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How to Find a Hotel That's Truly Fit for The Eco-Friendly

Costa Rica, Sweden, Australia and Canada are among the countries with active, high-profile certification programs. In the United States, California, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, Maine and Vermont all certify green hotels at the state level. The Green Seal and Energy Star programs administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency allow U.S. hotels to self-certify their eco-practices.

Internet Resources

All the sites listed below provide links for booking properties.

· Green Globe 21 ( http://www.greenglobe21.com), an Australia-based organization, vets hotels and eco-lodges in more than 70 countries and provides benchmarking and certification at different levels. It gives detailed background about the properties.

· Ecoclub ( http://www.ecoclub.com), based in Greece, links to the Web sites of eco-lodges, hotels and resorts in more than 80 countries. It also offers useful eco-travel news and advice.

· Eco-Tropicalresorts ( http://www.eco-tropicalresorts.com) lists hotels in the United States and throughout the tropics. Properties represent a range of environmental commitments.

· Responsibletravel ( http://www.responsibletravel.com), started with funding from Anita Roddick, founder of the Body Shop, recommends resorts and hotels -- including some funky start-ups not listed elsewhere -- in several dozen countries.

· Eco Tourism Society ( http://www.ecotourism.com) provides links to well-established eco-resorts as well as lesser-known green lodging options in more than 50 countries. Travelers seeking a basic grounding in eco-principles should check out the Web site of this Washington-based organization.

· Best Green Hotels ( http://www.bestgreenhotels.com), which includes links to properties in more than 80 countries, is a good place to start a search. But many of the hotels listed are described so broadly that further research is sometimes needed to help define their eco-practices.

· Sustainable Travel International ( http://www.sustainabletravelinternational.org), based in Colorado, is one of the most reliable sources to search. Includes several hundred accommodations worldwide.

· Rainforest Alliance ( http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/tourism) lists a few exemplary properties in Central America and the Caribbean.

· Green Hotels Association ( http://www.greenhotels.com) lists 350 properties, including hotels, lodges and B&Bs throughout the United States and in a dozen foreign countries. Some of the hotels listed have only modest environmental programs.

· Environmentally Friendly Hotels ( http://www.environmentallyfriendlyhotels.com) contains links to more than 2,300 hotels worldwide, mostly in the United States and the tropics. The mix of environmental practices among properties ranges widely.

-- G.L.


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