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GreenerTraveler

Giveaway Monday: Mexico Luxury Getaway Finals

We had so many great submissions for this giveaway that we have decided to narrow it down to the top 5 finalists and have the public vote on their favorite photos! If you made it to the finals, congratulations! It was very difficult for our team to select just 5 as there were so many amazing photos but we are now stuck. We need the help of our readers to select the winner!

How does voting work: We have listed the images below. To vote for an image, “like” it on the Wanderu Facebook page. This will run until this Friday, March 9th. The image with the most amount of “likes” by 5PM EST on Friday will be the winner!

Finalists:

1. Baby Got Back

2. NASA at Night

3. Soaring Over Cappadocia

4. I Own This

5. Red Ball Found Us

Thank you everyone for your help and good luck to all the finalists!

Transportation Wednesdays: Carpooling.com Discusses Europe’s Popular Transport Option

Carpooling, or ride sharing, is one of the most popular ways to get around in many places in Europe. We had the pleasure of speaking with Carpooling.com, one of the largest providers of carpooling sites to European countries. Here’s what we learned!

What is Carpooling.com? How does it work?

Carpooling.com is a marketplace where people can share rides. With a few clicks, drivers can offer rides and passengers can book a seat. People can choose who they want to ride with, how much space and comfort they need, where they want to meet and what they are willing to pay. Rides can be accessed by computer, mobile phone (iPhone, Android) or social networks (Facebook). With mobile apps and location-based technology, carpooling can be spontaneously organized on-the-go and users can access their online ticket at anytime. Carpooling.com gives easy access to affordable transport, even at the last minute, so it has become very popular in Europe. Today we have more than 3.5 million registered users.

How much money does carpooling save on gas and how much does it reduce in auto emission?

Ridesharing is a simple solution with enormous economical, ecological and social benefits. Since the creation of carpooling.com, 375 million liters of gas were saved and 725.000 tons of CO2 were prevented from entering the atmosphere - all with a few clicks of a mouse or smartphone.

By sharing a ride, drivers save up to 75% on their gas costs.

Is there a certain perimeter where carpooling is only allowed? Are there certain pick up/drop off locations or do you get car service at your specific location?

Carpooling is allowed anywhere! Drivers can specify the time and meeting place of their rides as well as other details about their journey as a comment for each ride. There are, of course, popular pick up and drop off locations such as outside main train stations, gas stations and near popular landmarks.

What do you do to ensure the safety of your drivers and riders?

Carpooling.com includes many features that ensure a safe and reliable ride. Our user rating system allows people to rate their journey. Each assigns scores indicating how punctual their travel companion was, whether they kept to their agreements, how comfortable they felt throughout the experience and generally how they rate the journey. Users can also choose to only search rides from authenticated users [those who have sent a copy of their ID]; and women can choose to only travel with other women. Many users often post their car’s number plate in their profile in order to help passengers identify them at the meeting points - a further feature which increases accountability and trust. Finally Facebook users can connect according to common interests or friendships.

In the past ten years, the most serious complaints have involved trivial issues such as forgetting a cell phone in the car or arriving too late. We have a very active customer service team to answer questions and issues and to delete any unwanted users from the system.

According to your website, you are localized in 9 different countries. Do you see yourself expanding anymore?

We had instant success in every country where we launched, even in countries such as Poland or Italy, where the concept of ‘carpooling’ did not really exist. This shows how useful our service can be: people are looking for affordable transport everywhere and we get requests from other countries all the time.

We are looking at expanding in the US because it’s a country that embraces innovative ideas when they make sense. Today there are many local carpooling sites in the US, which are targeted to specific users such as students but no one has offered carpooling as a new transportation for all users like we do in Europe. In the US, people are very mobile and value convenient and affordable services. There is also a lot of political focus aimed at reducing carbon emissions and, in some states, traffic congestion is very high and public transport is quite unreliable. Carpooling will be a great mobility solution for many people.

How many people would you say use carpooling.com per month?

Carpooling.com transports over 1 million people each month across 5,000 cities and 45 countries.

