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What Can I Do?

Friday, Nov. 5, 2010

According the AAA, approximately 38 million Americans traveled 50 miles or more from home last Thanksgiving.

If you’re planning on hitting the road again this year, keep in mind these tips to travel sustainably. Whether you travel by car, train, or plane, you’re contributing to carbon emissions. Reduce the impact of these emissions on global warming by purchasing an offset at . The organization puts your money into global warming mitigation projects, such as forest conservation and restoration, supporting renewable energy, and more.

There are plenty of ways to replace disposable items with reusable ones when you travel. According the Energy Information Administration, over one third of each American’s average daily waste comes from packaging. Check out the Laptop Lunch, a sustainable way to pack turkey, stuffing, and mashed potato leftovers without generating any waste. And of course, don’t forget your reusable water bottle, and carry any gifts or souvenirs in a reusable shopping bag.

Ever wondered what happens to those peanut packets and plastic beverage cups when flight attendants come by and collect them? According to a February 2010 Green America report on airline waste and in-flight recycling, about 75 percent of the 881 million pounds of waste generated on U.S. passenger flights in 2008 could be recycled, although only about 20 percent actually was. The report ranks major airlines on their current and planned recycling programs, employees’ recycling education, and other sustainability initiatives. Check it out to make an informed decision when booking your next flight.

Respect the local customs, environment, and people of your destination by signing the Friends of World Heritage’s Responsible Traveler Pledge. The three tenets of the Pledge are to: 1) discover the natural and cultural beauty of a place by learning about its history, customs, biodiversity, and other aspects that make it special; 2) Share your commitment to respect a place with local hotels, restaurants, tour companies, etc., and make sure they also share your commitment to sustainability; and 3) preserve the natural and cultural values of a place by staying on marked trails and respecting local customs. In addition to this pledge, honor your destination by supporting local merchants, restaurants, and lodging.

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