We have prevented 70 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere in the last year. Our island, Ilha do Fogo, in the Mozambique Channel, has been running exclusively on solar energy since November 2022.
Ilha do Fogo is a 42-hectare island off the coast of the Zambezia Province in Mozambique. The island is a safe haven for one of the world’s most vulnerable marine species… sea turtles. In order to protect Ilha do Fogo’s habitat, for all wildlife, we vowed to keep the island as low-impact on the environment as possible.
Many islands are powered almost entirely by fossil fuels, however, the environmental impact of producing this type of energy went against everything the Earth Legacy Foundation team is working towards.
Running Ilha do Fogo purely on solar energy just makes sense. We had already developed a number of solar stills to harvest fresh water on the island, so the transition to run all our energy needs on solar power was the logical next step.
We have proudly fully transitioned to 100% renewable energy at Ilha do Fogo.
A 120KW solar plant was installed on the island in November 2022. Although Ilha do Fogo has accommodation for guests in the manner of ‘floating’ ensuite tents, it has only recently opened up to eco-tourism. With the solar system currently operating at a fairly low usage level, it is generating an average of 6000 kWh per month. This translates to a reduction of around 70,000 kg of CO2 annually. However, it can easily generate 13,000 kWh per month to accommodate our guests on the island, which equates to an annual reduction of 156,000 kg of CO2.
Forming part of the Primeiras e Segundas Environmental Protection Area, it is essential that we protect coastal biodiversity and strengthen the resilience of marine habitats and species.
The island is truly a biodiversity hotspot and we aim to do everything in our power to safeguard its marine and terrestrial populations. Running on diesel-power energy goes against our ethics. Not only would this type of energy create a huge carbon footprint just in transporting fuel to the island, but would also emit pollutants, including nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, and particulate matter, which can be harmful to wildlife.
Earth Legacy Foundation has worked in Mozambique for seven years. Our projects aim to protect coastal biodiversity through community enrichment programs and sustainable tourism. At present, we have employed locals as guards for the island to monitor poaching activities and we aim to put some of them through official turtle monitoring training.
We are also creating various skills development apprenticeships to uplift local communities. The main efforts of our conservation projects are carried out on Ilha do Fogo, since it offers a safe space for nesting green and hawksbill turtles and foraging olive ridleys, and serves as an important movement corridor for pelagic species.
Ilha do Fogo’s guest accommodation was carefully considered to minimise any environmental impact. There are 10 tented suites sitting atop platforms that were built to ensure the existing ecosystems and vegetation remain intact. With each tent sleeping two people, we could feasibly have 20 guests staying at any given time. However, we want to keep guest capacity to a maximum of 12, ensuring our impact remains at a minimum.
Each suite is located a distance away from each other, within the natural clearings of our island’s tree-lined thicket, offering guests privacy and seclusion. The wonderful thing about this ‘glamping’ type of stay, is that you are truly immersed in nature. Guests have all the modern conveniences of electricity, running water, furniture, and plush bedding, while deepening their engagement with the surrounding environment.
We have opted to build only the dive centre and social area, from sustainable Msasa wood, sourced from Mozambique’s only FSC-certified company. And although WiFi is available, we recommend unplugging and savouring the restoring escape.
Ilha do Fogo accommodation is an integral part of Unfound Africa’s portfolio of unparalleled destinations and undiscovered locations. Each offering in the collection has been selected for uniqueness, inspiring guests to protect their biodiversity and culture. A percentage of the proceeds from all Unfound Africa bookings are donated to Earth Legacy Foundation projects.
You can read more about Earth Legacy Foundation on their website: www.fireislandconservation.com