Whole Foods To Ban Sale Of Unsustainable Seafood: The Global Impact

sustainable seafoodIn a landmark move, Whole Foods has just announced that starting on April 22 — Earth Day — it will no longer sell seafood from depleted or otherwise unsustainable fisheries, or species harvested with ecologically damaging methods such as trawling. The industry ratings for these species are determined by the Blue Ocean Institute and California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium, which produces a popular “Seafood Watch Recommendations” pocket guide and phone app for shoppers. Say bye-bye to Atlantic halibut, skate, octopus and sole.

It’s a bold move for the world’s largest, most powerful green grocery chain to defer customer demand for better buying practices, but according to Whole Foods’ seafood quality standards coordinator Carrie Brownstein via an AP article, “In the long term, what we’re really looking to do is help reverse trends of overfishing and by-catch, so that really we can move the industry as a whole toward greater sustainability.”

So how does what you eat here at home have a global impact? Depletion of any fishery always has a negative effect on the food chain because of a ripple effect. Foreign fisheries may also employ unsound fishing methods that increase by-catch (think dolphins and other aquatic species, albatross, etc.). You may love Chilean sea bass (it’s actually Patagonian toothfish) but it has long been a fishery on the verge of collapse and by purchasing it at the store or ordering it at a restaurant, you create demand for that product. Once a species is extinct, it can seriously throw a marine ecosystem out of whack. Plus, you know, extinction kind of sucks.

It’s harder for world travelers to be on top of what’s sustainable and what’s not, especially if, like me, you love street food. In developing nations, especially countries with a coastline, fishing is usually a key part of the local economy. But saving our rapidly depleting oceans trumps putting a few pennies in local pockets: they’re not looking at the big picture, which is the more seafood we consume, the less there is to sell.

Order something besides seafood unless you’re positive it’s caught in a non-environmentally degrading way, from a healthy fishery. Go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Recommendations site for a global guide to what’s sustainable and what’s not. It offers alternatives, so odds are, you can travel and have your lobster dinner, too.

[Photo credit: Flickr user Eneas]

Starwood hotels plans to recycle hotel shampoos, soaps

starwood hotelsSome hotel guests take the mini soaps and shampoos from hotel bathrooms, others leave the pint-sized amenities behind – which option is better for the environment?

Did you know your unused hotel toiletries could be put toward recycling efforts to help people in need?

That’s the premise behind Clean the World, a social enterprise working with hotels around the world in an effort to help improve lives and protect our planet.

In an effort to give back, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. inked an agreement with Clean the World on Earth Day to collect and recycle hotel soaps, shampoos, conditioners, lotions and gels to help fight the global spread of preventable diseases. The deal would include around 500 Starwood hotels in North America (Starwood’s brands include St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, Aloft®, and Element).

.”Our North American properties represent more than 176,000 rooms, each of which offer the highest quality soaps and bottled amenities to our guests on a daily basis,” says Denise Coll, president of Starwood Hotels in North America, in a statement. “This partnership amplifies our commitment to corporate social responsibility, and it also should make every member of our Starwood family feel better about the role they play each day in caring for our Earth and the people who inhabit it.”

According to Clean the World, an estimated 1.6 million pounds of hotel soap may be recycled each year through this partnership.

Readers: Will you think twice before swiping your hotel bath amenities now?

Travelocity’s “roaming gnome” hosts Earth Day scavenger hunt in NYC


Celebrate Earth Day with one of Gadling’s favorite trip booking sites, Travelocity. Their mascot, the Roaming Gnome, is hosting a virtual and real week-long scavenger hunt, where Facebook fans and Twitter followers have a chance to win prizes, while finding the “greenest” hotspots from uptown to downtown Manhattan.

Starting April 18, the mascot (@roaminggnome) will host four scavenger hunts in NYC, hiding out in eco-friendly hotels and attractions. He’ll Tweet clues about where he’s hiding via his Twitter feed using #greengnome.

