Four Tips for A Green Trip To Germany
When it comes to planning your vacation, green is the way to go, no matter what your destination. In Germany, the ecologically conscious traveler can go green just by doing as the locals do. Germans are famous for sorting their trash, taking public transportation and using renewable energy.
Giving your vacation a green theme, however, is a great way to experience the best Germany has to offer with all your senses. Consider these tips for green travel when planning your next trip to Germany.
Choose Eco-Friendly Lodging
Choosing sustainable accommodations does not mean sacrificing comfort. On the contrary, an increasing number of hotels and resorts in Germany cater to ecologically-conscious travelers in ways that boost comfort. Imagine a vacation in a snug, energy efficient home heated by solar panels or a wood pellet stove on an organic farm, wandering in the meadows and eating organic food! A consortium of industry groups, environmental watchdogs, and government agencies including the Federal Environment Ministry has established a brand for consumers interested in this kind of travel called “Viabono.” Resorts that carry the Viabono seal meet strict standards for sustainable practices, and a number of websites help users plan environmentally responsible vacations. Those interested in truly rustic adventures can even book a night in an increasing number of “hay hotels”, which invite visitors to bunk in the barn on a bed of straw.
Bauernhofurlaub-Deutschland (Vacations on the Farm)
Viabono (In German)
Hay Hotels (In German)
Go Bio: Eat Organic in Germany
Products with the "Bio" Organic seal have been grown and processed in accordance with EU organic standards.
(© © picture-alliance/dpa )
One in five Germans regularly buys organic products, according to a survey by the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, and organic produce and meat is widely available in groceries and specialty shops. In Germany, organic food is referred to as “bio” for short, and it is easy to recognize by the state-regulated “Bio” seal, which guarantees that all the ingredients were grown and processed according to EU organic standards. Many organic farms in Germany also belong to growers' associations that adhere to even stricter standards.
"Bio" Organic Seal
Learn More about the Climate and Environment
A visitor explores the rainforest in Cameroon's Korup National Park by way of an exhibit in Bremerhaven's Climate House.
Germany is at the vanguard in developing and implementing technologies that help protect the climate, from renewable energies to cutting edge insulation materials. A number of museums and other institutions offer great opportunities to learn about environmental challenges and their potential solutions. For example, the building of the Federal Environment Agency in Dessau is a model of sustainable architecture and hosts rotating exhibitions about the environment and environmental technologies. At the Klimahaus (Climate House) in Bremerhaven, visitors can take a journey around the world from Bremerhaven and back along the 8th degree of longitude, learning how climate change will impact people and landscapes along the way. The Panometer in Leipzig brings to life the unique ecosystem of the Amazon rainforest with its 360-degree panorama.
Climate House Bremerhaven
Federal Environment Agency
Offset Your Carbon Emissions
Atmosfair uses voluntary carbon offsets from eco-conscious travelers to finance projects like these solar collectors in India, which replaced diesel generators for a large kitchen.
Taking the slow boat to Germany is a fine option for travelers who have the time and don't get seasick, but most travelers from North America will choose to fly. Unfortunately, air travel is the least efficient form of transportation in terms of energy costs, and the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on the climate is tripled at high altitudes. The non-profit organization atmosfair allows travelers to easily calculate and offset their greenhouse gas emissions from air travel by investing in clean energy projects in developing countries. Of course, the impact of emissions cannot be undone once greenhouse gases hit the atmosphere, so taking fewer flights for longer stays is a critical for reducing the impact of your travel.