Tuesday, May 31, 2011

25 Days to Green Travel: Day Twenty Five - Spread the Word!

Spread the Word

You’re home. Home from a wonderful, relaxing, and sustainable trip. While you were traveling you did everything you possibly could (within reason) to be a green traveler. So now you ask yourself, “What more could I possibly do?”
Tell people.
Tell your friends, family, your family’s friends, and your friends’ families all about your green travels.
Tell them what was easy about being a responsible traveler and tell them what was challenging about traveling sustainably.
Tell them how much you enjoyed the eco-lodge you stayed at or the organic wine you drank. Tell them what a challenge it was to get from one side of the country to the other via public transportation, but in the end it was worth it because of the kind locals you met.
To continue being a green traveler you must spread the word.
This is the twenty-fifth and final post in Go Green Travel Green’s 25 Days to Green Travel series. You can see the complete list of articles in the 25 Days to Green Travel Index
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Monday, May 30, 2011

25 Days to Green Travel: Day Twenty Four - Returning Home

6 Tips for a Green Return Home

You’ve dined on native food, sampled local wine, and explored more museums and parks that you can count. Now your trip is over and it’s time to head home, but your job as a green traveler isn’t quite finished.
As you pack your bags and map your route, here are 6 things to remember to make the last leg of your trip as environmentally friendly as the others.
Ditch excess baggage.
Leave your clothes and anything else you won’t need behind, espcially after a long trip. This is especially true if you’re in a country where much of the population lives in poverty, but it’s good practice anywhere. Just about every country has an organization that will accept donations. When we headed out of St. Petersburg for the Trans-Siberian Railroad after our semester abroad, Elizabeth and I gave our extra clothes and shoes to the babushka who managed our dorm. And remember to apply the packing light rules to your return trip, too.
Fly direct.
Flights without layovers burn fewer resources and are better for the environment. If you can find a direct flight in your price range, take it.
Let it lie.
If you took a rock from the woods or a shell from the beach as a free souvenir, put it back. (Better yet, don’t take it in the first place.) As a green traveler, you should strive to preserve the natural environment and leave things in better shape than they were when you got there. Leave the natural artifacts and find a sustainable souvenir instead

Go public.
Follow the same environmentally-friendly practices you did when you were traveling around the city and take public transportation to the airport if you can.
Get digital.
With digital photos, you only have to develop what you need. Some of us get carried away and take 50 photos of a distant bird in the sky, only to realize later that we’ve captured a black dot against a massive blue backdrop. The beauty of digital photography is you don’t have to print all of the photos you take. What are the odds that anyone else is really going to want to see 15 pictures of that crumbling castle (even if it was really cool)?
Donate leftover currency.
There’s no reason to carry home coinage that you’ll likely never use. Many airports have donation boxes where you can give away your extra money. Otherwise, create some good travel karma – considering giving it to a fellow traveler on her way into the country.

This is the twenty-fourth post in Go Green Travel Green’s 25 Days to Green Travel series. You can see the complete list of articles in the 25 Days to Green Travel Index
If you haven’t already, subscribe to our e-newsletter and stay up to date - See top left column.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

25 Days to Green Travel: Day Twenty-Three - Souvenirs

How to Find Sustainable Souvenirs

Here’s what to look for in an eco-conscious souvenir:

Locally produced. Support the people who live in the country you’re visiting. Buy local crafts, like earrings from a native jeweler. Plus, the further your souvenir travels to get to you, the greater impact it has on the environment.

From a locally-owned business. Support the local economy by opting to get your souvenirs from locally-owned shops or street stands.

Made from sustainable materials. Avoid rare wood that may have been un-sustainably harvested and animal parts since they may have come from an endangered or might have been poached.

