists’ physical work capacity and aerobic fitness improved. They also experienced significant reductions in LDL cholesterol levels (bad

cholesterol) and significant increases in HDL (good cholesterol). They also lowered their risk of heart attacks and strokes.

The Department of Environmental Protection:


Deterrents versus benefits

Ian Roberts, Harry Owen, Peter Lumb, Colin MacDougall. “Pedalling Health – Health Benefits of a Modal Transport Shift.” 1995.

Getting more people cycling as part of daily life may be one of the best ways to improve the community’s health and tackle sedentary lifestyles, according to this report. It details health benefits including lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure and reduced risk of heart disease and obesity. The report suggests that the physical risk associated with cycling (i.e. accidents) and costs of providing cycling facilities is far outweighed by the health and environmental benefits of cycling.

The study can be found on the web at:

Just what the doctor ordered …

British Medical Association “Cycling Towards Health and Safety” 1992, Oxford University Press: Oxford. This book highlights the health benefits of cycling. The issues covered include positive effects on physical and mental health, environmental benefits, and the deterrents and dangers versus the improved life expectancy that results from cycling regularly (eg, the ratio of benefit of cycling to risk involved is 20:1).

A site including recommendations from the BMA is online at:

Breathe easy

Van Wijen, Verhoeff, Henk, Van Bruggen. The exposure of cyclist, car drivers and pedestrians to traffic-related air pollutants. Environmental Health 67 pp 187-193

This study provides statistics on the pollutant concentrations breathed in by cyclists and motorists in one hour during the same journy at the same time and found that motorists are subject to higher pollution levels. Despite the fact that a cyclist breathes about two to three times as much air as the motorist due to physical exertion, the motorist breathed about 60% more carbon monoxide (cyclist: 2670ug/m3, motorist: 6730 ug/m3). Other pollutants all showed significantly lower levels in the cyclists. Physical exercise is also shown to assist in resisting the effects of air pollution.

This study was part of a European Commission publication called “Cycling: the way ahead for towns and cities.” which is available from

Get a buzz from a bike

Kate Mytanwy has spent many years working in Mental Health in Australia, and has written several pieces on suicide prevention and the promotion of physical activity for mental health reasons. Her article, ‘Get a buzz from a bike’, surveys both clinical and non-clinical studies into depression and cycling.

The full story can be found at:

Cycling and depression

Suzanne Fitzsimmons and Linda L. Buettner. Easy Rider wheelchair biking: A nursing-recreation therapy clinical trial for the treatment of depression

The study investigated the following hypothesis: Older adults who participate in a therapy biking program will have lower levels of depression than those who do not participate in a therapy biking program.

The design for this study was a classical experimental design with randomization, a control and treatment group and pre- and post-testing. All consenting residents were pre-tested for depression using the short form Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS).

The therapy program, called the Easy Rider program, was scheduled to run four times during the day with a maximum of five subjects scheduled into each session. The hypotheses, older adults who participate in a therapy biking program will have lower levels of depression than those who do not participate in a therapy biking program was accepted at a highly significant level.

The report of the study can be found at:

Monday, July 21, 2008

Riding bicycle is one of the ways to create low carbon society

As global warming remains an important issue in our modern society and efforts to reduce CO2 emissions are still not fully effective due to the reluctance of developed countries and new emerging economies to reduce their emissions, then all of as as global citizens need to drastically change our create low carbon environment.
There are a number of ways which every individual can do to participate in reducing CO2 emissions. Such ways are rejecting plastic bags when going shopping, cycling to work, giving up smoking, and eating with spoon instead of wooden chopstick.
By rejecting plastic bags, we can reduce the littering of our streets, beaches and backyards. By cycling to work, we can prevent street congestions and at the same time reduce air pollution. By giving up smoking, we can have healthier body. And by eating with spoon and fork, we can stop unnecessary cutting of trees and bamboos.
Transport vehicles are major CO2 emitters in the world. In fact many of our daily trips are less than two miles. This short distance is achievable through cycling. In some countries, cycling has become the habit of the nations but in many countries cycling is still considered or seen as poor living. This wrong perception has to be removed in every society. Governments and communities must take actions to encourage or restore cycling among the people.
Municipalities must include cycling policy in their traffic system. Extensive cycling network is needed to encourage citizens to ride their bicycles. Cycling network and parking facilities are very important for creating cycling community. In addition, combating bicycle theft is also another important factor in supporting and protecting cyclists.

