Wednesday, April 30, 2008
In addition to solar-powered heating, the hotel is also a gallery itself, considered by many to be the city's most artsy accommodation. Complementary eco initiatives include a comprehensive recycling program, composting, various water, energy reduction and air quality programs, a towel and sheet reuse program, bulk amenities, and a strong commitment to organic and local food and wine.
The Hotel Association of Canada awarded The Listel the highest eco-rating of any Vancouver hotel - 4 Green Keys. The hotel’s restaurant and bar – O’Doul’s - is an active member of both the Green Table Network and the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program.
(Image courtesy of The Listel Hotel)
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
To keep you updated on the latest, greatest, green hotels, here's a run-down of the environmentally-kind hot spots that made the honored list:
Hotel Terra Jackson Hole
Arenas del Mar Beach & Nature Resort
El Silencio Lodge & Spa
Terra Atacama Hotel & Spa
Sanctuary at Ol Lentille
Six Senses Hideaway YAO NO1
(pictured right, courtesy of Six Senses Hideaway)
Monday, April 28, 2008
From the time you step foot in San Jose until the time you leave, 100 percent of the carbon created from your travel will be offset and commited to local landowners for reforestation in the Osa Peninsula.
Along the way, guests will catch a glimpse of the regioon's rich, biodiverse ecosystem via guided nature walks, sustainable jungle tours and participation in Lapa Rios Ecolodge's volunteer rain forest. After stays here and at Finca Rosa Blanca hotel, travelers will board NatureAir - the world's first carbon neutral airline - for domestic airfare to Puerto Jimenez. All transporation will be via bio-dieself fueled vans.
Rates, based on double occupancy, start at $2,500 per person.
Above image courtesy of Lapa Rios.
Green destinations exist everywhere from Alaska to Wales to your local
park; Greenglobetrotter.com is one online destination where you can begin learning about environmentally friendly travel options. You’ll find featured locations, such as Kangaroo Island in South Australia, Cavallo Point next to the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania. Additionally, there are eco-conscious product features—some include bamboo blankets and carbon-considerate
To read the entire article, click here.
And, to read any of the reviews Joanna mentioned, just click the links below:
Kangaroo Island, South Australia
Cavallo Point, California
Allegheny National Forest, Pennsylvania
Saturday, April 26, 2008
It only makes sense that some popular hostels would tout their green ways. After all, plenty of the travelers dropping by are keen on the environment in the first place, accounting for a large percentage of backpackers and other adventurers.
One Web site, HostelWorld.com, has compiled a list of their favorite eco-friendly stays. Check out the below listings for a peek into several international hostels.
Gyreum: Sligo, Ireland (pictured above)
Direct from Middle-Earth and nestled snugly in the Irish countryside, this solar and wind powered hobbit-hole is constructed from renewable resources, including sheep wool insulation and a "living roof.” Designed with a reverence to the natural world, the structure aligns to the dawns & dusks of the summer and winter solstices when beams of light enter into the great central hall. During the day, ocean-loving guests can carry their shortboard past the hostel's organic garden to some of the best surfing beaches in Ireland. Landlubbers can trek in their Birkenstocks across the rich landscape that inspired Yeats, searching the nearby hills for hidden pubs that serve their own inspiration by the pint.
Channel your inner Swiss Family Robinson with a stay in this state-of-the-art treehouse, overlooking the ocean and surrounded by white beaches, soaring waterfalls and bubbling hot springs. Operated by a vibrant artist and environmental protection group known as the Enigmata Creative Circle, the treehouse's existence and operation is a testament to environmental awareness, offering biodiversity workshops and conservation seminars. Visitors can dine in the outdoor garden among the blooming rain trees or spend an evening in the treetop bar and lounge, stargazing and moon bathing. Those seeking personal reflection can retire to the poolside poets' nook or the meditation corner perched atop the treehouse.
