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Friday, April 15th, 2011

Going Green

When it comes to "going green", most of the world is on board with the need to live more eco-friendly and sustainable lives. In 2011, there just aren't many people left who truly believe that the human race isn't make a demonstrably negative impact on the earth's environment and the long term sustainability of the planet.

There are many aspects of conducting our daily lives that can positively influence the way that we, and those around us, view our relationship with Mother Earth. Let's consider, for a moment, our leisure time. Everyone needs to get away now and then. We're a mobile society. Whether we're traveling to an exotic, foreign location for business or tourism, or traveling to visit family on the other side of the continent, there are choices we can make that will either increase or decrease our own carbon footprint. That's part of what going green is all about making informed, wise choices in every aspect of our lives.

So what about traveling? Just getting from point A to point B can be a challenge anymore. Whether by air, rail, car, or boat, going green when we travel (and the choices that are made in selecting mode and route of transportation) can play a significant role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Want to get an idea of how much of a role? Check out the really cool carbon footprint calculator for transportation at it's really quite surprising for example, taking an airline trip from Philadelphia to Detroit adds 421 pounds of CO2 to the environment for each person on the airplane. (Note: anyone who thinks flying is not "going green" should take a look at how flying on a full airplane leaves a much smaller carbon footprint than does taking that same trip in a car alone.)

Those of us who are truly committed to going green when they travel (or any other aspect of life) can now buy carbon offsets that are used to support sustainable businesses, such as organic farming and renewable energy programs. There are many organizations offering the carbon offsets for those who travel, but be careful! Investigate the organization that is selling the offset before committing to a purchase.

Finally, going green when traveling is about staying green when the destination is reached. Reducing one's carbon footprint is not just about getting to the destination, it's about the choices in lodging, tourism activities, and the geographic destination itself. No one wants to soil their own home, so it should be a no-brainer that we don't want to soil anyone else's, either, whether another people's culture, or the wilderness home of a grizzly bear.

The "going green" mantra reduce, reuse, recycle even applies, maybe especially applies, when we're somewhere other than our own home.

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