Sustainable Travel Seaside

Last week’s winter weather sizzled the fun for a number of industries, including the sustainable travel industry. With retailers reporting profit numbers unheard of since before the Great Recession and the cost of gas and oil on the rise  (a not- so- sustainable economic indicator), the sustainable travel industry was also hoping to share in the recent economic bliss. Before the celebration could begin, Mother Nature presented everyone with an especially thoughtful Christmas gift- a massive low pressure system that dumped enough snow to cripple the entire northeastern seaboard. Airports and train stations were shut down, causing thousands of flights and travel itineraries to be cancelled. Such travel inconveniences have taken sustainable travel under hostage as well.  With little reprieve in sight, now is the perfect time to plan that next sustainable travel vacation.

Consider taking a trip on a sustainable cruise line. Although thoughts of buffet lines, gambling, and other forms of mindless consumption are usually associated with taking a cruise, some environmentally conscious cruises and host locations provide a sustainable experience for their customers. Greenland is one such location that prioritizes sustainability for all cruise ships that venture to its coasts. Since Greenland is located in the fragile environment of the Arctic, humans must be especially vigilant about how they are impacting nature. The Arctic is such a fragile environment that pollution takes considerably longer to break down there as it does elsewhere. With these delicate conditions in mind, Greenland’s Tourist Council has outlined strict rules and regulations for cruise ships entering its coastline, and they adhere to said rules and regulations with just as much fervor. Not only are cruise lines responsible for the environmental damage that stems from the cruise ships, but they are also responsible for any damage caused by guests on board. Often times, cruises include fun adventures that get guests up close and personal with nature. While a rewarding experience, it can also be an opportunity for environmental abuse.  Greenland expects cruise ships to uphold their high standards.

So what cruise liner should a sustainable traveler patronize? The Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators, or the AECO, monitors the environmental activity of all cruise liners entering the Arctic region, making sure that cruise liner’s reverence for the environment is as high as theirs.  This internationally recognized organization aims to protect the environment by ensuring that cruise liners, nor their itinerary negatively impact the Arctic region. When compiling a list of cruise liners to compare travel rates, consult the AECO. They have a wealth of information about the Arctic environment, as well as cruise liners who maintain memberships with the environmental guardian. Booking a cruise with an AECO member insures that your next cruise will be a sustainable cruise.

Photo Credit: arctic pj