Ask Ignacio: Spring Break Edition

March 2013

What should I do over spring break?

-guywholikesdoingstuff

You will have a week off... well how nice for you!

My unrelenting bitterness aside, you pretty much have two choices, will you stay or will you go?

To state the obvious it is much more sustainable (and cheaper) to stay in the Midwest. Save yourself the cost and emissions of a flight. Air travel is frequently the largest source of emissions of a vacation. Round trip airfare to Cancun would be more than half a ton of greenhouse gas emissions, roughly the same as the electrical usage for an average American for a month.

It's not like there is nothing to do here! It is time to enjoy the Midwest sans problem sets, papers, and exams.

Will you stay?

The Midwest may look rather flat and plain sometimes, but that is only if you never bothered to look further than campus and its immediate surroundings.

Guess who has tons of breweries, lots of cheese, is a few hours away, and is kind of shaped like a hand? WISCONSIN! That's right, the name of the state ends in sin. Need I say more?

What about lakes? I hear girls love lakes. Head over to Minnesota, lakes as far as the eye can see.

Will you go?

Lets face it, it's pretty gosh darn cold in March.

In an attempt of make this as realistic as possible, I have to assume some of you will head south for warmer temperatures. So you got a little more dough than the squares you left behind in the Midwest, you want to spend spring break on a beach or something like that.

Why sun and sand? Rather meek and uninteresting if you ask me.

Do something more interesting, try ecotourism or volunteering (e.g. Habitat for Humanity). With ecotourism you can observe the beauty and fragility of a natural landscape. Volunteering will let you meet all kinds of people and do something good for someone else. Doesn't that sound better than laying around on a smelly old beach?

Even if you aren't into ecotourism or volunteering, there are always things you can do to minimize the environmental impact of your vacation:
Renting a car? Get a hybrid (It's cheaper when you include the gas)
Deciding between hotels? Look at their green claims. Are they legit?
Take part in their eco programs. Do you need new sheets every day? New towels every day?

There you go:

If you want to stay in the Midwest (and save a small fortune) get out of Chicago and explore.
If you want to be warm, try ecotourism or volunteering. If you love nature and helping people then just try to make your trip more sustainable by keeping the resources you're using in mind.

Into the wild blue yonder,
Ignacio