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Cliff and Tiffany Barre write a blog called Peace, Love & Travel and they asked if my readers might be interested in some Green Travel tips, so since I’m in Paris, I thought you might want to read about some places on the East Coast of the States and some things you can do worldwide to be more eco-friendly when you travel:)

Some Tips for the Eco-Friendly Traveler

The earth is a limited resource. As such, it comes as no shock that many, from the individual all the way up to large companies, are trying to reduce their impact on the environment. The following are some tips to help you maintain your eco-friendly lifestyle while on the go.

Before You Go

Here are a couple ways you can do your part before you leave. One way is paperless booking. Instead of getting a paper ticket or itinerary at the cost of deforestation, book your tickets electronically. Not only can this reduce the fuss at check-in, it can help save the trees. Last year the International Air Transport Association went paperless, saving an estimated 50,000 trees.

Another way you can help is by unplugging unnecessary electronics in your house or apartment. Even when they’re off, they still draw a little bit of power. Additionally, you can lower your thermostat down to a level below where you normally keep it. Not only does this help the environment, it can also help you save some money

During Your Trip

Just because you’re away from home doesn’t mean you can’t stay green during your trip. One way is in your choice of transportation, especially if you will be renting. Why not try a vehicle that is gas efficient or even a hybrid. Doing so has the added benefit of saving you a little bit of money – money you could spend better on enjoying your trip.

When it comes to shopping and dining, stay local. By doing this you will help support the local community while staying green. Avoiding purchases of products that are flown out of town or overseas reduces emissions.

Where to Go

Vermont

It’s difficult to not be green when you’re traveling to “the green mountain state.” Vermont is one of those destinations that holds scenic views in which you would see on post cards or calendars. In particular, the fall holds the best picture perfect views with the leaves changing colors, creating mountains of vibrant colors. While in Vermont don’t forget to check out the Ben and Jerry Ice Cream Factory, Killington Peak, Jenne Farm, and of course the beautiful Lake Champlain.

Upstate New York

Upstate New York has much to offer if you’re looking for a quick getaway or an alternative to a tropical vacation. The Finger lakes are some of the most beautiful and pristine lakes in the country. Many activities such as boating, fishing, and camping can be done while enjoying beautiful scenery. You will also find a number of wineries offering many great wines for the tasting!

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If you’re the type that wants to preserve nature, but doesn’t necessarily want to be in nature, why not try Syracuse’s Destiny USA. This is the world’s largest ‘green’ shopping mall and is the largest LEED certified shopping mall. Destiny USA offers many unique shopping, dining, and entertainment experiences.

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Following these small tips can go a very long way. Being green is not exhausting or costly, in fact it is extremely easy to do and often times it will help save you money. Go green and keep your next vacation eco-friendly.

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Life in Los Angeles can be very good with a bit of advice. Double or triple the estimated drive time given by your map/direction/gps application. Don’t drive too far during rush hour (1 mile may take 30 minutes by car at 5pm). Don’t drive at all when it rains because even if you know how to drive in the rain, most other people who live here do not. Yes, all my advice has to do with driving, because even though I will travel for food, there are limits to the amount of stress I will endure. I would gladly swap going through TSA at LAX rather than be stuck in a car on the 405 heading to the Valley at 5pm.

Thankfully Lyfe (Love Your Food Everyday) just opened in Culver City, which means that I don’t have to drive to Stanford in Northern California to eat their lovely food. Lyfe focuses on sustainability, community, and being eco-friendly. Their version of “fast food” is healthy, varied, and embraces those who are gluten intolerant or vegetarian.

Everyone I encountered at Lyfe did their best to be helpful from the moment I entered (or got into line to enter) the restaurant, explaining the availability of different menus (one for regular, one for gluten free, and one for vegetarian), and offering samples (the flatbread Margherita was superb).

I ate in the first few times and received a GPS table tracker after placing my order. This handy device lets the food runners know EXACTLY where you are in the restaurant so you are assured to get your order as soon as it is ready.

For to go orders, their utensils are biobased (made from potatoes).

You may add either free range chicken, Gardein “chicken”, agave-lime tofu, grilled shrimp or grilled salmon to any salad for an additional $2-$4, so I added Gardein to the Farmer’s market salad ($8.99) of organic winter greens, blackberries, agave pickled onions, spiced pecans, and goat cheese in a balsamic vinaigrette. The menu listed calorie counts and sodium counts beside every item, so I knew my meal came in at 428 calories and 649 mg of sodium. I didn’t care about the counts as much as I cared about the flavor, so I was very happy to find that the low calorie count did not diminish the taste. The combination of fresh berries with the crunchy sweetness of the pecans, the creamy goat cheese, and the tartness of the vinaigrette worked very well together. I could eat this salad with a different protein combination all week.

I also tried the Gardein crispy chicken sandwich for $8.99 which came with a small side salad of kale and carrots. The sandwich had some very nice components, like shishito pepper relish, organic tomato and romaine lettuce, red onions, and chipotle aioli on multigrain bread. The quality of ingredients and the creativity of this sandwich recipe makes this a good choice for anyone who wants a healthier (and tastier) chicken sandwich than most places offer.

Seeing grilled Barramundi listed as one of their entree choices for only $12.99 surprised me in the best possible way. Barramundi is one of my favorite fishes and for those who like Sea Bass, it is a great alternative to the ubiquitous salmon found on nearly every menu. Served with edamame, napa cabbage, baby spinach, shittake mushrooms, and scallions in a spicy broth, you can choose the regular version with soba noodles, or the gluten free without (which is what I chose because I don’t like soba noodles). It was not very spicy at all, but I enjoyed the broth, vegetable, and fish combination very much. The grilled Barramundi was a bit over cooked, but dipping it in the broth alleviated the minor dryness.