Why do you think that people should start carpooling/the importance of carpooling?

Carpooling.com believes that everyone should have access to affordable transport. By sharing a ride, people have access to a mobility solution that is affordable and sustainable. Pollution, traffic, parking and road maintenance are reduced: everyone benefits!

With 1 billion cars in the world, single occupancy commuting is such a waste of resources.

Where is Carpooling most popular in Europe?

Carpooling is most popular in Germany, where the concept of ‘mitfahrzentrale’ agencies to connect drivers and passengers has existed offline for decades. In Germany, people now consider carpooling as a new option for traveling and our site has become as popular as sites such as Expedia or LastMinute. France comes next thanks to incentives from the government that every large city and company must define a mobility plan to reduce their carbon emissions. Many local carpooling sites started this way. It’s also really popular in Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Poland, Czech Republic, Spain, The UK, Belgium The Netherlands… the list goes on and the number of rides on our site is growing on a daily basis. It’s everywhere now, even in countries such as Ukraine and Estonia!

Why do you think Carpooling has become so popular in Europe and not in the US?

In Europe, people are much more used to public transportation than in the US so the concept of sharing a ride with other people is very familiar. However, the factors that push people toward carpooling in Europe are definitely increasing. Many people are looking for solutions to reduce their transport budget - and many are also concerned about our planet and how they can contribute to reducing their carbon footprint. Carpooling helps address both these concerns by transforming the empty seats in people’s cars into an extensive transportation network. When there are transport strikes, carpooling is also a great way to express solidarity with those around you.

In the US, it’s important to note that there is also a rich history of carpooling. Carpooling first came to prominence in WWII during rationing-efforts. Later, following the environmental activism of the 60s and early 70s, the first carpool lane was installed on the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge in 1971 to reduce congestion and move people more quickly.

The reason that carpooling became less popular in the US over time has probably had more to do with changing lifestyle factors rather than a diminishing need (indeed, today’s rising gas prices, the recession and increased congestion problems are all factors that drive the need for carpooling initiatives). As people became more mobile with busier lives and increased work commitments, carpooling simply became too inconvenient. No-one wants to wait around for hours because their carpool buddy got stuck in a meeting.

Today, however, this is no longer an issue. The Internet, GPS technology, smartphones and social networks now make it possible to share rides in a way that was never possible before. The traditional carpool of yesterday has been replaced by the new spontaneous ridesharing of today. With our free iPhone and Android apps, carpooling can now be organized on-the-go. So when you’re late at work, all you have to do is pull out your phone and book a later ride.

This is really working in Europe and we don’t see why it can’t become as popular in the US. With carpooling, you save money and get a convenient door-to-door service. Who doesn’t want that?

Anything else you would like to share with our readers about Carpooling?

We notice that when people try carpooling for the first time, they usually do it for the money. However they often come back for other reasons as well: they enjoy it! When you share a car, when you share a book, when you share an idea, you forge connections with the people around you. In an age where people are increasingly isolated, carpooling helps to promote solidarity and social links within communities. Since the creation of the site, we have facilitated thousands of friendships and more than 10 marriages!

Guide to the Finger Lakes, New York

The Finger Lakes http://www.fingerlakestravelny.com , eleven pristine lakes spread like fingers across central New York, encompasses 9,000 plus square miles of outdoor adventures and bucolic scenery with a nice mix of urban hot spots to boot. The region is an ideal green getaway destination, easily accessible from key hubs like New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Washington D.C. and Toronto, through the region’s gateway cities, Syracuse and Rochester. In addition to an abundance of Thoreau-esque lakeside retreats and spectacular scenery, the region offers over 100 world class vineyards, an array of trails (both culinary, historic and health centric), farm-to-table foodie delights and internationally acclaimed annual festivals.