Prizes will include: two-nights stays at green hotels, show tickets to popular Broadway shows – gift certificates toward a new, eco-friendly clothing line and sustainable treats from Sweetery gourmet food truck.

On the actual Earth Day, April 22, the Gnome will be in Times Square starting at 11 AM EST. Those who stop by his booth and take a picture with him can enter for a chance to win a sustainable vacation package. Those playing along at home via Twitter can also enter to win.

Sounds like a fun and creative way to explore the city’s finest green hotels and win prizes. Why didn’t we think of this first??

Psst- want to stay at a green hotel? Check out Hotels Editor Melanie Nayer’s post.

Plant a tree, help fight climate change

We live in a “Golden Age” of travel. Never before in history have so many people traveled so widely, easily, quickly or cheaply. But this convenience comes with a hidden price. All those vehicles that take us there – the planes and cars – play a significant role in the gradual warming of our planet. In honor of Earth Day, the Conservation Fund is offering a way for you to help.

Check out the Conservation Fund’s new video for a campaign called “Go Zero.” The project seeks to raise awareness of the amount of carbon each of us produces from activities like travel, offering a chance to offset our carbon emissions. The group is trying to get 10,000 new trees planted before the end of this year’s Earth Day. It couldn’t be more simple to help – just click the button “plant a tree” on the embedded video above if you’d like to donate. If you want to learn more, make sure to stop by Conservation Fund’s website and try out the Carbon Calculator to see what you can do to fight climate change.

Our lives have all been immeasurably enriched by travel – let’s make sure future generations have a chance to enjoy the same opportunities.

Travel green on Earth Day with these eco-friendly gear outfitters

Though every day should be eco-conscious, Earth Day brings us a special reminder of what we can do to help the environment in our day-to-day lives. And for many of the Gadling readers, this means greener travel.

Most acts of travel come with an inherent negative impact on the environment, whether this is from the carbon dumped into the atmosphere during transit or the plastic used in disposable water bottles and packaging. One way that we can travel greener, however, is in how we pack and in what we wear. And to help us, a wide host of green outfitters are here to help the cause.

  • The elephant in the room, of course, is Patagonia, the environmentally conscious adventure outfitter named after the region in the dramatic southern tip of South America.. We haven’t got enough great things to say about their environment goals and accomplishments over the years, and a large part of patagonia.com is devoted to educating the public on these topics. Further, if you’re ever short on ideas for your next trip, a quick flip through their online or hard-copy brochure should provide enough inspiration for a lifetime.
  • Owned by the same group, Nau and Horny Toad both provide clothing in a similar eco-friendly vein. Both brands lean towards more of casual wear instead of the above tech gear, and with classy picks like the waterproof, packable riding jacket that’s 100% recycled, it’s easy to see both brands catching on.
  • Luggage is another key element that can easily be made greener. Bag companies from Freitag to Terracycle manufacture bags made out of 100% recycled goods, and some of them are pretty darn stylin’ to boot. One can even go so far as to purchase luggage completely made out of cardboard.
  • To keep your notebook safe on the road, Hello Rewind will actually transform one of your old t-shirts into a nifty laptop sleeve. Best of all, with the $49 purchase price comes a healthy donation to Hello Rewind’s charitable effort to fight sex trafficking.

Of course if you want to be eco-friendly, it’s always possible to follow the sage advice from senior-eco blogger Sean McLachlan, who proffers the following wise words:

The best way to reduce your impact on the environment is not to wash, since soap can be harmful to streams. My suggestion is to simply turn your underwear inside out after you’ve worn it for a day. Presto, you have clean underwear! At least the part touching your nether regions, which is all that matters. The following day you can turn them back again and repeat as many days as you’re hiking.

However you choose to celebrate Earth Day in your travels, keep in mind that the lessons we learn on this day are the ones that we should carry through the year. Travel safe and green!