A chic, 3 million dollar hostel located within walking distance of spectacular sandy shores, Eco Beach YHA uses passive solar energy to ensure the satisfaction of both the environment and its guests. There is certainly no need to shell out extra cash for a tasty meal out at this hostel; an array of herbs can be picked right from the surrounding garden, perfect for experimenting with in the spacious, fully equipped kitchen. Wrap your leftovers up in recycled aluminum foil and grill them up for tomorrow's lunch before heading out to surf and paraglide along the seashore. The Eco Beach hostel offers its guests an elegant, earth-conscious experience sure to please all.
Hedonisia Hawaii, Hawaii Big Island, USA
Don't expect anything traditional at this hostel, as all accommodations have been fashioned from recycled materials and renewable products. A defunct school bus has been converted to sleep a family of four, a bamboo hut has been constructed with the couple in mind, and an old tractor has been renovated to house a lone traveller. Each sleep house has been placed strategically around the 3-acres of property to ensure that every guest awakes and steps outside to a breathtaking view, whether it is a gleaming ocean or the 2-acre volcanic crater located right on the property. But by far the most interesting view maybe found from the eco-friendly toilet which looks out over the jungle. Guests are encouraged to try their luck at living off the land, as gardens full of spices and salad greens make for nutritious ingredients. Hedonisia Hawaii Hostel offers the overworked traveller a rejuvenating break from consumer, mainstream society.
Reykjavik City Hostel: Reykjavik, Iceland
Iceland is a country steeped in natural beauty, from tremendous icecaps and explosive geysers to steaming solfataras and magnificent waterfalls. Reykjavik City Hostel, one of the capital's top hostels, has received awards for both its responsible treatment of nature and its excellence in service and quality. The hostel promotes energy monitoring, erosion control and extensive recycling services, while offering its pampered guests high-speed internet access, laundry service and fully equipped kitchens. Outside of the hostel, enjoy excursions to the beautiful Blue Lagoon, botanical gardens and tremendous waterfalls, all of which can be organized by a friendly staff at the front desk.
What else? Free parking for hybrids and a hazardous waste disposal drive sponsored by the City and County of L.A.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
At www.virginia.org/green, interested travelers can scope out the state's eco-friendly attractions, events, trails and more. Take, for example, the green deal section, which highlights money-saving trips by region, or the green restaurant guide, listing dining establishments like CROC's 19th Street Bistro - offering organic eats.
What qualifies as green in Virginia though? A light list is noted on the site, including the following mandatory (and slightly ambiguous steps):
- Optional Linen Service
- Eliminate/minimize Styrofoam Disposables
- Water and Energy Conservation
- Green Event
As always, however, Green Globetrotter salutes every project that increases awareness of travel that leaves a smaller footprint. Check out the site and share your thoughts. In addition to accommodations, you'll find birding trails, details of state parks, and even mountain biking suggestions.
A visitor of northern Virginia's Shenandoah National Park, I can attest to the absolutely stunning scenery and spectacular hikes that await outdoor explorers! (Don't miss Stony Man Trail.)
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
So... cozy up with your laptop and a mug of organic tea and get to reading! These stellar stories are sure to be a treat and are guaranteed to elicit some especially environmental thoughts between bike rides, gardening and soaking up the sun on this lovely spring day.
Ten amazing adventure lodges with a green conscience (USA Today)
Give back to the Earth (Budget Travel)
10 tips for greener travel (Fodor's)
Tour companies with a social conscience (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
Lodgers look to walk the eco-talk (New York Times)
Travel with green in mind (Boston Globe)
Fabulous luxury eco-resorts (MSNBC)
10 great endangered places to see while you still can (USA Today)
Some car rentals can help you go green (Chicago Tribune)
Peace Divedend: Unspoiled hiking in the Balkans (New York Times)
Pedal powered cabs to hit Toronto this spring (680News)
How individuals can buy carbon offsets (San Jose Mercury News)
Savvy farmers open the gate to agrotourism (USA Today)
There is such thing as an eco-friendly holiday (The Vancouver Sun)
Monday, April 21, 2008
Among the endangered, high-risk locations that suffer from natural and man-made causes:
- Peru, in danger of earthquakes
- Congo, in danger of civil strife
- Cambodia, a land of unsustainable tourism
One new book, "Disappearing World" by Alonzo C. Addison (HarperCollins, 272 pages) offers readers a glimpse of 101 of these "extraordinary and endangered places." From Angkor to Venice, Machu Picchu to the Great Barrier Reef, the number of quickly fading "hot spots" grows. This hardcover, coffee-table style book chronicles each. The only thing I couldn't find was whether the paper is made with post-consumer content and printed with soy-based inks. If anyone can clarify, please post a comment!
