Eco-Friendly Travel Tips

Tourism is one of the biggest industries in the world. Unfortunately, mass tourism is often fraught with potentially environmentally damaging problems and economics that usually send money spent far away from the communities where tourist destinations are located.

Thankfully, though, more travelers are seeking out environmentally friendly and ethical travel options when they go on vacation. I was happy to see an article in the Christian Science Monitor recently that offers some interesting information on ethical travel. The CS Monitor’s article also has an interview with eco-travel guru Ron Mader, of the Planeta.com website. Here’s a quote from the article:

“With certification of tourism products, they often emphasize the ‘eco’ rather than social [factors],” says Ron Mader, founder of Planeta.com, a website for dialogue among travelers interested in ethics. “You can go to a very expensive, foreign-owned ecolodge in Costa Rica. Next door could be a not-so-eco but locally owned place. Which is the better option?” Regional and national certification programs, he says, rarely address that.

When I lived in Honduras, Central America, I would always try and seek out small locally owned establishments within the community I was visiting. However, sometimes you just want a little more luxury than perhaps you can get from staying with a family in a small posada. So how do you keep your travel ethical in this case? The article states:

To help would-be ethical travelers find their way in this maze, publishers are offering their own ethical seals of approval in new guidebooks. Lonely Planet, for instance, in May published “Code Green,” an illustrated guide to about 100 “responsible travel experiences” on every continent. In June, Britain-based Earthscan published for US readers “The Ethical Travel Guide,” a global directory of tour companies, hotels, and other operations that benefit local people and preserve their environments. Planeta put out a guidebook electronically this summer describing ethical destinations identified after 12 years of research.

There are more and more travel guides coming out these days with info on making a responsible decision when you travel. The internet is also a great way to do research. Once again, Planeta.com is about your best bet for current info on ethical and eco-friendly travel. Let us know if you have any personal favorite eco-friendly and ethical travel destinations you’d like to recommend.

Have a great eco-friendly vacation!


Six Position Low-Flow Water Gun

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Looking to save water in the garden? Try out this low-flow water gun attachment for you hose. It has six settings, making it a versatile tool that will help you care for all your plants and landscaping!


Interview with EcoBabes

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The EcoBabes 2007 Calendar is on the way to a…store?…near you! Well, anyway, you can order it on the internet. That’s right, EcoBabes! The Climate Protection Campaign is responsible for creating this unique marketing strategy that will undoubtedly raise eyebrows and hopefully raise funs for climate protection. I understand that the calendar is more about profiling the work that these women do than anything else, so if you’re looking for swimsuits only, you’re better off with a different kind of calendar.

Our friends at the Renewable Energy Blog have an exclusive interview with Ann Hancock, the Executive Director of Climate Protection Campaign and creator of the EcoBabes concept. Here’s a little sample of what she has to say about the project:

“Ecobabes are passionate, powerful, beautiful women changing the world. The purpose of the Ecobabes calendar is to make climate protection visible, talked about, and attractive.”

Sounds good to me!


Fight Plant Diseases with Recycled Paper Compost!

Compost made from recycled paper apparently has the extraordinary ability to help your plants fight off diseases. Or so says new research by the University of Warwick. A team of researchers working under Professor Ralph Noble has done some interesting experiments recently that give organic gardeners and those who compost a big boost.

Ok, my first question is: where the heck is the University of Warwick? In the U.K. Oh, Okey-Dokey. Like all good Americas, I pride myself on my ignorance of other countries.

Anyway, back to the compost! Biology New Net reports:

“…..Professor Ralph Noble has recently shown that the use of composts can reduce the incidence of some important plant diseases by as much as 72%. That research, funded by the UK government’s Waste and Resource Action Programme (WRAP), found that the replacement of around 20% of the volume of soil or peat by compost gave major disease control benefits.

Professor Ralph Noble’s latest research appears to add another ecological benefit. Early results from trials with conifers using compost made from paper waste shows that it is providing much the same disease suppressing effect as green compost made from plant waste. This provides an obvious additional commercial use for the vast amount of paper waste generated by offices and homes. “


Artists, New Mexico Bioneers to Celebrate the Valle Vidal

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New Mexico is a state famous for beautiful landscapes and vast, unspoiled wilderness. Unfortunately, these natural areas are threatened more and more by people who want to tap small of amounts of oil and gas from these regions. Thankfully, organizations such as the Coalition for the Valle Vidal are working hard to protect these special areas of our country as a heritage for future generations.

There is an event coming up in Taos, New Mexico that celebrates not only the Valle Vidal, but also art. This event coincides with the annual Bioneers conference as well. The Bioneers are a group of scientists and citizens interested in sustainable technology that is based on nature.

“In concert with the second annual New Mexico Bioneers Conference in Taos, the Taos Country Club’s Gallery on the Green and the Coalition for the Valle Vidal will host “Abundant Life,” an art exhibit to celebrate the Valle Vidal. The gallery will display selected artworks for sale at a gala reception on Oct. 20, the first evening of the Bioneers weekend in Taos.”

Read more about the event here.

Also, here’s a small bit of info from the Coalition for the Valle Vidal website about what makes this area so special:

The Valle Vidal is a lush mountain basin located in the heart of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, in northern New Mexico. Donated to the American People in 1982, the Valle Vidal is managed by the Carson National Forest primarily for its wildlife, as well as its outstanding scenic and recreational opportunities.

The Valle Vidal is a veritable Rocky Mountain paradise, with abundant populations of Rocky Mountain wildlife, including mule deer, black bear, mountain lion, bald eagles, and native Rio Grande cutthroat trout. In addition, the vast alpine meadows of the Valle Vidal provide critical habitat for the largest herd of elk in New Mexico.