Sustainability Made Simple: Travel tips for sustainable living

By Kate Gaertner and Amy Hall
For the Hollywood Star News

One of the largest areas under our direct control is how we get from our house to where we want to go. Travel utilizing a combustion engine automobile or necessitating an air-flight to get us to our final destination contributes mightily to our personal carbon footprints. All of the choices we make around how we travel and by what mode are critically important to consider given that 30% of our individual carbon emissions come from combusting fossil fuels. As we begin to plan and take adventures both near and far during this second pandemic summer and beyond, let’s consciously consider our approach to taking vacations, holidays, and get-aways that are sustainably-minded and lighter touch while still packing an adventuresome, fun and relaxing punch, when and how we need it.

ecoshuttle wine tours
ecoshuttle wine tours

Three Sustainability Travel Tips

1. Take a trip to Oregon’s Wine Country. Why not combine two things that Oregon is known for: natural environments and excellent wines. The husband-and-wife operated EcoShuttle Charters and Tours company brings individuals and groups to Oregon’s famous Willamette Valley AVA to take-in the rolling hills and verdant landscape, and to sip wine, worry-free, from more than 650 wineries all within 30 mile of downtown Portland. EcoShuttle is committed to green operations, employing buses and vans that run on the highest blend of biodiesel available throughout the seasons: B99/100 during the hot summer months, and either straight vegetable oil or plant-based renewable diesel (R99) from the fall to spring. Call EcoShuttle today to book your very own wine tour this summer and enjoy sipping wine and amazing views surrounded by clean, unpolluted air.

2. Commit to a Pacific NW eco-adventure. One of the many reasons Oregonians stay in their state for generations is because of all the natural richness and historical significance the Pacific Northwest has to offer: from skiing, rock climbing, surfing, paddle boarding, and whale watching to appreciating ancient volcanic flows, volcanic mountains, unique high-deserts, and Native American lands and peoples. Even more compelling is the fact that most of these adventures are within 90 miles of Portland downtown. Check out Ecotours of Oregon, a North Portland touring company that offers group, private and custom tours to Mt. Hood and the Columbia Gorge, tours of Mount St. Helens, whale watching on the Oregon coast, and historical tours of the Lewis & Clark trail and Native American tribal lands. If you’re new to Oregon or have been waiting for that closer-to-home grand adventure, this summer is the perfect time to book your Pacific NW holiday that won’t disappoint!

3. Ditch the plane and travel scenically. Flying is a carbon emissions buster for individuals and given the altitude at which planes cruise, a negative double-whammy to the environment. Try limiting the number of flights you take. If you must travel, pick nonstop whenever possible. A better (for the environment) way to travel? By train or bus. Take a weekend city jaunt to destinations such as Seattle, Bellingham, or Eugene. Amtrak offers a relaxing alternative to driving the stressful and crowded 1-5 Interstate. Head up to Seattle and enjoy views along the coast that you won’t see by car. Walk around, watch a movie and arrive at Union Station in the International District well-rested and ready for adventure. Bolt Bus has a pick up near Lloyd Center in NE and can take you to destinations located both North or South of Portland in a comfortable, clean bus that includes wifi.

Rose City Park Climate Communications Expert Amy Hall and Sustainability Consultant Kate Gaertner write this monthly column with ideas that neighbors can implement to live more sustainable lives and combat climate change. Hall is co-founder of THRIVE creative, and also works at TripleWin Advisory, a corporate sustainability consultancy founded by Gaertner. Gaertner has a book coming out this fall on personal sustainability titled, ‘Planting a Seed: Three simple steps to sustainable living.’

Portland Named the Most Eco-Friendly City in America

Portland is a city with an eco-conscious spirit. From harnessing the sun for renewable energy to having one of the highest levels of energy-efficient commuters, Portland is a city revered for its eco-consciousness. It is in the top 1% of the country for the power they generate from renewable sources. One of their largest energy efficiency projects to date has been converting 45,000 streetlights to use LED technology. Now, the city’s streetlights and traffic signals use 66% less energy than they did back in 2006, and Portland saves $1.5 million annually. Through its recycling and composting efforts, Portland recovers 81% of all waste produced by city operations and is on track to recover up to 90% by the year 2030.

PDX Bridge City

Starting in 2002 with a recycling program for compostable and recyclables, Portland became one of the first cities in America to use waste as fertilizer by turning it into compost. Recently, they celebrated being able to recycle 100% of their residential solid waste excluding hazardous materials such as batteries and propane tanks. They have also eliminated Styrofoam containers from all food service establishments within the city limits and replaced them with biodegradable cups, plates, bowls, takeout boxes, and utensils. But one of the biggest steps forward is Portland’s efforts to reduce carbon pollution from vehicles and transportation.

How Portland Is Creating Sustainable Commuters

In a recent study, Portland was named the most sustainable city in America. This was based on a variety of factors including the percentage of renewable energy, green space allotted, and the percentage of energy-efficient commuters. In recent years, Portland has become more environmentally conscious in its transportation habits. The city’s eco-friendly transportation options are growing at an unprecedented rate, and the number of carless households is on the rise as well. One of the most popular things to do in Portland is to bike around. There are more than 200 miles of biking trails that connect neighborhoods throughout the city. But when bikes don’t cut it, there are other eco-friendly transportation methods taking root in Portland. While this starts by eliminating the one car, one driver conundrum, creating a sustainable form of public transportation was necessary to take Portland’s environmental efforts to the next level. With almost 2.5 million people living in the metro area, creating sustainable transportation options is crucial for reducing carbon pollution and making Portland more environmentally friendly. But eco-friendly group transportation goes beyond, public buses. Airport shuttles, event rental and much more, play an active role in reducing carbon pollution in Portland. 

portland city

Today, Portland has ensured that 19.6% of their commuters are using energy-efficient transportation. While this is fantastic, there is still room for improvement. Transportation accounts for 29% of carbon emissions in the United States, and the typical American’s gross carbon footprint is an astounding 50 thousand pounds. Although it is clear that people will never be able to eradicate the necessity for long flights, we should all make smart judgments that focus more on environmentally friendly methods of travel and avoid the non-sustainable forms wherever feasible. Find local methods of travel and commuting that improve Portland’s sustainability even more to help make a difference in the sustainability of our world and environment.

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Whether you want simple point to point transportation for your guests or you want to give your guests the Oregon experience, complete with wine tours, brewery tours, and scenic excursions, ecoShuttle has options for you. Our buses are meticulously maintained, our drivers are friendly and reliable, and our booking process is easy. Our wedding shuttle services include wedding party transportation, bachelorette parties, and tours of Portland and the surrounding area. You can have your cake and eat it too. Get a quote from ecoShuttle today! How groups travel Green in the Pacific Northwest.

How To Make Your Move More Eco-Friendly

In 2020, we’re all a lot more environmentally conscious than we used to be. There’s now so many different ways that we can adapt our daily lives to become more friendly to the environment, though there are still the odd occasions where it’s difficult to keep your carbon footprint as low as possible. With the amount of boxes, plastic, tape, etc. needed in moving – added to the amount of miles a moving truck will often have to travel – moving homes may feel like one of these occasions.

However, there are still things that you can do in order to keep your move as eco-friendly as possible!

Don’t Buy Boxes

While cardboard boxes are, of course, widely recycled, buying cardboard boxes still has its pitfalls where the environment is concerned. The best thing we can do to make our use of cardboard boxes as eco-friendly as possible is to try and buy as few new ones as we possibly can! Instead, call on family and friends – as well as local businesses – to donate pre-used cardboard boxes that are still in good enough condition to use again.

Choose Your Packing Materials Wisely

Rather than purchasing packs of packing peanuts or bubble wrap – neither of which are, in most cases, bio-degradable – wrap your more delicate belongings in newspapers. If you buy a daily newspaper or know someone who does, start collecting them to use as packing material in the weeks running up to your move.

