Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Great (Green) Escapes
Travel has the power to open our minds and deepen our appreciation of the world we live in. As we explore, it’s up to us to travel responsibly and tread lightly on the earth. You can make greener choices on your travels, and even have a positive impact that will last well beyond your week of bliss. Here are five ideas for your next green getaway:
Combine your love of travel with philanthropy by taking part in the ever-growing “voluntourism” movement. Imagine contributing—in a very tangible way—to the community, wildlife and environment you visit. The opportunities are endless. Protect sea turtles in Costa Rica, study climate change in Antarctica, survey coral reefs on a tropical island, or join a Me to We trip and help an impoverished community. We promise you’ll gain new perspective and make the world a better place.
The great outdoors beckon. If you’re yearning for both solitude and scenic splendour, pitch a tent! Explore natural landscapes, close to home or on the other side of the country. Bonus: outdoor activities like kayaking, hiking and swimming are all delightfully carbon neutral. Find a National Park, and for tips on camping responsibly, a bit of research goes a long way.
Short for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, WWOOFing is your ticket to an unforgettable farming experience. The program was founded in England in 1971. Volunteers work on an organic farm in exchange for room, board and farming advice. WWOOFers have given thousands of hours of assistance to organic growers, and WWOOF hosts have given their time and experience to WWOOFers in over 50 countries.
Have an appetite for adventure? Check out ways to learn skills such as mountaineering, climbing or backpacking. Many companies offer small-group tours to destinations around the globe. We love G Adventures and Natural Habitat Adventures. For more options, use the directories of The International Ecotourism Society and Sustainable Travel International. (While you’re there, read the organization’s tips to evaluate responsible tour companies.)
Have a staycation
Explore your own backyard. Not only is it less stressful than going abroad, but you’ll support your local economy, enjoy places and activities you’re usually too busy to appreciate, and save money on transportation. Ideas for local thrills: give your taste buds a trip (visit farmers’ markets, try an organic or vegetarian restaurant, or embark on a culinary adventure; visit a National Park, beach or lake; or start that garden project you’ve been meaning to get to. Being one with nature need not be too far from your own home.