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10 Great Ways to Green Your Next Vacation

10 Great Ways to Green Your Next Vacation

When you take a vacation, it’s a reprieve from work and everything that stresses you out. But it’s not a break for the Earth. Unfortunately, the tourism industry has the side-effect of stressing our climate.

It’s important for tourists to understand they’re not the only ones traveling, and tourism is a huge source of pollution. In 2005, tourism was responsible for 5 percent of global emissions, 40 percent of which stemmed from air travel, 32 percent from cars, and 21 percent from accommodations.

Thankfully, tourists are becoming more environmentally-conscious. There are movements such as ecotourism. Ecotourism puts a premium on destinations seeking to sustain the environment, and efforts at sustainability in tourism.

Are you going to travel this year? Do you want to decrease your carbon footprint and promote ecotourism? Try greening your trip with the following activities.

1. Mountain Bike Going-to-the-Sun Road

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goingsunroad

    2016 is the centennial birthday of the National Park Service. Our National Parks seek to conserve natural habitats. At Glacier National Park, Going-to-the-Sun Road presents a perfect opportunity to celebrate the centennial while taking a green approach. Going-to-the-Sun road spans the width of the park. It includes plenty of places to camp, as well as Lake McDonald Lodge, where you can stay if you’re looking for comfort. For however long you want to bike, there are attractions along the road, and you’ll be conserving fuel. Climate change scientists estimate the glaciers will be gone by 2030. You’ll be doing your part at conservation by biking instead of driving.

    2. Stay at a Costa Rican Ecolodge

    costarica

      Costa Rica has tons of national parks and wildlife refuges. While you’re visiting sites that promote conservation, stay at one of the many ecolodges and hotels committed to sustainability. While staying at Nacientes Palmichal Lodge in the Central Valley, learn how to make tortillas, or visit an organic farm and find out how they use biodigestors to create gas for cooking.

      3. Go Bird Watching in New Zealand’s Tongariro National Park

      tui

        New Zealand is full of rare and endangered bird species. At Tongariro National Park, you can watch beautiful species such as the endangered Kiwi, the mischievous Kea, and the singing Tui. Here, you’ll find guided bird-watching tours with naturalists, and sanctuaries dedicated to keeping these beauties alive. Many of the birds are exotic and unique to New Zealand.

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        4. Geocache Petrified Forest National Park

        Petrified

          Geocaching is the combination of hiking, mountaineering, treasure hunting, and GPS (Global Positioning System) technology. The sport was invented by Oregonian Dave Ulmer at the turn of the century. The National Park Service sponsors Geocaching at the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. The activity is free—all you need is a GPS. You’ll learn about major geological resources. You’ll also get to learn about the Historic Route 66 Geocaching Project. Since the Park runs this activity, it’s an eco-friendly form of geocaching.

          5. Do Denali Backcountry Yoga  

          Denali2

            The Denali Backcountry Lodge is located deep in the heart of Alaska’s Denali National Park and Preserve. This National Park the home of North America’s tallest peak, Mt. Denali, which stands at 20,310 feet. This area is not open to private vehicles. You have to take a bus from the Denali Cabins to get there. One of the activities you can do is yoga. There are morning and afternoon classes in the wilderness. You won’t need to take a car to get to the class, nor will you be able to. And, taking a bus to the back country is like carpooling to the vacation spot.

            6. Dive with the East Africa Whale Shark Trust

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            whaleshark

              Kenya is one of the top ecotourism destinations. The East Africa Whale Shark Trust is a scientific organization in Kenya seeking to preserve the population of Whale Sharks, or “papa shillingi”. Each year, they organize snorkeling and diving between February and April. This gives tourists the chance to see the tagging and documentation process, through which the Trust collects data in order to protect the Whale Shark. The diving and snorkeling trips help raise awareness and benefit the organization’s mission. You can also volunteer to help and get a view from the inside.

              7. Shop Farmer’s Markets on Hawaii’s Big Island

              hawaii

                This is a great way to contribute directly to the sustainability efforts of Hawaii’s local farms. There are a plethora of farmer’s markets dotting the Big Island, where you can buy exotic local produce and eat a plate lunch simmering with teriyaki steak, chicken katsu, rice, and salad. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried papaya fresh from the farm. You can also find artwork and hand-crafted goods you’d expect at the best farmer’s markets.

                8. Volunteer in Kerala, India

                kerala

                  Kerala is a fabulous Indian state on the tropical coast of Malabar. Lush forests, clean beaches, and attractions such as Rajamala National Park make this “God’s Own Country”, a tourist destination with extremely high recall. A great way to be not just another tourist is by volunteering through the Rainbow VolunTours program. You can help coach sports at the Kerala or Kolkata orphanages, or if you’re more the teaching type, there’s a teaching option, too. Rainbow VolunTours can also take you to Mozambique, where you’ll help with marine conservation efforts.

