Las Vegas is a city that was built on the concept of mass consumption -- overconsumption, really -- of just about everything. Water, electricity, food, alcohol -- you name it and probably too much of it is used here. The fact that all of this consumption happens in the middle of a desert where such resources are scarce only amplifies the problem.
Drought is a major concern here, with water levels at the major lakes and reservoirs in the area falling to dangerously low levels. You can do your part by limiting the amount of water your vacation consumes in a couple of simple yet effective ways. First, although that soaking tub looks tempting, perhaps a short shower will do the trick. Second, reuse your towels whenever possible so they don't have to be run through the laundry every day. Most housekeeping staff will only launder towels left on the floor and will leave those on racks alone.
Many newer hotels (CityCenter and The Palazzo, to name a couple) have been built with sustainable practices that limit the amount of energy you use while visiting. Some have automatic shutdown systems that turn off all the lights when you leave the room and then restore your settings when you return, but if yours doesn't, there is always the light switch. Use it.
For transportation, the greenest (and most scenic) way of getting around is your own two feet. Vegas, especially on the Strip, is very pedestrian friendly provided you follow the marked crosswalks and signals. But if you need wheels, most major rental-car companies in town have hybrids or electric vehicles in their fleet. We don't recommend trying to use a bicycle around the Strip -- it's just too difficult to navigate the crowds and the traffic -- but if you really want to, your hotel's concierge can direct you to the nearest local bike rental company. And if you're staying at Aria Las Vegas, they'll even valet your two-wheeler for you!
General Resources for Responsible Travel
In addition to the resources for Las Vegas listed below see frommers.com/planning for more tips on responsible travel.
- Responsible Travel (www.responsibletravel.com) 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 (www.sustainabletravelinternational.org) promotes ethical tourism practices and manages an extensive directory of sustainable properties and tour operators around the world.
- Carbonfund (www.carbonfund.org), TerraPass (www.terrapass.org), and Cool Climate (http://coolclimate.berkeley.edu) provide info on "carbon offsetting," or offsetting the greenhouse gas emitted by airplanes during flight.
- Greenhotels (www.greenhotels.com) recommends green-rated member hotels around the world that fulfill the company's stringent environmental requirements. Environmentally Friendly Hotels (www.environmentallyfriendlyhotels.com) offers more green accommodations ratings.
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.