Despite weather reports from the east of the United States, and record snowfalls in an Italian village it is spring, and that means there’s lots of green. The April Italy Roundtable theme is GREEN.
This is my chance to speak a little bit about how to travel responsibly when you go to Italy. It’s not my intention to preach – I believe we all have done some irresponsible travel. But it is my goal to provide you with something to consider the next time you plan a trip.
People have been known to refuse to fly by plane because of the environmental impact. I’m not so virtuous. I will continue flying to reach far-off places. But I do my part to travel in a more environmentally-friendly way, no matter where I go – and that doesn’t just mean riding the train instead of renting a car.
These are just a few of the ways that you can “green travel” while you’re in Italy or anywhere else.
Take Public Transportation
It’s easy to use the public transport in Italy. In many cases, the Metro, train, or bus is the best way to travel. You will need to rent an automobile in Italy to move around in certain areas. In those cases, it is far more beneficial to have 3-4 people driving the car than to do the same thing.
(And yes, you will learn all you need about taking train in Italy in my ebook “Italy Explained – Italian Trains.”
Use a reusable water bottle
It’s a good idea to keep hydrated during hot Italian summers by carrying a water bottle. It’s not a good idea to keep buying more bottles than you use. You can plan ahead and take a collapsible water container which won’t take up much space when empty and can be easily refilled.
Keep your money local
It’s a great way for the community to grow. While it’s not the same as keeping a small footprint for the good of the planet, it does help the local environment and the people who live there. Booking tours with locals and choosing smaller hotels than big chains are two ways to save money that you don’t intend to spend on the community.
Buy Locally-Made Souvenirs
There are many places in Italy where you can buy knockoffs of designer goods at a fraction of the cost. For those with limited budgets, a fake Prada bag costs EUR15 which is a lot cheaper than buying the real deal for hundreds of thousands. These fakes are made in China so they have a huge carbon footprint. It is illegal to even buy or sell fakes. If you are looking for something in the middle ground, there are many Italian-made products that don’t bear well-known names.
Take What’s Fresh in Season
Italians know how to eat primarily seasonal and local food. Like the fakes from China, food shipped far away can have a greater impact on the environment.
You’ll be able to find out what traditional dishes or ingredients are in your area. It’s a great way to learn about the local cuisine. Because it’s fresh, you’re more likely to find the best food.
Be a Green Hotel Guest
You can make eco-friendly choices as a guest at any accommodation in Italy, no matter if it’s a hostel, a hotel, or apartment rental.
Many hotels offer the option to not have their sheets or towels changed every day. Take advantage of this opportunity. You don’t have to change your linens every day at home so there’s no reason to buy new sheets and towels daily. It’s easy and practical to do.
When you’re leaving, pay attention to heat and air conditioning. When you go sightseeing, it is a huge waste of energy to have the A/C on all day.
This can be furthered by searching for green hotels before you leave your home. Others may have LEED certification. Some others might promote eco-friendly practices like recycling rainwater and using green cleaning products.
Carbon offsets available
You can purchase carbon offsets when you return home. These can be used to offset things such as your car rental or flight. TerraPass and CarbonFund are some examples of companies that offer this service. They help you calculate your carbon footprint and will purchase offsets to go towards renewable energy and planting trees.
How can you travel green?
Italy Roundtable: Other Voices
What greenery is my group writing about this month, and what are their comments? Follow me to each of the links and leave comments. Please share your posts with your friends and join us next month for another Italy Blogging Roundtable topic.
- ArtTrav 11 green veggies I have never eaten before moving to Italy
- At Home in Tuscany – Nel verde degli anni
- Bleeding Espresso The Inspiring Legacy Of Nicholas Green
- Italofile Visions in Veronese Green, Venice
In case you were wondering, it is a shorter list. Two regular bloggers are busybusybusy and will be back next month to share their wisdom and wit.
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