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                  9. Hike the Fjords

                  fjord

                    Norway’s Fjords are U-shaped valley waterways that were formed by glaciers millions of years ago. Norway has made sure to maintain strict environmental regulations to protect the purity of these crystalline waterways. Hiking or biking the mountains surrounding the fjords is the most eco-friendly way to support Norway’s admirable sustainability efforts.

                    10. Ride a Horse through Yellowstone

                    Horseback_riding_Shoshone_National_Forest

                      Talk about a way to connect with the West. Horseback riding Yellowstone is the traditional way to see the back country of America’s first National Park. You won’t hear any motors as you hoof it by Lost Canyon and over Lost Creek to the Old West Dinner Cookout. Horseback riding is a sure-fire way to support sustainability in the area. Just make sure to pack your trash out in your saddle bag.

                      Featured photo credit: Peter Gronemann/Taman Negara (Malaysian National Park) via flickr.com

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                      Dan Matthews, CPRP

                      A Certified Psychosocial Rehabilitation Practitioner with an extensive background working with clients on community-based rehabilitation.

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                      Last Updated on July 18, 2019

                      10 Small Changes To Make Your House Feel Like A Home

                      10 Small Changes To Make Your House Feel Like A Home

                      Your house is more than just a building that you live in. It should be a home that makes you feel welcome as soon as you open the front door.

                      Making your house feel like a home is not something that simply happens on its own. You need to make some changes to a house when you move in, to give it that cozy, warm feeling that turns it into a true home. To help you speed the process, follow this guide to 10 small changes to make your house feel like a home.

                      1. Make the Windows Your Own

                      When you move into a home, they often come with boring Venetian blinds or less than attractive curtains.

                      One of the best ways you can instantly warm your home and make it showcase your style is to add some new window dressing. Adding beautiful curtains not only improves your home’s appearance, but it can also help to control the temperature.

                      2. Put up Some Art

                      If you have a lot of bare walls in your home, it will seem sterile no matter how beautiful your paint or wallpaper is.

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                      Hanging art on the walls will instantly give it personality and make it feel like home.

                      3. Improve the Aroma

                      A house that is not filled with inviting smells will never feel like a home. There are loads of ways you can make your home smell nice. There are tons of air fresheners on the market you can use.

                      Incense and scented candles are a nice option as well. Don’t forget that baking in a home is also a great way to fill it with an aroma that instantly smells like home as soon as you open the front door.

                      4. Put out Lots of Pillows and Throws

                      A great way to make your home look warm and inviting is to place lots of pillows and throws out on the furniture. It is much better to have too many pillows than not enough.

                      There is nothing like the feeling of sinking into a cushiony pillow that feels like a cloud to make you feel like you are at home.

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                      5. Instantly Class up Your Closet

                      If your closet is filled with wire or plastic hangers, it will never truly feel homey. To instantly make your closet feel classy, change out your old hangers for wooden ones.

                      Not only do they look great, but they are better for hanging your clothes as well.

                      6. Improve Your Air Quality

                      One of the most overlooked ways to make your house feel more like a home is to improve its air quality.

                      The easiest and best way to upgrade the air quality in your home is to change the old, dirty filters in your furnace regularly. Get some air filters delivered to your home so that you always have some on hand.

                      7. Fill it with Plants

                      Another way to improve the air quality in your home is to fill it with plants. You should have plants in every room of your home.

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                      They help to improve the air quality and they look beautiful. As well as making your home appear homier, plants also help to boost your mood and lower your stress levels.

                      8. Change the Doorknobs

                      Most people don’t really give their doorknobs a second thought unless they are broken. That is a shame because changing your doorknobs is an easy way to add personality to your home.

                      Changing your old, boring doorknobs to new ones that are works of art will instantly brighten your home.

                      9. Upgrade Your Tub or Shower

                      There is nothing like luxuriating in a whirlpool bath or steam shower to make the cares of the day melt away. Your family deserves a bit of luxury when they are in their bathroom.

                      Install a new shower or tub today to make your bathroom worthy of a place in your home.

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                      10. Fresh Cut Flowers

                      You can make any room in your house feel homier by placing a vase full of beautiful flowers in it. The gorgeous look and intoxicating aroma of fresh cut flowers will immediately brighten your day when you encounter them.

                      You don’t have to make all these changes at once. Try one or two a day though, and your house will feel like a home before you know it. The trick is to constantly keep adding these homey touches to make your home a place worthy of its name.

                      Featured photo credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/black-wooden-round-analog-wall-clock-on-brown-wooden-wall-121537/ via unsplash.com

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