When you take a trip on vacation, many times it is all about what you take away from your destination when you visit. In my humble opinion, the best vacation should also enrich the destinations you visit. As I have said many times before, the more we know the better we grow (green that is). I am certainly not saying that your next trip must be an eco-adventure created solely for the purposes of improving our environment, but I do recommend paying more attention to the impact your travel has on the environment.
Helping us all better understand the eco-friendly improvements certain travel related companies are implementing, more travel publications are covering eco-related stories and giving top honors to destinations and travel companies that are worthy of promotion for doing so.
Whether you are the greenest of greenies, or you just want to ponder considerations for green travel, to learn more about how to be more eco-responsible when traveling, consider the winners of this year’s Global Vision Awards in the Sustainability category from the number one authority in all things travel related, Travel and Leisure magazine.
The winner for Sustainable Design goes to San Francisco International Airport’s Terminal 2. The première LEED Gold rated terminal in all of the US, this joint has it all going on when it comes to being eco-friendly. Remaining stylish in design, but strictly eco-minded, this area of SFO boasts organic food and water bottle refilling stations. Even the baggage claim system is innovative. The next time you go to or pass through SFO, you will know you are in Terminal 2 when you see the cool colorful nets hanging over an amazing recompose area!
When it comes to Environmental Innovation in travel, look no further than Lufthansa. Catching a jumbo jet to your next destination does always scream eco-friendly, but when you consider that this airline has taken many ground-breaking strides to improve air pollution and more, you’ll hear the eco-minded chiming of air quality improvement in your ear loud enough. Lowering both its own and the industry’s carbon emissions, Lufthansa is the first airline to test bio-fuel in normal flight operations. Do you hear that Delta et al? Taking this initiative even further, this airline uses green technology when servicing its planes too. Whether servicing the planes with routine maintenance or cleaning the cabin, this company has reduced its carbon emissions by a whopping 23%. What’s more, their HelpAlliance organization has raised nearly 8 million dollars for promoting better education and better health in Africa, South America and Asia.
This award is bestowed upon the King Pacific Lodge in British Columbia, Canada. This 17 room gem on BC’s remote northern coast wins the Green Luxury category not because it floats on the water, but because it has established protection for the Great Bear Rainforest that covers a massive 21 million land acres. The eco-minded lodge is nestled right in the protected area without depleting it of any protective attributes. By using glacial river water filtered by an eco-friendly a hydro-plant and solar panels for reducing energy usage coupled with a food and beverage scheme that uses locally sourced food and drink products to service its guests is almost attractive as the view. Did we mention that this lodge is working to reduce its carbon footprint by a staggering 50% in the next year? Talk about considerations for eco-travel.
Earning top honors in the Eco Travel category look to Costa Rica’s Nature Air. This company is the world’s first ever carbon-neutral airline. In the next decade, Nature Air’s game plan is to be carbon-positive! Yes, this is the act of taking carbon out of the air. Sourcing local bio-fuel on planes and bio-diesel to power its ground operations, Nature Air’s focus is on purchasing carbon credits that provide funds to Costa Rican landowners that have agreed to conserve the tropical forests located on the Osa Peninsula. Talk about paying it forward.
We can’t all exclusively utilize the aforementioned winners when traveling, but before you book your next trip whether its business or pleasure, look to see what the airline, hotel and rental companies that you are interested in are all about helping out locally and giving back towards the planet’s health. Regarding considerations for eco-travel is simply the right thing to do. It’s one thing to not request new towels in your room each day when you are on vacay, but have you considered whether the hotel chain, car service and airline you are patronizing cares about the local economy and preservation of your destination? Enrich the destinations you visit and what you take away from the trip will always be amazing.
Author: Amy Wermuth