A Guide to Eco-Living in the City

It seems as though the two couldn’t possibly mix. A city and honest to goodness eco-living? Well, it turns out that you can make the impossible a possibility.

I spent a lot of time living in the city during and after my college years. With millions of residents, thousands of cars, and a constant array of lights, it can seem impossible to live an eco-friendly lifestyle when living in a metropolis. In reality, America’s major cities are leading the battle against climate change through eco-living practices.

While city-wide efforts have helped to implement better mass transit and solar energy and support local farming in nearby communities, that doesn’t mean city dwellers get a free pass on implementing eco-living practices. Here are some of the ways I was able to reduce my carbon footprint during those years.

Being a Minimalist

Sometimes it can be better to live with only what you need, and sometimes a small studio apartment forces you to do so. Instead of cramming things into the tiny home I lived in, I chose to let the city take care of my needs.

Within just a few blocks I could pick up fresh produce, take a walk in the park, or find live entertainment. I used public WiFi instead of wasting on resources on a personal internet connection, and even ditched my television in lieu of the various attractions around the area. I also saved on energy by unplugging anything that wasn’t in use, reducing the already minimal amount of electricity my apartment used.

Who Need a Car?

I will never understand why so many who live in cities choose to own a car. Maybe other cities do not have the same reliable public transportation mine did, but I was able to take the bus to and from work everyday. Aside from saving on vehicle costs, I did my part to reduce nearly 20 pounds of CO2 emissions by walking anywhere I needed to go besides work.

As an added bonus, the city I lived in had a bikeshare program that helped me travel to different areas when I needed to.

Sustainable Shopping

Every city has the grocery conglomerates, but they also have a wide variety of privately-owned local business to buy produce from as well. Choosing to buy local helps reduce the reliance on overseas shipping and using trucks to haul frozen food across the country. Plus, it is ten times healthier!

These are just some of the ways I was able to practice eco-living while residing within a city. For all of you other city dwellers out there, what ways do you help out the environment? Does your city make strides to fight climate change, too?

The Best Ecotourism Destinations in the U.S.

Looking to take an eco-friendly vacation without wasting precious fossil fuels while saving money? There are more places in North America than you might think!

Countries like Africa, Australia, and South America offer a plethora of eco-lodges that offer low-impact tourism centered around the indigenous peoples of the area. In the United States, however, ecotourism seems to be a scarce and rarely heard of phenomenon. It isn’t impossible to find wonderful destinations in our country though.

If you are starting to plan your next eco-trip, consider some of these beautiful locations!

Eco-Tourism in the U.S.

I had to do a little digging to find eco-tourism locations in the country, or even its neighbors, which prompted me to find out why this wonderful way of traveling hasn’t taken off here like it has in other countries. The main reason stems from the fact that environmentally-responsible tourism has its roots in developing nations. A large part of the movement is giving back to local communities that are just beginning to blossom.

The U.S. does not have a national, government-run tourism board like many other nations have. This has led to smaller community-based organizations heading the movement. While North America might not have the same scale of eco-tourism that other countries do, you can still experience rapidly evolving eco-destinations in the country.

Most of them are far from perfect, but I picked out the top two locations based on the principles of eco-tourism.

El Monte Sagrado

Old

This resort made entirely of adobe-styled structures, constructed from fly ash, can be found in Taos, New Mexico. It runs on what they call the “Living Machine”, which consists of plants and sea life that treat water for reuse. That, and photovoltaic solar cells that power the electrical components of the Living Machine as well as heating and cooling.

The resort collects rainwater, composts, recycles, and even uses water from their Living Machine to irrigate crops. They transport treated water back to the city of Taos, and have even founded a local school.

Sadie Cove

Located in Homer, Alaska, this wilderness lodge features off-the-grid coastal cabins in Kachemak Bay State Park. Using hydroelectric power from a nearby stream, each cabin effectively runs on alternative energy. They offer meals from their organic vegetable garden, and focus heavily on their “leave no trace” philosophy.

I found their benefits to the local ecosystem interesting. They are actively working to have the area officially declared a mountain goat sanctuary, which means you can definitely observe the adorable creatures in their natural habitat.

Have you ever been to either of these locations? Do you know of any other great eco-tourism locations in the U.S.?