Don’t Trash It, Donate It

Most of us have a big clear-out of our belongings before we move to a new house, but this does tend to mean lots of things are thrown away. Make a rule with yourself that if anything is in good enough condition to be used again, it should be donated, sold or given to someone you know. You may not want it, but it doesn’t mean you have to waste it!

Cut Your Journey Emissions

Try to get it so that you only have to hire the use of one truck for your moving journey. Whether that means cutting down the amount of belongings that you are taking with you or researching into moving companies who can provide a slightly larger truck, try to get it so that you only need to do one journey in one vehicle to keep your journey carbon emissions as low as possible.

Pay It Forward

Those packing materials we mentioned earlier? Don’t throw them away just yet! First, see if there’s anyone else who could use them. You could offer them for free on Facebook marketplace to anyone in the local area willing to collect them – there’s likely to be at least one person in your neighborhood who’s preparing for their own big move. You’ll be solving a problem for them and allowing them to make their own move that little bit more eco-friendly, too! In that situation, everyone’s a winner.

The top 25 most sustainable fleets

Source: Greenbiz

However you look at it, 2020 is a turning point for fleets.

Thanks to converging forces — including supportive policies, dropping battery costs and aggressive climate goals — transportation leaders at large and small organizations are increasingly turning to new zero-emission and low-carbon options that decarbonize fleets and in some cases save money.

Fleets are often the workhorses that toil behind the scenes: the garbage trucks that pick up your trash before dawn; the long-haul semi-trucks that move goods from the port; the bucket trucks that utilities use to fix power lines and keep your lights on; the delivery vans that drop off your packages and help you stay safe inside your homes.

The definition of fleet is evolving. Ride-hailing companies such as Lyft own vehicles, but they’re also working to help drivers that own their own vehicles move into EVs. The young e-scooter companies also own large “fleets,” although not in the traditional sense.

Fleet leaders are also facing increasing pressure. Policies such as California’s Advanced Clean Truck rule are forcing organizations in the state to phase in zero-emission trucks and phase out fossil fuel-based ones. Progressive cities, many in Europe, are building zones in downtown centers that are banning fossil-fuel vehicles and incentivizing zero-emission models. A global company that wants to deliver goods to residents in cities such as London, Paris, Madrid and soon Santa Monica, California, will need zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) fleets or it will lose business.

ZEVs are also an opportunity for fleets. Certain types of vehicles — including transit and school buses, delivery vans and light-duty cars — can save fleet owners considerable money when they’re switched to electric. Other types of fleets such as long-haul trucks will take a lot& longer to go electric.

One of the biggest concerns for fleet leaders is how to design, plan, deploy and manage the complicated infrastructure that sometimes can be required to charge or fuel various types of fleets. Investments in software and data, as well as building deep relationships with utilities, will be key to helping fleets navigate this daunting ecosystem.

Another chief concern is a lack of electric medium- and heavy-duty vehicle models from major OEMs in the U.S. that fit fleets’ needs. Time and again, fleet leaders say there just aren’t enough ZEV vehicles available for them to buy, and the ones that are available are just too expensive without incentives right now.

The pandemic has created unique challenges for fleets, including safety concerns for drivers, additional vehicle cleaning costs and the need to redesign operations around social distancing measures.

But the pandemic also has shone a spotlight on just how important many of these fleets are — in midst of the most aggressive lockdowns, trucks were running lifesaving groceries and personal protective equipment to communities and hospitals across the U.S.

So here’s our list, in alphabetical order, of 25 organizations taking important steps to decarbonize their fleets, buying (or planning to buy) new zero-emission vehicles and making the still-difficult choice to be an early adopter. The list includes public agencies, big corporations, small companies, school districts, utilities — it runs the gamut.

To hear from some of these fleet leaders — including Seattle’s Philip Saunders, Port Authority NY and NJ’s Christine Weydig, Anheuser-Busch’s Angie Slaughter, Walmart’s Zach Freeze, Amazon’s Ross Rachey, IKEA’s Angela Hultberg, FedEx’s Russ Musgrove, Genentech’s Andy Jefferson and Lime’s Andrew Savage — tune into VERGE 20 across the next five days. The keynotes are free, but you’ll need to buy a pass for the transportation deep-dive sessions

Mercedes-Benz electric delivery van

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Amazon

Amazon

Amazon’s domination of commerce and delivery means it’s got a lot of emissions from the vehicles that deliver orders to our doorsteps every day. But in early 2019, Amazon announced an industry-first for a delivery company: It pledged that half of all of its shipments would be net-zero carbon by 2030. The entire company (including transportation) will be net-zero carbon by 2040.

In true Amazon form, the company has written its own vehicle playbook and disrupted the status quo. While many fleet managers are challenged to find vehicles available that they can buy, Amazon routed around that problem by investing in — and planning to buy — 100,000 electric trucks from startup Rivian. Will Rivian eventually be a division of Amazon? Maybe: It would make sense for Amazon to bring vehicle production in-house in its constant bid for vertical integration.

But Amazon is also buying electric versions of the Mercedes-Benz sprinter van that dominates delivery markets. For now, we’re eagerly watching and waiting for more details about Amazon’s growing zero-emission and low-carbon vehicle fleet.

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Anheuser-Busch

Anheuser-Busch

Beer giant Anheuser-Busch, the U.S. subsidiary of AB InBev, delivers about a million shipments of its beer per year, largely in trucks carrying beers such as Budweiser and Stella Artois to grocery stores and bars around the U.S. Of course, all that trucking delivers a big greenhouse gas footprint: 10 percent of Anheuser-Busch’s carbon emissions come from transportation.

But the beverage maker has a big sustainability plan and is taking a first-mover approach to decarbonizing its dedicated fleet of around 1,600 vehicles. The company has an order to buy up to 800 of Nikola Motor’s hydrogen-powered fuel cell trucks and 40 Tesla Semi trucks. It could be one of the first fleets in the country to get long-haul zero-emission vehicles, and it has a plan to convert its entire long-haul dedicated fleet to ZEVs by 2025. At the same time, it’s already adopting renewable natural gas to power its natural gas trucks in its short-haul fleet.

Overall, Anheuser-Busch has a goal to slash carbon emissions by a quarter across its entire supply chain by 2025. Just a short five years away.

An Antelope Valley Transit Authority bus on the road.

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Antelope Valley Transit Authority

This summer, the Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA) — a transit organization that serves the Southern California cities of Lancaster and Palmdale — hit a milestone: 3 million miles of zero-emission bus operation. The group’s fleet consists of 93 buses, 61 of which are zero-emission buses, and the majority of those are BYD-made electric models.

The transit authority was one of the first in the U.S. to make a major commitment to electric buses four years ago, partly thanks to its close proximity to the American headquarters of BYD in Lancaster. A former BYD exec even joined AVTA as its CEO and has helped lead the e-bus transition.

AVTA says in addition to slashed carbon emissions and local air pollution, it’s been able to save 769,231 gallons of diesel fuel, the equivalent of more than $1 million in fuel cost savings.

Denver International Airport

Denver International Airport

If you’ve ever flown through Denver’s International Airport, you know the city prides itself on its innovative design and customer-friendly amenities. But it’s also been aggressively adopting zero- and low-emission vehicles.

Our friends at 100 Best Fleetsnamed Denver International Airport the second greenest fleet in America. It’s got close to 300 alternative-fueled vehicles, including electric, hybrid and natural gas buses, sweepers and light-duty vehicles. The airport also incentivizes hybrid taxis and vans by reducing their access fees to the airport.

Airport shuttle buses are a key area where electric vehicles will be able to make a dent, given their dedicated and short routes. States such as California are mandating that its 13 largest airports move their shuttle buses to zero-emission operations by 2035.

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Facebook

Facebook might not be thought of as a fleet leader, but two years ago Facebook acquired 43 BYD-made electric on-campus shuttles that can carry employees across its sprawling complex. At the time, the social media giant leveraged a unique financing deal led by Generate Capital to lease the vehicles, lowering the upfront costs.

