Tag Archives: nature

Green Travel or ‘Greenwashing’?

Everyone is trying to cash in on the eco-tourism boom. Here are six tips to help you be a savvy eco-minded traveler.

As ecotourism has grown in popularity, many travel providers and hotels have jumped onto the green travel bandwagon while doing little to actually support its sustainable practices and conservation efforts.

Greenwashing claiming to be eco-friendly without making a significant effort to minimize environmental impact occurs in all industries, andtravelis no exception. A hotel chain, for example, might promote itself as green because it allows guests the option of reusing towels or sleeping on the same set of sheets for more than one night. But, according to the University of Oregons Greenwashing Index (GWI), this policy actually does very little to save water and energy where it counts on its grounds, with its appliances and lighting, in its kitchens, and with its vehicle fleet.

There is no internationally recognized group that certifies the environmental practices of the travel industry, so its mostly up to individual vacationers to make their getaways as green as possible. These suggestions can help you be a savvy eco-minded traveler:

  1. Research companiesthat market themselves as being green, advises the GWI. Can you easily find more information about the companys sustainable business practices on its website? Does it have a comprehensive environmental story? Is there credible information to substantiate its green claims? If not, let the buyer beware.
  2. Look for a seal or certification markfrom a recognized, independent third-party organization that specializes in verifying green advertising such as the U.S. Green Building Council or Rainforest Alliance and check with the certifier to verify the companys marketing claims.
  3. Ask tour operators and hotels directlyabout their waste-management operations and conservation policies, as well as the percentage of employees who are local residents and whether they support any projects that benefit the localcommunityor environment.
  4. Avoid tripsthat involve interacting with wild or captive animals, such as riding an elephant or petting a lion cub.
  5. Support local tradespeople and artisans,but dont buy products made from endangered plant or animal species or remove natural features, such as wildflowers, rocks, or shells, from the landscape.
  6. Consider purchasing carbon offsetsto minimize the environmental impact of vacation flights.

Find more tips atwww.responsiblevacation.com.

Written by Maggie Fazeli Fard. This post originally appeared onExperience Life.

Photo Credit: Trekking Rinjani/Flickr

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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Green Travel or ‘Greenwashing’?

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Remember that money Congress approved to rebuild Flint’s water system? Some of it is finally on the way.

According to the cover article in today’s issue of the journal Nature, the iconic reef off the coast of Australia suffered unprecedented coral die-off after last year’s record-breaking bleaching event. Now, as the Southern Hemisphere hits late summer temperatures, central and southern sections of the reef — areas which avoided the worst of last year’s bleaching — are in trouble.

“We didn’t expect to see this level of destruction to the Great Barrier Reef for another 30 years,” coral researcher Terry Hughes told the New York Times. Hughes led the team that conducted aerial surveys to document the bleaching last year, as well as subsequent surveys to assess just how much of that bleaching turned into dying.

Bleached corals don’t always turn into dead corals — some are able to recover when temperatures drop. Er, if temperatures drop. If water temperatures stay high and corals stay bleached, they will eventually starve to death. Without coral building reefs, whole ecosystems may disappear, along with the food, tourism, and jobs they support.

Hughes and his coauthors found that even corals in pristine, protected water were likely to be suffering from heat stress, meaning the only thing left to do to protect corals is, you know, address climate change.

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Remember that money Congress approved to rebuild Flint’s water system? Some of it is finally on the way.

Posted in alo, Anchor, FF, G & F, GE, LAI, LG, ONA, Radius, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Remember that money Congress approved to rebuild Flint’s water system? Some of it is finally on the way.

3 Ways Going Green Can Make a Significant Difference

The main reason most Americans dont live more sustainably? Many see it as either too hard or too expensive. Sure, it is easy to say buy solar panels and eat only at restaurants who have direct relationships with localfarms, but we dont all have that kind of cash. On the other side of the coin, going full-on zero wasteisnt a realisticoption for everyone either. So, how can the majority of us go greenwithout surrenderingto either extreme?

1. Take baby steps.

Baby steps are key to changing any habit, including our most ingrained, less-than-sustainable ones. For instance, instead of giving up all animal products cold turkey, choose to eat all-vegetarian meals for 3 or so days a week. Odds are, you can stick with this lifestyle change long-term, unlike an extreme experiment with avoiding all animal products, which 75 percent of people give up after a stint. If you do that calculation, a subtle, long-term change is more environmentally effective than an extreme, short-term one.

In your house, instead of worrying about not being able to afford solar panels, try making your house asenergy efficient as you can by replacing bulbs, reprogramingyour thermostat, and addressing excessive water usage and waste. Rather than deciding to only bike commute to work, start off by riding in on sunny, warm days and work your way up. Instead of going to the mall for new pants, make an effort to shop secondhand at places like ThredUp. You want your sustainability to become a integrated lifestyle choice, not a burden.

2. Support causes over products.

Great, you buyless-toxic, eco dish soap. That’s a good thing, but youll be disappointed to hear that those types of purchases dont really shrink your carbon footprint or offset climate change in any meaningful way. By all means, keep buying greener productsif you canthey are certainly healthier for your body and your immediate environment. But, many of us become content and complacent after buying green products, thinking we have done our small part in the challenge to salvage the environment. That couldnt be further from the truth.