Car and truck owners must limit their speed in areas or streets where cyclists are mixed with other motorized vehicles. To avoid accidents, more bicycle lanes have to be built or allocated in the land transportation system. Bicycle lanes do not have to be side by side with road and streets. They can go through the parks, shopping centers and even along the beach.

There are still many other ways where everyone can directly contribute to the creation of low carbon society and healthier environment. All we need to do is changing or transforming our lifestyle so that we will not pollute our surrounding and damage the environment.

Our education system has to be totally reformed to include or introduce individual initiatives in fighting global warming.

Children have to be taught how to ride bicycles, sort domestic waste. Teenagers can be oriented with cross country program where they can directly see the nearest jungle, river and beach; and cleaning up campaign has to be introduced in every community.

During the Soviet era, the ruling regime had their citizens go out to the surrounding environment and doing the cleaning-up thus creating a clean neighborhood.

The Netherlands although a crowded country has been one of the most prosperous country in the world through its years of sustainable ways of living. The Dutch have been using wind mills to pump out water from wetlands since hundreds of years ago. This country is an example of the best low carbon society in the world. Dutch people can also be proud of being the heaven of cyclists. Cycling has significantly improved the living condition of the country thus increasing productivity, more saving instead of unnecessary spending on fossil fuel. 
by Charles Roring

Cycling Can Increase Productivity

Cycling is a fun activity. If it is done regularly, it can improve our health. Our body will be fitter through riding a bicycle. The health improvement, we get, is shown in reduced obesity, improved blood pressure and circulation. Most of us know well that obesity has become a major weight related problem in modern society. Obesity is found among 25 percent of adults and 10% of children. Unfortunately, many people still think that cycling is only for children going to school or playing round their neighborhood. Exercise will shape our body. But most people are reluctant to allocate a specific time for exercising because they are too busy working or finishing their office assignments.
boys with bicyecle

Around 41% of our daily trips are less than two miles. This is considered as short distance which can be reached through cycling in less than 15 minutes. As a way out of promoting cycling in the communities, cycling has to become an integral part of our daily life. Governments must spend more money in providing adequate infrastructures for cyclists such as parkings, and cycle network. The investment government spend in supporting cycling will immediately bring results in the communities.
More people cycling on the road mean fewer cars on the road, and less air polution. Cities and towns will be calm and less noisy. Our plan to implement 60% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 can be achieved by cycling. Riding bicycle is a clean low-carbon mode of travel. Healthier bodies and reduced street congestion improve the productivity of a community. The Netherlands is one of the European countries that has been seriously integrating cycling in its transport system. Bike to work or cycle to work should be introduced to companies. Tax exemption imposed by the state will allow employers to loan cycles and cyclist safety equipment to their employees. In addition, cycle manufacturers can implement a special credit scheme to businesses so that they will be able to offer bicycles to their staff. This sheme will encourage more workers to ride bicycles to work. if properly implemented, more people cycling will help workers staff more money, create healthier bodies and increase productivity as well as improve living condition and the surrounding environment. by Charles Roring
Also read:
Mountain Biking in the Table Mountain
Dirt Jump Mountain Bike
Mountain Bike for Ladies

Sunday, July 20, 2008

An Affordable Inn for Eco Travellers in Papua Island.

photographer: Charles Roring

Eco-tourism is a booming industry right now. Many hotels and travel agents offer holiday scheme to far away places where the surrounding environment has not been disturbed by human activities. One of the places in the world whose environment is still clean is West Papua province of Indonesia. The capital town of the province is Manokwari. It is located in around bay called Teluk Doreri. Manokwari is considered an important town in the province due to its title as Gospel Town. Christian missionaries landed in Mansinam to preach Gospel or Christianity to Papuan in 1855.

In the middle of the bay, there are two islets, Mansinam and Lemon. They have beautiful diving sites around them with unspoiled marine life. Scuba divers can easily see various kinds of fish such as sharks, seahorse, dolphin and many coral fish around waters of these islets. There are a number of sunken ships in the bay. Most of the ships were warships which sunk during the Pacific War (139-1945) between American and Japanese troops. Scuba diving is not a common activity of the town dwellers who cannot afford to buy expensive diving equipment. If travelers want to scuba dive, they should bring their own diving suits.

