Eco Tips

 

Father’s Day is this Sunday, June 17th, so now’s the time to start thinking about ways to celebrate with dad. Fortunately, there are numerous gift ideas that won’t compromise your ambitions to go green!

 

SEND AN E-CARD

Thanks to the Internet, these days you no longer have to use paper to send your dad a card and let him know how much he means to you. Go paperless, save a tree, and send him an e-card he’ll get in his email box on June 17th. Some are even free! I enjoy using www.egreetings.com or www.hallmark.com, but there are tons of other great options as well.

 

 

MAKE YOUR OWN PRESENT

A great way to go green is to get creative, using what you already have around the house (a.k.a. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) instead of running out and buying something new. Dust off your sewing machine and make a “Greatest Griller” apron out of scrap fabric, or make a photo collage of you and your dad that he can display at home or in his office. Not only will it be a truly one-of-a-kind gift, but Dad will love that it came from you.

 

GO VINTAGE

Go retro (and sustainable) by visiting your local thrift store or yard sale for some great vintage finds. Reusing what’s already here means conserving energy that would’ve been used to produce a brand new product, not to mention cutting down on the waste of packaging. With a little searching, you can usually find great gifts such as old records, barely worn ties, or maybe some antique collectables your dad would really love.

 

 

SPEND TIME OUTDOORS WITH DAD

Rekindling an appreciation for nature serves as a critical reminder of why being green is so important in the first place. Whether your dad enjoys gardening, hiking, playing catch or fishing, get outside with him and enjoy the day! Depending on where you live, he might even receive discounted rates at outdoor attractions such as zoos, parks or horse ranches. Regardless of how you spend your time outside, he’ll enjoy spending that special time with you.

 

GET A GREEN GADGET

If your Dad is more tech-savvy, there are plenty of eco-friendly gadgets on the market. Minimize harm to the environment by looking for gadgets that last, are biodegradable, and/or can be recycled. Consider products that use alternative power sources, such as a laptop case with a built-in solar panel, or a green surge protector that detects when electronics aren’t in use and cuts off the power (saving dad money on his energy bills!). Even electric razors can be considered green compared to disposable ones, because they last longer and in the long run generate less waste.  –Sarah Vied

Make Your Travel More Eco-Friendly

 Easy Ecotourism Tips

Whether you call it ecotourism, green travel, responsible travel, nature travel or ethical travel, the ethos of traveling more sustainably is becoming an increasingly hot topic in the tourism industry. But if people seem to have a difficult time figuring out which name to call the “take only pictures, leave only footprints” approach, they seem to have an even harder time figuring out practical ways to do it.

 

The truth is, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to become a more eco-friendly traveler. In fact, becoming more conscious about HOW you travel can actually save you money. Better still, when responsibly applied, the principle ideals of ecotourism can stimulate financial growth in developing nations, strengthening the global economy.

 

Individually, one person taking these baby steps to going green might not seem to make much of an impact. But if we all take simple strides towards being more conscious of our impact in the planet, collectively we can make a world of difference. Here are 10 easy ecotourism tips so  you can travel more responsibly and sustainably, not just for Earth Day but for every day!

 

ExOfficio Clothes

 

1.  PACK LIGHT-  Lightening up your load saves money on baggage fees and increases plane fuel-efficiency. Pack items that can be washed in the sink and are quick drying so they can be worn multiple times during your trip. We recommend (but do not receive compensation from) the ExOfficio brand, and wear it everywhere we travel.

 

2.  SAVE WATER-   Take shorter showers, turn off the faucet while shaving and brushing your teeth, and re-use towels for multiple days. And NEVER use the hotel laundry, as they typically wash each guest’s clothes separately, even if there are only a few items.

 

3.  SAVE ENERGY-   When you leave your hotel room, turn off the lights, heat/AC and TV. Consider leaving the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door so that the housekeeping staff won’t clean your room every day, which will save on harsh chemical cleaning supplies and the electricity of vacuuming and washing bed linens.

 

4.  REDUCE/REUSE/RECYCLE-   Take a BPA-free water bottle you can refill, use just one bar of soap for both sink and shower, return brochures and maps once you’re finished using them, and hold on to your trash until you find a place to recycle it.

 

Learning Mayan Pottery In Coba

 

5.   BUY LOCAL-  Seek out indigenous artisans and learn about their craft. When we were in the Riviera Maya near Coba, we saw tons of assembly line art, but wound up buying from a man who taught local children and tourists the ancient craft of Mayan pottery and distributed profits equally among families in his village.

 

6.  LEAVE ONLY FOOTPRINTS-  Stick to marked trails to avoid harming native flora, and consider taking a bag to pick up trash along your journey. Not only is it a great way to help keep the outdoors beautiful, but it also protects wildlife that might eat or get tangled in the garbage.

 

7.  BE A TRAVELER, NOT A TOURIST-  Take time to immerse yourself in the local music, art and cuisine. Embrace the cultural differences that make it unique. Get to know the locals and how they view life. You might be surprised at the things you learn when you open your mind to new ideas!

