Archive for the ‘Eco Travel’ Category

Day 99 – Carbon Offset

Airplane Takeoff

A carbon offset is a fee that you pay to a company that is a calculated amount based on how many carbon emissions you used.  The fee usually goes towards supporting projects like renewable energy.  Some people refer to it as a “guilt tax,” but I think it is a good thing.  Helping renewable energy is only going to help our world in the long run.  I keep saying this, and I’m going to say it again…being in touch with the impact our lifestyles have on the environment helps us make better and better choices. 

Carbon emissions are emitted by transportation vehicles like automobiles and airplanes and by hour heating and cooling systems among other things, but they are also emitted indirectly by the things that we purchase.  Search online for a carbon footprint calculator to determine the amount of carbon emissions you contribute to the environment.  This is also called your carbon footprint.

Day 71 – Learn to Sail

The Europa at Tall Ships Festival

 

There is no doubt that technology has taken us backwards when it comes to boating.  Think of it – the idea of a wind-powered boat sailing the high seas!  This is renewable energy in an exciting application.  This life is still reality for the Captain of the Europa and the captains and crews of other large sailing vessels known today as “tall ships.” 

Other than small human-powered boats like canoes and kayaks, sail boats are better for the environment than their fossil-fuel powered sisters that rely on non-renewable resources to operate.  Do you want thrill?  Sure, speed boats can offer thrill, but I imagine that sailing in a boat like this can be a thrill of its own kind. 

Why not try it?  Learn to sail on the Europa.  No experience required.  I’m serious!  Check it out: http://www.sailingshipadventures.com/index.cfm?event=GetVesselDetails&VesselID=80  According to the information about the Europa on this website, “No previous sailing experience is required. Your professional crew will teach you square-rigged seamanship. You will learn steering, watch standing, navigation & sail handling, and actually sail Europa yourself. This is a true bluewater adventure, both challenging and rewarding, an experience you will never forget, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become a crew member on a traditional sailing ship. You will sail to some of the most remote areas of the world, observe rare marine life, view historic sites and learn the cultures of the peoples you visit. Your shipmates will be from many countries and of all ages.”  It sounds so cool that I just e-mailed them for more information! 

Disclaimer:  Now, I do have to tell you that my in-laws have a small sail boat, and they do have a motor which is used to get them in and out of the harbor.  I’m not sure if the Europa or other tall ships have one or not.  Regardless, it would be better than running an engine all the time!

Day 69 – Betsy’s Bed and Breakfast Part 2

Betsy's Bed and Breakfast Room 1 (Courtesy of Betsy's Bed and Breakfast)

In our last post, we learned about Betsy’s Bed and Breakfast and about the proprietors.  Now, let’s hear from Betsy what makes a B&B green:

The following are some of the strategies we have adopted to minimize our environmental impact at Betsy’s B&B:

  1. We recycle and we place recycling containers in our guest rooms to enable guests to separate out recyclables;
  2. We use low flow toilets;
  3. We have a program of replacing old windows with newer, more efficient ones;
  4. We use compact fluorescent lighting in common areas that are lit at least six hours per day;
  5. We turn the heat down to 60 degrees in guests rooms that are not in use;
  6. When guests stay multiple nights, we change the sheets after three or four nights unless more frequently laundering is requested;
  7. We give guests the option on reusing towels left on the rack; only towels left on the floor or in the tub/shower are laundered daily.
  8. We provide “recycled” (stained or worn) washcloths for guests to use in lieu of the good washcloths for removing make-up and other messy chores;
  9. We use recycled paper in our printer and for our brochures and rate cards;
  10. We use environmentally friendly cleaners;
  11. We send confirmations by email instead of mailing paper confirmations.

We let people know we are green by telling them in our brochure and on our website that we are a Green Hotel in the Green Mountain State.  We also provide a copy of our environmental management plan in the guest rooms.

Guests who wish to find other green hotels in Vermont can go to www.vtgreenhotels.org to find a list of establishments that are committed to preserving the environment .

Thanks, Betsy!  These are great tips!  Many of these tips can be implemented into action into our own homes.  If you’re going to Vermont, check out Betsy’s B&B.  My husband and I stayed there on our vacation a few years ago and enjoyed supporting an establishment that cares about the environment as we do.

Contact info:  Betsy Anderson, Betsy’s Bed & Breakfast, 74 East State St, Montpelier, VT 05602, (802) 229-0466, www.BetsysBnB.com; Betsysbnb@comcast.net

Day 68 – Betsy’s Bed and Breakfast Part 1

Betsy's Bed and Breakfast (Photo courtesy of Betsy's B&B)

A few years ago, my husband and I took a trip to Vermont.  Having been learning about eco vacations, we chose to stay overnight in eco friendly B&Bs whenever possible.  That’s when we met Betsy!  Here is some information about Betsy and her green B&B in Montpelier, VT:

I grew up in Texas and Louisiana.  My husband, Jon, is from Vermont.  We met in Houston, Texas, where we shared an office while clerking for the same law firm (Vinson & Elkins) after our second year of law school.  We dated long distance for four years.  Jon knew he wanted to stay in Vermont.  I knew I belonged in a small town, but not a small town in Texas.  A small town in Vermont is exactly where I belong.

When I moved here almost 30 years ago, I was not terribly eco conscious.  Vermonters were way ahead of the game in preserving the environment.  I learned to recycle and use less toxic substances in my own home over time and it was easy to bring those practices into the operation of the bed and breakfast.   My consciousness grew by leaps and bounds when I contacted the Green Hotels program and got their assistance in developing the many eco-friendly practices we use today.

I have run Betsy’s Bed & Breakfast since 1991.  We have been officially recognized as a green B&B since 1998.  That is the year that Vermont first developed a voluntary technical assistance and business recognition program called Green Hotels in the Green Mountain State.  Lodgers who demonstrate their commitment to the environment by adopting environmentally preferable standards and writing an environmental management plan can become a Green Hotel in the Green Mountain State.  The program recognizes properties that are committed to conserving resources, buying non-toxic supplies, recycling and composting, and preventing and reducing waste. 

We let people know we are green by telling them in our brochure and on our website that we are a Green Hotel in the Green Mountain State.  We also provide a copy of our environmental management plan in the guest rooms.

Guests who wish to find other green hotels in Vermont can go to www.vtgreenhotels.org to find a list of establishments that are committed to preserving the environment .

Contact info:  Betsy Anderson, Betsy’s Bed & Breakfast, 74 East State St, Montpelier, VT 05602, (802) 229-0466, www.BetsysBnB.com; Betsysbnb@comcast.net

I’ll share what specifically makes Betsy’s Bed and Breakfast eco friendly in our next post.