europe

5 Ways Europeans Live Better than Americans

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | January 17th, 2012 | 189 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: American, Americans, bicycles, cars, coffee, community, Croatia, diet, europe, Europeans, food, fuel-efficient, gas prices, happiness, happy, italy, la dolce vita, lattes, obese, overweight, relaxed, siesta, smart cars, stress, travel, walking

Florence, ItalyWhenever I visit Europe — whether to explore a few former Soviet bloc countries or to take a  2,000-mile driving trip through Italy and Switzerland’s Ticino region — I’m always struck upon “re-entry” into the U.S. by how BIG everything is here at home.

We drive big cars, especially here in Colorado, where every other vehicle seems to be an SUV. Our cars have big cup holders for our venti Frappucinos and Big Gulp sodas. We live in big houses that we furnish with stuff we buy at big-box stores. Our big refrigerators – and often an extra freezer – are crammed full of food we purchase at big supermarkets. And, alas, we ourselves are big, and getting bigger: According to the American Heart Association, more than 70 percent of American adults are overweight, and of those, nearly 38 percent are obese.

Europeans clearly do things differently from us. Yet their ‘smaller’ lives seem in many ways richer and fuller. I’ve begun to notice some of those differences that we might do well to consider. Here are five that really struck me:

14 Stellar Spots to See the Stars

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | August 19th, 2011 | No Comments
topic: Eco Travel | tags: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, archaeoastronomy, Arizona, astronomy, astrophotography, Atacama Desert, Australia, Bryce Canyon National Park, California, camping, celestial, Chaco Canyon, Chaco Culture National Historic Park, Cherry Springs State Park, Chile, conservation, Eco Travel, ecotourism, europe, Flagstaff, galaxies, Galloway Forest Park, Goldendale Observatory State Park, Green Living, Haleakala National Park, hawaii, hiking, Hungary, International Dark Sky Association, International Dark Sky Community, Lake Tekapo, light pollution, Mackinaw City, Maui, Mauna Kea, Milky Way, Mont-Megantic International Dark Sky Reserve, Mount Cook, Mount Haleakala, National Park Service, New Mexico, New Zealand, NSW, Pennsylvania, planets, protection, Quebec, Scotland, stargazing, Starlight, stars, telescope, The Headlands, trip, UK, UNESCO Starlight Reserve, United Kingdom, urban sprawl, Utah, vacation, Washington, Wiruna, Zselic Starry Sky Park

Milky Way from Atacama Desert, Chile

Ecotourism often focuses on vanishing natural resources, such as rainforests and glaciers. It’s not often, though, that we think of looking up when we ponder the fate of the natural world under threat. Yet the starry night sky is disappearing as rapidly from human experience as vast tracts of the Amazon or the Arctic ice cap.

Light pollution is growing at the rate of four percent per year, according to the International Dark Sky Association. It is so pervasive that if you were to stand on the observation deck of the Empire State Building, you would see less than one percent of the stars that Galileo Galilei saw through his telescope in 1610.

Part One of this series explored the movement to protect the earth’s natural nightscapes. Here in Part Two, you’ll find suggestions for stargazing destinations that will open up the universe to whole new realms of perception. Escape the orange glow of interstates, car dealerships and mall parking lots, and discover the wonders of our twinkling galaxy!

Travel That Gives Back: This Earth Day, Plan a Voluntourism Vacation

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | April 21st, 2011 | No Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Giving Back, Green Living | tags: africa, agriculture, Aisa, Baja Peninsula, Belize, Bifengxia Panda Center, building projects, Cape Coast, charity, China, community development, conservation, Cotton Tree Lodge, Earth Day, elephant sanctuary, endangered-species, environmental education, environmental protection, europe, GAP Adventures, GeoVisions, Ghana, giving back, Global Volunteer Network, Go Abroad, Go Eco, gray whales, green-travel, Grupo Tortuguero, i to i Volunteer & Adventure Travel, Institute for Field Research Expeditions, International Student Volunteers, international trips, kids, Lonely Planet, Magadalena Bay, mexico, NGOs, nonprofits, Organic Chocolate Farm, Panda Conservation Adventure, ProWorld, recycling, sanitation, sea turtles, service work, Sichuan province, south america, Sri Lanka, Sustainable Harvest International, teaching, volunteer vacation, volunteering, voluntourism, VolunTourism.org, waste management, wildlife, youth

Measuring a sea turtle

As Julio hauled the net into our skiff, we spied a green sea turtle ensnared in the mesh. In this case, we were happy to see our captive: Julio is the Magadalena Baykeeper on Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, and part of his job is working with Grupo Tortuguero — the world’s foremost sea turtle conservation group — to capture, study and release endangered turtles in order to help ensure their future.