Facebook says it’s investigating how it can electrify its commuter shuttle buses. Facebook started testing out a double-decker electric commuter shuttle bus last year and had planned to test more out this year. However, the pandemic and remote work has thrown a wrench into many companies’ commuter ZEV bus plans.

FedEx Earthsmart
An Earthsmart FedEx zero-emission all-electrical truck in Lower Manhattan on July 17, 2014.

FedEx

Delivery trucks are a key type of vehicle ready for electrification. Bloomberg New Energy Finance earlier this year declared delivery trucks to be the “next segment to cross the tipping point” and an electric “killer app.”

FedEx, which has more than 100,000 vehicles in its Express division across the world, has been working on its zero-emission and low-carbon vehicle program for a couple of years. Two years ago, FedEx announced a partnership with startup Chanje to add 1,000 Chanje electric delivery vehicles to its fleet: 100 bought outright and 900 leased through Ryder. Chanje is also supplying FedEx with EV charging infrastructure

FedEx recently told the New York Times that it added close to 400 electric vehicles in its fleet internationally last year, which brought its total EVs to close to 3,000, including forklifts and airport ground service equipment.

One of Genentech’s electric buses, made by BYD.

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Genentech

Genentech

Biotech giant Genentech is a surprising fleet leader: It’s got the most aggressive electric commuter bus programs around, in addition to its other EV fleet goals.

Two years ago, the company started running electric BYD-made commuter buses to move its employees across the sprawling San Francisco Bay Area — from as far north as Vacaville to as far south as San Jose — to its headquarters in South San Francisco. While many companies are hesitant to rely on EVs for such long routes, Genentech took the plunge. And the company says it is happy with the results. Today, Genentech is in the process of converting close to half of its 60 buses on batteries.

In addition to its electric commuter buses, Genentech has committed to converting its entire light-duty sales fleet of 1,200 cars to electric or plug-in hybrid by 2030.

IKEA is using an electric truck fleet in Shanghai to deliver its products to customers.

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IKEA

Ingka Group (IKEA)

Inkga Group, aka IKEA, has its own unique take on a ZEV fleet. The company doesn’t own its own vehicles, but its products are delivered via 10,000 vehicles globally, owned by delivery companies such as DHL and UPS.

As a result, IKEA is using its large footprint to partner, push and pull its partners into ZEVs. IKEA says by 2025 all last-mile delivery of its goods will be done in electric vehicles. And by the end of this year (yes, 2020), IKEA says it will electrify its last-mile delivery in Shanghai, Paris, Los Angeles, New York and Amsterdam.

It’s already happened in Shanghai and other cities are well underway. Los Angeles is proving a little more challenging, IKEA Chief Sustainability Officer Pia Heidenmark Cook said recently during a session at Climate Week. But if companies don’t push themselves, they won’t make progress.

LeasePlan

LeasePlan

Netherlands-based LeasePlan is a large fleet management company that mostly operates in Europe but also has a solid presence in the U.S. We’re including the company because it was a founding member of the Climate Group’s EV100 Program and because of its first-of-its-kind ZEV fleet commitment.

The company has pledged to zero out its emissions for all of its customers’ fleets — at a whopping 1.8 million vehicles — by 2030. What’s more, it also plans to electrify its own employee fleet by 2021. These kinds of commitments are still unheard of broadly in the U.S.

Europe is moving at a much faster trajectory toward electric vehicles than the U.S., despite the U.S.’s being the birthplace to EV leader Tesla. Many European countries and cities are committing to provide incentives for electric vehicles and banning fossil-fuel ones from city centers.

Lime’s 3.0 scooter.

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Lime

Lime

Lime is our wildcard on the top fleets list. The electric scooter company operates a fleet of well over 100,000 electric scooters, as well as owned and leased trucks and vans that the company uses to move around its scooters.

Earlier this year, Lime pledged — as part of the EV100 — to transition its entire fleet of vehicles to electric by 2030. It’s already powering its scooters and operations with clean energy as well as buying carbon offsets to neutralize emissions. Recently Lime also announced a partnership with the World Wildlife Foundation, which include programs around education, advocacy and carbon innovation.

Next up for Lime? The scooter company is looking at new warehouse space where it can optimize charging infrastructure for an electric fleet. It’s also partnered with Ceres to help advocate for policies that will support a transition to electric fleets.

Electrify America and Lyft partnered to bring chargers to Lyft EV drivers in Denver.

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Lyft

Electrifying ride-hailing will be tricky, given most ride-hailing drivers own their own vehicles. But this summer, ride-hailing giant Lyft announced it plans to transition to 100 percent electric vehicles — both for the vehicles it owns and driver-owned vehicles — by 2030.

It’ll take a big lift, a lot of outside-the-box thinking and major policy support to get there. But the time is now, and Uber set a similar goal after Lyft.

Some policies are moving the ride-hailing giants in that direction. Cities, many of them in Europe, are setting incentives and mandates to ban fossil-fuel vehicles and transition to zero-emission vehicles in city centers. States such as California are setting specific rules for the ride-hailing companies to track and reduce their emissions.

City of Oakland, California

City of Oakland

The city of Oakland in California has a long history of setting climate and sustainability goals, and in 2003 adopted a green fleet policy. As a result of a holistic and innovative approach, the city — which uses 1,500 types of vehicles — no longer uses diesel-powered vehicles and is using a combination of low-carbon fuels, compressed natural gas and electric vehicles.

Its circular renewable diesel fueling system is unique in the country. It takes waste grease and oils from local businesses and its partner Neste converts them to renewable diesel, which then powers many of Oakland’s trucks. Richard Battersby, assistant director at Oakland Public Works, is a leader in the green fleet space for his work on Oakland’s fleet.

This summer, Oakland adopted an equitable climate plan with ambitious targets for 2030, calling for a 60 percent reduction in greenhouse gases relative to 2005 levels. The end goal is carbon neutrality.

PG&E electric bucket truck

PG&E

Northern California’s Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has spent the last few years building out an electric fleet of 1,360 electric vehicles to add to the thousands of other vehicles in its low-carbon fleet that use sources such as natural gas and biodiesel. The company uses vehicles such as pickup trucks, bucket trucks and light-duty vehicles for various operations.

PG&E’s goal is to electrify 100 percent of its light-duty vehicles, 10 percent of its medium-duty vehicles and 5 percent of its heavy-duty vehicles. There are particular challenges with battery range when it comes to electrifying heavy-duty emergency response vehicles and other work vehicles that don’t have unpredictable and lengthy routes.

In addition to transforming its own fleet, PG&E is supporting the uptake of EVs for its 23,000 employees and has installed more than 1,230 charging stations at its facilities. It makes sense for utilities to be early adopters of fleet electrification, given they are helping their customers make a similar transition and need to learn their customers’ experience.

PepsiCo

Global beverage behemoth PepsiCo has an overarching goal to reduce its total greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2030. It’s got a lot of work to do across packaging, water, the sources for its products and — its fleet. The company runs vehicles such as long-haul trucks, yard trucks and forklifts to move its various products — from soft drinks to snacks to bottled water — across the globe.

PepsiCo is building out a pilot facility with various low-carbon and electric vehicles at its Frito Lay campus in Modesto, California. The site, leveraging state incentives, will use 15 electric Tesla Semi Trucks, six electric Peterbilt e220 straight trucks, three BYD electric yard trucks, 12 BYD electric forklifts and 38 Volvo natural gas trucks fueled by renewable natural gas. The facility also will deploy charging and fueling infrastructure as well as solar and onsite battery storage.

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Portland General Electric

In September, Portland-based utility Portland General Electric announced that it plans to electrify large portions of its 1,167 vehicles. It already has 91 EVs in use, but the new commitment will deploy 600 electric vehicles and retire 600 fossil fuel-burning vehicles over the next 10 years.

The goal is for its fleet to be 61 percent electric within a decade. Like with Pacific Gas & Electric, the really heavy-duty trucks — bucket trucks and dump trucks — will be the hardest to electrify, and Portland General Electric plans to transition 30 percent of those.