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As an outdoorsman’s paradise, the region boasts gorgeous county and state parks with camping, canoeing, kayaking and gorge-hopping, like Letchworth State Park http://www.letchworthpark.com/ , “the Grand Canyon of the east” and Onondaga Lake Park, http://onondagacountyparks.com/onondaga-lake-park/ home of Wegmans Lights on the Lake - central New York’s top holiday attraction. Also recognized for breathtaking waterfalls, the drop at Taughannock Falls http://www.taughannock.com/ is around 215 feet, a larger drop than Niagara Falls. For a bird’s eye view, hot balloon rides http://www.stballoon.com/ in the region offer a spectacular spectacle for the senses.

For farm-to-table delights, restaurants abound, many of which work directly with Hendy Hollow Farm http://www.hendyhollowfarm.com/ , an 80 acre organic facility using its own ecosystem to thrive. For travelers on the go, their fresh produce is featured at the Elmira http://www.localharvest.org/elmira-farmers-market-M2859 and Ithaca http://www.ithacamarket.com/ Farmer’s Markets.

The Finger Lakes is also a thrill seekers playground from Watkins Glen International Racing http://www.theglen.com/ to fantastic skiing options in Greek Peak http://www.greekpeak.net and Bristol Mountain http://www.bristolmt.com to hang gliding at Harris Hill Soaring Center http://harrishillsoaring.org/ . Looking to shop-til-you-drop? The region is home to Destiny USA, http://www.destinyusa.com/ the largest LEED® Gold certified super-regional shopping center in the country. For eco-friendly accommodations, look no further than the environmentally eclectic, artisan detailed Hotel Skyler, http://www.hotelskyler.com/ the third hotel in the United States and tenth in the world to achieve a LEED Platinum status. Travelers can also spend time at Small Graces B&B & Forget-Me-Not Farm http://www.smallgracescottage.blogspot.com , which provides an intimate, digital free getaway where everything is organic from the food to the linens. Or, find respite at the Abner Adams House Bed and Breakfast http://www.abneradamshouse.com , a 200-year-old restored farmhouse on four acres of woodland with trails and gardens with a WindTamer turbine in the backyard to generate power. For more information about everything there is to do and see in the Finger Lakes please visit www.fingerlakestravelny.com .

To find the best ground travel option to visit this area we recommend Wanderu.com to find all schedules and routes of trains and buses to New York.

Exploring New England’s Last Frontier – Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom

Vermont is known by many as a region that embodies the quaint New England lifestyle. While it’s only a short drive from the fast-paced urban areas in nearby Montreal, Boston, and New York, the Green Mountain State feels a world removed. One region in particular speaks to travelers intent on escaping the day-to-day distractions and reconnecting with what’s most important. Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom (NEK) is ripe for exploration, whether your idea of taking a vacation includes a long hike, a thick book or a little bit of both.

Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom is a place where the seasons vary as widely as the activities available within them. Be it skiing throughout the winter or maple sugaring in the spring, this area bordering Quebec and northern New Hampshire provides a truly unique experience. The Northeast Kingdom embodies the spirit of Vermont at its best while also retaining its own unique character. It remains stuck in time on one hand, but will present you with a world-class spa experience on the other. From roughing it to living luxuriously, the Northeast Kingdom accommodates all kinds of travelers with a welcoming smile and an authentic charm.

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Lodging in the NEK

Places to stay in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom range from rustic to Vermont chic, with a bed for any budget. Campgrounds for tents and trailers are aplenty, offering secluded sites as well as lakeside accommodations where outdoor adventures are just a step outside. Quaint country inns and Bed and Breakfasts offer travelers a welcome place to stay where they’ll be feeling right at home. Farm stays provide a glimpse into what it’s like to live in a place where natural beauty blurs the lines between work and play. When comfort is key, travelers can check into one of the many hotels, county cottages or condos that are spread amongst the Kingdom.

 

Four-Season Fun in the NEK

People from in and out of state regard autumn as arguably the most beautiful time of the year, providing spectacular scenes at every turn. With temperatures ranging from steamy in early September to a below-freezing November, there are activities abound for viewing the brilliant foliage. Visitors can travel along one of Vermont’s winding dirt roads, taking in the leaves bursting with color, while en route to one of the many fall festivals. If sampling the seasonal crafts and foods isn’t enough, Jay Peak, the Fairbanks Museum and the Haskell Opera House (a theater half in Vermont and half in Canada) host various art fairs and events to celebrate further.

