Posted by: gardner310 | July 17, 2009

Be A GREEN Traveler

ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents) has a green program for travel agencies and suppliers.  Membership is optional and an extra cost but those of us who are serious about the environment opt in.  THE Travel Specialist is a GREEN agency. There are ways to make your office and /facility green in order to better preserve the environment and thus enable the traveler to have a better experience.  Below is a list of actions you can take as a responsible traveler to be green.  The list is from the French Tourist Office and mentions but these actions apply to anywhere you may go.  The better we treat our environment the longer it will be there for others to visit.

Rules and codes of practice for the responsible traveller are a valuable guide to encourage tourists to minimise their impact on the places they travel through. Here are some useful links, together with a summary of the main actions for travelling responsibly in France.

Green actions for walkers
The French Walking Federation sets out its ten commandments for the responsible walker. These include not building campfires and not washing up with detergent in crystal-clear streams when camping, etc. They also remind walkers to take their picnic waste with them in their rucksacks, and not to leave anything behind.

Green actions for mountain-goers, in winter and summer
With its guide to “eco-friendly” mountain resorts and its ski slope clean-up actions, mountain-goers organisation Mountain Riders provides a stimulus to local authorities and all mountain tourism actors. It has compiled a list of “good actions” for the planet when on a summer or winter mountain holiday.

Green actions for divers
Longitude 181 is an organisation that works towards the protection of the marine environment and a more equitable distribution of its resources, by publicising and implementing the International Guide for the Responsible Diver, launched in February 2002.

Green actions in protected sites
A whole legal arsenal codifies the use of classified and protected natural areas (national parksregional natural parksmarine areas, etc.).

Here is a summary of the main actions for the responsible traveller in France:

– Abide by the rules of the places you visit.

– Do not leave behind any kind of rubbish; take all your rubbish with you and dispose of it in the appropriate rubbish and recycling bins.

– Keep to waymarked paths.

– Respect the silence of nature.

– Do not feed animals and keep your distance.

– Do not pick plants or flowers in protected areas.

– Do not damage works of art, sites or monuments; simple actions like stroking a fresco with your hand can seriously alter it if they are repeated by thousands of ill-informed visitors.

– At your hotel, ask for the sheets and towels not to be changed every day.

– Avoid using air-conditioning.

– When shopping, give preference to local, seasonal produce and avoid plastic bags.*

– Offset the CO2 emissions from your mode of travel.

* The end of plastic bags at the cash-out is announced for 2010, but in France small shops and large supermarkets alike have not waited for the law to abolish this abundant stream of freebies, replacing them with reusable shopping bags or bags made from biodegradable materials.

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