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.