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The Best Apps for the Eco-Conscious Traveler

Image by AFP via @daylife

With the rise of ecotourism throughout the United States and the world, “green” travel has never been more in demand.  Ecotourism is the fastest growing sector of the tourism industry, boasting annual growth rates as high as 10-30%.

“Green” applications for your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch can help to conserve while you travel, with functions that track your CO2 emissions for your vehicles, identify organic and sustainable businesses in your location, calculate the most environmentally efficient route to your destinations and measure your green footprint wherever you go.

1.  Green Globe – Certified Sustainability

Green Globe is the quintessential green travel app.  It finds sustainable hotels, resorts, cruise ships, tours and conference centers and provides photos of properties, videos and links to help you book travel directly.   Green Globe’s website details travel sustainability certification and the rigorous process involved for meeting the “sustainable” criteria for the Green Globe Standard for travel & tourism – so you can be sure you’re getting the real deal in green travel.

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later

Cost: FREE

2.  Green Travel Choice

Green Travel Choice tracks your CO2 emissions, whether you’re driving in a car, taking the bus, flying on a plane or riding on a motor bike.  It keeps a log of your trips, travel distance and your emissions over time, helping you to choose your future “modes of transport” more wisely.  Green Travel Choice is also partnered with The International Tourism Society (TIES) who are known for their invaluable work in ecotourism since 1990.

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later

Cost: $1.99

3.  In Bloom: The Eco App

The “See Goodness Nearby” button searches for green businesses, farmer’s markets, organic restaurants, green supply stores, ecohotels, grocery stores and biodiesel electric charging stations – it even indicates businesses that are powered by renewable energy.  In Bloom was created by musicians Andy Ross of OK Go and Eytan Oren of Eytan and The Embassy, who wanted to find a way to “make it easier for bands to tour more sustainably.”  In Bloom is currently formulated for the New York City area, but expect to see new cities added in the near future.

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS      4.2 or later.

Cost: FREE

For those outside of New York City, GreenEco is a similar app that will work anywhere in the USA.

4.  This Is Green

Make informed and energy efficient choices with this green health & fitness app.  Save money on your energy bills, keep toxins at bay and fill your life with healthier, eco-friendly alternatives.  The app will help you find green products for your home as it imparts green tips and tricks for a more sustainable lifestyle.

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later

Cost: $0.99

5.  Green Genie

Voted the #1 Green App by TechCrunch.com, Green Genie is more of an educational tool than anything else.  The app has a green glossary, descriptions of various types of plastics and their recyclability, tips on how to save money when adopting a greener lifestyle, certified green product lists and a submission tool so you can share projects and ideas with like-minded techies at Green Genie.

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.

Cost: $0.99

Take an eco trip and better your world.

BONUS: If you want to go green all the way, eco-friendly company Vers makes wood iPhone and iPad cases, and even wood headphones. Wood is inherently practical for optimal acoustics and crisp sound quality.  Their products are made of recyclable materials, naturally.

Article excerpted from www.forbes.com

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The hot list: 10 hip and green UK destinations for 2012

Forget France; the UK is home to some of the coolest holiday spots on the planet. Whether you want scenery, natural phenomena or a dose of eco-luxury, there’s a British break to suit you

Not only does the UK boast some of the world’s most beautiful scenery, it also has wildlife watching opportunities galore and a wealth of historical sites. So why then, is the country so frequently written off as the ‘cheap’ option or the ‘green’ one? It’s both of these things of course but whatever you’re looking for, Great Britain has more going for it than flight-free and low-cost travel. ‘The only way to educate people is to do it in the location,’ comments Matt Spence, CEO of UK eco-tourism specialists, Natural Retreats. ‘When people see [what the UK has to offer], they start to understand.’ After a stellar 2009, domestic tourism has fallen slightly according to statistics released by Visit Britain, with around 96.4 million overnight stays taken by Brits in the UK last year. That might sound like a lot but it still represents a fall, with more of us than ever heading abroad.

