Monday, March 10, 2008

Part II: green eye on the travel guy (and gal)

This week we will be exploring travel beyond Charlottesville: with a green eye and the travel guy (and gal). After all, what's a Betty to do when the call to travel takes you far and wide?

We will interview three locals who must satisfy their wanderlust now and again, but do it with an eye toward environmental sensitivity: Susan, Black Belt Nia instructor at ACAC, Eric, Director of Piedmont Sustainable Woods, and Katell, a French instructor at Peabody.

We will follow that up next week with a couple of blogs detailing some green tips: offsetting travel, green options for traveling once you get there, and more.

For me getting out of my day-to-day routine and my comfort zone is essential to my personal growth and evolution. I look at travel as absolutely necessary for my own "personal sustainability" and as a parent I think it's one of the best ways to foster the importance of having a broad perspective on human life. Mark Twain said, "Travel is fatal to prejudice."

Traveling allows me to meet new people, see things with new eyes, step beyond into new possibilities. I return with clarity and often resolutions. It's like an extended adult form of "recess." It's essential for my energetic youngest son: with a little outdoor free reign, he comes back more focused and able to concentrate.

So don't be consumed by eco-guilt that next trip you take. Yes, travel is a luxury. Yes, jet engines spew CO2 into the atmosphere with wild abandon (but take heart, in January Virgin Atlantic is the first airline to try biofuel). But I urge you to change the things you are able to, accept those you can't, and become an "intentional tourist."

An intentional tourist:
*brings an awareness and sensitivity to the environmental impact of their travel
*finds ways (big and small) to incorporate "greenness" into their travel
*is willing to do a bit more planning and ask intelligent questions about transportation and accommodation
*when they find an egregious abuse of natural resources at a hotel or restaurant they don't hesitate to shoot off a note to nudge a business in a more earth-sensitive direction (note: hopefully downloadable letters of this type will be available from Betty this fall!)

Tune in tomorrow for our interview with Susan!


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