 

8.  HONOR LOCAL TRADITIONS-  Some cultures have very different traditions from yours. Women are forbidden to show skin in some Muslim countries. For some, being photographed in like having your soul stolen. Understand and respect these traditions, or risk offending the people whose culture you’re there to experience.

 

International Expeditions Donates School Supplies in the Peruvian Amazon

 

9.  GIVE BACK-  Developing nations are badly in need of basic necessities most people take for granted. Traveling gives you a unique experience that stays with you for the rest of your life. In return, consider giving something back, such as bringing school supplies on tours in which you know you’ll interact with locals.

 

10. SHOP SMARTER- Read labels, and ask questions like “What is this item made from?” All over the planet people sell items made from non-sustainable hardwoods, endangered species, and ancient artifacts. It may be alright in their country to sell them, but you can still vote with your wallet by refusing to buy them.  –Bret Love

If you liked Easy Ecotourism Tips, you might also like:

INTERVIEW: Sustainable Living Expert Laura Turner Seydel’s Simple Steps To Go Green

TRAVEL BLOGGERS GIVE BACK- Water.Org’s Mission To Bring Fresh Water To The World

INTERVIEW: The Wilderness Society’s Alan Rowsome On The Economics Of Conservation

 

 

cardinal

 

Now that you’ve prepared your spring beds there are some easy, economical ways to attract birds to your garden. Food, water and shelter is all you’ll need to provide to make our fine feathered friends feel welcome and safe so they’ll keep coming back. In addition to seed-filled feeders, you can also provide fresh, environmentally-friendly meals by recycling kitchen scraps into tasty treats. Here are some of our favorite avian snacks and ways to prepare them:

  • Apples – For a sweet snack birds love, simply slice an apple into bits and serve, ensuring all seeds have been removed.
  • Bananas – Peel and slice lengthwise into two or more strips for cardinals, catbirds, jays and other fans to munch on.
  • Cheese – Brown thrashers and Carolina wrens especially enjoy hard cheeses that are free of any mold and diced into chunks. Do not use soft cheeses.
  • Eggshells – Baked eggshells are a great source of calcium that birds love, particularly swallows and purple martins. Clean off all the egg white residue and bake at 250 degrees for 15 minutes, then crush well and serve on a dish or mix with seed.

 

bluejay

 

  • Pasta - Blue jays and red-bellied woodpeckers, among others, are big fans of bite-sized bits of plain cooked pasta.
  • Peanut butter – A dollop of peanut butter is a feathered favorite, which can be spread over a pine cone for easy consumption.
  • Squash and melon seeds – Roasted pumpkin and other seeds make a great meal that is particularly enjoyed by cardinals and tufted titmice.
  • Raisins - Mockingbirds, orioles, bluebirds and many others love raisins, which can be softened by soaking in warm water.
  • Rice – Cook and serve plain for a snack blue jays, thrashers and others will love.  –Holly Young

 

If you liked Attract Birds To Your Garden, You might also like:

GO GREEN TIP #89: Eco-Friendly Gardening For Spring 

GO GREEN TIP #93: Attract Hummingbirds To Your Garden

INTERVIEW: CeeLo Green Launches GreenHouse Foundation To Help Kids Go Green

 Eco Friendly Gardening

As the weather continues to warm and days grow longer, there’s no better time to get outside and create your most eco friendly garden ever. Growing your own vegetables and herbs can be fun, healthy and economical, and planting ornamentals is a great way to attract wildlife and add aesthetic value to any yard or deck. When preparing and maintaining your plants, keep these green gardening tips in mind for a garden that stays healthy and beautiful all summer long.

 

PLANNING 

•  As you prep your garden for the hot months to come, consider choosing native plants and those that attract wildlife. Not only are native plants low-maintenance, hardy and naturally grow well in your environment, but they are also well-suited for local wildlife.

•  Choose brightly-colored flowers such as red or purple petunias to attract birds and wildlife, as those attracted early in the season are likely to stick around all summer. Plant a row of mauve or yellow flowers to attract butterflies and simultaneously provide them with a wind barrier and safe place to perch.

•  Flowers such as sunflower, blazing star, coneflower and zinnia make great sources of bird seed. Sunflower and zinnia are also great for attracting honeybees. Don’t forget to provide wildlife with a clean source of drinking water.

 

 

SEEDING

•  Recycled containers such as yogurt cups and egg cartons are great for starting seeds. Use a nail to poke drainage holes in the bottom, and ensure the containers are thoroughly cleaned before planting.

 

PLANTING

•  Prepare raised beds early in the season, as they warm up faster than the surrounding soil. Vegetables and leafy greens are best for raised beds, while herbs grow well in containers. Add compost early, as it’s much easier when plants are only inches tall.

•  If you are using new nursery plants in your garden, make sure to harden them off before moving outside as they often need time to adjust to your climate.

•  Maximize space by companion planting. Corn, beans and squash work well together, as corn grows tall and provides a structure for the beans to grow up, while squash shades the roots. Using these easy tips, you can be sure your green garden will grow to be the envy of the neighborhood!   –Holly Young

If you liked eco friendly gardening, then you might also like:

GO GREEN TIP #93: Attract Hummingbirds To Your Garden

GO GREEN TIP #91: Attract Birds To Your Garden

GO GREEN TIP #86: Mushroom Growing Guide

 

Yeah, but what does the label really mean?

