Green travel

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Travel is great, but how can we minimise our carbon emission and environmental impact?

The good news is that due to consumer demand (us!) green travel options are growing in 2008 and the industry is responding to the demand.

While many tourist operators classify their services as "ecotourism" there is a lack of certification for this so check out the bona fides the operator carefully.

Ecotourism Australia, which has been working on environmentally friendly tourism for 15 years, has joined forces with several nature-based hotels to form the Ecotourism Australia website, and a certification program to encourage the travel industry participate.

The certification covers 10 modules in three areas of sustainability: economics, the environment and a social dimension.

The program lists over 1000 products and has a global reach, which in turn promotes tourism in Australia. Eight countries worldwide have expressed an interest in also using the eco-certification globally.

Tips for a sustainable holiday (from wotif.com) include:

  • If you're staying in a fully serviced apartment opt against having your towels and sheets changed every day. Tell the staff that's what you want so it's clear.
  • Stick to your four-minute shower routine.
  • Where possible open windows rather than using the air-conditioning. Ceiling fans also use less energy than an air-con unit so choose this option.
  • In winter, put on a jumper before resorting to heating.
  • Close curtains to stop the heat coming in, or the warmth escaping in winter.
  • Off-set the carbon emissions of your travel or investigate public transport options.
    • Sites such as www.howbigisyourfootprint.com can help you calculate the carbon emission total of your travel.
    • Lastminute.com features a ClimateWise carbon emissions calculator, making it easy for users to offset emissions.
  • Get the train from the airport instead of a taxi, or share a taxi.
  • Whenever possible, take the stairs instead of the lift.
  • Turn electrical appliances off at the wall when you're not using them. Also, remember to flick the switches at home before you hit the road.
  • Hire a hybrid car

And from thetravelersnotebook.com:

  • Stay on the ground. Avoid using airlines where possible.
  • Travel in a group to improve the energy efficiency of your transit.
  • Shower together (couples) and when traveling in groups, put as many per room as you can tolerate.
  • Reuse!. Hang on to plastic water bottles and refill them. Use a refillabe travel mug for coffee stops.
  • Travel light. The mantra of all seasoned travelers also has an impact on your carbon footprint. Pack everything you think you need then remove half of it.r
  • Patronize eco-tourist locations
  • Buy local. Most regions in the world have home-brewed or locally-grown specialties. Research your destination’s agricultural strengths to plan your diet around what is already there, and not around excessive amounts of foreign produce.
  • Use Rechargeable batteries. Nickel Metal Hydride batteries (NiMH) utilize fewer polluting heavy metals than Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cad).
  • Use Non-Toxic Products. Many biodegradable travel products.

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