Category Archives: Green Travel

Green Travel: Buy Carbon Offsets

I love to travel, but I hate to fly. Did you know that airplanes pump out more than 600 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) every year? That’s nearly as much CO2 as the African continent annually emits. No wonder flying has become, for many, climate change’s Public Enemy Number One.

Despite my aversion to flying, I find myself on a plane from time to time. Eddy and I recently flew to Charleston, South Carolina, to visit his family. We decided to buy carbon offsets to balance out our emissions (and to stop me from whining about all the CO2 emitted by our travel).

We bought our offsets from Carbonfund.org. Carbonfund.org is a nonprofit organization based in Silver Spring, Maryland, that provides carbon offsetting and greenhouse gas reduction options to individuals, businesses, and organizations. Carbonfund.org purchases and retires certified carbon offsets on behalf of its donors. Donors are given a choice of project type to which they may donate, including renewable energy, reforestation, and energy efficiency projects. Carbonfund.org is a member of the Chicago Climate Exchange and is a Founding Member of the American Carbon Registry.

Since this was our first time buying carbon offsets, I was bracing for a couple of hundred dollars to balance out emissions from our travel. Well, it cost us $13.89. Now, that’s affordable. I’ll let the readers guess to which project we donated.

I found buying carbon offsets to be easy and painless. I’ll continue to reduce my carbon footprint, but, as Carbonfund.org says, what I can’t reduce, I will offset.

Interested in offsetting what you can’t reduce? Visit www.carbonfund.org.

Wanna Maximize Fuel Economy? Part 4

Install your bike rack only when necessary to maximize your fuel economy.

Then, declutter your car! Heavier vehicles require more energy to move, so carrying around excess weight will also affect your fuel economy. Did you know that an extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your gas mileage by up to 2 percent? If you have a roof rack or roof carrier, install it on your vehicle only when necessary. The same goes for bike racks. Racks and carriers add extra weight, AND they increase the aerodynamic drag on the vehicle, further decreasing your fuel economy.

So, declutter your car, improve fuel economy, and save money!

Wanna Maximize Fuel Economy? Part 3

I went to Fayetteville last Friday to attend a meeting. To maximize fuel economy, I used cruise control. Cruise control helps you maintain a steady speed, thus improving your gas mileage. Warning! If you are driving in hilly terrain, using cruise control may cause your vehicle to speed up faster (to maintain the preset speed), decreasing your fuel economy. When driving in hilly terrain, operate the accelerator yourself.

Green Travel: Devil’s Den State Park

Eddy jumping across Lee Creek.

Devil's Den State Park is famous for its caves, crevices, bluffs, and ravines.

We ran into this little guy during our hike.

Ferns growing along the crevice.

Devil's Den had to close its caves to protect bats from contracting White Nose Syndrome, a fungal disease that has killed over one million bats in the eastern U.S.

In September, Eddy and I celebrated our anniversary. We had long planned on spending our anniversary weekend in Fayetteville. We LOVE Fayetteville. Little Bread Company, Greenhouse Grill, Good Things Boutique, Fayetteville Farmers Market, Dickson Street Bookshop…. The list goes on.

Neither Eddy nor I follow football, so imagine our surprise when we found out that Razarbacks were playing Roll Tides on our anniversary weekend in Fayetteville. (Imagine our friends’ surprise when they learned that Eddy and I had no clue about the biggest game for the Razarbacks this season.)

Normally when we visit Fayetteville, Eddy and I stay with our friends, Molly and Jeremy. (Thank you, Molly and Jeremy! You guys rock!) But since it was our anniversary weekend, we decided to get our own place. The problem was Razarbacks were playing Roll Tides, and most hotels in Fayetteville were booked.

That’s when Eddy came up with a brillant idea. We’ll camp at the Devil’s Den State Park!

Devil’s Den State Park is a 2,500-acre state park located 26 miles south of Fayetteville, near West Fork, Arkansas. We chose to stay there because it is in the Lee Creek Valley of the Boston Mountains.

For the past several years, Arkansas’ environmentalists have been fighting to protect Lee Creek from being dammed by the River Valley Water District (RVWD). Eddy and I signed petitions and followed its development until we received word in August 2010 that RVWD withdrew its plan to dam the creek. Hooray! So, we decided to take advantage of this opportunity to go see beautiful Lee Creek that is no longer threatened.

