Each time you take a flight or drive a car, carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. You can help neutralize the damage by purchasing “carbon offsets,” from organizations such as Carbonfund.org in the U.S. Iceland has its own reputable Iceland Carbon Fund (Kolviður); the website helps you calculate your damages and choose a tree-planting project or other remedy. Once in Iceland you can base your activities on hiking, biking, horseback riding, or other activities that do not consume fossil fuels.
Several Icelandic companies have earned certification from Blue Flag, a Danish association that certifies beaches, marinas, whale-watching tours, and other businesses for sustainable oceanside development. Nordic Eco Label (tel. 08/5555-2400) certifies places to stay for adhering to strict environmental practices.
EarthCheck is another important eco-certification label (formerly known as Green Globe). Several Icelandic tourist businesses have received the Green Globe—as has every community on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.
Environmental issues often come up in conversation with Icelanders, so you may want to read up on the hot topics. Iceland has resumed whaling, and the subject often provokes emotional responses. For information about the ethics of whaling, visit the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society. The website www.savingiceland.org has a pronounced radical slant but contains links to informative articles on environmental issues facing Iceland.
General Resources for Green Travel
In addition to the resources for Iceland listed above, the following websites provide valuable wide-ranging information on sustainable travel.
- Responsible Travel is a great source of sustainable travel ideas; the site is run by a spokesperson for ethical tourism in the travel industry. Sustainable Travel International promotes ethical tourism practices, and manages an extensive directory of sustainable properties and tour operators around the world.
- In Canada, www.greenlivingonline.com offers extensive content on how to travel sustainably.
- Carbonfund and TerraPass provide info on “carbon offsetting,” outlining ways to offset the greenhouse gas emitted during flights.
- Greenhotels recommends green-rated member hotels around the world that fulfill the company’s stringent environmental requirements.
- For information on animal-friendly issues throughout the world, visit Tread Lightly. For information about the ethics of swimming with dolphins, visit the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society.
- Volunteer International has a list of questions to help you determine the intentions and the nature of a volunteer program.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.