As the temperature plummets the Northeast Kingdom flourishes. Ski resorts like Jay Peak and Burke Mountain become blanketed in white and visitors can find activities varying from sled dog racing to sleigh rides, plus a number of the area’s winter carnivals. Snowboarding, Alpine and Nordic skiing are plentiful, with options ranging from world-class resorts to quiet and secluded trail networks. Snowshoe and snowmobile trails wind endlessly around the Northeast Kingdom, providing access to scenic overlooks and enchanting forests.

The spring gives way to one of the state’s most highly touted and integral products – maple syrup. Between visiting maple sugaring houses or trying sugar on snow for the first time, Vermont’s “mud season” season plays host to Earth Day events at the Northwoods Stewardship Center and of course, maple syrup festivals.

As the snow melts and the trails dry, the Northeast Kingdom becomes a haven for outdoor recreation. World-class trail systems like Kingdom Trails in East Burke provide a playground for mountain bikers and hikers, while the region’s lakes are a welcome retreat during long summer days. In between Summer Fests, state fairs and fourth of July celebrations, visit areas like Lake Willoughby, Vermont’s deepest glacial lake, or Lake Memphremagog, which after six miles of water in the United States, stretches nearly 30 miles into Canada. Hiking and sightseeing opportunities are also abundant. Where winding country roads end, hiking trails begin, taking sightseers to scenic vistas with views into Canada and across the Green Mountains. The region is also a popular destination for road cyclists and motorcyclists. Miles of open roads with magnificent views can be enjoyed between stops to refuel at roadside snack bars and restaurants.

Geotourism in the NEK

You don’t visit the Northeast Kingdom, you experience it. The Northeast Kingdom practices geotourism whenever possible. Similar to ecotourism but much more encompassing, geotourism is tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place – its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents. The Northeast Kingdom has been working with the National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations since 2006 and is devoted to this practice.

For more information on Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom and ways you can plan a trip to this region, visit www.travelthekingdom.com, the Northeast Kingdom’s source for travel and geotourism information.

For all your travel needs to Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom we recommend http://www.wanderu.com for bus tickets for buses from New York and much more.

Giveaway Mondays: Exclusive Getaway at Luxury Jungle Lodge in Mexico $600 Value

Sunshine and springtime are just around the corner, so why not get in the spirit by entering into our newest getaway giveaway to stay in Nayarit, Mexico at The Tailwind Jungle Lodge! The winner of this giveaway will receive a three-night stay in the Casita Pumita, which is the most upscale lodging offered at Tailwind.  This $600 value includes a deluxe 2-bedroom “casita” (which translates to “small house”) with large open deck spaces, a full kitchen, private bathroom, and amazing ocean views.

The Tailwind Jungle Lodge is a family-owned, secluded jungle retreat right on the beach of the Mexican Pacific. Covering five acres, this retreat has a collection of 6 different lodging units, all perched on the hillside to minimize environmental impact.  Each tree house-like unit offers a unique jungle experience with a variety of beautiful views.


The Tailwind Jungle Lodge also offers adventures like sea kayaking, hiking, stand-up paddle boarding, jungle yoga, and surfing. Even treat yourself to a relaxing massage in the jungle! In addition, the lodge now offers holistic health and nutrition services to guests for the opportunity to nourish and replenish their bodies. There are so many options available to customize your trip just the way you like it!

If we haven’t won you over yet: Tailwind is the first certified sustainable eco-lodge in Mexico, strengthening the owners’ vision of environmentalism and sustainable lifestyle.  This idea of sustainability takes into consideration: the health of the natural world, the health of the San Pancho community (culturally and economically), and the Tailwind family’s ability to make low-impact living realistic, comfortable, and affordable.

This trip is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be completely serene in the beautiful jungle of Mexico.  Whether you prefer to spend your time exploring the exciting adventures or just relaxing on the stunning white sand beach, this would be an experience to never forget.

