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Green Travel Resources

8 Mar

“The earth belongs to anyone who stops for a moment, gazes and goes on his way.” ~ Colette (1873-1954), French novelist

To me, every day is Earth Day, which is why it’s important for people to know that helping conserve, preserve and care for Mother Nature serves everyone’s best interests too. So how does this relate to travel exactly?

Well, as we continue to travel to places near and far, we realize it’s a small world after all and how everything and everybody is interconnected. That’s why it’s important for us to be aware of our impact and try to make changes in how as well as where we travel. How would you want visitors to treat your home?

Hmm, I’d like to think of myself as somewhat well traveled, and I promise that New York has something green for everyone, no matter where they come from. Home to accessible natural treasures like the Empire State Building, the Catskills, Adirondack Park, and Niagara Falls, here are some available resources and guides on traveling with green style – nothing that a keyword search for “New York State” and “green” can’t handle!

Green Destinations throughout New York State:

Related Articles:

General Tips on How to Travel Green:

Related Sustainable Tourism Events:

  • Green Getaways, Local Food Travel Expo” at Skylight One Hanson in downtown Brooklyn, NY on April 30, 2011 – hosted by EscapeMaker.com and presented by Amtrak and Zipcar. By the way, we are announcing the next Greenest NYer there too!
  • Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference will feature presentations and discussions to help tourism professionals gain necessary tools to effectively implement sustainability practices. Held from September 19-21, 2011, on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, USA.
  • Find the New York Marketplace at the International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show held inside the Jacob Javits Center in NYC, November 12-15, 2011.

Quoting John Ur, “From the boats at Ellis Island to the border with Canada, New York takes all comers. It will suck you in” (Cinematic Road Trip: New York – Intelligent Travel Blog).

Your Green Valentine’s Playbook with My Own Lake Placid-Adirondack Eco-Trip!

9 Feb

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Brr… why hello there!

Ahh yes, ‘tis winter, the coldest season for us New Yorkers. By the same token, “winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home” (Edith Sitwell). I consider the whole state my home, and what better way to celebrate this time of the season than by taking a staycation.

Having said that, I am SOOO stoked about my trip to Lake Placid this weekend via Amtrak. Why Lake Placid? Well, its green leadership in conserving energy and making recycling easier for the community makes it an eco-tourist destination at the forefront of the sustainability movement, and let’s not forget its picturesque mountains!

On Friday, I’ll be staying at Gauthier’s Saranac Lake Inn in the Adirondack Mountains. This family-owned, two-acre waterfront Inn has been recognized by Audubon International as a Green Leaf Property as it continues to work hard to preserve its environment and support local small business through its Green Sustainability Initiatives. FYI: Lake Placid’s larger next-door neighbor is Saranac Lake, which was honored as an All-American City in 1998. Learn more about the Saranac Lake Chain including Upper Saranac Lake, Middle Saranac Lake and Lower Saranac Lake here.

As one of I LOVE NY’s Top Ten green destinations, Adirondack Park in The Adirondack region was created in 1892 and is the largest publicly protected area in the U.S. Click here for an interactive map of the Adirondacks. According to the NYS Adirondack Park Agency, the region “boasts over 3,000 lakes, 30,000 miles of rivers and streams, and a wide variety of habitats, including globally unique wetland types and old growth forests – [giving] the Adirondacks a [biodiversity] found nowhere else.” And did you hear from the New York Times that New York State recently bought conservation rights for 89,000 acres of forest in the Adirondacks? Whoa!

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All About LEED

12 Jan

This month, I thought it would be interesting to discuss New York State’s growing green building practices with LEED projects popping up all over the State.

So, what exactly is LEED?

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design. Developed in 1998 by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the LEED system is the recognized international benchmark in green building design and construction, measuring important factors like “energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.” Look into LEED’s promising future here

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How to Give the Gift of Green this Holiday Season

16 Dec

It’s mid-December, and you haven’t shopped for gifts yet. What to do!?

Don’t panic. There’s still time to get great deals, plan delicious meals, and sing some holiday jingles!

This season, think about giving money-saving and eco-friendly gifts to show others you care about them as well as the environment. This gives you the opportunity to get your creative juices flowing too.

First, look for the gift you want to give. Second, figure out how you want to gift to be presented. Third, how will you and your gift(s) get there? Make sure your gift is protected from the elements. Because Ezine’s Tips For a Frugal and Environmentally-Friendly Holiday Season article was so organized, I’ve highlighted the basics with some good-natured humor:

Gift Giving

1. Make a gift or re-gift unwanted gifts, as long as you don’t return it to the original giver. You can also organize a gift swap – one person’s trash is another’s treasure, but of course there’s no guarantee.

