Best Eco-Friendly Projects In Asia | Travel By Lightfoot
The innovative schemes that are helping to save the planet
Ridge to Reef – holistic conservation in Bali

What: Ridge to Reef is an initiative by Conservation International and partners to sustainably manage an entire environment, from mountains to the ocean, considering the needs of people and nature along the way. 

Small Steps: The tropical island of Bali is threatened by deforestation, dwindling fresh water and discarded plastic. Their Bali Ridge to Reef initiative integrates the Balinese beliefs  “Nyegara Gunung” (the belief that the mountain and sea is united) and Tri Hita Karana (God, people and nature in harmony creates a happy life) to further connect people to nature and encourage support for its protection. Since the project launched, one community in East Bali has helped save a 676 Ha of village forest through reforestation and sustainable management.

Big Picture: The blueprint for nine Marine Managed Areas across the island is expected to be turned into reality through endorsement by local and national government. 
Conservation International
A Liquid Future – surfing conservation

What: An NGO based in the surfing haven of Morotai, Indonesia empowering youth and women in sustainable surf tourism and conservation.

Small Steps:  Morotai has been recognised by many as the new ‘Bali’, due to its pristine white sand beaches with intermediate surf breaks, and unique culture, which includes surfing. Concerns around rapid tourism causing issues for the island weigh heavy the communities. Indonesian NGO A Liquid Future is making sure the local children have the skills that they need to be part of the island’s sustainable future. It is empowering kids – and particularly girls (who traditionally weren’t encouraged to swim) - with the skills that they need to embrace surf tourism. From lifesaving skills to surf lessons, to tech and entrepreneurship. 

Big Picture: Tourism can benefit small communities, but if done incorrectly it can also take a toll on their way of life and the nature they depend on due to habitat destruction, poorly planned development and pollution.

CI surfing


Philippines Blue Carbon Project - protecting the mangroves

What: Mangroves are one of the most carbon rich ecosystems on Earth. They protect coastlines from storm surge, provide food for communities, and remove vast amounts of carbon dioxide from the air. 

Small steps:  They have created Asia-Pacific’s first mangrove blue carbon pilot, which encourages people to buy carbon offsetting credits. The money that people pay for these credits goes back into protecting the mangroves. 

Big picture: Mangroves are undervalued and one of the fastest destroyed ecosystems on our planet. Conservation International’s Blue Carbon work is focused on creating pilots to demonstrate this value and generate needed impact investment regionally and globally. 

Conservation International


The Green Wall – providing water to communities 

What: The Green Wall programme in the Mount Gede Pangrango National Park conserves and restores forests so that rainwater can be captured and channeled into the rivers downstream. This fresh water is then distributed to the 10 million people living in Jakarta. 

Small steps: Five hundred people in Ginanjar Village of West Java had access to fresh water for the first time in November on this year, having previously laboured to collect it from far away sources.

Big picture: The Green Wall programme works hard to protect the forest through replanting and education. Over the past decade they have planted 135,000 trees to help to restore 300 hectares of forest and they have helped combat illegal logging through education and campaigning. 

Conservation International
Suggested Itineraries

From $5,870 pp

Ultimate Okinawa

Japan Asia

  • Relax on the white-sand beaches of Taketomi and the Ishigaki Islands
  • Visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Shuri Castle
  • Learn about the history of Ryukyu Island
  • Enjoy a sunset cruise on the East China Sea 
  • Snorkel above some of Japan’s most beautiful coral reefs

When to go:

ideal length 9 nights

From $18,400 pp

Ultimate Luxury In Japan

Japan Asia

  • Explore Tokyo’s most famous sights with your private guide
  • See Mt. Koyasan and Mt. Yoshino from above on a helicopter flight
  • Stay in a traditional rice terrace villa
  • Experience the Seto Inland Sea from a luxury floating inn
  • Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Itsukushima Shrine

When to go:

ideal length 14 nights

From $2,590 pp

A Journey Through Mystical Yunnan

Yunnan China Asia

  • Explore Lijiang’s network of flowing canals and vistas
  • Discover Baisha Old Town, one of the oldest towns in Lijiang, which features buildings from the Ming Dynasty
  • Witness glittering golden roofs at Songzanlin, prayer flags and scenes of 600 monks
  • Hike around Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the deepest gorges in the world
  • Visit Ringha Temple which is 700 years old and considered one of the first Buddhist temples in Yunnan Province, China

When to go:

ideal length 7 nights
Destinations Featured in the Article
Japan, Mount Fuji, Autumn Season, Lake Kawaguchiko


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