Be light on the planet this vacation

Want the best vacation with the least impact on the planet?  Here are five tips:

If flying:

  • Travel as lightly as you can; every ounce that doesn’t travel with you saves fuel (and notice how baggage charges are starting to reflect that reality?)
  • Consider offsetting your air travel with carbon offsets; not perfect, but the best in the here-and-now

And whether you’re flying or not:

  • Walk, bike, paddle or use public transit as much as possible at your destination
  • If possible, choose a hotel that has a sustainability certification like Green Key, Green Seal or Green Globe (there are others too)
  • Choose local food and bevies (often much better tasting too!)

Thanks to Bullfrog Power for these tips; read more here.

Turn Things Off When You Go On Vacation

Finally – summer’s here, and for many of us that means vacation.  You can save money and energy while you’re away by turning off or unplugging as many things as possible.  Here are a few suggestions:

Hot water heater: why pay to keep water hot when you won’t be using it?  Most hot water heaters can will heat a full tank in a few hours at most, so just turn it on when you get back and you’ll likely not even notice a difference
Electronics: many electronics still use a bit of power when they are not on but are still plugged in, and collectively they add up.  So pull the plug on as many of them as you can before you go.  (IE entertainment electronics, cordless phones, even garage door openers)
Water main valves: not so much an energy saver as peace of mind, because a leak or burst can make quite a mess when no one is around

Enjoy your summer break, whatever it is – and turn things off before you go to get a break on your power bill too!

Fly less, fly light

February 27, 2009

I used to love to fly, but it’s not as much fun as it used to be. Why? Because I’ve learned that from an environmental perspective, flying is one of the worst ways to travel. A round trip from my local airport to Toronto (1:45 each way in a small jet) produces about 450 kg of CO2 emissions – nearly half a tonne! (Note: this is the average of 4 sources)

What to do? The BEST solution is to avoid flying altogether by using videoconferencing, teleconferencing and webinars when possible; and vacationing near home.

And when flying is unavoidable, fly light: critically assess every ounce you take with you, because every ounce has a carbon footprint in the air. Plus buy a carbon offset to counterbalance the impact of your flight – a small premium for the health of the planet.