Beyond fleet electrification, Portland General Electric has been a leader when it comes to trying to proactively find ways to enable the EVs on its network to be a net benefit. It’s been building out smart grid tech and testing out a virtual power plant. The company’s electric vehicles go hand-in-hand with its clean energy goals, and Portland General Electric expects to serve half of its customers with renewable-generated electricity by 2022.

An electric bus run by Port Authority NY & NJ

Port Authority New York and New Jersey

Port Authority New York and New Jersey has the largest electric bus fleet on the East Coast, including 36 buses and 19 chargers, at the region’s three biggest airports. The organization recently said it had reached its goal to have a 100 percent electric bus fleet by the end of this year (close to three months early).

Beyond the bus fleet, 130 of the organization’s light-duty vehicles, used by employees and police officers, are electric. By 2023, Port Authority says over 600 — or 50 percent of its light-duty fleet — will be electric.

Port Authority’s fleet goals are all part of its overarching plan to reach a 35 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 and an 80 percent reduction by 2050.

Two electric Fiat's charge up as Salt River Project's commercial EV customers

Salt River Project

Tempe, Arizona-based Salt River Project (SRP) provides electricity and power to 1 million residents in central Arizona. The company has spent the past six years investigating and piloting electric vehicle tech for its employees, its fleet and its customers.

Today, SRP uses close to 200 electric vehicles, both on-road and offroad, including light-duty vehicles, bucket trucks, forklifts and utility carts. The organization also has the largest workplace EV charging program in Arizona, with close to 200 employees driving plug-in vehicles to SRP’s facility. SRP says this program is expected to grow to 450 employees (or 7 percent of its workforce) over the next five years.

Down the road, SRP’s goals are to electrify 100 percent of its sedan fleet by the end of 2021 and reduce 30 percent of its fleet emissions by 2035. In addition, SRP expects 500,000 customers using EVs by 2035, and it will build plans and programs to help charge 90 percent of those customers’ EV loads.

A Valley Transit Authority bus picking up passengers

Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority

The Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority, which provides buses, light rail, paratransit and BART stations for greater Silicon Valley, has been an early transit group to codify sustainability goals, to implement clean energy technologies and, two years ago, to deploy electric buses.

In 2018, VTA put its first five electric buses, built by Proterra and using DC fast charging infrastructure made by Chargepoint, into service. The company has plans to procure 35 more electric buses over the next several years, on its way to meeting California’s mandate that says all transit buses must be zero-emission by 2040.

VTA closely tracks its energy use for its fleet. Its goals are to reduce its fleet’s energy consumption by 35 percent below 2009 levels by 2025 and 60 percent by 2040.

Schneider Electric workers

Schneider Electric

Earlier this year, energy company Schneider Electric announced that it’s joining the Climate Group’s EV100 program and will transition its entire 14,000 vehicle fleet to electric by 2030. The company is based in France but has operations across the globe.

The company sells EV charging equipment and software, among many other energy and grid products, so it makes sense for it to use this huge commitment to learn more about what its customers are experiencing. Schneider Electric is also installing EV charging equipment at its facilities for its employees.

City of Seattle

 

 

 

 

 

City of Seattle

Over the last decade, the greater Puget Sound region has been looking to reduce its carbon emissions from transportation, which accounts for 60 percent of its total emissions. Alongside that regional issue, the city of Seattle has an aggressive and multi-pronged green fleet strategy for its over 6,000 vehicles, across departments such as police, fire and utilities.

Seattle’s future fleet goals include cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2025 and using only fossil-fuel-free vehicles by 2030. The fleet team, led by Philip Saunders, is looking to rapidly electrify, build out EV charging infrastructure, aggressively reduce fuel use, swap in low-carbon fuels for certain types of vehicles and pilot technologies that are not yet cost-effective or widely available.

The company uses a wide range of technologies including renewable diesel, biodiesel, propane and EVs.

Twin Rivers school buses running on renewable diesel

Twin Rivers School District

Three years ago, Twin Rivers School District in California became one of the first school districts in the U.S. to deploy electric school buses. Today the organization operates 35 electric school buses, and over the next three years it plans to convert the bulk of its fleet, or 91 school buses, to electric.

In the interim, Twin Rivers has natural gas buses, some of which run on renewable natural gas, and is running all of its diesel buses on renewable diesel from Neste. Following the switch to renewable diesel, it’s entire fleet is fossil-fuel-free.

Twin Rivers Director of Transportation Tim Shannon told GreenBiz in an interview earlier this year that the organization is already using the electric buses to pilot the vehicle-to-grid technology with Sacramento Municipal Utility District. It’s not just about cool tech, though. Shannon explains: “Our green bus program is taking an area that is highly densely populated, we’re transporting a lot of kids, we’re a disadvantaged community and a high rate of air pollution. We’re lowering all that, and we’re making it an eco-friendly place to live.”

Look how happy everyone is in this Uber!

Uber

Following Lyft’s announcement, Uber revealed that it, too, plans to transition to an all zero-emission fleet. Uber says it will reach that goal by 2040. First, it will have 100 percent of its rides in the U.S., Canada and Europe, be electric by 2030.

Uber already has made progress in cities such as London, where it’s moving to an all-electric fleet. Uber says it will commit $800 million to help drivers on its platform move to EVs by 2025. The company also operates scooters and bikes, and its app encourages riders to use public transit.

The ride-hailing giants need to move to ZEV as cities and states pressure them with mandates. The California Air Resources Board recently found that the carbon emissions of Uber and Lyft’s vehicle fleet per passenger mile is over 50 percent higher than regular cars driving on the roads.

Unilever Rotterdam office

Unilever

The consumer product company, based in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, says it will commit its entire global fleet of 11,000 vehicles to electric by 2030 as part of the Climate Group’s EV100 program. Its interim goals are 25 percent EV or hybrid by 2020, and 50 percent by 2025.

Unilever has broader sustainability goals beyond its fleet, which include becoming “carbon positive” in its operations by 2030; 100 percent of its energy will come from renewables.

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The UPS Rolling Laboratory of about 9,300 alternative vehicles includes more than 1,000 electric and hybrid electric delivery trucks in cities worldwide. Source: UPS

UPS

For several years UPS has been operating its “rolling laboratory” approach to piloting and deploying low-carbon and electric vehicles. Of its fleet of 125,000 package vans, trucks, motorcycles and tractors, UPS has 10,300 alternative-fuels vehicles, and it’s done a substantial project in London with smart grid tech and EVs.

Earlier this year, UPS kicked its EV plans into overdrive. UPS announced it plans to buy 10,000 electric vehicles from partner Arrival, purpose-built for UPS. At the same time, UPS made an investment in the startup through its venture arm, UPS Ventures.

The strategy is similar to Amazon’s move with Rivian. The OEMs haven’t been producing the vehicles that these large fleets want and need, so the biggest companies are diving into the supply chain to help create their own.

Our client Amazon is copying the original ecoShuttle playbook of buying Sprinter vans, but instead of all-biodiesel, they are all-electric. ecoShuttle’s mission is to provide innovative and flexible transportation options that harness alternative fuels and cater to our customers’ unique needs. Our goal is to improve the quality of life, now and for future generations, by committing to sustainable practices in everything we do. Each customer will be treated uniquely but with equal respect, and will be given the best possible experience focused on safety, reliability, and unparalleled customer service. We are the originators of sustainable transportation. Check us out!

Why sustainability professionals should embrace Black Lives Matter

Source: Charles Orgbon

Black Lives Matter

Long before corporations acknowledged Black Lives Matter, they championed the plights of specific endangered species. Corporate conservation campaigns used phrases such as “Save the [insert your favorite animal],” which have been catchy, effective and oddly similar to the language we’re now using to educate people about the status of Black life in America.

