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Artificial Reefs: Ocean Junk or Help for an Endangered Ecosystem?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | February 8th, 2013 | 8 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: climate change, coral reefs, Eco Travel, environment, environmental awareness, environmental impact, environmental toxins, Florida, green, Green Living, Gulf of Mexico, health, marine creatures, marine environment, marine habitat, nature, New York, ocean, ocean health, PCBs, reefs, save the environment, travel, World Wildlife Fund

Sea turtle

Coral reefs around the world are in trouble. According to the World Wildlife Fund, about one-quarter of coral reefs are considered damaged beyond repair, with another two-thirds under serious threat. Some suffer from heavy fishing pressures, while others are succumbing to pollution or careless tourism. Climate change, with its attendant rising sea temperatures, is exacerbating the problem, speeding coral deaths.

More than half a billion people live near corals, relying on them for food, shelter from storm surges and the income that tourism brings. With natural reefs diminishing, artificial reefs are increasingly gaining favor. These structures usually take the form of sunken ships, decrepit oil platforms or other human trash.

But is depositing more human refuse in the oceans in order to create artificial reefs healthy for the environment — and for us?

Top 10 Cities for a Nature Escape Close to Home

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | July 20th, 2012 | 2 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: america's best park, bike, boston, city park, country's best park, day trip, family vacation, green space, hike, nature escape, nature vacation, New York, open space, parkscore, philadelphia, portland, public space, sacramento, san diego, San Francisco, seattle, top city parks, urban park, virginia beach, Washington, wildlife park

It’s July, it’s hot, and there’s still a chunk of sizzling summer ahead. Whether or not you’ve already taken a vacation with family or friends, you may be yearning to get out and enjoy the refreshment of cooler green spaces.

But you needn’t spend pricey gas on a trip to the mountains or the shore if you’re fortunate enough to have nature in your neighborhood. Some cities are especially blessed with public green spaces, and a new project called ParkScore can help you find your city’s best natural oases amidst the sprawl of asphalt, subdivisions and strip malls that weary our spirits on sultry summer days.

8 Nature Outings to Celebrate the Solstice Full Moon

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | December 17th, 2010 | 3 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: Arkansas, boulder, calendar, California, Colorado Springs, Cropseyville, cruise, flashlight, Frog Bayou, full moon, Garden of the Gods, Laguna Beach, Lake Fort Smith, Lake Tahoe, Long Island, lunar event, Mountainburg, nature, New York, night hike, Oklahoma, Quogue Wildlife Refuge, Sawhill Ponds, skiing, snowshoeing, Spiro Mounds Archaeological Center, state park, The Old Farmer's Almanac, Winter-Solstice

Full moon over the lake

‘Tis the season when many cultures and traditions herald the return of the light into the dark winter world — and this year’s winter solstice promises to do that in a big way, with a full moon on Dec. 21.

Since 1793, when The Old Farmer’s Almanac began tracking heavenly events and seasonal changes, the moon has been full on the first day of winter just nine times.

Five Islands That Insist You Leave Your Car — and Your Cares — Behind

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | October 7th, 2010 | 1 Comment
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: Avalon Bay, bed-and-breakfast, bicycle, boats, Boothbay Harbor, California, car-free, Catalina Island, Chesapeake Bay, coast, Eco Travel, Fire Island, fishing, Great Lakes, hiking, horse-drawn carriage, hotels, islands, kayak, lobster, Los Angeles, Mackinac Island, Maine, Michigan, Monhegan Island, New York, ocean, Sailor’s Haven, seafood, Sunken Forest, Tangier Island, trip, vacation, Virginia, wharf

Avalon Bay, Catalina Island

Avalon Bay, Catalina Island. Credit: Catalina Chamber of Commerce

Though eco-travelers may be enthused about renting greener cars or making their road trips more environmentally friendly, sometimes it feels best to leave the car behind altogether. To that end, I’ve put together this introductory list of “car-free islands” in the U.S. There’s no better time than fall to discover them, when summer crowds have flocked back to the mainland, and these idyllic isles welcome slower-paced travelers yearning for a serene getaway.