In addition to Lee Creek, the Devil’s Den State Park is famous for its caves, bluffs, ravines, rock shelters, and crevices that provide an excellent habitat for hibernating bats. Unfortunately, the park had to close its caves in May 2009 to prevent bats from contracting White Nose Syndrome, a fungal disease that has killed over one million bats in the eastern U.S. Eddy and I love bats, so we were sad that we weren’t able to see them, but we understand and support the park’s decision.

I took several pictures when we were there. Enjoy!

And if you are thinking about traveling the Natural State, I highly recommend Devil’s Den State Park. Check it out!

Green Your Travel: Visit Farmers Market!

When I’m on an extended trip, I always stop at a local farmers’ market to stock up on food. How do I find a local farmers’ market? I  log on to, what else, LocalHarvest.org. LocalHarvest is THE website for organic and locally grown food. It maintains a nationwide online directory of small farms, farmers markets, and other local food sources.

LocalHarvest is SUPER easy to use. Here’s what I do. Before or during my trip, I log on to LocalHarvest.org. I enter my city, state and/or zip code, and voilà, I find the area farmers market. I love it!

When I was in DC last Thanksgiving, I visited the Penn Quarter Freshfarm in downtown DC to buy ingredients for several meals. I loved seeing all the local produce and learned A LOT about what grows in the DC area.

So, next time you’re on an extended trip, green your travel by visiting a local farmers market!

Green Your Travel: Eat @ Green Restaurants!

LocalHarvest

If you know me or have been reading my blog for a long time, you know I love to eat. I try to eat at home as much as I can because I think frequent eating out contributes to a larger environmental footprint. When traveling, though, I kick my my rule out of the window. I love to eat at new restaurants and spend a considerable amount of time researching where to eat.

When researching, I use LocalHarvest.org to look for green restaurants. LocalHarvest is THE website to find organic and locally grown food. LocalHarvest maintains a nationwide online directory of small farms, farmers markets, and other local food sources. Its search engine helps people find products from family farms, local sources of sustainably grown food, and encourages users to establish direct contact with small farms in their local area. LocalHarvest even has an online store that helps small farms develop markets for some of their products beyond their local area. I love it!

I found Greenhouse Grille in Fayetteville and Celebrations Restaurant in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, through LocalHarvest. Eddy and I had a great time at these restaurants, eating healthy and locally.

So, green your travel by eating at green restaurants! Find them through LocalHarvest.org!

Green Your Travel: Carry Local Foods in Wrap-N-Mat & snackTAXIs!

Wrap-N-Mat

Wrap-N-Mat

snackTAXIs

snackTAXIs

Recently Eddy and I went to Charleston, South Carolina. Our flight had a layover just in time for dinner, but instead of eating unhealthy food at the airport, we ate Arkansas grown cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas, and apples. Our main course was peanut butter and jelly sandwich made with homemade bread and jelly.

Eddy and I are frugal people. We hate to spend money on expensive airport food. We are also very committed to reducing our environmental footprint. We believe airport food creates A LOT of trash.

So, we carry locally grown and/or homemade foods in reusable containers. On our trip to Charleston, we carried our dinner in Wrap-N-Mats and snackTAXIs. I discovered Wrap-N-Mats and snackTAXIs after Eddy’s sister gave them to me for Christmas. They are basically reusable Ziplocks. Wrap-N-Mat holds your sandwich and becomes your place mat when you eat. snackTAXI holds everything from chips to sugar snap peas. After you eat, clean your Wrap-N-Mats and snackTAXIs, and they are ready for the next day.

On my recent trip to DC, I forgot to take my own food and ended up eating at the airport. The food didn’t taste great, and I felt bad about all the trash and eating unhealthy. Fortunately, I had an Arkansas black apple in my purse. I felt so much better after I bit into it.

So, do your best to green your travel! Carry local foods in Wrap-N-Mats and snackTAXIs!

For more information about Wrap-N-Mats, visit www.wrap-n-mat.com. For more information about snackTAXIs, visit www.snacktaxi.com.