Perhaps the most environmentally enlightened of the three islands, St. Barts has long been doing its bit to protect the environment -- even though getting food and goods onto the island is a massive daily (and carbon-footprint-heavy) enterprise. Islanders are natural recyclers -- they've had to be; the island has little arable land and no fresh water. Many of the old-timers still collect rain water in cisterns; some even drink it! Most people bring recycled or cloth bags to grocery stores, and eco-conscious chefs are building menus around local and sustainable food sources. Trash is rarely seen on beaches; visitors are asked to take out whatever they bring in.
General Resources for Responsible Travel
The following websites provide valuable wide-ranging information on sustainable 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 during flights.
- 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 accommodation ratings.
- Volunteer International (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.