In part, this is down to the quest for value (one of CheapFlights CEO Hugo Burge’s top travel trends for 2012) – with the UK often regarded as overpriced – but it’s also the result of a lack of knowledge about Britain’s beauties. Who knew, for instance, that the Northern Lights could be seen in Britain, or that the seas off the top of Scotland offer some of the best whale watching experiences in the world? ‘Up in John O’ Groats you can see the one of world’s largest predators (the killer whale) from the beach,’ says Spence. ‘There’s seals and you can go scuba diving to look at shipwrecks. What we have here is a pristine wilderness area that people really need to see.’ John O’Groats is the location for Natural Retreats’ newest venture – the retrofitted and renovated John O’Groats Hotel – but it’s not the only British destination that looks set to become a must-visit this year. From Cornish beach huts to Cambrian mountain cabins, the UK has something for everyone, whether you’re travelling with children or looking for a romantic retreat. We’ve rounded up 10 hip hotspots that offer combine chic surroundings with an emerald green eco ethos – and they’re all a short train ride away. If this doesn’t get you thinking about a British break, nothing will.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orchard Carriage, Somerset

Why it’s cool: One for locomotive enthusiasts and lovers of all things quirky alike; until the mid-1900s, the Orchard Carriage was exactly that – a train carriage on the local branch line. After being decommissioned, it was used as a storage container for the Village Hall in nearby Bruton before being rescued and restored to its former glory. Set in a pretty orchard on a biodynamic smallholding, it boasts sensational Somerset views, a comfy double bed and has its own wood-fired sauna. In the area you’ll find a wealth of walking opportunities, plenty of pretty villiages to explore and some wonderful old pubs. Try the Archangel in nearby Frome, which offers seasonal, locally sourced fare in a historic building – parts of which date as far back as the Domesday Book.

Green credentials: Owners Zoe and Jonno have kept fossil fuel use to a minimum by using a combination of solar power and a woodburning stove for heating and lighting. Outside, you’ll find a compost toilet and the aforementioned wood-fired sauna.
Find out more: www.canopyandstars.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Natural Retreats, John O’Groats

Why it’s cool: Surprisingly for a town that’s so well known, John O’Groats has little in the way of decent accommodation and even less going for it in the eco department. All that however, is going to change when Natural Retreats launches its newest property in June. In partnership with Heritage Great Britain, the eco holiday specialist is giving a green makeover to the historic John O’Groats hotel, with local materials and green construction techniques incorporated into the build. The most northerly town in the UK, John O’Groats boasts a wonderfully wild coastline, with plenty of seals, whales and dolphins to spot. If you go in winter, you might just get a glimpse of the awe-inspiring Aurora Borealis.

Green credentials: Like the rest of the Natural Retreats portfolio, the John O’Groats property will be run along eco-friendly lines. Locally sourced, sustainable materials and local craftsmen are being used to complete the refit.
Find out more: www.naturalretreats.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jersey

Why it’s cool: It might be famous for its golden sand and creamy milk but 2012 looks set to be the year that Jersey becomes known for more than cows and beaches. With a packed events calendar that ranges from the charming (Battle of Flowers) to the choral (Tennerfest), there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Other top picks include the convivial La Faîs’sie d’Cidre (Cider Festival) and the June in Bloom Floral Festival. Away from the festivities, spend some time enjoying the island’s balmy climate on one of its many sandy beaches or hire a bike and take a trip round the island using its ‘green lanes’, where cyclists have priority over car drivers. Also worth visiting is the magnificent Mont Orgueil Castle, which offers wonderful sea views and a network of towers and spiral staircases to explore.

Green credentials: Along with its network of green lanes, Jersey remains largely unspoilt and as a result is home to a wealth of rare flora and fauna, including a puffin colony on the Piemont Headland. Although eco accommodation options are limited – think camping – the island does have an Eco-Active scheme to encourage businesses to do more to protect the environment and biodiversity. The Radisson-Blu St Helier is signed up.
Find out more: www.jersey.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hebridean Trail, Outer Hebrides

Why it’s cool: A new experience launched for summer 2012 by eco travel specialists, Wilderness Scotland, the Hebridean Trail is a seven-day mountain biking trip through the Outer Hebrides, with local guides, ferry transport and accommodation all thrown in. The seven islands that make up the Outer Hebrides remain relatively untouched, with stunning coastline and plentiful wildlife spotting opportunities on offer. Among the non-human residents are the golden eagle and the red deer, and you’ll also get the opportunity to get to grips with the islands’ unique, Gaelic-speaking culture.