There is a very affordable inn or lodge in the Town. The name of the lodge is Penginapan KAGUM. It stands for Kaki Gunung Meja or The Foot of Table Mountain. The inn is on Brawijaya Street (formerly known as Panorama street), between Padma 1 and Negri 1/ Klim en Daal elementary schools.

Travelers who stay in this inn can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the town. It costs around 18 US dollars per room per night. Each room can accommodate between 2 and 4 travelers depending on the size. Because it is very cheap, many backpackers can afford to stay there for days. Overlooking the town, the Penginapan KAGUM is constructed with traditional style. The design of the inn is similar to Minahasan traditional wooden house. Because it is located near the tropical jungle, travelers can ride bicycles along the road or enjoy bird watching. The jungle is protected by the law so logging and hunting activities are not allowed.

Any traveler who is interested in staying in the inn can contact the operational manajer, Miss Ivana Roring. She can be contacted at her mobile: +62 81 283 07 331. It is better to book in advance to ensure the availability of the rooms. Sometimes groups of 30 to 50 people stay and occupy all the 11 rooms of the inn. On the average the travelers stay for three days to one week in the inn.

The fuel of Biodiesel

Biodiesel has a natural lead for its development in comparison with diesel fuel. Its high cetane index, its almost complete lack of sulphur, is significantly higher lubricating capability and its built-in oxygen proportion of around 11 percent make it an intrinsically modern hi-tech fuel. An overview of these and other important properties of biodiesel:


The cetane index is a measure of the inflammability of diesel fuel. Cetane is a long-chained hydrocarbon with 16 carbon atoms and ignites particularly well under the influence of high temperatures and high pressure without requiring an igniting flame or spark. It is therefore an ideal fuel for diesel engines. A cetane index of 100 designates a reference fuel. The higher the cetane index of a diesel fuel, the better the ignition and combustion and the more regular and smoother the engine runs. Commonly available diesel fuels have a cetane index of 50 to 52, and values of 53 to 54 are achieved by the addition of ignition accelerators. In this, biodiesel has a natural advantage. Its primary components are similar to cetane and this fuel therefore has a natural cetane index of 56 to 58 and can easily fulfil the requirements of engine manufacturers for high-quality fuels with high inflammability without additives.


Whereas the sulphur content of lowsulphur diesel fuel is reduced in the refinery in a high-energy process with additional CO2 emission and a loss of the intrinsic lubricating capability, biodiesel is naturally almost free of sulphur (max. 0.001 percent and thereby at the limit of its detectability). This characteristic of biodiesel also allows the simple and optimum use of an oxidation catalytic converter.


The biodiesel molecule contains around 11 percent of oxygen. This oxygen contingent leads to an improved combustion and thereby to substantially less soot. The residues left inside the engine by the fuel are significantly reduced.



Biodiesel has a very good intrinsic lubrication capability. Trials have shown that biodiesel lies far below the values specified in the standard for mineral oil diesel. The so called HFRR value is a measure of the lubrication capability. In general, the lower the HFRR value, the better the fuel. Highly desulphurised mineral oil diesel fuel has an HFRR value of 500 or higher without additives, but the limit specified by the standard for diesel fuel is 450. Mineral oil diesel fuel therefore requires additives. In contrast, the HFRR value of biodiesel is approx. 200. Biodiesel is therefore suitable as a good lubricating additive to conventional diesel when added in proportions of only 1 percent. In the operation of an engine approved for biodiesel, the engine wear is significantly reduced. This is confirmed by the picture of a diesel engine shown adjacent. After approx. 15,000 service hours, the honing is still perceptible.


One great environmental advantage of biodiesel is its rapid biodegradability. However, this advantage requires particular attention regarding the stability of the fuel. If biodiesel is exposed to a specific "oxidation stress", i.e. high temperatures and frequent contact with (atmospheric) oxygen, or the influences of UV radiation or contact with non-ferrous metals, it ages faster than conventional diesel. In this case, the double bonds in the fatty acids of the biodiesel are broken and they react with oxygen. That is the starting point for the polymerisation of the fuel, i.e. long-chained molecules form which thicken the fuel and lead to blockages in the injection pumps and filters. To completely prevent this effect, which occurs only under extreme conditions, environmentally friendly additives are added during the production of biodiesel, so-called antioxidants.