Check out your local bookstore or order a copy now (Only 5 available on Amazon at the time of this post) for $22.72 (MSRP: $34.95)
Saturday, April 19, 2008
A site I visit often, http://www.bedandbreakfast.com/, is offering a delightful treat between Earth Day (April 22nd) and Mother's Day (May 12th)... the donation of 10 percent from each online gift card purchase to the American Forests organization. The oldest non-profit conservation organization and world leader in tree planting for the purpose of environmental restoration, American Forests was founded in 1875 - a pioneer of urban forestry.
So give mom a low-carb(on) gift that's bound to be delicious. She'll be happy. Believe me.
Friday, April 18, 2008
A taste of what you'll find...
Yachana Lodge - Napo River, Amazon region, Ecuador
About: Yachana Lodge is an award winning, Amazon geo-tourism destination that inspires thousands of international and Ecuadorian visitors each year. ‘Yachana’ is an indigenous Quechua word that means ‘a place for learning’, which is the best description of what we do; Yachana Lodge truly is a window into the world of Ecuador's rainforest, its immense biodiversity, fragile ecosystems, and unique cultures.
Activities (all included) during your stay include: Guided rainforest tours, participating in a traditional healer ceremony, wildlife viewing, cooking classes, craft making, and exploration of the phenomenal cultural and natural resources that surround Yachana.
Trip Includes: Three nights and four days accommodation for two people, all meals, and all activities during your stay.
Retail value: $960
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
The "national mark of excellence in enegy efficiency," ENERGY STAR certified buildings use nearly 40 percent less energy than average builidings, and at the same time emit 35 percent less carbon dioxide.
Driven by Orbitz's company wide campaign, Protect Planet Earth, this is only one aspect that appeals to the green globetrotter within. Says Bob Meyers, principal deputy assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation, "The ability to search for ENERGY STAR qualified hotels makes it even easier for travelers to save energy and protect the environment."
And at the end of the day, isn't that what it all boils down to?
Monday, April 14, 2008
In a recent poll of over 1,400 U.S. adults, the following were most desired as voluntourism destinations:
- Africa (17%)
- East Asia (12%)
- South America (9%)
- Mexico (8%)
- Western Europe (8%)
- Eastern Europe (7%)
- Central America (6%)
- Pacific Islands (5%)
- Australia (4%)
- Middle East (3%)
What do you think? My vote is currently with Central America since I'd love some one-on-one time with those sloths and parrots.
An interesting finding worth noting is the fact that age is a major determining factor in time available for volunteering. Twenty-nine percent of Gen Xers opted for one week trips, while a lesser 23 percent of Baby Boomers voted for a one-week stay. Retirees, and Generation Y, however, opted for many weeks or an entire summer trip.
It's easy to understand... many Generation Yers are in college with time to spare, while retirees also have less work commitments than working Boomers or Gen X. As corporate advocacy catches on allowing paid leaves for international voluntourism (as some companies already promote), perhaps we'll see these statistics change.