Green credentials: Carbon emissions are kept to a minimum with all transportation done by bike or ferry. Wilderness Scotland are also willing to collect visitors from Inverness station – the nearest mainline station to the Hebrides – which means you can leave the car at home and rule out the plane entirely.
Find out more: www.wildernessscotland.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hell Bay, Bryher

Why it’s cool: Despite the apocalyptic name, nowhere could be further from hell than the Hell Bay hotel, located on the glorious Bryher island. One of the Scilly Islands, Bryher is home to thousands of seabirds and boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the UK, along with the world-famous Abbey clifftop gardens on the nearby Tresco. Perched on a clifftop with spectacular sea views is the Hell Bay Hotel, which boasts an impressive CSR policy, ultra chic rooms and a restaurant specialising in local fare. Art lovers will adore the plethora of locally made artwork, including pieces by Barbara Hepworth, while for wildlife fans, the hotel can arrange boat trips and diving excursions.

Green credentials: Hell Bay’s exhaustive stable of green initiatives, includes everything from composting food and paper waste to eco-friendly cleaning products. Use of plastics is kept to a minimum, while old glass is crushed and used as aggregate. The hotel also encourages water conservation and uses recycled rainwater as much as it can.
Find out more: www.hellbay.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Culloden Estate and Spa, Belfast

Why it’s cool: With the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic just over two months away, all eyes are turning to Belfast where the doomed liner was built. The Titanic Belfast, a spectacular new museum and community arts centre designed with the shape of the ship’s funnel in mind, opens in spring, and will play host to a number of commemorative events, including the Titanic Light Show, from the 7th to 12th April, and the Titanic Proms on the 8th September. Away from the city, head to the Culloden Estate and Spa – a sympathetically restored manor house perched on Belfast Lough, five miles outside of the city centre. Not only is it within striking distance of Belfast’s nightlife and attractions, it’s a great base for exploring the surrounding emerald green countryside.

Green credentials: The Grade I listed house has been sympathetically restored using local materials and antique furniture, while the spa uses holistic naturals brand, ESPA.
Find out more: www.hastingshotels.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Potting Shed, Tweed Valley

Why it’s cool: If you’re the sort of person who escapes to the garden shed when the going gets tough at home, then the quirky Potting Shed in Scotland’s Tweed Valley could be exactly what you need. You won’t be sharing space with the owner’s tool collection though, as the former shed has been totally revamped, with an open-plan living space, a bright bedroom (complete with linen bedsheets) and wonderful views of the River Tweed, courtesy of floor-to-ceiling windows. Often overlooked in favour of the Highlands, the Tweed Valley has plenty for nature fans to get excited about, and there are plenty of biking and hiking trails to choose from. The pretty town of Melrose is within hiking distance of the Potting Shed, while a short bus trip will take you to the historic town of Bamburgh with its magnificent mediaeval castle and vast stretches of golden sandy beach. If you’re feeling adventurous, there’s also the chance to take a boat trip to Lindisfarne where you can take a closer look at the island’s famous gospels and the ancient ruins of the abbey.

Green credentials: Heating at the Potting Shed comes courtesy of a wood-burning stove and an ultra efficient Everhot electric heat storage unit, which also provides power for the cooker. Organic Sedburgh toiletries are also provided.
Find out more: www.crabtreeandcrabtree.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Beach Hut, Cornwall

Why it’s cool: Forget visions of candy-striped beachside boxes; this beach hut is more of a cottage than a changing room. Built in 1920, the grey clapperboard cottage is set in the middle of a 52-acre property near Bude and boasts spectacular sea views plus doorstep access to a vast sandy surfing beach. Inside, the single room cottage has a king size double bed, a small kitchen area and stripped back décor, with a wood-burning stove taking pride of place. Perfect for surfers, the Beach Hut also works brilliantly for wildlife fans, with trips to view the endangered Basking shark available upon request. Miles of coastal paths offer ample cycling and walking opportunities, while the Eden Project is within striking distance.