Biodiesel based on rapeseed oil (RME) has a naturally high resistance to oxidation. This must be preserved for as long as possible. A positive side effect: this also improves the storage stability and thereby the storage capability.

Another factor which can have a destabilising effect on biodiesel is the presence of water. Because biodiesel has hygroscopic properties and actually attracts water, the biodiesel manufa cturers pay particular attention to ensure a very low water content. At the same time, this property means that the buffer capacity or the capability of binding water is significantly higher than that of diesel fuel. The occurrence of free water is therefore substantially reduced. Although it is biologically degradable, biodiesel therefore denies micro-organisms the basis for their development due to this property. Misgivings of bacterial growth in the biodiesel tank or in fuel bearing vehicle components are therefore unjustified.

It is generally applicable that biodiesel must be suitable for use in winter to temperatures of -20 °C (measured as the CFPP value) in the same way as mineral oil diesel. Both fuels receive additives to ensure this. Otherwise, an irreversible flocculation (production of paraffins) occurs in diesel fuel, which blocks the fuel lines, injection pump etc. If this happens, expensive cleaning is necessary. In contrast, biodiesel is only thickened which, in contrast to the paraffin precipitation of mineral oil diesel fuel, is reversible. When the temperature rises, biodiesel returns to a thinner state and it is unnecessary to clean the fuel system. Biodiesel on the basis of rapeseed oil has a CFPP value of approx. -10 to -12 °C without additives as a result of its raw materials.

A series of additives are used in mineral diesel fuel to achieve specific properties of the fuel. There are also properties (winter capability, oxidation stability) of biodiesel which can be improved with additives, but an "additive package" as those mixed with conventional diesel is unnecessary for biodiesel. In this relation, the use of biocides is often discussed because biodiesel is quickly biodegradable. However, these toxic additives are unnecessary because water is necessary for bacterial growth. In contrast to conventional diesel, biodiesel is hygroscopic. Water is absorbed at a molecular level by biodiesel, which prevents all bacterial growth. Practical and analytical results confirm that this quality parameter can be upheld through the entire marketing chain to the end customer. Due to the necessary repetitive alternation between summer and winter qualities, the issue of the water content does not arise in practice.

Although the density of biodiesel is slightly different from that of mineral diesel fuel, both fuels can be mixed in any ratio due to their similar chemical structure. The mixture is stable and cannot be separated by mechanical methods. It is therefore also impossible to extract biodiesel which has escaped to the engine oil with partial flow filters. The subject of mixing will have more importance in the future in view of the more stringent emission requirements of the EURO IV (2005) and EURO V (2008) standards. Due to the different emission effects, it will be necessary for new vehicles to detect whether biodiesel or a diesel/biodiesel mixture is in the tank. With the aid of the biodiesel manufacturers and UFOP and in co-operation with Volkswagen AG, a sensor has been developed which informs the engine management system of the respective ratio of diesel and biodiesel in the fuel tank. This m akes it possible to control the injection point and rate to a value most favourable to optimise reduced emission, an optimum solution to fully exploit the potential emission reduction of biodiesel in the future despite the constantly increasing requirements.

The typical odour reminiscent of chips occurring during the combustion of biodiesel is produced mainly when the engine is cold or in vehicles without oxidation catalytic converters. The components which cause the odour are unburnt or only partially burnt hydrocarbon compounds. However, the catalytic converters which are standard in new cars break down these compounds efficiently. Particularly the low sulphur content of biodiesel leads to a much improved conversion of toxic substances in the catalytic converter.

Due to the lower specific energy content of biodiesel, a slightly higher consumption must be anticipated. However, in practical operation, this is significantly less than indicated by formal calculations because other favourable parameters of biodiesel allow a more efficient operation of the engine. In fleet trials, consumption rates 0 to 5 percent higher than with the use of diesel fuel were determined. It must also be noted that the engines were optimised for the use of diesel fuel.

