By Kim Michele
What better feeling is there than traveling to a new place, exploring a new city or whisking yourself away to some foreign land? While travel and tourism are good for local economies and in many instances are the livelihood of several great cities, our curiosity and need to travel is not without its drawbacks. Wanderlust can leave a very heavy footprint on the environment and it is up to us to be aware of our surroundings as well as our personal environmental impact.
Where we choose to stay, our means of transportation, the green practices of the cities we visit or the restaurants at which we eat, are all important travel choices. Whether staying at an eco-friendly or sustainable hotel, supporting local farmers markets and stores, buying local, eating at farm-to-table restaurants, going vegetarian once a week or just carrying your own water bottle and shopping bag, the choices you make have a significant impact on your overall carbon footprint.
In today’s environmentally aware society, there are a host of eco-alternatives, offering up an assortment of ways to reduce one’s carbon footprint while still traveling in style. Eco does not mean rustic and by no means lessens the travel experience. There are plenty of wonderfully luxurious resorts, hidden escapes, and desirable destinations that are totally green, self-sustainable, as well as environmentally friendly. From Northern California all the way up through British Columbia, sustainability is a way of life. Home-grown, organic produce is locally sourced for farm-to-table restaurants. Green energy and renewables are the main source of power in most major cities and the number of solar sufficient businesses and homes are amongst the highest in the country.
San Francisco and Portland are continually competing with one another to remain the most environmentally sustainable city in the USA, with Seattle not far behind. From Northern California up the coast through Oregon, Washington and into BC, cities are making great strides in sustainability and embracing eco-friendly tourism. Vancouver currently holds the top green spot amongst Canadian cities and hopes to become the most environmentally sustainable and greenest city in the world by 2020. California is by far the leading state in environmental issues and practices which certainly shows in its green initiatives. However each state and province has much to boast about when it comes to sustainability and embracing eco-tourism is top of their list.
To experience the best of the ‘Green Coast’, we will explore our way from San Francisco to Vancouver, stopping in Portland and Seattle on the way. Four of the greenest cities in North America, all of which have mastered the art of eco-tourism as sustainability becomes a way of life.
About the Author:
Born to travel, Kim Michele has been freelancing as an Environmental Travel Journalist for more than 17 years, specializing in eco-tourism, sustainable travel and environmental issues. Having traveled the world several times over, she has witnessed first-hand the many harsh effects of our ever changing climate. After joining Al Gore’s ‘Climate Realty Project’ in early 2017 and becoming a trained Climate Reality Leader, Kim has shifted her journalistic focus to include pressing environmental issues as well as raising environmental awareness in local communities.