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Thursday, 31 August 2006

Newfoundland: Earth to Human - Page 5

Written by Christina Kay Bolton
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In July I went on a different type of tour of Newfoundland. If I had to put a name on it, I'd call it a “human-centered eco-tour.”  ‘Earth to Human’ was our theme as we explored Gros Morne National Park and Newfoundland’s Northern Peninsula, seeing breathtaking landscapes as well as visiting all types of sustainable projects from newly created ecological reserves to the lodges that thrive on the influx of tourism...


Day 7

In the morning we had breakfast at the Granite Café in Woody point and then drove to the Gros Morne Discovery Center where we heard a talk by Trevor Bell of Memorial University on climatology, the Dorset Paleoeskimo people, the Port-aux-Choix Archeology Project, and the effect of climate change on the people of the region. There was an abrupt abandonment of Newfoundland after over 900 years of habitation between 1,100 and 1,200 years ago. He explained that this population collapse was caused by a warming of the area, but it also allowed Amer-Indian groups from the south who were accustomed to warmer temperatures and less sea-ice to move in to the areas vacated by the more specialized Paleoeskimos.

boatA two-hour hike to Green Gardens took us to striking grass-covered cliffs on the sea, where we ate bag lunches on the rocky shore. From there, we were picked up by a fishing boat for a ride over to Trout River.  Surrounded by the strong smell of fish, we asked about the cod moratorium and what the crew was catching. The boat had a permit to catch cod, and when permitted, they could catch 4,000 pounds a day.

It was our last afternoon, and we were beginning to feel the week winding down. Dr. Michael Newton gave a talk about eco-psychology --- the link between humans and the earth and each other.  We then took turns telling the group what stood out most strongly for us and best illustrated this sense of “Earth to Human”.

Our closing dinner at the Seaside Restaurant in Trout River was excellent. The mussels were the best I’ve ever tasted and incredibly fresh. Members of our group who’d never been to Newfoundland were “screeched in” - that is, made honorary Newfoundlanders by kissing a cod and drinking cod liver oil and moonshine, for which we each received a certificate. I’ll definitely be sure to bring my “screeched in certificate with me next time I visit Newfoundland, if only to avoid repeating the ceremony!guides

Our diverse and knowledgeable group of guides were what made this trip especially memorable. Their insight inspired many lengthy conversations and they were able to easily answer all our questions, whether ecological, spiritual, or logistical. More than that, however, this tour was billed as a “journey into the self,” a goal that’s difficult to measure, but many epiphanies were mentioned in our closing circle.  This incredible trip had moments of wonder in both the natural world and in the pauses between the movements of Bach.

Though the landscapes of Newfoundland are beautiful, I was most impressed by its people – inn keepers, ecologists, bus drivers -- and their connection to their beloved homeland evident in the multitude of ways they found to try to stay there.  Hopefully, this tour will be the next sustainable success story in Newfoundland.


Details: Earth to Human: Horizon & Co.

Info on travel to Newfoundland:

©Christina Kay Bolton

(Page 5 of 5)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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