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  • Green Travel

    Global warming has been an increasing presence in the news recently, particularly with regard to air travel and the damage it does to the earth's atmosphere. With the news of climate change has come a greater call for environmentally friendly travel to protect the places we love to visit.

    Have you taken any steps to make your own trips more eco-friendly? Have you paid to offset the carbon emissions from your last flight, or booked a tour with an environmentally responsible tour operator? Share your thoughts and tips on green travel here!

    Related Stories:
    Visit the Go Green Travel Center
    Climate Change Travel
    Go Carbon Neutral on Your Next Flight
    Green Travel Tips
    Green Travel Resources
    Last edited by SarahS; 04-18-2008, 11:46 AM. Reason: Add new link
    Sarah Schlichter
    Senior Editor
    Independent Traveler
    www.independenttraveler.com


  • #2
    Re: Green Travel

    I have to admit I haven't been as conscious of this in the past as I should have been; I've never really sought out environmentally friendly hotels or anything like that. I did do a quick search for ecolodges in Morocco before we booked our recent trip there, but didn't find any in the areas we were visiting.

    I AM planning on paying to offset the emissions from our flights to and from Morocco once I figure out which of the many carbon offset companies I should use. I'm trying to find one that's reasonably priced and supports projects other than planting trees -- not that I'm against planting trees, but I worry that they might be cut down in a decade or two and not end up actually canceling out my carbon usage, you know? I'm leaning toward Carbonfund.org, but we'll see.
    "I haven't been everywhere yet, but it's on my list." -- Susan Sontag

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Green Travel

      My husband and I were in the midst of planning our summer vacation. We thought ... a cruise? Eh, not again. Europe? Airfare is too much and the dollar is too weak overseas right now. Asia? Not interested just yet. Australia? Too expensive. A resort in the Caribbean? We might get bored staying at one place. That left us with the good ol' U.S. I've been to a lot of places in the U.S., but never out west. And two years ago, my parents came back from seeing the red rock canyons in Las Vegas raving about how beautiful and spiritual it is.

      So I did some research. This adventure tour (and environmentally conscious) company called O.A.R.S. has tons of awesome multi-sport trips that include camping, whitewater rafting, kayaking, hiking, swimming and fishing. The expert guides teach the campers about the environment and area they are visiting as well as ways to travel while appreciating the environment. The pictures, itineraries and what the company stood for just blew me away.

      So, we're headed to Utah and Colorado this summer to raft and camp down the Green River and National Dinosaur Monument. We're spending four days outside ... 24 hours a day ... can't get any closer to nature than that. I am so excited to go to a place where I can just enjoy its atmosphere instead of getting in and out of a car doing touristy things that I can do in my own state.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Green Travel

        I would say that I'm quite skeptical of carbon offsetting "companies." Like Soliteyah mentioned, a lot of offsetting is done by replanting trees. That the trees will die or be cut down is an inevitability, so eventually the offset WILL be voided. Offsetting is also very difficult to quantify, and there are few if any market standards for the "industry."

        Being an eco-friendly traveler is some hard work B! I do reuse towels in hotel rooms though. That's a little something, right? And my next rental car will be a hybrid from Fox Rent a Car (Thanks IT for the 5% off bargain!). I think donating to alternative energy research comapnies is a more tangible thing we can all do as well!

        Cheers,

        Wacky

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Green Travel

          First get the Hollywood stars and personalities to travel in coach with the rest of us, and not on their private jets. That ought to save a lot more fuel / carbon emissions than telling those of us who have to travel for work to earn a living. Exactly why does John Travolta need to have a 747?

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Green Travel

            Originally posted by Goin2okw View Post
            First get the Hollywood stars and personalities to travel in coach with the rest of us, and not on their private jets. That ought to save a lot more fuel / carbon emissions than telling those of us who have to travel for work to earn a living. Exactly why does John Travolta need to have a 747?
            You definitely make a fair point here, Goin2okw -- a lot of stars are ridiculously hypocritical when it comes to practicing what they preach. However, that doesn't mean that the message is wrong, you know? I can't change what John Travolta does, but I can and should do my part to help the cause, even if I only make a small difference. Just my opinion.
            "I haven't been everywhere yet, but it's on my list." -- Susan Sontag

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Green Travel

              I was shocked to plug my recent flight from Newark to Tahiti (and back) into TerraPass.com: 12,546 miles and 4,892 lbs CO2! Plagued with guilt, I'm now considering making a donation of $36.95 to offset that. I had no idea so many options were available, actually, until reading the article on IndependentTraveler.com.