Something the region is known for. Get your friends something they can’t find at home. The Marie Sharp’s hot sauce and jelly I bought in Belize were big hits.
Lightweight and small. The heavier something is, the more resources it burns reaching its final destination. The lightest gift I’ve found was a locally-produced papyrus painting in Egypt.
This is the twenty-third post in Go Green Travel Green’s 25 Days to Green Travel series. You can see the complete list of articles in the 25 Days to Green Travel Index
If you haven’t already, subscribe to our e-newsletter and stay up to date - See top left column.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

25 Days to Green Travel: Day Twenty-Two - Photography

How to Take Culturally Sensitive Photos

Being a green traveler means more than just taking public transportation, sleeping in a eco hotel, and using a water bottle; it also means being respectful and responsible when taking pictures.
Every traveler who takes photos and every photographer who travels needs to be sensitive to the local culture. Here are some tips to help you:
Understand the cultural context. Before you head out of your comfort zone, learn about the local culture including religion and customs. Here are a few resources:
Learning about the local culture, Go Green Travel Green
Etiquette for the world traveler, Vayama
Etiquette customs and protocol, Kwintessential
Check for laws or policies prohibiting photos. For instance, churches, temples, mosques, and museums may prohibit photography. Also be conscious in high-security buildings and structures (including military bases), which might also ban photography.

Get permission. You may want to get permission before taking someone’s photo. Digital Photography School has a great post about asking permission to photograph people. Two key points from that post are:
  • Ask permission of someone if they are the main focus of the photo.
  • Asking doesn’t have to be verbal. It can be a smile and a gesture that indicates you are asking, with them smiling or nodding in response.
If the person says no, respect that. If anyone says they don’t want their picture taken, respect their request and go somewhere else for a photo.
Watch body language. A person doesn’t have to say “no” to mean they don’t want their photo taken. If their body language indicates they are uncomfortable, leave.
Be mindful of children. Shots of children tend to really capture a scene; but be careful when taking kids’ photos. If they are the main subject of the photo ask the parent or guardians permission.
Consider the implications of the photo for the person (or site) pictured. Could the person in the picture be subject to violence or political repercussions because of the photo? If so, you may not want to take their picture.
This is the twenty-second post in Go Green Travel Green’s 25 Days to Green Travel series. You can see the complete list of articles in the 25 Days to Green Travel Index
If you haven’t already, subscribe to our e-newsletter and stay up to date - See top left column.

Friday, May 27, 2011

25 Days to Green Travel: Day Twenty-One - Kindergarten

Everything I Need to Know About Watching Wildlife I Learned in Kindergarten

As a lover of nature, especially animals, I set out to learn everything I could about being respectful while watching wildlife.
You know what I found out?
Everything I need to know about watching wildlife I learned in kindergarten.
Keep your hands to yourself. Don’t touch animals, their nests, babies, etc.
Don’t feed the animals. This can lead to health problems for the animals as well as dependencies. For instance, in the Galapagos the mockingbirds will beg for water if they see your water bottle.

Be mindful of personal space. Give animals plenty of space. Use binoculars or a telephoto lens.

If someone is upset, say you’re sorry and leave them alone. I’m not sure how much good it will do to apologize to an animal, but if you sense that an animal is getting agitated or changing his behavior, slowly back away.

Clean up after yourself. Pick up your garbage (and others’ litter too).

Learn and become knowledgeable. Learn about the habitat and the creatures you’re watching before you set out. This will not only give you greater appreciation for them but you will also learn nuances that will allow you to be more respectful.

Share (your knowledge) with others. Everything that you learned before and from your wildlife watching excursion you should share with others. By spreading your understanding of the animals, you will protect them.
Further Resources:
This is the twenty-first post in Go Green Travel Green’s 25 Days to Green Travel series. You can see the complete list of articles in the 25 Days to Green Travel Index
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Thursday, May 26, 2011

25 Days to Green Travel: Day Twenty - 21 Resources

21 Resources for Volunteering Abroad : Why You Should Do It

Yesterday, in Volunteering Abroad: 10 Things to Know Before You Go we discussed everything you should think about before you sign up. Today we’ll cover why you should volunteer abroad and 21 resources for finding a good program.
5 Reasons to Volunteer Abroad
Help Others. Whether you’re cleaning up a polluted river or volunteering in a medical clinic, they work you’re doing is making a difference. The people you’re helping will be incredibly grateful. And it will make you feel good, too.

Get Up Close and Personal With a Culture. There’s no better way to experience a culture than by living in it. You’ll see parts of the culture you’d easily miss living in a hostel, especially if you’re living with a host family. Plus, you’ll get to try new foods.
Learn a Language. The best way to practice a language is to be immersed in it. When the people you’re working with are counting on you to communicate and you’re listening to another language being spoken for hours every day, you’ll become proficient before you know it. And you won’t even have to pay for language classes.