The Disney Conservation Fund protects lions, elephants, chimpanzees and thousands of other species. Ben & Jerry’s brings awareness to declining honeybee populations. Coca-Cola appropriately is the longtime ally of the poster child for climate change, the polar bear.

As a kid, I, too, was influenced by Coca-Cola’s messaging. At just 11, I thought I could stop global warming, so I created a blog with articles urging people, “Save the polar bears.” No one challenged me by asking, “What about the tigers? The tigers…matter, too! All endangered species matter.”

The fact is, polar bears were (and still are) drowning due to global problems. If we addressed the root causes of those global problems such as reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, in fact, all endangered species would fare better.

The phrase “Black Lives Matter” works similarly to “Save the polar bear,” only that Black people are drowning in a sea of systemic racism instead of a rising sea of melting ice.

Want to know how well our society is tackling racial injustice? Look to Black people. If we’re doing good, we’re all doing good.

When someone says something such as “Save the polar bears,” they are also indirectly revealing other information about themselves. Perhaps they eat organic, use public transportation, recycle or take military-style showers.

Likewise, when we say “Black Lives Matter” we are actually making a declaration about our belief that injustice somewhere is a threat to justice everywhere. All lives truly matter when those that are the most marginalized matter.

Want to know how well our society is tackling climate change? Look to polar bears. If they’re doing good, we’re doing good.

Want to know how well our society is tackling racial injustice? Look to Black people. If we’re doing good, we’re all doing good.

I spend a lot of time thinking about how white people are just awakening to the systemic racism that continues to thrive in every aspect of American life and how this systemic racism continues to affect me daily. If so many people have gone so long without acknowledging the reality that people of color experience every day, it’s not surprising that these issues have gone on for so long.

Watershed moment

Sometimes a watershed moment is needed to bring attention to a crisis. After all, no one cared about polar bears until Mt. Pinatubo’s 1991 volcanic eruption, which greatly influenced our scientific understanding of anthropogenic global warming and its impacts on arctic life. The catastrophic event was one of the most significant watershed moments for climate activism.

Now, the Black Lives Matter movement is amid a watershed moment. White people are awakening from their own hibernation and acknowledging that, yes, as the statistics suggest, racism still exists.

For example, Black people and white people breathe different air. Black people are exposed to about 1.5 times more particulate matter than white people. Give more than just a cursory glance to Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” and you’ll discover its truisms: “Poison is the wind that blows from the north and south and east.” Researchers have found that toxic chemical exposure is linked to race: minority populations have higher levels of benzene and other dangerous aromatic chemical exposure. Lead poisoning also disproportionately affects people of color in the U.S., especially Black people.

A careful examination of our nation’s statistics reveals myriad racial disparities. The polarity of experiences is startling. This influenced many well-intentioned white people to examine numerous situations and ask, “Is racial bias truly at play here?”

I challenge that that’s not the question we must ask when we live in a world with such disparate statistics for communities of color. It’s much more powerful to ask, “How is racial bias at play here?”

Those who fail to confront how racial bias is often at play attempt to live in a colorblind world that does not exist.

When tipping service workers, when selecting your next dentist, when making employment decisions, when raising children, seriously consider that the world is not colorblind. And to create a more equitable world, we have to fight more aggressively to counteract the evil that already exists.

This is what it means to be anti-racist, or as the National Museum of African American History and Culture counsels, “Make frequent, consistent and equitable choices to be conscious about race and racism and take actions to end racial inequities in our daily lives.”

So, what can allies do?

Step 1: Take out a sticky note.

Step 2: Write out the words ANTI-RACIST.

Step 3: Put it on your laptop monitor and do the work. It’s a daily practice to filter your thoughts, communication and decisions through an anti-racist lens.

5 Tips for Travelling With Pets

By: Veronica Lewis

A family vacation is generally not a very happy time for a pet. And that’s not because they understand what’s happening and realize they’re being left out of all the fun, but just because they’ll be left behind for a while.

 

They’ll be left in some kind of pet-boarding location, which can be great for them but it’s not always an optimal environment for a pet, especially if it’s their first time, or with a pet-sitter which is probably a more desirable option but it still means they’ll be away from their family.

 

This can also make for a stressful time for the family itself. For one thing, most people don’t want to be separated from their pet but there’s also the likelihood that they’ll spend a lot of the vacation worrying about how their friend is doing instead of enjoying themselves.

 

And even leaving families out of the discussion here for a moment, even people who just like to travel on a regular basis will usually have to leave their pet behind. Travelling and pets are two of life’s great joys, it shouldn’t be so difficult to enjoy both should it?

 

And yet, a lot of people don’t consider the possibility of taking their pet with them, even if it is a journey that they can undertake by car. The perceived complications and hassle of taking the pet along are probably a big deterrent.

 

There’s also the fact that a lot of people might be concerned that the journey could be stressful or unsafe for a pet. Stuffing them up in the car for a number of hours does seem a little cruel on the surface.

 

But truth be told, it doesn’t have to be a terribly uncomfortable experience for your pet, nor does it have to be a terribly complicated one for you. There are ways to simplify the process of taking a pet on vacation with you.

 

If you take certain measures and effectively prepare for the journey and how you’re going to set everything up, then taking your pet travelling with you, shouldn’t be anywhere near as worrying as people think it is.

 

Here’s a few tips for taking your pet on vacation with you:

 

  1.   Microchip Them

 

Getting your pet microchipped is something that you should probably do anyway, regardless of whether or not you plan on taking them on vacation with you, but if you are going to travel with your dog it’s especially important.

 

Microchipping is not as invasive of a process as people think it is and it comes with too many benefits for you not to at least consider it. For one thing it will last a lifetime, so you never have to worry about getting it redone, but it also dramatically reduces the chances of losing your pet.

 

And if you’re taking them to a different city or even a different country, losing them would be catastrophic. Especially since they’ll be in an unfamiliar environment which makes the chances of them wandering off even higher.

 

No matter how careful you are, the possibility of your pet getting lost is always going to be there, and if you’ve got them microchipped then you will more than likely have them back before too long.

 

So make sure you take this step, it’s the most responsible choice if you plan on taking your pet travelling with you.

 

  1.   Have the Right Documentation

 

Just like you need a passport or a visa or whatever else is required to get into a different country or sometimes you even need certain documents when travelling within your own country, and it’s often the same for pets.

 

You will probably need a health certificate which confirms your pet isn’t running the risk of carrying any dangerous diseases into another place. So this will mean a trip to the vet before the journey.

 

And then if you’re travelling by air there’s definitely going to be some forms to fill out. Most of the time there will be some stuff that’s specific to the airline so contact whoever you’re flying with beforehand and they’ll refer you to the paperwork.

 

  1.   Prepare a Travelling Kit

 

There are certain essential things to bring along that your pet is going to need for the journey and once you get to the destination. You wouldn’t go on any kind of trip without bringing things you need and the same logic applies to a pet.

 

So think of all the stuff that a pet requires when you’re at home because it’s not quite as easy for them to acclimate to a slightly altered lifestyle in such a short space of time. The goal is to replicate their homelife as much as possible.

 

Your travelling kit for your pet should have food and water bowls, a scooper, some treats, your grooming supplies and then any medication that your pet needs and also bring a pet specific first-aid kit.

 

If they’re going to be in a travel crate, then make sure that it’s a spacious and comfortable one. Also, bring along a toy or two to keep your pet occupied during the journey and when you’re doing activities that they can’t join in on. 

 

I’d also suggest that, if you have space, you should bring a vacuum that is effective in getting rid of pet hair so that you don’t leave a mess in the place that you’re staying. This is just a courtesy you should try to offer.

 

  1.   Be Careful With Their Travelling Meals

 

Not a nice thing to have to think about here, but the last thing that you want to have to deal with when going on a long car journey is dog or cat vomit. Sorry for putting that image in your head but it’s a thing to think about.

 

Dogs are not as used to travelling in moving vehicles as we are and it can upset their stomachs. Of course, this does happen to humans too, but we can communicate the fact that we feel unwell and need to get out and throw up, an animal can’t do that.