Rather than solely using your purchasing power to try to evoke change, you are better off going straight to the source. Donate to causes and organizationswho are pushing the regulatorsthe FDA, the USDA, the EPAto make big changes that will improve health and environmentalregulationsnationwide. Continue to buy cleaner, organic products when you can afford to (they are usually a little more expensive), but make it a priority to educate, donate and push for change in our food system, environment and manufacturing procedures as much as you can.

3. Get involved locally.

Yeah, we love our glorious national parks, but dont you also want to keep your local environment clean and beautiful? Pay attention to what is going on in your community. It may be time to –gasp– go to a town hall meeting and pay attention to the initiatives and politics in your neighborhood. It may be a little less romantic than fighting for the great wild places of the West, but you can be most effective in creating change at a local level. Of course, if the national or state parks need your attention, by all means, they deserve everyone’s support.We need regulations and protections for all our environments.

You aren’t going to become a green machine overnight, but if you make it a conscious part of your lifestyle, it’s really not that hard. And maybe down the line you can buy solar panels and you’ll shop only in the bulk aisle and you’ll have a commuter bike and drive a Tesla. But, just because you don’t have these things shouldn’t stop you from embracing more a sustainable way of living. Every single one of us has a real responsibility now that climate change looms overhead, but moderatesustainabilityisn’t as overwhelming and difficult as you may think.

Related:
Being a Little More Selfish Is a Good Thing
Up Your Green Intake with Anti-Inflammatory Seaweed
How to Prep Your Body for Spring

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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3 Ways Going Green Can Make a Significant Difference

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Good news about CO2: Emissions from the energy sector stayed flat for the third year in a row.

According to the cover article in today’s issue of the journal Nature, the iconic reef off the coast of Australia suffered unprecedented coral die-off after last year’s record-breaking bleaching event. Now, as the Southern Hemisphere hits late summer temperatures, central and southern sections of the reef — areas which avoided the worst of last year’s bleaching — are in trouble.

“We didn’t expect to see this level of destruction to the Great Barrier Reef for another 30 years,” coral researcher Terry Hughes told the New York Times. Hughes led the team that conducted aerial surveys to document the bleaching last year, as well as subsequent surveys to assess just how much of that bleaching turned into dying.

Bleached corals don’t always turn into dead corals — some are able to recover when temperatures drop. Er, if temperatures drop. If water temperatures stay high and corals stay bleached, they will eventually starve to death. Without coral building reefs, whole ecosystems may disappear, along with the food, tourism, and jobs they support.

Hughes and his coauthors found that even corals in pristine, protected water were likely to be suffering from heat stress, meaning the only thing left to do to protect corals is, you know, address climate change.

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Good news about CO2: Emissions from the energy sector stayed flat for the third year in a row.

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5 Reasons to Go Green this St. Patrick’s Day

More common than a Kiss Me, Im Irish shirt on St. Patricks Day, the color green is all around us. Whether its the leaves in the trees, in your beer, or the scarf of someone sitting across from you on public transit, its hard to go a day without seeing green.

Here are five reasons to embrace green, not only for St. Patricks Day, but all year.

Physiological benefits

It has been proven that time in nature can help relieve stress, minimize depression and increase ones overall health. By putting down your smartphone and heading out to connect with nature, you can expose yourself to some much-needed vitamin N (for nature).

Even just seeing the color green can have calming effects. Its also been shown that people with a green workspace or bedroom have fewer stomachaches than those without.

Carolinian forest (Photo by Simon Wilson)

It helps landscapes and species

In addition to its mental benefits, connecting with nature is a great way to increase your appreciation for the world around us. Surround yourself with green by planting a garden, caring for plants indoors, learning about the plants around you, going for a hike or simply strolling through a nearby forest or park.

By thinking green and doing your part for nature, youre helping to conserve species populations and the land they call home. Volunteering or donating to help conservation efforts across the country helps conserve landscapes for future generations.

Its good for you, and its tasty too

Eating green is a great way to do your part for the environment and Im not just talking about kale. Eating sustainable produce, meat and grains, especially locally harvested, can reduce your carbon footprint.

It can help you learn

Research has shown that green can help with learning comprehension. Next time youre reading new material, try laying a transparent sheet of green paper over the text. Green is said to help you absorb material more efficiently as well as increase reading speed.

It helps power plants and our planet

There once was a time where all plants on earth were comprised of grasses, ferns and horsetails green plants that used chlorophyll to capture sunlight and turn it into food and energy. All these ancient green plants had cellulose or wood in their cells. Eventually, stems gave rise to wood, to trunks. This gave rise to the first trees and to forests.

These oases of green became the lungs of our planet. They became our rain-makers, air-conditioners, water reservoirs, chemical recyclers and keepers of biodiversity. They also became major sinks of carbon dioxide. By literally growing green, these plants formed the infrastructure for life as we know it today.

So this St. Patrick’s Day, forget the green-colored drinks and try going green in a new way.

This post was written by Raechel Bonomo, editorial coordinator at the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC),and originally appeared on NCCs blog,Land Lines.

Post photo credit: Clovers (Photo by wiseGEEK)

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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5 Reasons to Go Green this St. Patrick’s Day

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