Have Fun. When you’re working 12 hour days with someone, you’re going to bond, even if you might never have otherwise been friends. And making friends will take your mind off the hard work, sore muscles, or hot weather. In addition to getting to know other volunteers, you’ll also get to build relationships locals.

Learn a Trade. You may not want to be an organic farmer now, but who knows what your dream will be in 10 or 15 years; you may decide to move to Massachusetts and start your own farm. Even if you don’t, you’ll learn leadership, teamwork, and communication skills that will impress any prospective employer.
21 Resources for Getting Started & Finding Volunteer Programs
The Green Guide lists 7 resources to get you started volunteering abroad. including:
Crossculturalsolutions.org: Offers volunteer programs in 12 countries, including Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Morocco, Peru, Russia, South Africa, Tanzania and Thailand.
i-to-i.com: Work to conserve Madagascar’s lemurs, care for endangered wallabies in Australia or help maintain biodiversity with indigenous peoples in Costa Rica.
idealist.org: An extensive volunteer database with environmental listings, connections to local nonprofits, financial aid information, internships and a kids and teens page. Current opportunities include teaching environmental awareness to Nepalese villagers and developing a fruit-drying program for Ghanan villagers, among many others.
maasaicentre.org: The Maasai Centre for Field Studies still takes volunteers as well as school and university groups. For details, contact Dr. Chris Southgate or Dr. Mark Toogood via the Web site.
volunteerabroad.com: Listings include opportunities to protect Australia’s environment and conservation projects in Costa Rica.
volunteerinternational.org: Conservation programs in Thailand, creating a Holocaust Memorial Park in Poland and making eco-friendly soap with disabled persons in Japan are just three of the unique opportunities you’ll find on this site.
The Nature Conservancy accepts volunteers working to conserve the Boreal Forest and the Great Bear Rainforest in Canada (see nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/canada).
Great Adventures provides links to volunteer and work abroad programs in dozens of countries.
World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. Volunteer on organic farms across the world – no previous experience required.
Tim Ferriss’s take on volunteering abroad lists 5 international volunteering organizations under “Volunteering Mini-Retirements” experiences:
Following the 2005 Burning Man event, several participants headed south into the Hurricane Katrina disaster area to help people rebuild their devastated communities. After several months of working along the Gulf Coast, BWB has set up a project in Pisco, Peru to assist with earthquake relief work.
Nearly 50 years ago, Project HOPE was founded on the willingness of doctors, nurses and other medical volunteers to travel the globe on a floating hospital ship, the SS HOPE, to provide medical care, health education and humanitarian assistance to people in need. While we now operate land-based programs in more than 35 countries, Project HOPE has again returned to sending medical volunteers on board ships around the world to provide medical assistance, long reaching health education programs, vaccinations and humanitarian assistance.
International Relief Teams mobilizes volunteers and distributes medical supplies to support the organization’s four missions: 1) domestic and international disaster relief, 2) medical education and training, 3) surgical and clinical outreach, and 4) public health. Since 1988, IRT has provided more than $5.6 million in volunteer services, and more than $112 million in medicines and supplies to families in desperate need in 42 countries worldwide.
Relief International is a humanitarian non-profit agency that provides emergency relief, rehabilitation, development assistance, and program services to vulnerable communities worldwide. RI is solely dedicated to reducing human suffering and is non-political and non-sectarian in its mission.
Hands On Disaster Response Hands on Disaster Response covers food and housing and does not require a fee.
Habitat for Humanity. Build houses for people who can’t afford them with this well-known U.S.-based organization.
Doctors Without Borders. You don’t have to be an MD to provide medical care to people in developing countries. They’re currently seeking doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, technicians, logisticians, and others.
Engineers Without Borders USA. Projects “range from the construction of sustainable systems that developing communities can own and operate without external assistance, to empowering such communities by enhancing local, technical, managerial, and entrepreneurial skills.”
Conservation Volunteers in Australia. Links to various conservation programs and organizations in Australia.
Volunteer Match is a great resource for providing you with volunteer opportunities (including many in the US) that match your interests.
This is the twentieth post in Go Green Travel Green’s 25 Days to Green Travel series. You can see the complete list of articles in the 25 Days to Green Travel Index.
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Air Travel Carbon Emissions are destroying the Environment

The growth of air travel is growing at an unprecedented rate. The low cost of air travel and the growth of budget airlines means that millions of passengers are flying abroad more than ever before, but at what cost to the environment?