Learn more about all that Tailwind has to offer at: www.tailwindjunglelodge.com.

HOW TO ENTER GIVEAWAY: Post your best travel photo on Wanderu’s facebook wall with a THREE-WORD description.  Be creative! We look forward to seeing your photos!

By submitting your photo, you agree to the giveaway’s terms and conditions. This contest will run until Monday, March 5 and the winner will be announced on Tuesday, March 6.

Giveaway Mondays: Exclusive Getaway at Luxury Jungle Lodge in Mexico $600 Value

Sunshine and springtime are just around the corner, so why not get in the spirit by entering into our newest getaway giveaway to stay in Nayarit, Mexico at The Tailwind Jungle Lodge! The winner of this giveaway will receive a three-night stay in the Casita Pumita, which is the most upscale lodging offered at Tailwind.  This $600 value includes a deluxe 2-bedroom “casita” (which translates to “small house”) with large open deck spaces, a full kitchen, private bathroom, and amazing ocean views.

The Tailwind Jungle Lodge is a family-owned, secluded jungle retreat right on the beach of the Mexican Pacific. Covering five acres, this retreat has a collection of 6 different lodging units, all perched on the hillside to minimize environmental impact.  Each tree house-like unit offers a unique jungle experience with a variety of beautiful views.


The Tailwind Jungle Lodge also offers adventures like sea kayaking, hiking, stand-up paddle boarding, jungle yoga, and surfing. Even treat yourself to a relaxing massage in the jungle! In addition, the lodge now offers holistic health and nutrition services to guests for the opportunity to nourish and replenish their bodies. There are so many options available to customize your trip just the way you like it!

If we haven’t won you over yet: Tailwind is the first certified sustainable eco-lodge in Mexico, strengthening the owners’ vision of environmentalism and sustainable lifestyle.  This idea of sustainability takes into consideration: the health of the natural world, the health of the San Pancho community (culturally and economically), and the Tailwind family’s ability to make low-impact living realistic, comfortable, and affordable.

This trip is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be completely serene in the beautiful jungle of Mexico.  Whether you prefer to spend your time exploring the exciting adventures or just relaxing on the stunning white sand beach, this would be an experience to never forget.

Learn more about all that Tailwind has to offer at: www.tailwindjunglelodge.com.

HOW TO ENTER GIVEAWAY: Post your best travel photo on Wanderu’s facebook wall with a THREE-WORD description.  Be creative! We look forward to seeing your photos!

By submitting your photo, you agree to the giveaway’s terms and conditions. This contest will run until Monday, March 5 and the winner will be announced on Tuesday, March 6.

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Exploring the Azores, One of the World’s Last Secrets

Between the east coast of the United States and mainland Portugal sits the nine islands of the Azores. Because these once uninhabited, remote islands were settled sporadically over a span of two centuries, their culture, dialect, cuisine and traditions vary considerably from island to island. However, all the islands of the Azores are unquestionably beautiful, and also a well kept secret.  Of the 868 square miles of the Azores, there are only 240,000 people who call it home.

The islands were created by volcanic activity millions of years ago, giving them a landscape including rocky cliffs, waterfalls, geysers, lava caves, and open fields.  The lava rich soils nurture more than 1,200 species of plants, flowers, and trees, and the mild climate provides a fresh, springlike quality no matter when you visit.

[caption id=”attachment_3131” align=”aligncenter” width=”640” caption=”Landscape in Sao Miguel island”]Landscape in Sao Miguel island[/caption]

The Azores are a smart pick for any green traveler.  The National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations named the Azores as the world’s second most appealing island to visit.  There is a variety of innovative lodging options; visitors can choose from a number of inns and hotels that were once the palaces, manor homes and monasteries that made up the rich history of the region. The Azores are also a quick and easy destination, with a direct flight from Boston usually lasting four hours.

