Last Saturday Enviro Girl returned home after a 6 day writers retreat in Baltimore. During her stay, she toured her friend’s terrific garden, ate significant amounts of those homegrown veggies, recycled a metric ton of paper and never once turned on the air conditioning. Despite traveling by plane (which jacked up her personal carbon footprint–although she’ll only fly twice this year), the trip wasn’t an eco-bust. Two words kept Enviro Girl’s trip lean, mean and green:
1. Even on the airplane, Enviro Girl could carry her stainless steel water bottle and consume nary a drop of bottled water. You can check an empty water bottle or coffee mug through security–and fill it once you’re through the TSA checkpoints. She said “No, thanks” to the plastic cup of juice/water/soda offered during her flight. She said “No, thanks” to offers of bottled water by her hostess (concerned for her health during the dramatic altitude change). She drank tap water out of her water bottle or out of a glass.
2. Enviro Girl didn’t accept a shopping bag. When purchasing 3 souvenir t-shirts for Team Testosterone, she said “No, thanks” to the plastic bag and stuffed them in her own canvas tote. She said “No, thanks” to everything except photographs–turns out those were the only souvenirs Enviro Girl needs and they’re not Made in China and wrapped in plastic!
3. Enviro Girl used one bath towel and one hand towel during her stay. She said “No, thanks” to the offer of more towels–which would, in turn, lead to more laundry, using more water and more electricity and more detergent.
4. She said “No, thanks” when her hostess kept offering to prepare more food. Insisting on eating leftovers meant less waste, less energy spent cooking and more time for visiting.
Being green is about reducing your use and Enviro Girl did her best on this trip–she recycled paper at the airport and ate at her friend’s house or at locally owned and operated establishments. The weather was mild, so she and her friends left the windows open and the A/C off. In fact, they even worked outside and sparingly used the indoor lights during the daytime hours. “No, thanks” is a polite and easy way to reduce and reuse even while you’re on vacation.
Making your vacation environmentally friendly is a simple thing: Say “No, thanks” to the plastic souvenirs, plastic shopping bags, plastic bottles of water and extra towels. Recycle your trash, reuse the leftover food and reduce your consumption by limiting your shopping. In short, kick back and enjoy the moment–the view, the ambiance, the local color–whatever it is you went on vacation to enjoy!