Unforgettable eco vacations (Positively Green) PDF
E101: Los Angeles, CA (Go Live Give) Video
Going green in wine country (Conde Nast Traveler - Concierge)
Mini-bars go green (USA Today)
10 ways hotel guests can make a difference (Leesburg Today)
20 sustainable steps to travel abroad (Go Green Travel Green)
Sunday, April 13, 2008
“Horseback riding is a highlight of the ranch experience for many guests, and yet the typical program has the potential to disturb wildlife, erode trails and spread invasive weeds,” says Ryan Bell, assistant manager for the luxe eco-lodge. “Those negative aspects weren’t in keeping with our overall objectives, so we were inspired to figure out how to bring our equestrian program into the fold of the lodge’s eco-mission.”
And so he did. Over the past three years The Lodge at Sun Ranch has been building a horseback riding opportunity that doubles as an innovative green program.
Featuring a “leave no trace” approach to horsemanship means riders follow designated trails and pack everything in and out. Trails are carefully chosen under consultation with the ranch‘s wildlife biologist for sensitivity to such issues as riparian zones and wildlife migration, and are rotated to reduce impact.
In fact, the lodge has gone as far as to utilize "recycled" horses. You read that right - in 2007, a program was launched that adopted mustangs trained by inmates of the Wyoming state prison. Dubbed the "Honor Farm", the inmate-fueled program houses wild horses otherwise held in crowded federal holding facilities.
Once trained, the horses tour guests through the wildlife laden Madison River Valley country on adventures such as the "ride and fish" offer that offers up a gourmet lunch and fishing on a private alpine lake. If fishing isn't your game, you could always grab a cocktail and hop on a horse for a sunet wagon ride - clopping about with a naturalist guest speaker.
For the complete scoop on packages and rates, go to http://www.sunranchlodge.com/.
Image courtesy of Sun Ranch Lodge.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Have you checked out Amazon's Green section lately? I didn't even know it existed... a smart compilation of eco-friendly products that includes travel electronics, on-the-go snacks and handy sporting gear like the Gaiam "Everything Fits" Eco-Friendly Recycled Gym Bag ($47.98) and Sigg "Jagged" lifestyle, alumninum bottle ($21.99), both shown above.
New to the site, however, is the "Green 3" - a place where Amazon users can rank their favorite three green products as suggestions for other environmentally-focused shoppers. It's an interesting way to share your eco-minded genius, some might say, and also, a task that will likely keep you occupied for quite some time (scanning other user's fave green products is like getting the inside scoop from your clever neighbor.)
Take a moment to visit the site and tag your own must-haves. You can also check out the much hyped Amazon Kindle, a new paper-less, electronic reading device that keeps a top score on the green list. Hmmm... good timing on the roll out of this program, eh?
(Navitas Naturals Certified Organic Goji Berries, 16-Ounce Pouch, also shown above.)
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Marriott is trying to solve the problem - or, at least, make it easier to swallow (with a dose of credibility, too) with a recent partnership with the Brazilian state of Amazonas. Through the program, which brings together both the government and private sector to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, 1.4 million acres of endangered rainforest in the Juma Sustainable Development reserve will be protected.
Marriott has committed $2 million to fund an environmental management plan administered by the newly created Amazonas Sustainable Foundation. By year end, Marriott guests will also be able to offset carbon emissions generated from hotel stays by contributing to the fund.
But don't feel TOO bad about your personal carbon footprint; Marriott has released the calculations of their own global footprint - 2.9 million metric tons of CO2 emissions annually. Ouch.
To learn more about Marriott's applaudable green initiatives, click here.
Says J.W. Marriott, Jr., chairman and CEO of the company, "We believe the future of business is green... because we're all guests on this planet." Not bad, huh?
Image courtesy of Marriott
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
A recent article in PRWeek, titled "Everything's Going Green" stated the obvious with the addition of solid facts, ending with the following summary of the "interest explosion of 'green' topics."
I'm proud to be included as one of the recognized among hundreds of amazing, green resources.
It seems as if nothing has been forgotten when it comes to “green.” A tiny
sampling of the hundreds of blogs reveals the following titles: Lean Green
Family, The Not Quite Crunchy Parent, Great Green Shoes, Wearing the Future,
Green Globetrotter, and Eco-Chic Weddings.
