Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day

As I’m sure you know, today is Earth Day, which clearly lends itself to a topic that has been a large part of our life (at least in the sense of the media) over the past couple of years. Al Gore summed it up and won an Oscar for it, the celebs are all over promoting it (despite some decidedly wasteful habits), and the smart car-makers are cashing in on it. What is it, you ask? Green…Green habits, green lifestyles, and in this case, green travel.

Now, this…this is an uncomfortable topic for an aviation enthusiast. We’re not exactly the greenest people on this planet, and we surely won’t be winning any Nobel peace prizes for our promotion of green activities. However, no matter what your stance is on global warming, a few of these pictures show us that we, as a species, have a little bit of changing to do.

I’m not going to lie or be a hypocrite and tell you that I am the greenest of people. No, my friends, I am not. In fact, besides being a vegetarian, at best, I’m a mediocre tree-hugger. While I try to remember those “little things” that make a big difference, I certainly have a lot to improve upon in that department. This is why, I suspect, until recently, green travel is really not something that has crossed my mind.

Again, as awful as it is to admit it, I'm not going to tell you that from now on, I won’t be travelling via airplane, I will only stay in eco-friendly hotels, and raw vegetables shall by my meal of choice. Let’s get real—I’m a bratty American with an affection for flying and those little life luxuries. But I do believe that there are some small steps we can take in travel, just like in life, to make a big difference.

Here are a few small changes you can make while travelling to try to reduce your footprint while travelling.

1) Carbon offset fees. These mini donations can make a big difference. According to about.com, Delta was able to collect enough donations last year to plant enough trees to offset the carbon footprint of 2900 Americans over the course of a year. Oddly, 1% American airlines offer the service, but you can also purchase carbon offset from TerraPass through
Expedia, whether or not you booked your trip through them.

2) Unplug those chargers. If you simply unplug those electronic chargers when they’re not charging electronics, you can save up to 100 lbs of emissions each year!

3) Find and select a "green" hotel.

Also, if you're interested in learning more about green travel, Go Green Travel Green is starting a series today entitled 25 Days to Green Travel. Today's post, "31 Reasons to Travel Green in Pictures" was the source of the photos for this post.

And, if this beautiful picture of the Swiss Alps isn't reason enough to clean up our act, even if just a little, I can't imagine what is. ;)

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