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Vacation: personal cap and trade sytem

Clover We are on the third day of our big summer vacation. We drove (yes drove -- thought for a nanosecond about taking a train, then vetoed that idea) to Seattle on Saturday. My husband flew to Washington, DC on Sunday for a quick business trip, and he will join us here on Wednesday. We are having a mini family reunion, which we've attempted almost each summer since moving to the Pacific Northwest (nearer to my aunt and uncle in Seattle). The birth of our first daughter and my cousin's daughter quickly followed. As a mom, I sometimes feel exhausted by the responsibility of what seems like planning everything, and these trips have been a rare, lovely exception. I just pack us up, book travel as necessary, and am grateful that we have a chance to keep this next generation of cousins connected since we all live fairly far apart. Is there anything better than rediscovering cousins on annual summer vacations?

So after a week of being host to a traveler, we now step into the role of travelers ourselves. Leaving behind our normal reduce-reuse-recycle routines, and adapting to the culture of where we are visiting. We are in eco-savvy Seattle, but in a rented vacation home. Thus the big ol' garbage can in the kitchen offers the path of least resistance for most tourists. I'm sure we will create more trash than we regularly do this week, yet we have established a pile of cardboard, and still need to investigate if there is a recycle bin nearby where we can ultimately dispatch it all.

As travelers, which is an infrequent happening in our lives, we become carbon hogs almost instantly. Yet, I'm envisioning a personal cap and trade system. In one week's time, we use up the carbon credits we had saved by our usual 3R living. By coincidence, Heather is also on vacation with her family this week -- and as I recollect from past travels of hers, she is often full of insights in ways to take baby step environmentalism on the road. I'll be interested to hear what she has to say on the subject once we are face-to-face in Portland again.

Do you have summer vacation travels planned? Or is it a staycation year? How lightly do you travel? Or do you spend some well earned personal carbon credits while you travel, as we do?


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