1 The destination: Whistler, Canada
The initiative: Fly over Canadian mountains in a carbon neutral helicopter
Blackcomb Helicopters offers carbon neutral tourism flights, which measure the greenhouse gases that they emit during each hour of flight and mitigate the emissions from tourism flights by purchasing the equivalent amount of carbon offsets for the Quadra Island Forestland Conservation Project.
This project sequesters the equivalent amount of greenhouse gases that they emit and ensures that 418 hectares of forestland along the coastline – previously designated to be logged or converted to vacation homes – is now protected parkland. www.whistler.com
2 The destination: Huntington Beach, California
The initiative: Clean the harbour in Huntington Beach
Travellers can grab a Duffy electric boat, kayak or paddle board and help Huntington Beach clean up its harbour. Every Sunday at 8:45am, ‘Help Your Habor’ welcomes visitors to clean up the ocean using zero emissions, by removing rubbish to protect the health and sustainability of important ecosystems.
Visitors can learn first-hand about the need for improved biodegradability, packaging reduction and the impact this is currently having on marine life. This novel way of cleaning up the ocean is fun for everyone involved and aims to inspire others to join in and do the same. www.surfcityusa.com
3 The destination: Sonoma County, California
The initiative: Enjoy 100% sustainable wine
In 2014, Sonoma County Winegrowers announced it would become the country’s first 100% certified sustainable wine region by 2019. This sustainability programme helps to preserve agriculture and multi-generational family farms (85% of Sonoma County’s vineyards are family owned and operated) that are dependent on a healthy environment to grow the best grapes that make their world famous wines.
Visitors to Sonoma can enjoy the drinks of the region knowing that it has all been produced in an environmentally-friendly way. www.sonomacounty.com
4 The destination: Santa Cruz, California
The initiative: Dream of green in Santa Cruz Dream Inn
In 2012, the Dream Inn became the first hotel in Santa Cruz to be certified green; voluntarily going above and beyond regulatory requirements to prevent pollution and conserve resources. Committed to preserving its beautiful redwood and ocean surroundings, Dream Inn has partnered with two non-profit organizations that advocate environmental awareness and protection; Save Our Shores, which promotes marine conservation; and the Mountain Parks Foundation.
Beach and nature-lovers will appreciate this extra, eco-friendly incentive to plan a stay at the Dream Inn. The seasonal menu at Aquarius, the Dream Inn’s on-site restaurant, serves up fresh, locally grown, organic dishes with a panoramic ocean view, and all ingredients strictly adhere to the Seafood Watch Program, promoting sustainable seafood and healthy oceans. santacruz.org
5 The destination: San Luis Valley, Colorado
The initiative: Bison and ranch conservation in Colorado
Zapata Ranch is one of the largest conservation projects in North America working to protect the environment and bison living on the land. The bison herd is a conversation species allowed to roam freely across the 50,000 acres of land. Zapata offers a range of programmes in which visitors can get involved in experiencing life on a cattle ranch, working alongside the ranch staff and wranglers, all whilst not emitting any carbon footprint.
Guest can try their hand at horseback riding, moving and working the cattle, riding through the bison herd and exploring the beautiful San Luis Valley of the Great Sand Dunes National Park. www.colorado.com
6 The destination: The Islands of Tahiti
The initiatives: Enjoy eco-friendly opulence, Tetiaroa & Bora Bora
Residing on its own private island, The Brando considers itself the steward of Tetiaroa, and takes this environmental responsibility seriously. The luxury resort relies entirely on renewable energy sources including solar power and coconut oil, and all building materials used are of local or certified origin, renewable, or incorporate recycled components.
A pioneering deep seawater air-conditioning system keeps the hotel cool and all guests are provided with free bicycles to get around the island, further reducing the carbon footprint. The owners have also built an Eco-station and gifted it to Tetiaroa Society; the non-profit organization was established to allow scientist to lead research into sustainable interdependence. tahititourisme.uk/en-gb
7 The destination: Japan
The initiative: Relax in a hydroelectric ryokan, Karuizawa
The Hoshinoya Group, Japan’s premier luxury hotel chain, is known for offering the best of Japanese hospitality, elegance, and comfort in the most sought-after locations, and Hoshinoya Karuizawa goes an extra step in preserving the exceptional natural scenery in which it is set. 90 minutes from Tokyo by bullet train, the resort sits on a lake beside Mt Asama and feels a world away from the neon capital.
The river running down the mountain plays a key role in powering the property, generating hydroelectricity through a system simply called ‘Energy In My Yard’ (EIMY), which provides 70% of the resorts energies, including the under-floor heating. Guests can enjoy award-wining ecotours, acclaimed bird watching, and healing hot springs during their stay too. www.seejapan.co.uk