Marylanders and Delawareans are recycling their bottles and paper. They're choosing locally produced foods and choosing "green" products.
But if you visit either state, you are going to have a difficult time recycling your own waste, as there are few recycling containers at local attractions and hotels.
There are a few steps visitors can take to protect the fragile Chesapeake Bay, ocean, beach, or mountain environments you've come to enjoy.
Most hotels now ask if you want your linens changed every day. Politely decline. (Now, you don't change your own sheets every day, do you?) Use them twice, and save gallons of hot water and energy.
Take the bus, the Light Rail, or the train. Public transportation is the way to go, especially in downtown Baltimore and at the beach. Baltimore's public buses are one option. Another is the new Charm City Circulator, which offers free transportation all around the business district. In fact, it's the cool way to go at the beach, both in Maryland and Delaware. All-day passes are available and inexpensive.
Bike paths are everywhere. If you want to leave your car alone for a day or two, you can take a bike ride from Cumberland to Washington. Or along the Allegheny Passage into Pennsylvania. Or at the beach between Lewes and Rehoboth. Or along the Underground Railroad Trail on the Eastern Shore. Even Baltimore has a bike path from north Baltimore into downtown.
The farm-to-table movement has made it into local restaurants. Look for local produce and seafood where you dine. Some shout it out loud in their menus. Others not so much.
For more ideas, go to www.ecodelaware.com. You'll find a list of earth-friendly ideas for where to travel, and when and how to tread lightly when you get there.
General Resources for Green Travel
In addition to the resources for Maryland and Delaware listed above, the following websites provide valuable wide-ranging information on sustainable travel. For a list of even more sustainable resources, as well as tips and explanations on how to travel greener, visit www.frommers.com/planning.
- 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.
- In the U.K., Tourism Concern (www.tourismconcern.org.uk) works to reduce social and environmental problems connected to tourism. The Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO; www.aito.co.uk) is a group of specialist operators leading the field in making holidays sustainable.
- In Canada, Green Living (www.greenlivingonline.com) offers extensive content on how to travel sustainably, including a travel and transport section and profiles of the best green shops and services in Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary.
- In Australia, the national body that sets guidelines and standards for eco-tourism is Ecotourism Australia (www.ecotourism.org.au). The Green Directory (www.thegreendirectory.com.au), Green Pages (www.thegreenpages.com.au), and EcoDirectory (www.ecodirectory.com.au) offer sustainable travel tips and directories of green businesses.
- Carbonfund (www.carbonfund.org), TerraPass (www.terrapass.org), and CoolClimate (http://coolclimate.berkeley.edu) provide info on carbon-offsetting, or offsetting the levels of greenhouse gas emitted during flights.
- "Green" Hotels Association (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. The Hotel Association of Canada has a Green Key Eco-Rating Program (www.greenkeyglobal.com), which audits the environmental performance of Canadian hotels, motels, and resorts.
- Sustain Lane (www.sustainlane.com) lists sustainable eating and drinking choices around the U.S.; also visit www.eatwellguide.org for tips on eating sustainably in the U.S. and Canada.
- For information on animal-friendly issues throughout the world, visit Tread Lightly (www.treadlightly.org). For information about the ethics of swimming with dolphins, visit the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (www.wdcs.org).
- International Volunteer Programs Association (IVPA; www.volunteerinternational.org) has a list of questions to help you determine the intentions and the nature of a volunteer program. For general info on volunteer travel, visit www.volunteerabroad.org and www.idealist.org.
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.