martes, 15 de marzo de 2011

Eco Vacations

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Ah, the seaside. There’s nowhere better, which is why I love the new suites at what is now one of the greenest hotels in the world: Sandos Caracol Eco Resort and Spa on the Mayan Riviera. In addition to extreme energy and water conservation, Sandos encourages its guests to participate in beach maintenance, support local schools and houses and nurtures the local fauna. The resort also feeds, sterilizes, vaccinates and cares for its resident cats, which makes for a love-in like you’ve never seen. Plus there are beehives on the grounds, and they do weddings. It almost makes me want to get married all over again, possibly to the same person.
If you want to set sail completely, head to Puerto Rico and climb aboard the Caribbean Princess. from April 17th to the 24th. Thanks to one dear couple, you’ll be able to participate in Hope Floats, a program that allows passengers to donate their time at the ship’s ports of call. Volunteers can lend a hand constructing new buildings, assisting local non-profits, caring for stray animals or providing meals to people in need. It’s the perfect way to round out a vacation, and step beyond overpriced souvenir-shopping.

Photo © Jennifer Juniper Stratford
Naturally, you’ll need cruise wear. Look no further: Osei-Duro, created by two Canadian designers, works directly with West African garment workers to create gorgeous, runway-worthy pieces. Maryanne Mathias and Molly Keogh ensure equitable wages and high quality work standards for their seamstresses, affording education, medication and savings for them and their children. 
And if you’re dying to restock your travel beauty bag in an eco-friendly way, snatch up a Carbon-Balanced Travel Kit by Collective Wellbeing. It’s got everything you need to get out of town (day and night creams, cleanser and body butter, shampoo and quick fix conditioner), comes in an organic cotton bag, and best of all, it includes enough clean energy credits to offset 2000 miles of air travel. Sun: here we come.

There’s a new cafe on the shore of Sydney Harbour, but it won’t be around for long – and that’s a good thing. Brainchild of florist, artist, builder and environmentalist Joost Bakker, the Greenhouse pop-up restaurant serves up pizzas and pastas made with flour milled only hours ago, as well as other fine fare and some extremely local wines and beers. Helmed by Matt Stone, whom you might recognize from his appearance on Iron Chef, the Greenhouse employs sustainable food practices (water is collected on site, waste is recycled, herbs and veg are grown on the roof and the generator runs on cooking oil.) The building is made from broken down shipping containers, straw bales and totally recyclable materials. Even the staff is outfitted in recycled and recyclable duds, including darling t-shirts with slogans like “Roll my oats” and “Corn, not porn.” The Greenhouse will stay in Sydney until the end of March 2011, and then make its carbon-friendly way to Milan for the International Furniture Fair, before rolling on to other European cities. I do hope those t-shirts come in French.

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