Walking Japan’s Kumano Kodo, new funding for carbon removal, and the intricate world of artist and environmentalist Clare Celeste
Photo courtesy Adventure Travel Trade Association and Pacific Tourism Organization
Good morning. One of my favorite places in the Pacific is Japan. It is a beautiful and complex place; the eloquent and inspiring author Pico Iyer has said that he loves Japan for “its sense of scale, for all the things that are not said, for the quiet of its trains, for the bright blue springtime days.” Learn how to see it slowly with Country Walkers and read about significant new investments in carbon removal. As if these two bites weren’t inspiring enough, this issue also explores the work of our newest Artist for Air, Clare Celeste.
Insider Travel Tip: Experience Japan's Kumano Kodo with Country Walkers
Japan’s Kumano Kodo is one of only two historical routes that are UNESCO World Heritage sites in their entirety. (The other is the famed Camino de Santiago, which encompasses several routes in Spain, France and Portugal.) Part of the mountainous Kii Peninsula, the Kumano Kodo emerged from the 11th-century pilgrimages made by emperors from Kyoto. Far from the urban hustle, I recommend experiencing this route with Country Walkers, a company with 43 years in the business that has also been recognized by National Geographic Traveler’s “50 Tours of a Lifetime” and Travel + Leisure’s “World’s Best” Awards.
With Tomorrow’s Air, Country Walkers is adding a $50 ‘Gift of Air’ for its guests booking through AAA Auto Club Group to support climate education in travel and carbon removal with permanent storage. If the notion of communing with this sacred and ancient landscape of verdant slopes, lush deep valleys, and rushing streams that have been associated with nature worship since prehistoric times sounds good to you, look no further. Country Walkers keeps it easy with three to six miles of walking each day.
I am so happy to introduce our newest Artist for Air, Clare Celeste.Clare is an international artist and environmentalist whose immersive installations are evocative of our planet’s threatened biodiversity. Currently based in Berlin, Clare holds a Master’s in Public Policy from UCLA and brings art together with environmental advocacy, observing that “we have forgotten we are of the planet, made of minerals and inhaling the breath of trees. A liveable future is contingent upon healing this illusion of separateness.”
Take a minute to explore her elaborate biodiversity series - the intricate paper installations use hyper-saturated colors with many layers, some affixed to the walls, some delicately suspended with fishing lines. I think the end results are magical.
Carbon removal startups are building momentum with the help of investment from X-Prize and the Musk Foundation. Fifteen milestone winners were recently announced, with 10 from the Air Miners community you’ve heard me rave about often. I’m keeping my eye on 44.01 (turns out we can permanently store CO2 in peridotite as well as the basalt Climeworks does in Iceland) along with two graduates of Air Miners’ Launchpad program, TakaChar, and PlantVillage. See the full list here.
Carbon removal is also getting a boost from a new fund called Frontier Climate, which was set up by payments company Stripe Inc. (and supported by Shopify Inc., Alphabet Inc., Meta Platforms Inc., and McKinsey & Co.). Tomorrow’s Air shares the same mission: to aggregate demand and help scale innovations in carbon removal. Education and inspiration will be crucial, and this is a place where those of us in travel have a unique opportunity to lead: as travelers and travel businesses we already reach and inspire people around the world. Through Tomorrow’s Air we’re helping bring climate action forward in a new way while making a meaningful contribution.