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By Larraine Roulston:

For parents with school age children, spring break is a time to get away from everyday routines. The greenest decision, and perhaps the most memorable, could be to engage in local activities. Community centers and libraries, for example, provide entertainment for the stay-local family. Spring break is also an opportunity to take your children somewhere special, such as to live theatre, a fancy restaurant or a horticultural garden. A nature walk, biking, sledding and outdoor play are great ways to be green.

When thinking up a craft, keep the 3Rs in mind. For glue, mix a little flour and water. Search around the house for corks, string, ribbon, rope, packaging and fabrics. The list is endless once you start looking. You will be amazed how your child’s imagination turns scraps into art.

Wonderful adventures could also be available a short drive away. For example, a local resort with a pool

Picture from http://www.responsibletravel.com
Picture from http://www.responsibletravel.com

can be as enticing as a faraway destination. You will minimize carbon emissions, avoid delays, and ease the burden on your pocket book.

For those who yearn for a sunny beach, there are many ways to lessen your environmental impact when traveling. It’s interesting to know that the contrails (vapor trails) from daytime flights have a lesser impact on global warming than those from night flights.  Packing lightly will open your options to local trains and buses once you arrive. You might even discover an alternative to flying and be able to hop an overnight train.

Find lodging that practices basic green hospitality such as recycling containers in rooms, soap and shampoo dispensers rather than over-packaged samples, shower heads with water saving devices, LED lighting, reminders to turn off lights when leaving, and reusable (rather than plastic) cups. Check your menu to see if it offers several veggie dishes; seasonal, local and organic produce; humanely raised meat and fish; and fair trade choices. Going a step further, green landscaping should include on-site composting, golf courses treated with compost tea rather than pesticides, a nature garden with milkweed to attract the diminishing number of monarch butterflies, and a rooftop garden. If your destination doesn’t appear to be eco-friendly, you can always request that your bedding and towels be laundered after your departure rather than daily.  Show your appreciation with compliments, and encourage establishments who do not. Your questions and requests speak volumes to those in the service industry.

When sightseeing, you won’t have the 3Rs conveniences of home; however, you can lug a mug or pack aTravel-1 thermos in your backpack and carry a cloth bag as well to tote your treasures. Choose locally made souvenirs. Pack a lunch, or opt for meals or snacks without packaging. Refuse a straw with a drink to reduce garbage. Keep empty pop cans, paper or other recyclables until you find a recycling container. In a public washroom, simply dry your hands in the air rather than use a paper towel or an electric dryer.

Eco-holidaying is definitely a delightfully interesting challenge. You, too, will discover even more easy ways to be gentler on the environment.

Larraine Roulstons is a freelance writer and the author of Pee Wee at Castle Compost http://www.castlecompost.com

About Larraine Roulston

A mother of 4 with 6 wonderful grandchildren, Larraine has been active in the environmental movement since the early l970s. When the first blue boxes for recycling were launched in her region, she began writing a local weekly newspaper column to promote the 3Rs. Since that time, she has been a freelance writer for several publications, including BioCycle magazine. As a composting advocate, Larraine authors children's adventure stories that combine composting facts with literature. Currently she is working on the 6th book of her Pee Wee at Castle Compost series, which can be viewed at www.castlecompost.com. As well, Larraine and her husband Pete have built a straw bale home and live in Ontario.

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