 

To avoid this, feed your dog about three hours before the journey starts. You can take some long breaks of course and feed them again if it’s a particularly long journey, but don’t feed them in a moving vehicle. It’s a recipe for disaster.

 

  1.   Be Mindful of Accomodation

 

A lot of hotels will be open to guests bringing along dogs and cats, but ideally you should probably choose Airbnb or look for a house or apartment that you can rent. It’s better to have some private space.

 

That way you can be a little bit more comfortable about leaving the dog behind if you want to go out for a meal or something. But also, make sure that the pet policy actually allows for whatever breed you have.

 

And be sure to communicate with the host beforehand and have a discussion about what you’ll be bringing along with you. Even if they allow for pets, you want to make sure that the space is big enough and that there’s nothing that isn’t pet-friendly about the environment.

 

It would be advisable to research local vets in case of emergency as well as what stores are nearby in case you need something for your pet. 

 

There are a lot of things to think about when taking a pet travelling with you, but it’s definitely worth it if it means you can spare yourself the stress and anxiety involved with leaving a pet behind. And it will probably be an enjoyable experience for your dog too.

Eco-Friendly Beauty: Zero Waste Beauty Routine When Traveling

By: Helen Bradford

Are you one of those people who can’t wait to pack their bags and head off someplace new? People who love to travel (sail, fly, camp, backpack, and have road trips) know the importance of proper packing.

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It seems like experienced travelers can fit their entire house into a small backpack, and even when they only carry a small suitcase, they have everything they could possibly need at hand, beauty products included. If you’re striving towards zero waste beauty routine and re worried about how to achieve it while traveling, here’s how you can do it:

Soap and shampoo bars

Shampoo bottles are notorious for randomly exploding and leaking content everywhere in people’s suitcases, especially on long flights. This is why you’re advised to place a plastic bag under the cap or pack your shampoo bottle in a Ziploc bag in case it leaks. Well, with eco-friendly soap and shampoo bars, that can’t happen. Not only are these easier to pack in your bag, but they will also never ever leak (because they’re not liquid), and there aren’t plastic bottles and containers that will pollute the oceans.

There are even shampoo and conditioner bars combined that you can use and save loads of space in your bathroom and your luggage.

Switch to reusable cotton pads

We use cotton pads for removing our makeup and nail polish and for applying and distributing cleansing products on our faces. We use them so often and so much that we rarely stop and think how much wasted cotton that is. Makeup-removing wet wipes are handy, but they contain traces of plastic and take forever to degrade, thus polluting the Earth even further. These are just some of the reasons why you should think about using reusable cotton pads and washcloths instead. These can be used over and over, and once you wash them on high temperatures, they’ll be as good as new. You can keep your reusable cotton pads in a traveling bag, and have another one for used ones, and you won’t have to buy new packs every time you travel somewhere.

Always use natural makeup

Finding makeup brands and products that you like and that are great for your skin takes time, but you should really try to find and buy natural makeup that works for you. You might not always be able to find travel-sized lipstick and eye shadow, but you should at least know that the products you are using are natural and good for your skin and the environment. Also, you don’t always have to carry your big bottle of foundation when you travel: you can pour a bit into a smaller container and pack it in your bag, and wash the container when you get home so that you can use it again next time you go somewhere.

Go plastic-free

We already mentioned soap, shampoo, and conditioner bars and how great these are for reducing the amount of plastic that you buy, but there are more ways you can do this. There are amazing bamboo toothbrushes on the market that you can use instead of regular plastic ones, and seeing as it’s advised that you change your toothbrush every few months, this is a serious change. There is also plastic-free floss that you can switch to instead of a regular one (you won’t even notice the difference). In the end, we would like to mention that menstrual cups are a better choice for your budget, your body, and the environment too, so you might want to think about using them in the future as well.

Use coconut oil

Coconut oil is a God-given beauty ingredient everyone can use and benefit from. It’s great for moisturizing your skin, combining with granulated sugar to create a nice exfoliating paste, using on your hair, and also for removing your makeup. Coconut oil can be found cheap if you decide to buy a bigger jar, and you can always put some of it in a smaller jar or a container and take it with you when you go on a trip. Because there are so many different brands of coconut oil out there, try to find one that’s certified as organic and raw. Some brands even stick to coconuts that are grown on small farms and plant palm trees as a way to “pay Nature back.”

The zero-waste movement has made a great impact not only on the environment but also on the way we look at the world. So many of us have changed our routines and adopted some healthy habits and routines that have made both the world and our lives much better. If you don’t want to change your beauty routine while traveling, try to find ways to adapt it so that you can stick with it no matter where you are and the way you are getting there. Your skin will be grateful and you will make a huge difference.

 

 

Natural Ways to Clean Your Teeth and Gums

By: Mia Johnson

test tube

Taking care of your oral hygiene is just as important as taking care of your hygiene in general. Even though dentist appointments are one of the most uncomfortable ones and most people feel like their mouth can take care of itself, leaving your health up to chance is never a good idea. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so take care of your oral cavity in order to avoid some serious consequences. You can clean your teeth naturally to avoid constant exposure to chemicals but still kill bacteria.

1. Orange peels

Orange is a fruit famous for its vitamins and deliciousness. Aside from just being used as a tasty treat or snack, oranges can also help you maintain your oral hygiene and clean your teeth and gums naturally. You’ll need orange peels for this. By far, this is one of the most comfortable ways to clean your teeth as it doesn’t involve putting anything most people consider “icky” near your mouth.

You can apply the orange peel directly to your teeth and gently rub it against the surface. If this doesn’t appeal to you, simply mash up the peel and apply it to the areas of your teeth where you notice staining. Note that it may take some time to thoroughly mash the peel. Make sure to leave the peel on for a little before rinsing it out for the best effects.

This will help eliminate bacteria and microorganisms which nest on the enamel of the teeth. After using the solution regularly, your teeth will be significantly whiter.

2. Glycerin & Aloe Vera

Aloe vera gel is known for its soothing and rejuvenating effects on the skin, but can also be very useful for your teeth. It’s basically the perfect solution for keeping your teeth free of plaque. All you need is a teaspoon of aloe vera gel, half a cup of baking soda, and a cup of water. Lemon essential oil and vegetable glycerin should also make it into the mix. Voila! You’ve got your own natural toothpaste.

Use it just like you would use the traditional toothpaste you buy at the store. If the solution is too aggressive for you, add a bit less baking soda and see how you feel. You can also use essential oils other than lemon, but this flavour tends to work best for toothpaste purposes. Soon enough, your teeth will be whiter than you ever thought they could be with natural toothpaste.

3. Salt water treatment

To keep your gums clean and kill bacteria which causes gingivitis, you should rinse your mouth with salted water twice a day. Avoiding and treating gum disease is very important because it can lead to more serious diseases, tooth decay, and teeth falling out if it’s not handled in time. The benefits of salt water include reducing bacteria and getting rid of bad breath, as well as helping to remove particles of food which are perfect breeding grounds for bacteria.

If you already suspect you’re suffering from gingivitis, you’ll be happy to know that salt water can also help ease the pain as well as soothe your inflamed gums. The solution should work fine and take care of your problem, but it’s always a good idea to visit the dentist if you notice the problem persists.

4. Baking soda

Baking soda is the ultimate cleaning product for everything from bathrooms to your teeth. When using baking soda to clean your teeth and whiten them, you have to be very careful about how much you use and how often you use it. This is because baking soda tends to be a little more aggressive than necessary. It might pry off the plaque you’ve been struggling with, but it may also be abrasive to your teeth and get some enamel off.

This can make your teeth softer and more vulnerable to disease and falling out. To prevent this, be gentle with how you used baking soda and mix it with other substances. You basically just need a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of baking soda. Dip the solution under the faucet and clean your teeth just like you would with normal toothpaste. Make sure to rinse thoroughly.

