Southeast Asia is ripped by a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in 11 countries. Six months later, the Big Easy is flooded by a storm surge that left 80% of the city underwater. Two months later a 7.6 magnitude earthquake attacks Pakistan, killing 80,000 people in Pakistan, Kashmir and Afghanistan.


No way.

Nearly every reputable scientific study in the world proves that global warming is an international threat and Larry West, About.Com’s Guide to Environmental Issues says that climate change is to blame for at least 150,000 deaths a year.

Read that again.

150,000 deaths a year.

Mind boggling, isn’t it? And sadly, many world travelers just don’t see these stats.

With that in mind, here are seven ways you can help our environment when you travel.

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photo credit: MPD01605

Getting There:

1. Offset the Carbon Footprint of Your Flight

Frequent travelers are familiar with the concept of offsetting carbon emissions from their flight by making a donation when their buy their ticket. Travelers departing from San Francisco International Airport can now purchase carbon offsets at kiosks before they board and all passengers can calculate their flight’s carbon footprint by entering flight details at

It really is a small price to pay …

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photo credit: jimmyharris

Staying There:

2. Reuse Towels and Sheets

Many travelers think because they are at a hotel or bed and breakfast, they can splurge on fresh towels and daily-changed bed linens. You are paying for it. Why not use it? Right?

However, by reusing your towel for at least two days and asking the B&B not to change your sheets, you are helping reduce electricity and water usage by 50%.

3. Conserve Water

Instead of leaving the water running while you are brushing your teeth, turn it on to lather, turn it off while you brush, then turn it back on to rinse. Dentists recommend you brush for at least two minutes-so that is a lot of wasted water … you know, if you are doing it the dentists’ way.

4. Turn off Lights, ACs, Heaters and Fans

Even at home people leave on their lights or forget to turn off the TV when they leave. Imagine how much you could help the environment if you turned off the lights, your AC or heater, your fan and TV when you leave your hotel for the day.

Chances are you will be sightseeing anyway, do you really need to leave your fan on while you are away?

5. Unplug

Many people don’t realize electrical items consume electricity even when they are off. Crazy, huh? Be sure to unplug your cell phone or laptop charger, hair dryer and straightening iron when you leave your hotel each morning.

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photo credit: TheeErin

Around There:

6. Walk When Possible

Ask your hotel or B&B how easy it is to access certain museums and attractions. If possible, walk or take a bike instead of driving. You will see more of the city and help reduce your carbon footprint in the process.

7. Swap or Donate Books or Clothes

You know that book you read on your first flight? Instead of tossing it before you return, why not donate it to your hotel’s library or swap it with a fellow traveler? I’ve also seen travelers toss clothes to make room in their bags. Instead of throwing them in the trash, ask about clothing donation centers and send them there.

What other tips do you have for fighting climate change when you travel?

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Studies from Harvard University, Department of Ophthalmology have provided new data on retinopathy of prematurity.(Report)

Health & Medicine Week August 9, 2010 New research, ‘Deactivation of the rod response in retinopathy of prematurity,’ is the subject of a report. “It is known that retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) alters the activation of rod photoreceptors, but the effect of ROP on deactivation has not been investigated. We studied deactivation using an electroretinographic (ERG) paired flash procedure in 22 subjects (12 infants and 10 older subjects) with a history of preterm birth and ROP,” scientists in the United States report (see also Retinopathy of Prematurity). site test flash player

“The amplitude of the rod-isolated a-wave response to a flash presented 2-120 s after a test flash was measured, and the time at which it reached 50% of the single flash amplitude (t(50)) was determined by linear interpolation. Deactivation results were compared to those in former preterms who never had ROP (n=6) and term-born controls. In infants, t(50) values of ROP subjects did not differ from those in subjects who never had ROP or term-born controls. Among mature ROP subjects, eight of 12 had t(50) values longer than any control subject,” wrote R.M. Hansen and colleagues, Harvard University, Department of Ophthalmology. web site test flash player

The researchers concluded: “Prolonged deactivation in these mature ROP subjects may indicate lack of maturation of the deactivation process (t(50)) or progressive compromise of retinal function with increasing age.” Hansen and colleagues published their study in Documenta Ophthalmologica Advances In Ophthalmology (Deactivation of the rod response in retinopathy of prematurity. Documenta Ophthalmologica Advances In Ophthalmology, 2010;121(1):29-35).

For more information, contact R.M. Hansen, Children’s Hospital, Dept. of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 USA.

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  1. These sound like sensible tips for even those not travelling. We do all the above, plus have e-tickets, and have a book swap stand at the beach.
    After all our family are six plus a dog – you could almost call us a mini B&B!

    I’d say you are! Wow.

    .-= Scintilla´s last blog ..Think Pink! =-.


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