Guess what’s turning 40? Earth Day! April 22nd is the 40th anniversary of the day that was founded by Wisconsin Senator, Gaylord Nelson, to draw America’s attention to the pollution of our land, water, and air. Now Earth Day is celebrated all over the world.
The U.S. Travel Data Center estimates 43-million U.S. travelers are “ecologically concerned.” So it’s no surprise that the travel industry is getting in on the green movement. In fact, the second annual Green Travel Summit will be held in Washington, D.C. in June. And as the travel industry goes green, there are more and more ways for people to help the environment while traveling. Here are just a few ideas to help you preserve Mother Earth: (Image source: earthday40th.com)
- Book your lodging at eco-friendly hotels using www.greenhotels.com as a guide. If going to The Bahamas, check into the Reef Atlantis for apartment-like rooms with eco-friendly appliances. For each reservation, $10 will be donated to the Blue Project committed to preserving the Bahamian coral reefs.
- If the option is available, hang the sign on your hotel room door that lets housekeeping know they don’t have to change the sheets daily. Most people don’t change their sheets daily at home, so why not help hotels save energy too?
- Whenever possible, do a walking tour. You’ll get more exercise while helping to decrease air pollution from motorized vehicles.
- Purchase electronic plane tickets instead of paper tickets. Southwest Airlines was the first airline to offer electronic ticketing system-wide.
- Visit a “green city” like Portland, Oregon; Copenhagen, Denmark; or Sydney, Australia. For a list of top green cities visit www.gogreentravelgreen.com.
- Grow more trees — Donate $1 to Avon’s Hello Green Tomorrow and a tree will be planted in the South American Atlantic Rain Forest. This could help remove 10-million tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Help get one tree planted for every eco-friendly shopping tote you buy from SKN at www.getskn.com.
- Find out about Earth Day events and volunteer opportunities in cities across the U.S. at www.earthday.org and www.earthshare.org.
These are just a few ways for you to leave as little impact as possible on the destinations you visit. There are so many beautiful places to see in this wonderful world of ours — let’s make sure they’re here for future generations. And remember: Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness – Mark Twain.
Kalin Thomas is Women at Forty’s Travel & Leisure Editor. She is also Senior Writer/Photographer for SoulOfAmerica. Before starting her own multimedia company, Kalin spent 17 years at CNN where she won several awards for her work as producer/correspondent for CNN’s weekly travel program, CNN TravelNow. She is currently writing a book about her travels. For more information on Kalin, visit www.seetheworldproductions.com.