The UK government is aiming for a 60% cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 but we will not be able to meet our goals on climate change without curbing the demand for air travel. At present the experts predicts that only 5.5% of the UK carbon emissions is due to air travel and that the government should concentrate on the other 94.5% as the UK air travel industry generates thousands of jobs and billions of pounds in revenue and these figures are set to increase as the airline industry wants to increase the number of passenger movements in UK airports from about 200m per year now to about 470m by 2030. If this happens then air travel will account for over 10 % of carbon emissions in the UK. It will be more than 10% if other polluting sectors such as car travel are reduced due to an increase in public transport use and cleaner fuels.

What can we do to prevent this growth in flying?

The government has said it wants aviation included in the next round of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. What is this? Well…

There is an emissions trading scheme in operation internationally but many people are not aware that this is perceived to be the cornerstone of the climate change policy in the EU and USA.

Firms are set quotas on how much carbon dioxide they can produce per year, if they produce more than this allowance, then they buy an allowance from another firm that has not reached its quota on how much it can produce in one year! Get it?

Emissions Trading is particularly suited to the emissions of greenhouse gases, the gases responsible for global warming, which have the same effect wherever they are emitted. The idea of the carbon-trading scheme was to raise the cost to firms of continuing to pollute while creating a market to give an incentive to become more environmentally efficient.

Another suggestion to curb travel is airlines paying higher taxes on short haul European flights to reflect emissions, even if this results in higher fares. The thinking is that taxation through passenger duty would be easier and quicker than focusing on the Emissions Trading Scheme but any proposed increase in taxation would need to be enough to slow down the growth and eventually decrease the number of short haul flights.

A decrease in flights would be bad for airports and airlines as they would see a decrease in airport generated profits and could lead to a number of job losses and competitiveness for the UK economy, but other sectors of the UK economy such as domestic tourism would benefit thus creating jobs and revenue for the tax man to get his greedy hands on.

Most of the wealthier nations in Europe are developing an air dependent culture and its clear that something needs to be done. Frequent flying for business and pleasure and second homes abroad is fuelling this growth in air travel. Other forms of public transport such as rail are getting more expensive making domestic flights within the UK more affordable and convenient. In the USA this tends not to be the case due to the distance between major cities.

Carbon offsetting helps you to offset the carbon dioxide that you use when flying by planting trees or installing solar panels and thereby removing your contribution to global climate change. You contribute to pollution by flying; you reduce the pollution by planting trees! You are carbon neutral!

Visit the authors website to learn more about 
Offsetting Carbon and carbon offset companies.
  By Mark Marris

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Confetti Yogurt Pops

Here is another great recipe to use those delicious in season fruits like strawberries and blueberries!

  • 2 cups  low-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup  assorted berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, chopped strawberries)
  • 5 pretzel rods, halved, or 10 baked snack stick crackers
Directions 1. In a large bowl gently stir together the yogurt and fruit. Spoon into 4-ounce ice-pop molds or 3-ounce paper cups. Cover molds or cups with foil; use a sharp knife to cut a small hole in the foil and insert cut side of pretzel rod or snack stick. Freeze until firm. Remove foil and mold or cup before serving.
2. Store for up to a month. Makes 6 pops.
Thanks Steals and Deals for Kids!


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25 Days to Green Travel: Day Nineteen - Volunteering

Volunteering Abroad – 10 Things to Know

Volunteering abroad can be an incredibly rewarding experience. You get to spend a few weeks or months saving the rain forest or building houses for people who can’t afford them. Every program is not a good fit for everyone. But there are so many different places and types of work to choose from, you’ll definitely be able to find one that works for you.
Today and tomorrow we’ll cover everything you need to consider when deciding on a program, plus 5 reasons you should volunteer abroad and resources to get you started.
10 Things to Think About Before You Sign Up
Do your research. Not all volunteer abroad opportunities are created equal. Some cost money, others are free. Some require commitments of 3 or more months, others only ask that you stay a week.
Location. This is one of the most important things to consider when you’re picking a destination. Is the program in a place you want to visit? Would you be living close to a major city? Would you want to? If you’re looking to go barhopping on the weekends and you commit to 6 months in rural Romania, you probably won’t be happy.
Safety. Learn about the safety of the region you’ll visit and, if possible, talk to other people who have lived or traveled there. Safety can be crime-related or illness-related. Some people would prefer to avoid politically volatile regions, but are okay with risking malaria. Decide what you value before you book a trip.
Cost. Some volunteer programs charge thousands of dollars; others are completely free and provide you with housing and food. Take your budget into account before you commit to a program.
Climate. If you’re uncomfortable when the thermostat rises above 85 degrees Fahrenheit, you should probably steer clear of Calcutta in May. Look at average temperatures for the dates you’ll travel and make sure you pack weather-appropriate clothes. Most programs offer packing advice on their websites.