The volcanic terrain offers hikers memorable experiences, such as climbing to the 7,700 summit of the island Pico or exploring the remains of a lighthouse from a 1957   volcanic explosion on the island of Faial.  Bicyclists of all kinds can find their perfect route, whether that be a backcountry road, seaside route, or mountain path.  The Azores are also one of the top ten whale watching sites in the world. With the huge variety of whales in the area, including sperm, finned, and humpback, sightings are almost always guaranteed.  Other popular activities on the islands include water sports, horseback riding, saltwater fishing, and world class golf.

Easy and Cheap Sightseeing by Public Transportation

Other than walking everywhere, there is no cheaper, easier or ‘greener’ way to sight-see a city than by using public transportation. And once you’ve learned a few of the basics of a city’s transit system, more than likely there’s a reasonable relatively inexpensive day pass awaiting you.

Often, just availing yourself a round trip on one of the transit lines affords you a great way to familiarize yourself with a city. For example, for around $2 you can circuit Honolulu and its island of Oahu from the transit hub near Waikiki in the main Ala Moana Shopping Center through downtown Honolulu, across the backbone of the island, circle all around the windward coast, up along the north shore, passing extraordinary scenic vistas and all the famed main surfing beaches.

You’ll also pass through sugar cane and pineapple country and wind up in the same shopping center where you started. Known as the “Circle Island” bus it’s one of Hawaii’s best kept secrets! So, just for two dollars you can go so easily around the island in a complete circle. There’s no cheaper better way to do this. And you can pick your favorite spots to return to by public bus on another day.

[caption id=”attachment_3128” align=”aligncenter” width=”144” caption=”London Travel Guide”]London Travel Guide[/caption]

Another example of bargain ways to see a city, while being socially responsible at the same time, i.e., doing your bit to reduce carbon emissions, is to sight see Los Angeles by its excellent public transit system.

Often you think of Los Angeles as a city of cars and traffic jams, and you may have a notion that you cannot do LA by public transit. Having written a guide to Los Angeles by its Metro, I say that it can be done, indeed!

There are plenty of worthwhile free visitor attractions in the Los Angeles area. And if you couple this with using public transportation, there is no
easier, cheaper way to get to and view them.

For instance, if you start out, say, in the Hollywood area as your home base, you have a number of free attractions right there including viewing the famous Hollywood sign from the Hollywood and Highland Center, walk along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, viewing the brass stars embedded in the pavement, and so on.

Additionally you can reach virtually all of LA’s top visitor attractions using LA’s extensive public transit system.
For instance, from the Hollywood area, you can easily reach:

1.       Santa Monica, its famous pier, the beach, and downtown by a “Rapid”
(express) public bus;

2.       Venice Beach, the people-watching center of LA by public bus

3.       The famous Grand Central Market by public bus

4.       Historic and interesting Pasadena by the Red Line subway and light rail

5.       And wonderful Pasadena, with all its nearby attractions by Underground Red Line Subway and then transferring to the Gold Light Rail Line to Pasadena

Other than walking, there is no better budget way to see LA’s attractions.
With a day pass on the LA transit system, there is no other cheaper or
easier way to view these attractions.

Dr Michael Brein, aka ‘The Travel Psychologist’ publishes the world’s first and only travel guide series to sightseeing by public transportation. You can view this guide series at www.michaelbrein.com.

Sustainable Airports: A Travel Trend We’d Love to See “Take Off”

Of all the green initiatives started in 2011-both within the travel industry and without—perhaps one of the biggest and most forward-moving steps came from the green makeover given to San Francisco International Airport.

SFO was awarded the LEED-Gold certification, making it the firstairport in the United States, and only the second in the world, to achieve the ranking.  The LEED (US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) award was based on the various energy-efficient, sustainable and environmentally friendly aspects incorporated into the recent $383 million redesign of Terminal 2.

The terminal at SFO reopened on April 14, 2011, after an extensive renovation to reduce energy consumption and increase sustainability.  According to the San Francisco Appeal, the building is 15% more efficient than required by California building codes and the plumbing is 40% more efficient than standard fixtures.  The repurposing of bathroom water is part of the terminal’s Reclaimed Water Reuse Program, which incorporates reclaimed water from the airport’s treatment system to use in Terminal 2 and other areas throughout SFO.

