by Stephanie Malangone
It's that time of year again! Time to pack the kids into the minivan and head to Grandma and Grandpa's house for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, and whatever other holidays you choose to celebrate with loved ones this December. Whether you're going across country, across town, to Mom and Dad's or Aunt and Uncle's, your travel has an impact on our environment. Below are a few tips to make your travel a little more sustainable and easy on our Earth. After all, she's the only planet we've got!
How To Go:
Have you heard the adage, "Avoid the Plane, Take the Train?" Well, it's true - choosing a train over a plane can greatly reduce your carbon footprint. They are so much more energy efficient, in fact, that they produce 90% less carbon dioxide than planes do. Although it may take longer, most trains are roomier, have more comfortable seats, are cheaper than airfare, and have a dining car with much better food options than a plane may have. Consider trains as your form on transportation this holiday season. If, however, you must drive (we get it, you've got loads of presents and baby gear to drag along!) try to carpool. Offer to pick up your cousins along the way, and cut your carbon footprint in half by merging two car drives into one, all the while making you look good to the family for doing them a favor (and who doesn't love that?!)
What To Pack:
PACK LIGHT, for a few good reasons: first and foremost, the heavier your car, the more of a carbon footprint you will leave on the environment. Additionally, it will save you the headache of having to lug around too many bags and suitcases. If you have to resort to plane travel, remember, no liquids! This will save you time from being pulled aside by airport security. On the train and in the car, hydration is good - but skip the plastic bottles. Try filling up a reusable water bottle instead. Avoid snacks packed in plastic bags, as they often end up in landfills or the ocean and are awful for the environment. Approximately 100,000 sea turtles die every year due to mistaking a plastic bag in the ocean for a jellyfish, their favorite snack. Eliminating them will make a huge impact on sea creatures survival rates. Instead of throwing your car snacks in a plastic bag, use your kid's lunch pale. Same function, less waste. Need entertainment on your trip? Try skipping the iPad or LeapFrog - this will need to charge, using electricity. Some good old fashioned alternatives are books, crossword puzzles, MadLibs, and classic car games. This is also a great way for your family to bond instead of getting lost behind a tablet or phone screen!
What To Wear:
For any trip, for your own comfort, you'll want to wear some sort of light layers. Try a lightweight shirt, sweatshirt and light pants or sweats. Wearing something that can go a few days without washing is always a plus. The less we wash our clothes, the more energy is conserved - so try and pack a few items that wear well, and don't get dirty after a few wears. This way, you may be able to get more use out of them while you're away from the house, and don't need to add to the carbon footprint of the relatives you're staying with by throwing in a load of laundry. And, of course, organic clothing is always preferred! Also - don't forget to be comfortable! Sneakers are the best option because you can move quickly, and your feet won't get cold, especially if you are flying and need to remove your shoes for airport security (nobody wants their bare feet on the floor of the metal detectors).
Wherever you're going this holiday season, and however you get there, we at art & eden wish you a safe and happy holiday.