Biodiesel compliant with DIN EN 14124 has a flashpoint of over 110 °C and other properties which indicate a lower potential hazard. For this reason, it is not a hazardous material and its handling is not subject to the operational safety rules. This is a great advantage over mineral oil diesel in storage and handling. Refuelling of utility machines from canisters in road construction, forestry or in leisure sailing is therefore much safer. The same applies to storage and transport in these environmentally sensitive areas.

Source a brochure entitled Flower Power in

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The concept of Biodiesel

Biodiesel constitutes an easily handled fuel with a high energy density, comparable with that of mineral oil and substantially higher than natural gas or hydrogen. Biodiesel can already be employed in a thermal engine such as a diesel engine economically and highly efficiently for mobile applications.Biodiesel, which is sold at over 1,700 filling stations in Germany and Austria, is therefore a genuine alternative to conventional diesel. However, a complete substitution is impossible. It is estimated that five to seven percent of the diesel fuel consumption could be replaced by biodiesel production with indigenous raw materials. 10 percent is conceivable within the European Union. The biogenic fuel biodiesel is therefore now at the peak of all alternative fuels and, together with other concepts such as hydrogen engines and fuel cell technology, biodiesel will assume a supporting role in the mobility of the future, when the mineral oil wells have run dry.

The restriction of the potential quantities results from the requirement of crop rotation of the rapeseed plant. It can only be cultivated economically and within ecological reason every third or fourth year. In contrast with grain or maize, rapeseed is not selfsustaining and monocultures are therefore impossible.

Taking account of these requirements, a maximum potential cultivation of approx. 1 million hectares is ecologically achievable in Germany. Increases in the yield of oilseed cultivation and the reduction of the consumption of vehicle fleets is not taken into account in the estimated potentials. With the East European countries entering the EU, the potential area and thereby raw materials in the European Union will increase very significantly. Also, other vegetable oils can be transformed into biodiesel.

In view of the overproduction of agricultural products prevalent in our region, the cultivation of so-called regenerative raw materials for exclusive use in technology and for their energy opens a reasonable alternative to traditional food production for the agricultural industry. Instead of turning agricultural areas into fallow land due to overproduction, they can be used to produce energy. The cultivation of plants for their energy will then not compete with food production, an apprehension often expressed in connection with the discussion of raw materials. These areas will be available at any time according to the demand for food production - in contrast to permanent fallow.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Sharing A Bicycle

In European cities like Paris, and Rome, people can rent bicycles in the downtown if they want to travel around the cities by bicycles. The rental fee can be some euros a day. These bikes are also equiped with GPS devices which can trace the bicycles if they have gone beyond the restricted area.

Providing bicycles for rental in big cities, is one of the city programs in reducing air pollution and preventing traffic jams.

When we were young, we like riding around with our own bicycles. We rode around the neighborhood, schools, and towns. Sometimes we rode further away to the beaches, and foothills. We took for granted for the bicycles we had.

But in other part of the world, even a small bike is a luxurious thing. In Manokwari, a small town of Papua island, not all family can afford to buy a bike for their children.

Children who have bicycles sometimes have to share them with their friends. A few days ago I took a picture of children with a bicycle. A child who has the bike charge 5,000 rupiahs (around 50 cents USD) an hour as rental fee on his friends.

Such amount is considered expensive by these little children whose parents are not wealthy enough to buy bike. So, if they want to rent their friend's bike, they have to work as car or motorcycle washer. For every motor cycle they wash, they can obtain between 2,000 and 5,000 rupiahs.

Next time when we ride bicycles again, we can remember that there are thousands of children around the world whose daily night dream is having or riding their own bicycles.

view of Manokwari town, West Papua

If you are interested in taking a holiday in Manokwari town. You can stay in Kagum Inn. It is an affordable choice for budget travellers. The inn has 11 rooms where each room costs 180 US dollar per night. The room can accomodate 2 to 4 travellers.
The inn is located in Jalan Brawijaya (formerly known as Panorama weg) near SD Negeri 1 (formerly known as Klim en Daal). For futher information on the availability of the rooms, you can call the inn's manager: Miss. Ivana Roring.
She can be contacted at her mobile: +62 81 283 07 331. It is better to book in advance to ensure the availability of the rooms. Sometimes groups of 30 to 50 people stay and occupy all the 11 rooms of the inn. On the average the travelers stay for three to one week in the inn.