In addition to the water reuse program, the airport implemented a waste reduction initiative aimed at recycling 90% of recyclable solid waste by 2020.  Additionally, the program requires “the reuse/recycling of all waste generated during construction projects to the extent feasible from environmental, legal, and technical perspectives,” according to the SFO webpage.  Ninety percent of debris from the renovation was recycled.

The LEED committee also recognized the initiative to reduce greenhouse gases at the terminal, through the use of plug-in electrical chargers for ground vehicles, which reduces fuel consumption.  Additionally, the airport provides preferential parking for electric and hybrid vehicles in the parking garages, uses energy-efficient lighting and machinery, and decreases the amount of fuel consumed by aircraft at the gates by 1,400,000 gallons per year, by providing preconditioned air.

But perhaps the most innovative initiative the airport has implemented is through the concessions program.  The terminal is holding food vendors to a higher ecological standard—in order to comply with the recycling program, vendors are required to use biodegradable containers and utensils and compost their waste.  Vendors are also expected to use organic, locally-sourced products, cage-free eggs, fair trade coffee, non-modified agricultural products and natural meats.

It may be unrealistic to expect every airport to follow completely in SFO’s reduced-carbon footsteps anytime soon, but implementing green concession programs is something that can be done without multi-million dollar renovations, and it is a step we hope will be picked up by other airports and airlines.  Airport food is bad enough, without all the preservatives and artificial ingredients.  How much fresher would you feel coming off a flight if you knew that the last meal you ate was made with organic, free-range products?  We hope that greening airport vendors is a travel trend we will see more of 2012!

Sources:

“About SFO: Environmental Sustainability.” Fly SFO, http://www.flysfo.com/web/page/ about/T2/sustainability.

Callard, Abby. “World’s First LEED-Gold Certified Airport Terminals.” Beyond Profit.http://beyondprofit.com/world%E2%80%99s-first-leed-gold-certified-airport-terminals/

Cooney, Chris. “SFO Terminal 2 Awarded LEED Gold Certification.” San Francisco Appeal, December 2, 2011.

Top 8 Places to Explore Nature and the Great Outdoors in Newport Beach, California