Green credentials: A wood burning stove heats the property, and although logs are supplied, you can just as easily use driftwood foraged from the beach. A hamper packed with local goodies, including Cornish sea salt is provided.
Find out more: www.beachtomato.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Limewood, New Forest

Why it’s cool: If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at foraging, the New Forest with its diverse array of habitats and carefully preserved coppices is the place to start. Limewood, an eco-chic retreat deep in the heart of the forest, offers bespoke foraging trips with resident expert, Garry Eveleigh. Expect to find wild berries, nuts and fungi, all of which can then be turned into something spectacular by chef, Luke Holder, on your return. If the thought of a woodland pick your own session hasn’t whetted your appetite, then maybe the idea of cycling, hiking and riding through some of the best-preserved ancient woodland in England will. There’s plenty of unique fauna to see en route, including red deer, fallow deer, adders, lizards, badgers, foxes and of course, the New Forest pony.

Green credentials: The Regency house has been carefully restored, with the environment in mind, while the restaurant serves up locally sourced and foraged fare. The spa uses British organic brand, Bamford, and has its own ‘herbary’, where it grows herbs for use in treatments.
Find out more: www.limewoodhotel.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cabin, Cambrian Mountains

Why it’s cool: Located in a pretty wooded glade, the Cabin looks like a cross between an old-fashioned pavilion and an ultra luxe garden shed. What’s not retro, however, is the ridiculously chic Moroccan style interior, which wouldn’t look out of place in a Wallpaper spread. What’s more, with hydro powered amenities, local timber walls and wood-powered heating, it’s gorgeously green. Nant yr Onnen also has plenty for bird enthusiasts to love, with edkites, cuckoos, woodpeckers, nuthatches, buzzards, henharriers, goshawks and sparrowhawks all to be seen from the kitchen window. In the surrounding area, you’ll find the Upper Towy Valley, with its myriad walking and biking opportunities, the Dinas Nature Reserve and the spectacular Carreg Cennen castle, which sits on a rocky outcrop that commands stunning views of the nearby Black Mountain and Towy Valley.

Green credentials: The planet is a priority for owners, Fiona and Tim, who generate their own electricity using a micro hydro generator, and use their own sustainable timber in their wood burning stoves. The Cabin also has a compost toilet, while water comes direct from one of the springs on the property and is stored behind the owners’ cottage in an old milk tanker.
Find out more: www.canopyandstars.co.uk

Article excerpted from www.theecologist.org

31 Reasons to Travel Green: In Pictures

Every green traveler has those days where she just wants to give up. Pollution, global warming, bad environmental policy decisions – how much of a difference can one person really make?

We’re launching our 25 Days to Green Travel series with photos that remind us why traveling green – and living green – matters. We’re going with the “a picture is worth a thousand words” concept. All of these images except one are from Flickr, many from amateur photographers. No matter what shade of green traveler you are, I hope these photos motivate you to keep traveling green. As I searched for these photos, I was reminded over and over that our travel decisions don’t just affect us; they affect people and wildlife across the world, and they will for generations to come.

The post wraps up with some truly amazing photos of beautiful places, people, and creatures around the world, so stick through the depressing photos to the end and you’ll be rewarded.