              So back to TerraPass...I was exicted about the free luggage tag I'd get as a gift with my donation, but then I was hit with additional guilt: "If you prefer not to receive the luggage tag, you can choose instead an additional 2,000 lbs of carbon dioxide reductions, enough to balance out about 5,000 flight miles."

              Sigh!






              Get a countdown clock!

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Green Travel

                Vacation rentals save me money and leave a smaller footprint. Green vacation rentals can be solar powered, low allergen, healthy homes that keep the planet and guests free from toxins. Eco Luxury Lodging has green vacation homes in the US and an ad/guilt-free pdf download of Easy Going Green Vacation Tips. The pdf was too big to upload here, so this is the URL http://www.ecoluxurylodging.com/pdf/...ation-tips.pdf

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Green Travel

                  I think this is a major ethical dilemma for travelers. Carbon footprints are mainly established in getting from one place to another via fossil fuels. The greenest way to travel, aside from walking and biking? I suppose that would be rail. Amtrak, anyone?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Green Travel

                    Avoiding flights and car rentals is part of a comprehensive approach to saving the planet. This article covers the options http://travel.nytimes.com/2006/10/15/travel/15prac.html[/font]

                    I use the 80/20 rule. Do what I can that's easy, ditch the guilt, save money. Leave the 20% that's complicated, expensive, confusing, and ruins my vacation to the big polluters like power plants and industry.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Green Travel

                      I think green travel can mean a lot. Whatever helps with the sustainable tourism when travelling.

                      Read some nice articles on this site http://gogreentravelgreen.com/ regarding green travel.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Green Travel

                        Yes i agree with you. Global warming is the issue worldwide. All huge factories are responsible of this critical atmosphere.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Green Travel

                          Bravo! It is important that we all begin to consider the environmental impacts of everything we do. Our family began thinking about this two months before we left on our annual summer road trip this year -- what could we do to make this type of travel more eco-friendly while still showing our girls the wild areas of the country? After all, who will be the next generation of conservationists if we stop traveling? How will we shed our provincialism and learn to enjoy the diversity of different cultures? We told our story with a blog and videos at www.greenfamilysummer.com.

                          The answer is to employ the best tools we have at our disposal now, and push corporations and government for the next generation of solutions. We used a hybrid SUV, smaller, lightweight, low-profile camper, solar & wind power (no kidding!), and carbon offsets to make our summer greener. Our changes netted a 70% improvement in gas mileage and a corresponding 40% decrease in CO2 emissions over our old ways. Since we were already more efficient than standard RVs (we had a small rig to begin with, getting 11mpgs -- better than the standard RVs 6-8 mpg), this would mean at least a doubling of mileage for most RVers. We avoided using a gasoline generator by employing a solar panel and a portable RV wind generator, saving even more emissions. Then we balanced what carbon we did emit with TerraPass carbon offsets.

                          The added bonus here? By using less gas, we're making the country more secure, and by using current technologies, we're putting Americans and others to work in green jobs in this difficult economy.

                          Check out our story -- I'm nearly done editing the summer's worth of videos into shorts. They include visits to three Nature Conservancy Preserves across the country, highlighting their good work in conservation.

                          jeff, sherri, winter, & sylvie wilson
                          www.greenfamilysummer.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Green Travel

                            Check out the carbon offset company before you buy -- make sure it is third party audited to be sure they're doing what they say.

                            Actually, tree planting is not used much in carbon offsetting -- the company we use generates almost all of its offsets by investing in wind farms.

                            Don't automatically dismiss offsets out of hand-- as with anything, you have to do a little careful research before you buy.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Green Travel

                              Green hotels seem to be the hot new topic for this whole eco-friendly movement. I'm from Chicago and about 45 min. west in Naperville is an eco-friendly/green hotel by the name of Hotel Arista that uses considerably less energy than a comparably sized building. They’ve also taken other measures to conserve that include carpet made from recycled materials, LED lighting, reusable laundry bags, etc. Pretty cool!

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