2. Give used items, such as books from local used book stores, or green gifts. Buy seeds, bulbs, other plants, compact fluorescent (CF) bulbs, a thermos, a water bottle, etc. A bike is one of several items on my wish list, hint, hint…

3. Save on wrapping paper using newspaper comics, which you can then recycle sans scotch tape. If this isn’t your cup of tea, consider reusing any gift bags that you received from previous years. Consider “wrapping” some presents in tote bags so the recipient can use fewer plastic bags in the coming year. For a quick gift tag, reuse last year’s holiday cards, or make your own from construction/poster paper.

 

Entertaining

1. Bring a dish or two. Create your best dish so others know what you can do and consume happily. The hosts would definitely appreciate your efforts – less food for them to prepare.

2. Organize carpool trips together and save on gas and parking space. Of course, make sure there is a designated driver, and the riders are people you like or can tolerate, depending on how long the drive is.

3. Cook with a group and make a masterpiece, all with some good fun, music, and cheap booze!

 

Home Life

1. Earn extra cash from a seasonal part-time job. Those gifts can add up.

2. Green Tree. If possible, get a tree that can be planted so you can watch it grow!

3. Make it a game night. Have fun without spending a lot of money, unless of course you’re betting and want to make things more interesting…

The Huffington Post mentions how we can “Give Back Painlessly: 50 Ways To Donate Time And Find Spare Cash For Others” and simply pay it forward, like volunteering. Additional resources are listed here:

–          Planet Green, 9 Ways To Cut Waste This Holiday Season

–          Greenpeace International, Your gift to the environment

–          Eartheasy.com, How to have a Green Christmas

Traveling light and green this winter is another great way to lower your carbon footprint. Some green travel choices can be found here, and aside from carrying your own water bottle, you’ll find more travel tips on Travel Gear’s website. I don’t remember where I got the following message, but it makes a strong case for being a Green Traveler:

Supporting local businesses–keeps money in your neighborhood; you’ll receive better service; helps create and keep jobs; promotes competition and diversity; less sprawl and environmental damage; in return local businesses usually support local organizations; works toward a positive economic impact locally; you’ll invest in your community.

It’s important to reflect on this past year and make some goals for 2011, especially as New Year’s approaches, that include ways to be a greener New Yorker. A lot of us struggle with this prospect, but I hope my blog has given you some helpful and tangible tips on how we can achieve this. One 2011 tip I’ll leave you with is the “How to Save on Winterizing Your Home” article from one of my favorite websites – Real Simple’s Green Living section.

Stay tuned for my next blog entry on green resolutions. Until then, keep warm and Happy Holidays!

2010 Pumpkin Festival at the Central Park Bandshell

10 Nov

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Autumn is a great time to visit New York State. The weather is crisp and beautiful, there are so many activities to choose from, the summer crowds are gone, and the holiday crowds haven’t arrived – yet…

A lot of things happened already this season. Trees and flowers were planted and distributed. Leaves changed color.  People painted roofs white. Others got a workout from the inaugural Green City Challenge. Speaking of which, let’s not forget the NYC Marathon, which draws “more than 100,000 applicants annually.”

The most anticipated event to date (for me) was the Pumpkin Festival hosted by the New York City Parks Department in Central Park on Saturday, October 30th. In the environmental education “Green Zone,” a few other volunteers and I were tabling and distributing some composting information to hundreds of visitors, many of whom were brave enough to hold some worms in their hands – not an easy thing to ask from a stranger. To our left was the Parks Department’s GreenTeam, a dedicated group of New Yorkers pitching in to reduce the ecological footprint of public events in parks. And to our right was the Office of Recycling Outreach & Education (OROE), discussing the why’s and how’s of recycling lots of stuff.

Many other featured activities included a citywide Scarecrow Design Competition, the famous Pumpkin Patch, Greenmarket vendors, Marionette Performances by Puppets in the Park and other live entertainment, and of course the ghoulishly scary Circus Berzerkus Haunted House. Best of all, these activities were all FREE!

Oh wait, did I forget to mention that there was a giant pumpkin, which came from competitive pumpkin grower Andy Wolf near Buffalo, NY? Would you believe it was also my first time attending this annual fall harvest celebration? I mean, how could I have missed this after all these years!? Well, as it turns out, about 20,000-30,000 people showed up, so maybe it was their first time too, but one thing’s for sure, I’m definitely coming back!

Fall for the rest of New York State here, where you can identify leaves and apples, jaunt to a nearby pumpkin patch for picking (talk about a tongue twister), or embark on driving tours.

Stay tuned for my next entry on this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! I’ll be clowning around, pun intended =D

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