Vacation Sweepstakes – Essay#40

Our family has done a significant amount of hiking and biking and strives on a routine basis to immerse ourselves in nature.  Living in a city, this is often no small feat!  But Maryland has done a great job of building around state parks and converting old railroad tracks to bike paths.

In our everyday lives we work hard to try to leave the smallest imprint on our environment.  We recycle as much plastic/glass/metal as possible, compost as much food and paper that we can safely do without attracting rodents, reuse rainwater, and have looked into reusing grey water.

When we travel, we always look for environmentally friendly places to stay.  In some places, this is difficult even though little things like turning off lights and hanging up towels instead of having them washed daily (which people don’t do at home) could be done to reduce the amount of fresh water used.  In other places, like the Florida Keys, this is easy , you can find places to bring your recyclables, there is more awareness of energy needs, and there is a great deal of care and concern for animals and the environment.

More notably is the efforts we take to teach our children the importance of reducing, reusing, recycling and being good to the environment.  Living a sustainable lifestyle that leaves as small a footprint as possible is very important to us.  We don’t just talk about it with our children – we live it and have them help when we recycle, compost, go out and do stream clean-ups, and pick up garbage on the hiking trails.  If we don’t teach the future generations of the world the importance of being eco-friendly now, how do we expect them to grow up and expect more of themselves and others both here and internationally? 

We have been considering visiting Belize since we’ve had friends visit and re-visit and re-visit because they love it.  The synergy between history, the environment, and fish/animals in nature seems so complete.  The Lodge at Chaa Creek appears to be an ideal place to immerse ourselves in nature and learn how we can become ever better steward’s of the environment, while teaching our children to do the same. 

While the prospect of winning an essay contest like this seems pretty remote, I chose to take some time to consider what we do for the environment and to think about other things we could do.  If we did in fact win, we would make the effort to pay for some other family members to join us so that we could all enjoy the beautiful surroundings while learning more about nature and the importance of being eco-friendly to have as little impact on the environment as possible.

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