Eco-Coach

Green your life at home, work & play

Everybody’s workin’ for the (Green) weekend! July 19, 2008

It’s summer time and now more than ever Americans are thinking about what to do, and especially where to go, when the next long weekend or vacation rolls around. The environmentally conscious among us would love to take a green vacation of the ecotourism variety.

If you’re like most, when you think of ecotourism, you probably imagine rappelling through the mid-level canopy of the Costa Rican rainforest. But most of us don’t have the time or money (especially with the depreciating dollar) to fly to Central America or Southeast Asia to enjoy the benefits of an idyllic green holiday.

To make matters worse, ecotourism companies in the developing world were some of the pioneers in “green-washing” techniques that flaunt eco-superficialities their practices were not only destructive to the environment, but also economically detrimental to the indigenous populations.

So how do you enjoy an environmentally responsible getaway without worrying that someone is pulling the merino over your eyes? Stay in the US!

Keeping a local mindset is one of the keys to a sustainable lifestyle and supporting the fledgling green travel options in America might be your greenest option. Or as Outside magazine recently touted in this year’s green issue: “Near Is the New Far”.

While America is still lagging when it comes to greener travel options, the focus on sustainable travel is on the rise in our urban areas. Here are four American hotels leading the way in environmentally sustainable design without compromising on the luxuries or service of modern hospitality:

Proximity Hotel – Greensboro, NC
147-room luxury hotel uses 37% less energy and 30% less water than its peers and is on its way to becoming America’s first LEED Platinum hotel.

Sun RanchCameron, MT
Domestic Eco-lodge on a 26,000 acre ranch whose conservation agenda extends from re-vitalizing trout spawning grounds to de-fencing elk migration routes.

Orchard Garden Hotel – San Francisco, CA
Posh new hotel with eco-innovations like guestroom energy controlled key-card system (finally we are catching up to Asia).

Gaia Napa Valley Hotel and Spa
– Napa, CA
Organic Vineyard and the only LEED Gold hotel in the US.

Your hotel isn’t the only part of your trip that is increasing your carbon footprint, so Travel + Leisure magazine put together a list of 10 green travel itineraries in American cities that takes into account everything from greener intra-city transport to organic foods. The Huffington Post has their own too. While you’re out exploring, don’t forget to keep in mind your carbon emissions (i.e. go by train, share a hybrid, and offset your emissions!). Happy travels!

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3 Responses to “Everybody’s workin’ for the (Green) weekend!”

  1. larryvance Says:

    You’re absolutely right that there are a lot of ways that responsible citizens can help to reduce damage to the earth – and ourselves in the long run. One easy thing is to pick “green” accommodations when available, not just those who say they’re doing something, but those who actually are. You can do this through a website I’ve run across recently, iStayGreen.org, where you not only locate thousands of green hotels, but rate them, which puts pressure on hoteliers to do as much as they can to be well rated.

    Uniquely, the site features a social networking system, so groups with like interests can get together, advise each other and exchange information. It’s about time something like http://www.iStayGreen.org came along.

  2. What a great resource. istaygreen.org is now in my favs.

  3. […] check out our past posts with info on local green travel or travel by air, train and […]


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