As always, safe travels!
To combat the problem, rechargeable batteries were introduced. (Did these ever really catch on?) And now, a better solution yet... one that doesn't require lugging around a plug-in, battery re-charging system. They're called USBCell and they are perfectly normal batteries that re-charge when plugged into a USB port. You know what that means - one less device to stuff into the carry-on, with your laptop serving dual purposes.
With only five hours of charging these Nickel Metal Hyrdride batteries provide at least 90 percent of their full power again, and again, and again.
Pricing for a two-pack of AA batteries: US $17.50.
And, soon to be available, size AAA, C and D batteries, 9V batteries and mobile phone batteries (we're definitely keeping an eye open for this one!), as well as "fashion" batteries that are clothed in a range of pastel shades.
Image courtesy of USBCELL
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Made from a retrofitted Toyota Highlander Hybrid, this one-of-a-kind climber cost a pretty $70,000 for the world's firsts carbon-neutral travel company, Natural Habitat Adventures.
- Four-wheel drive
- Enhanced suspension
- Specialized photography windows
- Sliding canvas roof for wildlife viewing
Photo courtesy of Glen Delman
Monday, April 7, 2008
One of my favorite resources for eco-tours and lodging is Sustainable Travel International's online directory, found here. From A (Alaska!) to Z (Zip-lining!), there are plenty of choices for selective globetrotters.
Some other simple suggestions for summer travel:
- Utilize mass transportation when available (In Europe, trains are a great way to get around.)
- Buy local, fair trade products and souvenirs when traveling. Not only will you be scoring beautiful buys, you'll be supporting the local economy.
- Be an alternative traveler. Ask for hybrids at the car rental, use solar-power charges to juice up your devices, and pack additional reusable bags for your return home so you don't rely on plastic or paper.
- Consider volunteering. Voluntoursim devotes one day (or every day) of a vacation to giving back to the local community. One recent example is the launch of The Ritz-Carlton's "Give Back Getaways", featured in USA Today.
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Featuring 100 lodging options, the book will explore all aspects of each green destination - from supporting local communities, handling poverty-stricken areas, and the politics surrounding certain ecologically-devastated destinations - in various independent reviews. Regions covered include: North America and the Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, Asia and Australia.
Paperback, 320 pages.
To read my review on Lonely Planet's green travel guide, click here.
Money-saving tip: Pre-order "Green Travel: The World's Best Eco-Lodges & Earth-Friendly Hotels" now at Amazon.com and save 5 percent off the listed price (currently $14.93.)
Saturday, April 5, 2008
More info at www.kosraevillage.com.
Money-saving tip: oceanearth's 501(c)(3) non-profit status allows US residents participating in the project to deduct some or all of the related expenses (including travel), so divers can enjoy Kosrae's pristine reefs and crystal clear waterways without the added stress of a costly getaway.
Friday, April 4, 2008
Green summer fun in Santa Cruz County (The Mercury News)
Green hotels/resorts reach out to travelers (The Raw)
Saving money and the planet (San Francisco Chronicle)
Green City Guide: Gay Browne (Sprig)
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
It's for that reason that I'm thanking my lucky stars for solar-powered gadgetry like those shown below. Need to make a quick call when you've reached the summit of your mid-day hike? Or maybe you could really use that GPS unit as you cycle past the same fern... for the fifth time.
If you're a gear-toting globetrotter, you'll definitely want to check out these sunny options:
Universal portable cell phone charger
And that's not all... this sleek charger will power up your MP3 player, PDA, Gameboy or digital cam for a cool $100. (The pink charger is currently on sale for $80 at Target.com.) Granting the same charge-power as a wall adapter, the Solio "hybrid" charger stores energy for a full year before starting to fade. According to the site, one one of sunshine is equivalent to 20 minutes of talk time or 50 minutes of streaming tunes.