Conclusion

As you can see, cleaning your teeth and gums can happen in more ways than one. You can rely on natural solutions to keep up your hygiene, but this definitely isn’t a replacement for your regular dental checkups. These natural ways will help you feel fresh and keep your mouth bacteria-free. We’re confident you’ll get that radiant smile you were hoping for and that you’ll greatly improve your life by staying healthy.

The Ultimate Guide to Green Travel for 2020

You’ve hopped out of the car and you’re ready to start an adventure in a brand new city. The intriguing place warmly welcomes you to explore and discover its offerings — it’s only right to respect it as if it were your own home.

Younger generations want to change the way we travel. In fact, 56% of Gen Z says they would enjoy staying in eco-friendly accommodations. They’re passionate about putting a spin on the golden rule — treat all places the way you want your home to be treated. Green travel is a hot trend you can’t skip out on. It’s rad to consider the wellbeing of Mother Earth and other cultures as part of your travel habits. Follow our extensive guide to start incorporating green travel into your itinerary.

What Is Green Travel?

Also known as “sustainable travel” or “eco-friendly travel,” green travel refers to practicing responsible and sustainable travel habits. Green travel involves staying conscious of your impact on the environment, social livelihood and economic well-being of the destinations you visit. Since traveling takes a toll on the places we explore, strive to minimize your carbon footprint and respect other cultures.

With green travel, you’ll find purpose in each milestone of your journey.

Why Is Green Travel Important?

With global travel becoming more accessible for everyone, carbon and other chemical pollution is increasing.

green travel statistics

In a recent study covering carbon emissions, it was found that 8% of emissions is directly caused by global tourism. This number isn’t predicted to plateau — in fact, it’s predicted to increase annually by 4%. The largest contributors to carbon emissions are transportation, shopping and food — all travel practices you can change to have a positive impact.

You often hear about carbon emissions, but do you know the effects on the environment? Carbon monoxide increases greenhouse gases, which are linked to negative health effects (such as chest pain, heart disease and grogginess) and global warming. Global warming negatively impacts ecosystems, increasing storm activity and harming natural habitats as a result.

Physical Impacts

There are physical impacts of tourism as well. One major tourist activity that destroys natural habitats is cruises. There are 109 countries with coral reefs and in 90 of them, reefs are being destroyed by cruise ship anchors, sewage, tourist activities, and use of reefs in commercial sale. Reefs are important to ecosystems since they serve as breeding and feeding grounds for many marine life species. Without reefs, the livelihoods of people in entire countries would disappear since marine life (that lives off reefs’ offerings) is a staple to their country’s diets and occupations.

If you’re planning to go on a cruise, keep in mind that Caribbean cruises are estimated to produce over 70,000 tons of waste per year. Cruise ships are not required to report the waste they dump in the ocean or even require a permit to do so. Much of this waste is found in natural habitats. Not all waste decomposes, and when it rots, it releases methane gas into the air, which contributes to the greenhouse effect — making the planet hotter.

Consider alternatives to hotels when booking travel. Hotel chains are powerhouses for unnecessarily using up water, producing excessive waste and practicing business inefficiently. In some countries, guests can use 10 times as much water as a local resident daily. Plus, hotels are estimated to use 36,500 to 73,000 gallons of water per room annually.

Observing the consequences of tourism will open your mind to green travel and motivate you to think twice about your tourism habits. We highly encourage you to research the effects of your travel plans.

When Does a Company Offer Eco-Friendly Options?

Create your itinerary with eco-friendly options. If you’re not sure what to look for, don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. We’ve listed below some of the major certifications to guarantee you’re traveling green.

  • LEED certification: One of the best certifications for estimating how environmentally friendly your hotel is.
  • International Air Transport Association: Offers carbon offset flight options which help passengers neutralize their portion of a plane’s carbon emissions.
  • Green Globe certification: Awarded to any eco-friendly business across all industries. The standard criteria must match their expectations in categories such as sustainability, as well as social, economic and environmental practices.
  • Rainforest Alliance: Awarded to tourism businesses that conduct services in compliance with sustainable practices.
  • EarthCheck (AUS): A similar certification to the one above, EarthCheck ensures a business is “delivering clean, safe, prosperous and healthy destinations for travelers to visit.”
  • Tourism Cares: Their mission is to assist the travel industry’s social impact to help the cultures of heavily traveled destinations thrive.
  • Green Seal: Provides a certification denoting that the product or service is created or conducted via safe, green practices.

Green Transportation Tips

Transportation is the number one contributor to carbon pollution while traveling. Minimize emissions by thinking twice about your transportation plans.

people talking about eco-friendly transportation

  1. Travel in groups. If you plan on meeting others, see if there is a way to travel together. You’ll use less gas while also creating memories with others. The more the merrier, for you and the planet!
  2. Book non-stop flights. Revving up and slowing down the engines creates the most carbon emissions.
  3. Rent hybrid or electric vehicles. Feel less guilty and decrease your emissions by renting an electric vehicle instead! A typical passenger vehicle emits 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.
  4. Use electronic tickets. This is a win-win all around because you’ll have less to carry and you’ll produce less waste. Paper represents 16% of solid landfill waste in the US.
  5. Research before you travel. Educate yourself on the culture you’ll be visiting because green travel requires traveling responsibly. Treat another person’s home like your own. Research what you can do to bring a positive change to the new environment.
  6. Avoid traffic-filled cities. Traffic increases fuel consumption and carbon emissions. There is also increased exposure to harmful gasses for those stuck in traffic.

Tips for Practicing Green Habits at Hotels

It’s easy to pick up a vacation mentality and let go of all responsibilities. We encourage you to relax but also be mindful of how your actions affect the places you visit.

hotel recycling

  1. Stay at local bed and breakfast establishments. Local hospitality produces much less waste than a hotel chain. Plus, you’ll support the local economy versus a global corporation.
  2. Ask the front desk about the hotel’s recycling program. Make sure you recycle properly by knowing the hotel’s recycling process. If the hotel hasn’t established a program yet, encourage them to do so.
  3. Bring your own toiletries. Some hotel chains throw away single-use toiletries after one guest. In case you forget to bring your own, take home the shampoo and conditioner bottles to use on your next trip.
  4. Leave guide books you collect for future guests. As we mentioned before, paper is a huge contributor to solid waste. If you find an interesting guide, leave it for the next guest to use.
  5. Stay conscious of A/C or heater use. Residential air-conditioners alone release 100 million tons of carbon dioxide per year from using up energy and releasing hot air.
  6. Unplug appliances when not in use. All plugged in electric appliances bleed some energy called “standby” electricity loss. This includes chargers, wireless phones, cable boxes, kitchen appliances, etc.
  7. Opt-out of cleaning services. Leave the “do not disturb” sign on your door. Skipping cleaning services avoids using unnecessary energy by passing on rewashing your sheets and vacuuming. Plus it cuts chemical cleansing agents that negatively impact air quality.

Water-Saving Travel Tips

Water seems to magically appear from faucets, but when you look behind the scenes, you realize the amount of energy water uses to arrive at your faucet. If your personal water usage is excessive, it affects the 663 million people who don’t have access to clean, reliable water.

people getting clean water

  1. Avoid using the hotel’s laundry facilities. Hotels wash every guest’s laundry separately and a typical washer uses anywhere from 15 to 45 gallons per load.
  2. Stick to showers. Showers take ~17 gallons of water per use, whereas baths use a whopping 70 gallons of water.
  3. Hang up your towels to signal you’re reusing them. As we mentioned, hotels wash guest’s laundry separately. Signal you’re still using your towels by hanging them up. You don’t wash your towel after every shower at home, so why would it be different in a hotel?
  4. Carry a reusable water bottle. You won’t waste water and you’ll avoid unnecessary plastic use. 1,500 plastic bottles are discarded every second in the US.
  5. Only flush the toilet for business. Some of us have a bad habit of flushing tissues and other small trash items down the toilet. Flushing uses two to seven gallons of water at a time.
  6. When using the sink, don’t use high pressure. Avoid turning the sink knob all the way up and don’t leave it running while grooming.
  7. Go for seconds instead of piling up your plate. Food waste is the number one contributor to water waste in hotels. Rather than fill up your plate only to realize you’re too full, take smaller amounts and go for seconds as needed. Agriculture accounts for 70% of the water used globally.

