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Eco-friendly tourism in the United States

Climate change is now visible to all of us, increasingly damaging the environment, and, consequently, mankind. It is well-established knowledge that human activities are responsible for the major increase in global warming. Before it’s too late, and in order for future generations to not suffer from our mistakes, all countries need to put the brakes on greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide (CO2).

The United States are among the few countries not to join the "Kyoto Protocol" (an international agreement to combat global warming ), and unfortunately are the leading country in terms of amount of greenhouse gases emitted. Nevertheless, it seems that they are paying more and more attention towards the planet and the issue of combatting climate change.

In fact, just recently President Obama announced a "plan to protect the environment," called the Clean Power Plan, which was developed with the EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency), and will be presented in Paris in December 2015 at the ONU Conference on Climate Change. The plan incorporates the reduction of emissions in the energy sector by 32 % by 2030; each state will decide for itself how to reach the goal and will have to present a plan by 2018. The project, which is both ambitious and highly desirable, has already gained enthusiasm among environmentalists, but along with that comes industrial and political controversy.

Whilst we wait for these projects to pay off, generating a worldwide effort to fight "greenhouse gases", lovers of eco-friendly tourism in the United States will find a range of excellent options. Prepare your ESTA and check out these ideas!

In the tropical forest of St. Croix, in the US Virgin Islands, you can find the Ridge to Reef Farm, the only certified organic farm in the islands. The farm has set up a strategic and diversified crop production by providing an explosion of organic products to local markets. Do not miss the tour with Veronica Gordon, a seventh-generation expert in skilled traditional herbal medicine. You can also stay overnight at the farm where solar energy provides power to all the rooms. The meals are completely organic, grown directly on-site and prepared in the kitchens of the rural community.

On Mount Rainer in the state of Washington, you can stumble across the popular Cedar Creek Tree House. This is a cottage built on a 200-year-old red cedar. It’s a great spot for birdwatching, bathing and trout fishing, or simply relaxing in the great outdoors. But Cedar Creek is not the only “tree house" in the US; using Airbnb you can come across many other similar proposals!

If we don’t want to give up luxury, but want to help the environment too, a visit to the Hyatt at Olive 8 in Seattle fits the bill perfectly. Energy conservation has earned the hotel international recognition, despite being located in the city centre. Special features: all guests who come to the hotel with an electric car do not have to pay for parking. Also at the Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth, in Maine, there is the perfect blend of luxury and environmental care: this high-end resort overlooks the ocean, surrounded by gardens and rare plants filled with butterflies and insects. Many materials are recycled and recyclable, with a heavy emphasis on the community of producers and artisans.

For lovers of wild nature and sustainability, we suggest you take a look at Sadie Cove Wilderness Lodge in Homer, Alaska, where the visitor “doesn’t leave a trace". The exclusive neo-ecology resort has just 12 beds, and is only accessible by boat, seaplane or helicopter. The apartments are made with driftwood, and a tree is planted for every guest who stays there. The building is powered purely by a system of alternative energy from wind and hydropower. The Sadie Cove is among the 10 most environmentally sustainable destinations in North America, and was the winner of the United States' Leading Green Resort 2012.

Making an eco-friendly choice during our holidays can make us less harmful towards something as precious as the environment. We hope to have given you some "green" suggestions for your trip to the United States, and don’t forget to apply for ESTA online before travelling, and check that your passport is valid

Travelling to the United States? Do you have your pre-planning checklist in order? Visit our ESTA Guide for more information about obtaining your travel permit. We'd love to hear from you. Send us your comments or questions for travel assistance.