Thursday, June 25, 2009

Supreme Court Ruling Shocks Environmentalists

This week, the Supreme Court upheld a permit to dump rock waste from a gold mine in Alaska into a nearby lake, even though all of the fish would be killed. The justices determined by a 6-3 vote that an appeals court blocked the permit on environmental grounds in an incorrect manner, leaving environmentalists concerned about how future mining waste will be dumped. Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen released a statement stating "If a mining company can turn Lower Slate Lake in Alaska into a lifeless waste dump, other polluters with solids in their wastewater can potentially do the same to any water body in America." In light of such worrying news, perhaps we should be planning that eco-sightseeing trip now. has highlighted many an interesting trip abroad for the eco-friendly traveler, and we'd like to hop on board. There's nothing more rewarding than visiting an area that needs help, support, or protection, and catching a glimpse of an endangered animal whose habitat you could support with regular donations isn't half bad, either. Ponta dos Ganchos in Governador Celso Ramos, Brazil is a perfect place to catch a glimpse of some of the world's most breathtaking land and seascapes. It might have been graced with a Conde Nast honor for the "Most Romantic Getaway" ('09), but it also includes plenty of adventure-type activities at no extra cost to visitors. You can arrange snorkeling, kayaking, and sailing with the front desk, in which you can examine exotic marine life close up. The fantastic underwater scenes might remind us that there are still some amazing pockets of untouched marine life left, but it's essential that we act now to keep them this way. Ponder your impact on the environment as you watch emerald green waters lap a sandy, private beach, where you can also reserve a private dinner come night.

If you're more interested in a city that does things green, Amsterdam might be the right place for you. They've been hitting the headlines this month as they move towards making their infrastructure more eco-friendly with solar power panels on on local bus stops, special financing for households making green changes, and energy-saving systems installed in 1,200 homes to kick things off. Amsterdam is a leader in renewable energy projects and efficiency regulations funded by special government funds, and $1.5 billion dollars will be invested in the smart city programs over the next few years, so we're looking forward to an even greener Europe. If hopping on a bike and touring Amsterdam sounds like a good idea to you, how about trying the Hotel Pulitzer, which overlooks two of the city's more picturesque canals in the old city center? They have an art gallery and WiFi in all public areas, and being so close to potential sightseeing spots means that you'll reduce your carbon footprint for sure. Don't forget to dine at Pulitzers Restaurant after a day of whizzing around the city on your Schwinn—you've earned it!

After vacations like these, you might be more inclined to buy a hybrid or browse the environmental headlines online. Go for it--and then book another green-themed vacation.

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