In the United States, the highway and road system is important to all of us. But road construction and the increase of cars and time spent driving has taken a toll on our wildlife and natural landscapes. You can help stop this by:
- Driving sensibly: drive only when necessary and turn your car off if you are stopping for an extended period to avoid wasting gas
- Keep your car tuned up
- Use public transit
- Ride your bike or walk instead
- Buy a more gas efficient car
- Recycle your engine oil
- Keep your tires properly inflated to save gas
- Recycle your old tires
- Keep your wheels in alignment to save your tires
- Don't litter
As you plan your next trip, you can still be as good an environmentalist away as you are at home. More and more hotels and motels are practicing earth-friendly behaviors, like offering recycling bins in each room, reducing energy and water use, offering shuttle buses to cut down on guests’ rental car use and reducing disposable containers.
If possible, try to patronize hotels that participate in green programs (check out www.greenhotels.com). If your hotel isn’t environmentally friendly, ask the manager to get on board!
Meanwhile, here are some other ways to be a “green” traveler:
- Turn down the heat and turn off the water heater before you go
- Turn off the lights and turn up the thermostat when you leave your hotel room
- Hang your towels back on the rack to be used another day
- Whenever possible, walk, bike or use public transportation
- Ask your airline to recycle newspaper, cans and bottles
- Carry re-usable cups, dishes and flatware
- At the beach, pick up trash; make sure yours doesn't end up in the ocean
- Don't pick flowers or collect wild animals
- Don't buy souvenirs made from wild animals
- Watch out for wildlife crossing the road
- Build smaller camp fires
- Stay on the trail.
If we all do our part, we can minimize the impact our vacations have on the environment.