We've all heard it said that there's nothing quite so educational as travel. Well, MOTHER EARTH NEWS' Tours expand on that truism, seeking out educational travel adventures that not only offer the usual cultural, historical, and recreational travel attractions ... but also provide a chance to meet with experts in fields that we believe will be of interest (and of lasting value) to our readers!
Checking Out China
For example, about the time readers received this issue, 32 of MOTHER EARTH NEWS' tourists boarded a Japan Airlines flight in San Francisco for the long journey to Beijing and southern China's semitropical agricultural regions. Once there, they studied—for almost three weeks—some of the intensive farming methods used to feed that country's huge population.
This unusual tour filled up within weeks after it was announced ... so we entered negotiations with the Chinese government to plan another such trip next summer. Our second excursion will visit China's northern "grain belt."
Brazil's "Liquid Sunshine"
Brazil is often referred to as South America's "sleeping giant," but during the 1973 OPEC embargo that nation's government was wide awake to the country's energy situation. Because the land has almost no petroleum resources of its own, Brazil began—at that time—serious research into the possibility of switching its gasoline and diesel vehicles to renewable fuels.
The Brazilian people have since made remarkable progress, and—from January 16 to February 1, 1981—you'll have a chance to see for yourself what they've accomplished on a nationwide basis, and an opportunity to talk to some of the growers, distillers, engineers, scientists, and government officials who are helping to complete the switch from a petroleum-based to an alcohol-fuel-based economy.
Since no trip to Brazil would be complete without a look at the mysterious Amazon, our journey will begin in Manaus, an old rubber boom town located 1,000 miles up this mighty river and in the very heart of the great South American jungle. From there, we'll move on to Recife, an old colonial city called the "Venice of Brazil," where large alcohol fuel distilleries will be in full operation.
Our next stop will be Sao Paulo, one of the world's largest and most dynamic urban areas. While in this friendly and sophisticated metropolis, we'll drop by the Volkswagen and Ford plants for a look at their new alcohol-fueled cars, and talk to Mercedes-Benz engineers about that firm's conversion of diesel engines to alcohol (and more recent experiments with other renewable diesel fuels). We'll also visit research centers, a small farm distillery, and a medium-sized installation that's experimenting with resources other than sugar cane for ethanol production.
We'll end our trip in colorful Rio de Janeiro. There, between sightseeing and sunbathing on the beautiful beaches, we'll learn about the projected ecological impact of the alternative fuel program ... and meet with government researchers who are involved in making experimental fuel from several kinds of exotic plants.
So while the Northern Hemisphere is in the icy grip of winter, join us on a sunny sojourn in the South American summer. The trip will cost $2,395 ... including airfare from Miami, hotels, land costs, and breakfasts. A $100 deposit ($50 of which is refundable if you cancel) will reserve your place on a tour that no one else offers.
Solar, Solar Everywhere
Israel also has to import all its oil ... but that tiny land's one great natural resource—sunshine—makes it a natural laboratory for the study of solar energy. And, because of the nation's small size, it's possible to see more solar installations there in a day than one could visit during weeks of travel in the United States. (Israelis, in fact, live with practical sun power as casually as we do with television.)
For that reason, MOTHER EARTH NEWS is joining Jordan College for our second solar tour of Israel from February 18 to March 3, 1981. The cost is only $1,545 (including airfare from New York and all land costs except lunches and dinners). A $200 deposit ($100 of which is refundable if you cancel) will reserve a place for you on a journey that provides both a chance to observe a nation totally committed to the use of solar energy, and a marvelous opportunity to explore its many historical sites as well.
A Solar Odyssey to England and France
Some countries to the north of Israel have also found the sun to be a practical energy source. From August 23 to September 6, 1981 we'll join Jordan College on an expedition that will combine a visit to the International Solar Energy Society (ISES) conference in Brighton, England with a leisurely tour of France.
Besides visiting Paris, we'll take our solar search to a variety of sun-powered installations scattered throughout the Gallic countryside ... into the Pyrenees . .. and, finally, to the stunning French Riviera. The trip is currently priced at $1,100, including airfare from New York and all land costs except for lunches and dinners ... and we need the same deposit as for the Israel tour.
A Scandinavian Crafts Tour
For the more artistically oriented among you, we're currently putting together a Scandinavian Crafts Tour (scheduled to run from May 5 through May 22, 1981) to Finland and Denmark. Don Wilcox, one of our group leaders, has lived and worked in Scandinavia for a decade, and—over the years—has interviewed more than 1,500 of its craftspeople and published 14 books on their work.
You'll have a chance to tour outstanding museums ... meet with craft guilds ... visit artisans (many of them Don's personal friends) at work in their studios ... picnic on the Finnish fortress island of Suomenlinna ... explore some unspoiled Danish islands ... visit old Viking graveyards ... bicycle through story book villages ... and much, much more!
If you'd like to join us for a very personal visit to these northern lands, send your deposit for $100, and—again—$50 will be refunded if you cancel. Because we'll be using comfortable, but not "overpackaged" accommodations, we'll be able to offer you this trip for around $1,850 ... including airfare from New York, hotels, land costs, breakfasts, five box lunches, and four evening dinners plus a welcome luncheon in Helsinki and a farewell dinner in Finland. (We'll even throw in a free visit to a Scandinavian sauna!)
A South Seas Seminar
We're very pleased to announce that, for our final tour of 1981, MOTHER EARTH NEWS' Ecoscience columnists,Anne and Paul Ehrlich—together with their friend and coauthor John P. Holdren, Professor of Energy and Resources at the University of California at Berkeley—have agreed to lead a once-in-a-lifetime expedition (from November 27 to December 11, 1981) to the South Pacific!
After flying from the U.S. West Coast to Tahiti, this entire "dream vacation" will be spent on the enchanted islands of Bora Bora and Raïatéa. There, we'll snorkel and study reef fishes by day, and—on selected evenings—Anne, Paul, and John will conduct seminars on food, ecology, and energy.
This incredible opportunity to enjoy a South Seas paradise and at the same time to work with (and learn from) three of the finest scientific minds around will cost about $2,300 (including airfare, hotels, and some meals). And although this tour is more than a year away, we expect the limited number of seats to fill quickly ... so send us your $100 deposit, and we'll return $50 if you have to cancel.