Green Projects and Places Tips

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Are there any trips that can train me to be a spokesperson for environmental issues?

Go Beyond Appreciating Nature: Activist Trips

You have several options for tours that guide you through issues as well as images.

  • Sierra Club Activist Outings take you beyond enjoying nature to protecting it with political action. You'll be introduced to the issues that threaten the habitat and to strategies for raising awareness, such as publicity campaigns and lobbying. One example is The Sequoia National Monument Trip in California, where you'll learn about forest management and “walk among the giants.” Logging, building and burning are encroaching on the forest, and the activist tools you acquire can equip you to join the Sierra Club's campaign to preserve this habitat. You'll need to bring a tent and sleeping bag, but food will be provided during the six-day activity priced at $395.
  • Global Exchange lists trips that confront environmental issues head on and that enable visitors to meet with local stakeholders. Go deeper into the rainforest by exploring how unrestrained tourism can erode certain ecosystems and strain the land and water resources available to local communities. You'll learn about the deforestation caused by multinational fruit companies and cattle industries, and meet with local leaders and indigenous communities to discover sustainable alternatives to eco-exploitation. You'll be introduced to Afro-Caribbean history, culture and herbalism. The $1500 tour includes two meals a day, background reading materials and accommodation for two weeks.

Do I need to have any certification to go on a scuba diving tour?

Take The Plunge: Scuba Diving Adventures

You need PADI Open Water Certification (or the equivalent) if you want to dive without the supervision of a professional. Even then, you can only dive in the day time in less than 60 feet of water. You need more adavnced training to go deeper or to dive at night.

  • Beautiful Oceans offers online courses about coral reef ecology and on-site diving and scuba lessons at dive centers in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean. You can take more specialized courses at these centers, such as underwater photography.
  • provides a directory to scuba diving adventures as well, such the package offered by the Utila Resort in the Honduras. The resort is nestled between coconut palms and fruit trees, and the shallow fringed reef on the south side of Utila is good for beginning divers. This is the home of dolphins, manta rays and giant sponges. You get access to unlimited snorkeling, and if you have diver qualifications, unlimited diving. No more than 20 guests stay here at a time, so the activty's impact on the environment is controlled. An eight-day package including room and board costs between $750 and $1495, depending on the options you choose.
  • For $165 per person, Port Douglas Reef Charters offers one days's exploration of the Great Barrier Reef in the company of a marine biologist.

Are there any cities I could visit to see green living applied on a large scale?

Study The Car-Free Models

Since you may not be visiting a city long enough to examine its entire infrastructure, the most obvious elements of urban design will probably be the most memorable. For that reason, you may find it inspiring to visit a car free-city, where one or more large neighborhoods are closed to motor vehicles.

The following places are entirely free of motorized vehicles (except for occasional public utility vehicles).

  • Lindos in Rhodes: the city is rich in ancient ruins, which no doubt benefit from reduced air pollution.
  • Ile de Bréhat in Bretgane, France: the town is known for its attractive pink granite, famous lighthouses and mild micro-climate.
  • Rottnest Australia: Rottnest is classified as a wildlife reserve. Its reefs and beaches are popular with divers and swimmers.

What do people do on birdwatching tours besides look at birds?

Roam The Region: Birdwatching Tours

What you do usually depends on where you are. Although these activities obviously focus on birds, some tours include side trips to museums and natural wonders.

  • The Audubon Society is one of the best known organizations in this field. They offer both North American and international tours interspersed with "para-avian" activities. The Oregon High Desert in Spring Tour, for example, combines observation of bird migration with a geological tour of the canyons. Contact local chapters for more information on tours.
  • Cayaya Birding runs low-impact, small group tours in Guatemala. The Antigua Birding Tour will not only send you in search of endemic birds but will also take you into a coffee plantation. The four-day tour costs $350.00 with room and board.
  • Slovakia Green Tours offers one to five day tours focusing on birds and natural phenomena. The Lowlands Birds Trip, for example, includes a canoe trip, a hike in the woods and a wine tasting. It costs about $715 for five days with room and board.

Are there any tours that allow me to experience the traditional North American native lifestyle?

Listen To Your Native Elders

If you want to see the world through native eyes, find a tour that inlcudes storytelling; this culture is graced by a rich oral tradition. The following tours incorporate native lore and language.

  • The Iroquois Longhouse Experience, Ontario, invites you to slip into Mohawk culture in a 24-foot fur trader canoe. Then you'll hike up to Kanata Village where native guides will introduce you to their history, dances and language. Your day draws to a close with a native story teller and an overnight stay at the Longhouse Palisade. The two-day journey costs $118 with meals and lodging included.
  • Aboriginal Tourism in Canada is the portal to retreats, homestays and cultural programs all over Canada. Kootenay Wilderness Tours in British Columbia, for example, offers a one week Spirit Walker Tour that includes several days of hiking and rafting with a native guide, and two days of nature walks and talks with a native elder. Visistors will be invited to participate in traditional healing and cleansing rituals and will partake of home-cooked meals. The trip costs about $1680.
  • lists some native tours available in the U.S.

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Linda Handiak
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