 FDA Labeling

With an overwhelming variety of health and beauty products to choose from, it’s not always easy to tell which are the best for you and the environment. As good as they may seem, many terms such as “natural” and “hypoallergenic” aren’t subject to substantiation by the Food and Drug Administration. With no set standards, companies may define and use them freely. Deceptive marketing intended to make a product seem more environmentally friendly is known as greenwashing, which can make shopping both difficult and confusing. Here’s how FDA labeling defines some common terms:

Natural or Naturally Derived- There is no definition to use for “natural” and other similar terms. Both naturally occurring and synthetically derived chemicals can be harmful, so labeling as such says nothing of a product’s safeness to humans or the environment.

Hypoallergenic- There are no standards or requirements for a product to be labeled “hypoallergenic.” Free to define the term as they wish, companies may (and do) use the label even if the product contains known allergens.

Organic- The FDA has no legal definition of the term and does not enforce its use. However, any cosmetic or body care product that contains agricultural ingredients must be certified by the National Organic Program to use the term. Products that do not contain agricultural ingredients may use the term without regulation, though they may be certified under private standards.

Earth-Friendly or Eco-Safe- These terms are unregulated by the FDA and USDA, and have no legal basis. Beware of products making these claims without certification under known standards.

Fair Trade- Products that have been certified by Fair Trade USA ensure the producer has been compensated fairly, allowing them to invest in more sustainable practices or purchase higher quality inputs.

So, what should you look for on body product labels? Be wary of goods that make unsubstantiated claims. In fact, many with private certifications meet higher standards than those without. Cosmetics are also commonly tested on animals, so look for labels that state the product was not tested under such conditions, and, in general, avoid ingredients you can’t pronounce. Oil-based soaps are often gentler than those with glycerin, but beware of preservatives in both cases. Parabens, in particular, have been known to be carcinogenic.  –Holly Young

Co-Founded by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett, Green Global Travel is an ecotourism, nature / wildlife conservation & cultural preservation magazine. More about us.

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Destinations We’ve Covered:

• AFRICA
Egypt- Top 5 Eco Attractions
South Africa- Londolozi Game Reserve Safari
South Africa- Kruger National Park
South Africa- South Africa- Zulu Memories
Tanzania- Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

 
• ANTARCTICA
How To Get To Antarctica Without Doing the Drake
The Haunting Beauty of Icebergs
Penguins of Antarctica
Taking the Polar Plunge
Top 5 Eco Attractions in Antarctica
Whales of Antarctica
 
• ASIA
India- Ranthambhore National Park
Laos- The Pastoral Paradise of Muang Ngoi
Malaysia- Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre
Nepal- Hiking The Annapurna Circuit
Taiwan- Top 5 Eco Activities in Taipei
Thailand- Top 5 National Parks
 
• AUSTRALIA/OCEANIA
Australia- Top 5 Eco Attractions
Australia-Kangaroo Island
New Zealand- Kapiti Island
New Zealand- Tongariro National Park
New Zealand- Top 5 Ecotourism Attractions
Tahiti- First Impressions
Tahiti- Moorea 4x4 Safari Tour
Tahiti- Moorea, Tiki Village Theater
Tahiti- Pearl Diving in Bora Bora
Tahiti- Ruahatu Marine Sanctuary, Bora Bora
Tonga- Eua Island Eco Activities

 

• NORTH AMERICA
CANADA
Churchill- Into the Wild of Manitoba
Churchill- Polar Bear Fight
Churchill- Polar Bear Photo Gallery
Churchill- Tundra Wildlife

UNITED STATES
America’s Best Volcanoes
AK- Denali National Park
FL- Sanibel Island Eco Activities
FL- Crystal River, Swimming with Manatees
GA- Barnsley Gardens
GA- Top 5 Autumn Activities Around Atlanta
GA- Best Christmas Light Displays
GA- Top 20 Atlanta Christmas Events
GA- Jekyll Island Eco Activities
GA- Weekend in North GA Mountains
GA- Top 5 Eco Attractions in North GA
HI- Hawaii’s Big Island
HI- Hawaiian Mythology
MT- Hiking Glacier National Park
NC- Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
NC- Asheville's Green Restaurants Scene
NC- Greensboro Travel Guide
NC- Great Smoky Mountains National Park
NC- Outer Banks Wild Horses
NM- Top 5 Eco Attractions
NY- Going Green in NYC
WV- Outdoor Adventures
Yellowstone- Mammoth Hot Springs
Yellowstone- Lamar Valley
Yellowstone- Grand Canyon & Hayden Valley
Yellowstone- Upper Geyser Basin
Yellowstone- Lower Geyser Basin

MEXICO
Cancun- Cancun Underwater Museum
Cancun- Mayan Museum of Archaeology
Riviera Maya- Monkeys, Pyramids & Pottery
Riviera Maya- Rio Secreto
Riviera Maya- Tulum & Coba
 
• CARIBBEAN