Yes, life and Lyfe are good in Southern California, especially when there are fresh and healthy choices in a pedestrian area close to home.

LYFE Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Today is Earth Day and there are many ways to help the Earth with simple acts, some of which will get you free coffee and trees:

1) CREEDO is planting a tree in your honor if you simply click that you like them on your Facebook page by April 30, the more people click, the more trees get planted, so pass on the information and post it on your wall.

2) M Cafe is offering $1.00 off to all take out customers who bring in their own bag to take home their food, and if you bring in your own reusable mug they will give you a free coffee as well.

3) Lowe’s is giving away one million trees today, stop by a store and pick one up.

4) Starbucks is giving away free coffee today when you bring in your own reusable mug.

5) Do what you can everyday to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle 🙂

Peace Day is being celebrated worldwide September 21 here in Los Angeles at the Santa Monica Pier. Please go and enjoy the events for adults and kids being organized by my good friends to help our planet live and thrive.

Happy Earth Day!

Oceanhouse Media has a novel way to celebrate if you have an iPhone (it’s also iPad compatible), just download the app Lorax Garden for $2.99 and you can plant (and design) you own plants and trees in a virtual world which you can then send as postcards, keeping it green from inception to reception. You can also download the book for $3.99 and use it either as a reading and teaching tool.

If you prefer your greenery to be actual rather than virtual, the first Zipline in Los Angeles or Orange County is now open on Catalina Island. You will be traveling at speeds of up to 45 miles an hour about 300 feet up in the air over nearly .75 of a mile through five connected platform stations that hover over various areas of Catalina. Each station will teach you something about the areas you are zipping through, so this is not only an exhilarating ride, it will be educational also. It takes about 2 hours and costs $92.50, but the experience will be priceless.

Social Vibe helps feed people, fight cancer, preserve wildlife, educate, and provide clean drinking water, all you need to do is answer some questions that take about 5 minutes of your time for the cause of your choice.

The Extraordinairies allows you to “micro volunteer” to help change the world for the better, whether it is helping log photos from Haiti so people can locate lost loved ones, catalog animal abuse photos for an archive, or inspire children with a message of encouragement. All that is required to be extraordinary is your time.

Free Rice is a game that you play and when you answer correctly, the game sponsors donate rice to feed people, one right answer provides 10 free grains, five right answers is 50 grains. This is one game that you can play to win obsessively that will result in something good for everyone.

It’s not often that you can go to a screening of an Oscar winning film for free, unless of course you are a member of the Academy and get free passes to all nominated films. Today is one of those rare days when the general public gets the privilege of being treated like an Academy member; fitting day for it since getting something free on a day when taxes are due is a nice perk.

Head over to the Custom Hotel‘s Hopscotch Pool Bar & Grill before 7pm to grab some free popcorn, order a drink (cash bar), and grab a seat for “The Cove“, a film about how we humans are affecting the planet with our actions around the globe. After the film there will be a Q&A with a member of the Oceanic Preservation Society, so this promises to be an entertaining and educational evening under the stars.

Don’t forget to file your taxes before you go because Uncle Sam will not take “I was busy watching a great film and I forgot” as a reason for tax return tardiness.

April 22 is Earth Day and if you live in Los Angeles, you can enjoy it at the Wilshire Center located at 3700 Wilshire (at Oxford). Everyone is encourage to ride their bicycles to the event, they even have a bike valet for cyclists. If you don’t have a bike or it’s too far to ride, then please take public transportation, or at the very least car pool and lessen your carbon footprint.

Bring your old electronics to recycle, like old TVs, computer monitors, and small electronics. There will be live music, dancers performing traditional dances of Korea, El Salvador, and Bangladesh, food from the local farmer’s market, gardening demonstrations, drumming lessons for kids, and you can adopt a tree (or two or three). All this will start at 11am and go until 3pm, so plan a play date while doing something good for the earth.

Everyday is a good day to recycle, but if you are in Pacific Palisades today head over to Pacific Palisades Presbyterian Church between 10-2pm and drop off any unwanted electronics FREE. The program is sponsored by California Recycles and Pacific Cares, who have a regular drop off station Monday through Friday in West Los Angeles, but some items require a disposal fee, so take advantage of this opportunity to do some Spring cleaning and start your Saturday off doing something good for the environment.

A better way to buy lipsticks, gloss and nail polish is to shop for them at Peacekeeper, which combines great products with great causes to create the perfect win-win for everyone.This is a company which donates ALL of their after tax distributable profits to women’s health and human rights advocacy groups. Peacekeeper is to “cause-metics” what Newman’s Own is to food; a way to literally put your money where your mouth is (or in Peacekeeper’s case, on your lips). Prices are all under $15 (except for kits/gift packages) and they are all available in a rainbow of shades for every skin type.

Not only are the products pretty, but they are also clean, and they explain the ingredients used as well as the toxicity of each product line (including the usually very toxic nail polish remover) here. With so many harmful chemicals used in cosmetics, it is refreshing to know that efforts have been made to use “no nasty” ingredients in all of their products.

The causes range from providing micro loans to women, to helping stop domestic violence and genital mutilation. Knowing that the products you buy all contribute to a solution may lead you to donating more directly to these great causes, so become a Peacekeeper partner in the quest for a cleaner, safer, more peaceful world.

Peacekeeper gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “a beautiful world”.

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