Backpack in solar style
Ideal for long hikes or winding, uphill biking, this lightweight backpack by Voltaic doubles as a four-watt charger for portable travel gear. Crafted of fabric made from recycled soda bottles (and currently available in a limited-edition tan shade). Packaged with 11 adaptors, this is one handy knapsack for carrying your precious, electronic cargo. You didn't think it was cheap, did you? Prices start at $199.
A flashlight that gives back
The BoGo flashlight is exactly what you'll need when the sun sets. Best of all, when you purchase one online for $25 (in orange or pink), another will be donated to an individual or family in need when you choose the charity of your choice. Details here.
What better way to combine both loves than to create the perfect escape - an eco-friendly vacation home? If Tradition Hilton Head, South Carolina is your ideal destination, and your grandmother hasn't recently left you a hefty inheritance, you might be interested to hear about HGTV's first ever "Green Home Giveaway."
Like the usual HGTV contest, it's an online opportunity to win a dream home (as well as a GMC Yukon Hybrid to park in the driveway!) by simply entering on the Web site daily. Certified by LEED for Homes, and decked out with the latest in environmentally-conscious appliances, furniture, building materials and powering, this lovely house is a gleaming showcase of lifestyle-friendly, green technologies.
Want to call this eco-escape YOURS? Enter to win now until May 9th at http://www.hgtv.com/.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Says Austin-Lehman Adventures tour operator Director, Dan Austin, "While it is estimated that fewer than 10 percent of national park visitors venture more than a mile from their vehicle, many popular trails still resemble a freeway at rush hour."
Want to steal some alone time with Mother Nature? Try one of these little-known favorite trails on the western half of the states... and then keep the secret to yourself!
Grand Canyon NP - South Kaibab Trail
Avoid the more crowded Bright Angel Trail; hike the South Kaibab Trail, the only trail in the park that so dramatically holds true to a ridgeline descent thus offering the best views.
Yosemite NP - Pohono Trail (Taft Point)
This trail leads to the top of Sentinel Dome, where you can scramble up to enjoy spectacular 360-degree views of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, Vernal and Nevada Falls.
Yellowstone NP – Bunsen Peak Trail
A gradual 1,300-foot climb up Bunsen Peak provides a panoramic view of the Blacktail Plateau, Swan Lake Flats, Gallatin Mountain Range, and the Yellowstone River Valley.
Bryce Canyon NP - Fairyland Loop Trail
This great, less-crowded trail takes you through spectacular hoodoos and scenery along the rim and into the canyon. It’s a challenging eight-mile route with many elevation changes.
Zion NP – Kolob Canyon - Taylor Creek Trail
Kolob Canyon, in the isolated northwestern section of Zion, offers a pleasant five-mile RT hike up an enchanting "finger" canyon that ends at the dramatic Double Arch Alcove.
Yellowstone NP – Wapiti Lake Trail to South Rim Trail
This trail follows Lily Pad and Clear Lake Trails to the spectacular South Rim Trail traversing a remote thermal area before emerging onto the rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and a breathtaking view of 308-foot Lower Falls.
Grand Teton NP – Death Canyon
Death Canyon is a magnificent vertical-walled canyon with some of the oldest rock in the Teton Range. Hike to the patrol cabin for a wonderful 7.5 mile RT streamside jaunt.
Crater Lake NP – Mount Scott Trail
According to Trails.com, “If Crater Lake is the scenic highlight of Oregon; the Mount Scott Trail is the ultimate hike in Crater Lake National Park.”
North Cascades NP – Easy Pass Trail
The Easy Pass area of this trail is believed to be one of the most superb places in the North Cascades dominated by extensive meadows with rare larch trees, crowned by glacial peaks.
Kenai Fjords NP – Harding Ice Field Trail
Starting on the valley floor, the trail winds through cottonwood and alder forests, passes though heather filled meadows and ultimately climbs well above tree line to a breathtaking view of an endless expanse of glaciers and ice.
Info on guided tours can be found on http://www.austinlehman.com/