Length of Stay. Some programs are come-and-go and allow you to show up and stay for a while. Others have strict requirements for booking in advance and staying a minimum amount of time. Your dream program may require a 6-month commitment. If you’re only able to get away for 3 months, contact them and see if that’s a possibility. If not, ask them for recommendations of similar programs and keep on looking.
Type of Work. You could be working on an organic farm, building houses, doing environmental research, teaching English, or helping out in a medical clinic. There’s definitely something for everyone, so choose an activity that you’ll enjoy.

What’s Provided. Some programs give you food and lodging at no additional cost. Others provide lodging, but you’re expected to pay extra for it. Still others point you in the right direction by giving you recommendations, but you have to book and pay for it. Figure out what your program provides and what you can afford.
Schedule. If getting out and exploring the region is important to you, figure out how much free time you’ll have. Some programs give you days off, while others expect you to be available the whole time you’re there. Do your research and decide what will work best for you.
Reputation. Dig around online, scour forums, and ask for references if you have doubts. If the company or organization you’re considering seems sketchy, it might be. Or they might just have a small budget and no website. Do your research and try to speak to a real person about any concerns. You can look up U.S.-based organizations (or orgs with a U.S. affiliate) on Charity Navigator, which evaluates non-profits and gives them 1-4 stars, and GuideStar, which provides information on thousands of non-profits.
Tomorrow we’ll cover why you should volunteer abroad and give you the resources you need to get started.
This is the nineteenth post in Go Green Travel Green’s 25 Days to Green Travel series. You can see the complete list of articles in the 25 Days to Green Travel Index.

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Father's Day Giveaway Item

Grey Agate Men's Bracelet

Artisan: Energy Shop

About Energy Shop .... In her Own Words:

"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." – Howard Thurman

And from Rumi, “Let the beauty of what you love be what you do. There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth.”

I create jewelry designed to remind people of their best intentions, increase their spiritual awareness, and enhance their positive outlook on Life. 

I'm married to a wonderful man, and I'm a mother of four. I (sometimes) write a blog at www.mrslisajacobs.wordpress.com and I am the author of The Rescue You Program: How to Improve Your Life and Reinvent Your Love after an Affair.

I ♥ Love ♥ This ♥ Life ♥

Father's Day Giveaway Item - 
Grey Agate Men's Bracelet

This stretch bracelet is composed of large (10mm) Grey Agate and sterling silver bead. It measures 8".

Grey Agate is said to bring truth and bounty to the wearer. A grounding and cleansing stone, it brings balance to mind, body, and spirit. Agate increases self-confidence and stabilizes the aura.

The Energy Shop offers affordable luxury and holistic solutions. Energy Shop stones are cleansed, charged with their highest intent through mantra, and then smudged. Smudging is a Native American tradition that involves burning white sage. The white sage is said to release any negative energy on the material (object, person, or room), which is released and recycled back to positive. The white sage smudge then brings forth the positive ions and activates them--bringing alive the stone's best ideals.

Smudge sticks are available for cleansing your bracelets:

All products come individually packaged in a cloth pouch with the meaning of each gemstone and directions on programming your jewelry. 

To win this grey Agate Mens bracelet for the man in your life.....

MANDATORY ENTRIES (Must do both to Qualify - Separate Entries though)

* Visit
Energy Shop o
n Etsy - Heart them - AND tell me who this great candle is for +1

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* Tweet the following (Can be done 2x a day - At least 2 hours apart- leave link) +2 per tweet:
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* Share this giveaway on Facebook by clicking the Share/Save button below +1
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* Leave this giveaway in an online giveaway linky and come back and let me know where you left it +1
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 5 EXTRA ENTRIES - Grab my button and put it on your blog homepage and come back and let me know where to find it! +5

This giveaway will end on  6/18 at midnight CST.  Winners will be announced on Father's Day!!!

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