March 28, 2013

Traveling in Eco-Friendly Ways. ~ Chris Grasso

The world has been asking itself many questions lately.

“Will the environment be safe for my children to live in?” and “How can I (insert activity here) in a green way?” have become prevalent in forward-thinking minds around the world.

Traveling is no different and there have been many efforts recently to cut down on our environmental impact while traveling whether the general public is aware of it or not.

Whether it be by plane, or by things served on a plane, car, bus or cruise ship, these improvements are just a start at saving the environment, but they are getting the ball rolling.


This has been one of the modes of transportation that has been a challenge to make greener—this is because flying on a flight with experimental “green” fuel could make even the most environmentally zealous very uneasy.

A movement that has been successful is the recycling initiative that many airlines have initiated. The designs of the planes have been worked on to reduce fuel usage through using different kinds of wing tips. Green planes have been introduced to mixed reviews, but show an effort from giant corporations to try to reduce their carbon footprint. This has been done by reducing plane weight with seats that have lighter green materials and thus using less fuel per flight.

This may not seem like a big deal, but if all planes follow suit, the carbon emissions which make up for a two to three percent of waste throughout the world can be reduced. Hopefully factories that have large emissions will follow the example of the airlines in the green initiative.

What you can do:

Bring the smaller bottles that can be refilled for lotions and shampoos. This will ensure you aren’t throwing away plastic just to purchase more at your next stop. If cost is not an issue whatsoever, make sure to research which specific airlines have been making efforts to become the most green and support them with your ticket purchase.


The most talked about green movement in the mainstream has been that of driving. There are numerous articles on these green cars and even tips to drive more environmentally friendly. In the Austin area, there have been an influx of “smart car only” parking spots. This is an example of a city that one would not expect to take a green approach, but that have made the effort to accommodate the more eco-friendly minded.

Carpool lanes give the benefit of skipping large amounts of traffic in order to promote saving fuel and cutting emissions. Taking a bus is another way of carpooling, except this is a carpool with many people, some that you know and some that you do not.

What you can do:

A person may opt-out of a short drive and take a manageable walk. Although not always plausible because of time constraints, this can be a green and healthy way to get around for those short distances. Carpooling is another great way you can help cut down on emissions while saving yourself money on gas—this sounds like a winning solution.

Buying a smart car is not always the most financially plausible thing to do, but with the amount of  gas you would save, this would be a long term investment. Taking buses is the most cost efficient way in the short term to save on gas and save the environment, and at the same time you would not have to worry about driving in rush hour traffic.

Cruise Ships

Probably the most misrepresented and confused statistic is the way people view the cruise industry in the environmental sense. According to Cruise Critic, 39 percent of Cruise Critic readers said that lines “do only what’s required.” Interestingly enough, almost the same number—38 percent—felt that cruise lines “are very environmentally conscious.”

Some ships are now instituting installing solar panels to help power the ships. Instead of polluting the ocean, many ships have an on-board incinerator for some of the waste, as well as recycling waste to avoid  increasing the footprint at sea. There have been donations of cooking grease to organic farmers throughout the United States. Cruise ships have been the most proactive of these three modes of traveling in cutting their footprint. According to different sources, in the last ten years the cruise industry have cut their waste and garbage by anywhere from 30 to 50 percent.

What you can do:

Many of the cruise ships that you take your trip on are associated with different green initiatives that you can donate to while on the cruise. These can be charged to an onboard account and go to a great cause. Attend one of the environmentally conscious presentations that one of the cruise ships offer so you can learn more about what you and others can do. There are pamphlets distributed on the same subjects if you don’t have time to attend a presentation that can be just as informative.

Ships have specific recycling bins for food, glass, etc. so when you are going to dispose of something that you can do it in the correct way.

Whether you are a large supporter of the environment or not, you should know the options that are not only the most cost effective and environmentally responsible.

Make sure that you are making an effort to reduce your carbon footprint in your everyday life and this could add up to something great!

The future generations will learn from the green initiatives and have this ingrained which should mean a bright and green future. There is always a green activity that you can do in place of something that could be potentially harmful to the environment.

Green activities are often more cost effective and have you get more exercise which leads to better health.


Chris Grasso from Tampa, Florida was inspired to write this story while going on one of the Alaskan cruises and saw how undisturbed the environment was there.



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Assist: Sara Crolick/Ed: Bryonie Wise

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