I’m sure there are people out there completely fed up with the “Green” movement. Probably more of them every day due to the great bombarding of “green” ads we find on TV, in magazines, online, etc. I’m sure the ultra geeky green heads are just reveling in the coverage and still more of us are somewhere between the two fronts watching and learning. I happen to like the ads and am fascinated by the large corporations moving more “green”. I like the ads, the ways they act like they’ve been “green” all along. I don’t mind though, whatever it takes to move us to a cleaner and safer environment.
I’ll stop right there, for this isn’t a call to arms, a political piece or a lambasting of the corporate structure in the US. This is a short tip-sheet to help those that want to be green vacationers be a little more green on their vacations. This is about whitewater rafting with a lighter environmental footprint.
1. As an outfitter I cannot count the number of times I see friends, driving from the same location/neighborhood arrive in a caravan of vehicles. There are a variety of valid reasons to drive separately but on more than one occasion carpooling would have been an eco-friendly option. If you have a big group of folks coming rafting, looking into busing. Some of the rafting companies can get you great rates with a bus company. For example, last year, for groups of 44 or less, I had a luxury bus line ready to provide round trip passage from Southern California for as little as $ 36 per person. This is a great option. You’re traveling with friends, there are DVD players on the bus, a bathroom and someone else is doing the driving. This is a nice carbon footprint reducing measure.
2. Cook with propane. If you have the ability to use a propane barbecue rather than charcoal, do so. Propane burns cleaner. This is a tough one, the taste of charred cooking is so good… There’s talk of the stuff coming off the charcoal not being good for your health either, so, you now have two reasons to reconsidered charcoal.
3. Since you must wear sunblock, look for all natural, organic sunblocks that avoid: PABA, octinoxate, oxybenzone, 4-methylbenzylidene camphor and the preservative butylparaben. Studies are showing the sunblock we wear is killing coral reefs in the ocean. While there’s no coral in the river, it can’t be bad to avoid using the stuff, bad is bad, right? One recent study claimed some 6-million gallons of sunblock are washed into our oceans annually!
4. If you’re really into watersports that require a personal flotation device, then you might wish to look to Astral They use a more environmentally friendly foam in their vests. They’re one of the top vests made as well. So, you get to be environmentally cutting edge and cutting edge in your outdoor equipment as well.
5. Shop locally, shop organically. Have you gone organic yet? We have at my home. When you do, here’s something you’ll learn very quickly, food spoils far faster. For us, we paused, scratched our heads and asked, what the heck is in the other food that lets it last so darn long? Buying organic for the most part means your foods have traveled less distance to get to you and thus have a smaller carbon footprint. In many cases the products used to grow the foods is far better for the earth, the animals are treated better, raised more closely to life in the wild, etc.
6. To show you just how easy this baby-steps to Green program is… you’re already Greener than many vacation options simply by choosing to raft. Rafting is pretty Green. There is no motor on the raft, no emissions but panting paddlers.
7. Actress Rachel McAdams has a serious Green website, Green Is Sexy, one of the links the site is promoting this week is for a company that sells semi-designer glass bottles, Love Bottle Employing a reusable water container is a good call, be it metal or glass, make the investment. We know it’s important to get your hydration on, very important. Out of convenience and hygiene many whitewater rafting companies switched to throw away plastic water bottles. Oh, it is convenient too! But, this practice creates a lot of waste in both the number of bottles lost overboard and in the empties that get thrown away. Switching to metal or even glass bottles can be a great compromise. For me, nothing tastes as good as coming out of glass.
Well, that’s it. I hope these quick point were of benefit to you, gave you something to consider. There are many new sites and older sites gaining exposure as this Green explosion is underway. It’s impossible to be carbon neutral all the time but if enough of us make doable strides towards mitigating our negative impact we can make a significant difference. So, while it’s here, don’t hate, try to enjoy the Green race and do what’s comfortable for you.
See you on the river!
Christopher Pyle is the owner/director of adventure summer camp and whitewater rafting company in Northern California. His entire company philosophy focuses on creating the safest and most encouraging environments for campers and rafters alike. We focus on TEAM, we focus on KINDNESS, we focus on SAFETY, we focus on personal EMPOWERMENT, we focus on COMMUNITY, we focus on SUPPORT. We’re family run, family oriented and wanting to share our place with you.