The Bad

Destruction of Wildlife


Oiled bird from Black Sea oil spill. photo credit: marinephotobank


Polar bear on melted ice near Barents Island, Norway. © Arne Naevra


Dead fish in a polluted riverbed, Buenos Aires, Argentina. photo credit: blmurch

Global Warming


Exposed coral reef in Gili Meno, Indonesia. photo credit: yeowatzup


Fragment of a melted iceberg. photo credit: nick_russill


Floating iceberg chunk in Patagonia. photo credit: lrargerich


Melting icebergs in Jökulsárlón, Iceland. photo credit: csproete

Water Pollution


Polluted river in Cambodia. photo credit: davilla


Man finding plastic bags in River Yamuna in Delhi, India. photo credit: Koshyk


Metal barrel in a green river. photo credit: jantik

Air Pollution


Taj Mahal choking in early morning smog. photo credit: mshandro


Beijing smog. photo credit: diggingforfire


ir pollution in Nova Scotia. photo credit: ojbyrne


Car pollution in Cremona, Italy. photo credit: Simone Ramella


Mexico City smog. photo credit: arndw


Los Angeles, California smog. photo credit: cwsteeds


Santiago, Chile smog. photo credit: philliecasablanca


One way to avoid breathing polluted air in Tehran. photo credit: kamshots


Plane pollution, Anywhere. photo credit: mshades

Forest Destruction


Deforestation in Guatemala. photo credit: Pati’s Moment in Time


Deforestation in the Amazon. photo credit: dgidsicki


Deforestation in Wakayama, Japan. photo credit: T.Hagihara

Waste


Electronics waste in China from the Western World. photo credit: art_es_anna


Chinese baby surround by electronics parts from the Western World. photo credit: art_es_anna

The Good

Preserve the Sites and Wildlife


Cliffs of Moher, Ireland. photo credit: atomicpuppy68


Mountains in Brienz, Switzerland. photo credit: pilou


Elephants in Kenya. photo credit: wildcat_dunny


Moose in Alaska. photo credit: Paul Resh

Support the Local Economy and Way of Life


Fish vendor in Seoul, South Korea. photo credit: neaners


Indian street vendor. photo credit: utpal.

Article excerpted from www.gogreentravelgreen.com

All the pictures above have speak a thousand words. The pollution will getting worst if we still haven’t aware of it and no action is taken.  Let’s do our part when we travel to other countries so that others can enjoy the amazing view as well.

5 Tips for Finding Vegetarian on the Road

This post is by contributing author Lauren Fritsky of The Life that Broke.

As a proud Iowan, I’m a lover of red meat; so, when I’m on the road backpacking, my biggest challenge is finding a steak that can compare with good, Iowa beef. Contributing author Lauren Fritsky has a different problem: finding vegetarian food while traveling the world. Check out these five tips for finding veg-friendly food on your next backpacking adventure.

“Do you have a vegetarian option?”

As someone who doesn’t eat red meat or pork and dates a straight-up vegetarian, I’ve heard a range of laughable responses to this question — everything from:

“Yes, we have fish” to “Just take the ham off.”

Sigh.

If you’re tired of dealing with similar confusion from servers who think that vegetarian means that if the meat’s white, it’s alright, try these tips for actually finding food you can eat on the road.

1. Find restaurants online

Anyone who has stood on a street corner in Asia and watched a shop owner kill a live animal might seriously doubt that vegetarian cuisine is possible in all parts of the world. But it is! Sites like Happy Cow let you plug in your destination and eating preferences to find restaurants around the world.

Veggies on the Road is another resource listing eateries across the globe that offer at least three vegetarian dishes. If you have some semblance of an itinerary, look up your next destination and print out the list of vegetarian and/or vegan restaurants these sites. Don’t forget to smile as you walk away from the cleaver-wielding shop owner to your plate of mock chicken with veggies.

2. Say it right

Some people are unsure of what vegetarian really means. The same goes in foreign lands where definitions for the practice may differ and language barriers can make it difficult to find what you want. This resource from the International Vegetarian Union supplies key phrases in many languages to help you find veggo on the road.

You can also use the Veggie Passport iPhone app to translate your food preferences into 33 languages.

So the next time you’re in the Czech Republic, you can confidently ask “Mate take nejaka vegetarianska jidla?”

3. Get aPPetizing

Speaking of apps, you’ll never go hungry looking for vegetarian or vegan food again if you have an iPhone. Apps like VegOut and VeganSteven let you find restaurants near you and even pull up the menus.

4. Don’t eat at local restaurants

Weird tip, huh?