Tips for Shopping + Eating More Sustainably

Waste affects people and the environment. Hazardous waste takes a toll on human health and exhibits ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity or toxicity towards the environment. By shopping and eating with an eco-conscious mentality, you can combat the negative effects of waste.

scuba diver in polluted ocean

  1. Shop at local farmer’s markets. Supporting the local economy encourages gratitude for the new culture you’re visiting. This provides jobs for and feeds local residents.
  2. Eat at locally-sourced restaurants. You’ll be eating healthier at locally sourced restaurants and restaurants that source their ingredients responsibly use less waste in the process.
  3. Avoid all plastic wrappers, bags and bottles. Pack a reusable shopping bag and avoid other plastic wrappers by bringing reusable packaging. Plastic pollution affects the land, waterways and oceans. Plus, 91% of plastic isn’t recycled.
  4. Cook your own road trip meals. You’ll be eating cleaner for your gut and the environment by cooking for yourself. An average restaurant produces 100,000 pounds of garbage per year.
  5. Avoid purchasing items that are made from or tested on animals. This is immoral and takes a toll on wildlife. Look for the phrase “This product has not been tested on animals” along the product to check or research the product to double check.
  6. Learn what labels to look for. When shopping, spot the certifications that indicate a product was responsibly made. Research before your travels what common responsible green certifications look like in the city you’re about to visit.

Eco-Friendly Activity Tips

We recommend eco-friendly activities in nature. Being in nature has benefits such as reduced anger, fear and stress. Getting outdoors is good for Mother Nature and your mental health.

woman selling sustainable products

  1. Skip commercialized tour companies. Mass tours are usually conducted irresponsibly and without a green travel mentality. It’s estimated that only 5% of a commercialized tour company’s profit goes back to the local city. There are tours that act eco-consciously. Community-based tourism is the most sustainable.
  2. Be mindful when booking hands-on encounters with wild animals. Some of this industry takes part in illegal captures and doesn’t properly care for wild animals.
  3. Scuba dive with operators that don’t chum the water. Chumming the water involves dumping bait in the waters to attract fish — this changes the behavior of marine animals, leading them to feel sick.
  4. #OptOutside. Discovering the great outdoors in a new place is the best way to show your appreciation and avoid unnecessary energy and waste. Check for nearby hot springs or waterfalls to refresh your mind.
  5. Stay on the path. Trampling causes loss of ground cover, decrease in air and water permeability, loss of biodiversity and other negative impacts.
  6. Volunteer locally. Leave where you travel in a better state than when you arrived. Whether this involves assisting those in need or cleaning up the environment, you’ll leave a positive and lasting impact.
  7. Use eco-friendly sunscreens. Regular sunscreens contain toxic and potent chemicals that rub off when swimming, affecting ocean wildlife and natural habitats.

Certified Eco-Friendly Travel Resources

If you’re looking to book a trip soon, we encourage you to use the resources below to create your travel itinerary. You’ll do the world and yourself a favor.

Additional Green Travel Resources

Remember the golden rule of green travel — treat all destinations the way you want your home to be treated. Green travel means staying conscious of your decisions on the go and acting in an environmentally, economically and socially responsible manner in the communities you visit. With tweaks to your regular travel routine, you’ll be traveling green in no time.

We hope this guide motivates you to complete your civic duty as a guest in a new city — and gives you peace of mind when renting a car in your destination.

Molokini Snorkeling Reviews and Tips To Make Your Snorkeling Trip an Eco Friendly One

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Make the most out of life by exploring the sea. Wear them goggles right, plunge into the water, and snorkel away! Soak in the physical benefits of snorkeling, such as muscle strengthening, cardiovascular fitness, joint mobility, and better mental health while rejuvenating your soul with the beauty that the ocean holds.

 

The real question that needs to be asked is where’s the perfect spot? In all honesty, there are a lot of places to go snorkeling, but one of them holds a legendary place in the hearts of divers, thanks to its crystal clear waters and flourishing marine life. Go all out and dive into one of the world’s best diving spots — the Molokini crater in Maui, Hawaii!

 

The Molokini Crater, Hawaii

 

Look for the best Molokini snorkeling tours in Hawaii and make sure that your tour makes the most out of your time. Some tours have two stops — the Molokini Crater and the Makena Coast. Also, look for tours that serve local dishes as you should definitely have the full Hawaiian experience.

 

Molokini Crater is worth every breath held and every paddle. If you fear sharks and deep waters, this spot is perfect for you. The crater is shallow — perfect for snorkeling and a complete turn off for sharks. There’s a lot of fish swimming around the area and a few turtles that would pop in to say hi.

 

Additionally, if you’ve been to Maui, you’re very well aware of the flora and fauna in Molokini Crater — over 200 species of fish! One activity that can be loads of fun for all ages is scouring the waters and crossing off species on your list as you see them. Kai Kanani tour guides are knowledgeable of some of the fish species, too, so don’t hesitate to ask them questions and make small talk.

 

Eco-friendly Snorkeling Trip

 

Different types of tours that stop at the crater are offered, but have you ever tried going for something that benefits you, the ocean, and the animals that are living in it?

 

Also, if traveling with your family, teaching your kids to go green, like spending time outdoors, can help them learn about nature and the planet so that they grow up as well-rounded individuals. It also helps if the entire family knows how to be eco-friendly.

 

If it sounds like something you would want to do, here are a few things you can practice to be a step closer to having an eco-friendly snorkeling trip:

 

 

  1. Ditch The Plastic

 

Single-use plastic is a thing of the past and it should be left there! Going plastic-free is also an upcoming trend in 2020. Give yourself an upgrade and use recyclable containers or upcycled bags instead.

 

When floating, single-use plastic reminds sea critters of food that can be very inviting if they’re hungry. However, these plastic products are indigestible and can bring about harm to almost all who encounter it.

 

  1. Coral Reef-sake Skincare Products

 

Sustainable living is becoming more and more popular. Innovations are being made of traditional products to accommodate this holistic approach to life and the market is more open to eliminating single-use plastics. The availability of products that are sustainable and eco-friendly is at its best, which brings us to coral reef-safe skincare products.

 

Snorkeling involves being under the sun while swimming in salt-water that could cause uncomfortable burns to your skin if not taken care of properly. Because of the variety of chemicals, some sunscreen or beauty products can be harmful to our friends living in the sea. However, there are different brands that sell sunscreen that’s not harmful to coral reefs. Thus, before diving into the ocean, make sure that the beauty products you’re wearing won’t cause any damage to the sea critters.

 

  1. Practice CLAYGO

 

Whether the trash is yours or not, picking it up helps not only the planet but also everything that lives on it.

 

Clean as you go (CLAYGO) was coined to help encourage people to clean up after eating. Along with practicing CLAYGO, sorting your rubbish is also a big step.

 

This rule applies when snorkeling. Since there’s a tendency that the original owner of the trash can no longer be traced, don’t just leave it there floating and waiting for fishes to get poisoned by it. If you ever see trash when snorkeling, give mother nature a hand by picking it up and throwing it properly.

 

  1. Have Healthy Snacks

 

Snorkeling can use up a lot of energy and surface intervals are usually spent eating or resting. Snacks usually come along with wrappers and, most of the time, are not disposed of properly.

 

Lessen the hassle and maximize your surface interval time by snacking on some fruits. Some fruits have peels that edible and biodegradable, which can be beneficial for you, the sea animals, and mother nature.

 

Conclusion

 

Planning an eco-friendly snorkeling trip is not that hard, even if a lot of people are telling you otherwise. It only takes a bit of research, the best tour package, and the conscious effort to save the planet to make your future trip a success.