Newport Beach offers some of the most beautiful ecological landscapes, wildlife and marine habitat in Southern California. To ensure that the natural beauty of the destination from the parks to the oceans and the ecologically important Back Bay Preserve, the city continues to establish programs to sustain the destination’s natural beauty for all to enjoy for years to come.
Quick Facts: 25.1 square miles of water, 14.8 square miles of land, 9 miles of coastline, Elevation: 10 ft above sea level
Newport Harbor - Known as one of the finest, and largest, small yacht harbors in the world, Newport Harbor is surrounded by wind-blown bluffs, sandy beaches, rocky coves and numerous islands. Two jetties stand as sentinels against the encroaching ocean and two main channels join and converge towards the harbor mouth. Inside the channel quiet bay beaches line its shores while surf pounds the oceanfront. Boat slips line much of the shoreline where over 9,000 vessels are docked, ranging in all sizes from small canoes and kayaks to enormous luxury yachts. Activities: Kayaking (6.7 miles).
Crystal Cove State Park - 3.2 miles of beach and 2,400 acres of undeveloped woodland comprise Crystal Cove State Park, which stands as Orange County’s last acreage of undeveloped coastline. The land was formerly owned by The Irvine Company (an Orange County-based real estate developer) who sold it to the state of California in 1979 to transform it into a state park. The park is popular for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain bikers. The offshore waters are designated as an underwater sanctuary where scuba and skin divers are often found. The beach is also popular with swimmers and surfers who can also explore tide pools and sandy coves. Activities: Hiking (3 miles)
Crystal Cove Historic District - Located on 12.3 acres of the Crystal Cove State Park is Crystal Cove Historic District, a well-preserved example of vintage southern California beach living and architecture.
The District retains the ambiance of a 1930’s beach village featuring 46 distinct cottages. 16 of the 46 cottages have been restored to their original 1930s era condition and were opened to the public for overnight lodging in June 2006. The cottages are fully furnished with period appropriate furniture. Housekeeping service is limited. No daily service is provided except for trash removal. After 4 days, towels will be replaced upon request.
El Moro Canyon - Located in the backcountry of Crystal Cove State Park is El Moro Canyon, a popular campsite and area for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Trails can be hiked year round with beautiful ocean views, insulated canyons and colorful wildflowers. EL Moro Canyon includes two campground sites, one of which is a 3-mile trek uphill with three different campgrounds totaling 34 campsites/4 persons per site. The second, Moro Campground overlooks the Pacific Ocean and features 58 family campsites, including, 28 designated RV sites, and 30 designated “low impact” sites. Activities: Hiking (3.58 miles round trip)
Upper Newport Bay - One of only a few remaining estuaries in Southern California, Upper Newport Bay is a tranquil setting where fresh and saltwater meet and mix. Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve and Ecological Reserve represent approximately 1,000 acres of open space. It is the home of nearly 200 species of birds, including several endangered species, as well as numerous varieties of mammals, fish, and native plants. The bay is an important stopover for migrating birds on the Pacific Flyway and up to 30,000 birds can be seen on any day during the winter months. Six rare endangered species can be found in this habitat including: the Light Footed Clapper Rail, Brown Pelican, Belding’s Savannah Sparrow, Black Rail, Peregrine Falcon and California Least Tern. The bay is also home to one endangered plant species - Saltmarsh Bird’s Beak. Activities: Kayaking (5.8 miles), Hiking (3.2 mile loop).
Back Bay Science Center - Located adjacent to the Upper Newport Bay is the 13,000 square foot state-of-the-art Back Bay Science Center, built through a partnership of the California Department of Fish and Game, the City of Newport Beach, the Orange County Health Care Agency, and the University of California Irvine. It looks out over the largest remaining nature estuary in southern California with waterfront access to this important ecological reserve. The mission of the science center is to provide a hands-on facility where students and the public can study and enjoy the estuarine ecology of Newport Bay and the marine ecology of the ocean, and to promote natural resource conservation and stewardship throughout the watershed.
Peter & Mary Muth Interpretive Center - A 10,000 square foot educational facility built into the side of one of the bluffs on the north end of the Upper Newport Bay, the center provides a focal point for the public’s enjoyment of the Bay. Here young and old alike can take a journey through a series of exhibits and interactive displays that make the Bay come alive. Visitors learn about life in and around an estuary and why Upper Newport Bay is such an important ecological locale. It is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 AM to 4 PM and is free to the public. The Muth Interpretive Center offers various programs for schools and families. To learn more, go to www.newportbay.org.
Sherman Library & Gardens - This 2.2 acre horticultural retreat is nestled in the neighborhood of Corona Del Mar in Newport Beach. The library and gardens provide a museum of living plants, displayed amidst a setting of immaculate gardens, patios and conservatories linked together by wide brick walkways, beds blooming with seasonal flowers and bubbling tile fountains. The library is a specialized research center devoted to the study of the Pacific Southwest.
About Newport Beach, California
Nestled among golden stretches of pristine Pacific coastline between Los Angeles and San Diego, Newport Beach epitomizes the casually sophisticated lifestyle of Southern California. This idyllic seaside destination is widely celebrated for its natural beauty and vibrant yachting community alongside stylish accommodations, eclectic coastal cuisine and upscale shopping. Ranked among the “Top 10 Resort Towns in the U.S.,” Newport Beach is also distinguished as one of the country’s “Top 10 Best Family Beaches.” A mild climate and picturesque backdrop minutes from the newly expanded Orange County/John Wayne Airport (SNA) offer year-round appeal. For more information or a complementary Official Newport Beach Visitor’s Guide, go to VisitNewportBeach.com or call (800) 94-COAST. Join our Facebook community (Facebook.com/VisitNewportBeach), and follow us on Twitter @NewportBeach.