If you’re having trouble eating meatless at the local restaurants, try hotel dining areas — even if you’re not staying there — and pubs.

Many people don’t think to try and dine at accommodations they haven’t booked into, but the public is free to eat at places like Marriot. Hotel menus often have a wider variety of options than some of the local eateries, including vegetarian, depending where you are in the world.

Pubs might also have bar menus full of non-meat fare. Even if you have to build your dinner by ordering a baked potato, side salad and hummus with bread, it’s better than nothing.

5. Eat what you want, where you want

Did you know that Minnesota actually has a law allowing anyone on a restricted diet to take their own food into any restaurant and eat it right there? Individuals can also ask the wait staff to heat up their food in the oven or microwave.

It’s worth checking if areas you’re traveling to have similar laws.

Even if they don’t, other vegetarian travelers have had success asking restaurants to heat up or cook their tofu, rice or veggies. Sweetness will take you a long way here, so be polite and overly thankful if you’re accommodated. Convenience store microwaves are another option for heating up your homemade or store-bought vegetarian meal if you find an obliging clerk.

Depending on where your travels lead you, you might always have to stay on your toes to find vegetarian. But a little Internet and iPhone savvy plus some local know-how should keep you up to your elbows in tofu from Tampa to Tokyo.

What are your tips for finding vegetarian on the road?

Article excerpted from www.backpackingmatt.com

World Car-Free Day September 22, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR: Could city folk, particularly those in congested business districts, be willing to do without their cars for only one day — the World Car-Free Day on Sept 22?

Although awareness of environmental concerns brought about by emissions and the need to ease traffic congestion seemed to be on the rise, little efforts to garner public involvement towards solutions have been in place.

The Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) is calling attention to the World Car-Free Day from the public and the authorities.

“This is now a global effort, but so far, Malaysia has never been part of the World Car-Free Day, let alone organise our own car-free days,” said MNCF deputy president Datuk Naim Mohamad.

The World Car-Free Day was initiated in 1994 upon a presentation by the EcoPlan team at the International Accessible Cities Conference in Toledo, Spain.

The project states that car-free days should generally be held on Thursdays as they demonstrate the effects of doing without cars on a regular working day.
This has resulted in cities around the world, even some of the most congested like, Jakarta, adopting the project, either on a once-a-year basis, or with more frequency.

Jakarta holds car-free days on Sundays fortnightly, where a triangular connection of the city’s three busiest roads are closed to motorised vehicles.

Millions of the city’s inhabitants swarm those streets to cycle and jog on those car-free Sundays.

“A car-free day is when people do without cars and find other means of commuting, be it by public transport, bicycles or a combination of the two,” said Naim.

He added that the MNCF had been part of discussions to conduct programmes with the Kuala Lumpur City Hall and other government agencies to promote bicycles as a healthy and environmentally-friendly means of commuting.

“Nothing has been done before, but we can start with this year’s World Car-Free Day. The government, too, has to take notice.”

Naim said the MNCF’s Cycling For All Committee was willing to work with the government and the public to draw up plans to ensure cities were made more conducive for those willing to commute by bicycles.

“The public transport system needs to be more bicycle-friendly.

“We need to find out what the barriers are and propose projects to solve these issues. The public needs to be heard and the government needs to listen.”

The MNCF has monitored the growth in the recreational segment of cycling and believes there is room for such an idea to be developed.

“A number of corporate figures and even politicians are avid cyclists who cycle for fitness,” said Naim.

“We have respected figures who can set the example, but whether they see their bicycle as a suitable mode of commuting remains to be seen.”

Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek will begin his quest to lead by example today, when his entourage rides from his office in Putrajaya to Bukit Jalil, where he will evaluate the progress on the ministry’s Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house venue.

Article excerpted from www.nst.com.my

Do you think you can ditch your car, for just one day? Well that is the aim of the World Carfree Network, in hopes that people will embrace alternative modes of transportation on a bigger, more indefinite scale.  Thursday, September 22nd is World Car-Free Day and people are organizing events all over the world to help. I’m sure this is one of the method to travel eco too.

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