Little things really make a difference

Our family at Glacier National Park in 1994

The Associated Press reports that two more glaciers have recently disappeared from Glacier National Park in Montana.  That’s so sad.  I have very fond memories of our trip there in 1994 when the kids were still little.  Even then the glaciers were shrinking and the park rangers were warning of their possible demise.  I would urge anyone who can to visit this great national park before it’s too late to see a glacier at all.

And while we’re on vacation, just like at home, we should all be doing our part to protect the environment. Little things really can make a difference. It’s as simple as turning off the lights  and AC when you leave a hotel room or using fewer paper napkins.

“If every American used one less paper napkin a day, it would prevent the use of more than a billion pounds of napkins ending up in landfills—enough to fill the Empire State Building!” says Rachel Buchholz, managing editor of National Geographic Kids Magazine which  devoted its April issue—in the month we are celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day (www.earthday.net ) —to how kids can help the planet on vacation just like at home and touting Eath-Friendly vacations. www.kids.nationalgeographic.com 

Travelzoo.com  reports that nine out of 10 Americans would choose to stay at an eco-friendly certified hotel as long as it didn’t cost more. That’s the rub, of course. We think it is responsible to travel greener but we don’t want to pay more . The good news is you can now travel greener on a budget.  Check out www.travelocity.com/greenhotels  for a green hotel sale offering up to 40 per cent off  and Travelzoo’s Earth Day hotel deals. Meanwhile, here are five  little things we can all do  on our next trip with the kids:

 –Walk instead of drive or use public transportation like the the train. (Kids up to age 12 travel for half price on AMTRAK www.amtrak.com and there are other student discounts as well.)
 –Re-use those hotel towels and let the staff know you don’t need the sheets changed daily. “Doing one less load of laundry a week saves as much as 2,000 gallons of water a year, so think how much water a hotel would save by doing less laundry,”  suggests Buchholz. 
 –Tote reusable water bottles (slap stickers on them and they become instant souvenirs) and bags.
 –Eat locally grown food wherever you are going. Carting food across the country or oceans wastes fuel. A growing number of restaurants now have their own gardens—even at  hotel restaurants like Primo, which I visited recently at the Grande Lakes Resort in Orlando. Visit a farmer’s market
 –Take  shorter showers (aim for five minutes, suggests National Geograph Kids in its “30 Ways You can Help the Earth) rather than baths.

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