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tape bike basket.gifWith Boris now officially elected Mayor of London, we might as well put aside our fears about his shaky green record and focus on his twin solutions to climate change: cycling and recycling.

Cycling to the shops is a great way to a greener life, so the first thing you'll need is a good sturdy basket. My favourite is this one, which is made from old packing tape - what a great way to (re)cycle! Two straps attach it to your bike, and it'll fit most styles. £14 at Hen & Hammock.

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Canadian industrial designer Alexandre Verdier has designed what has got to be the ultimate hippy lust object: a classic VW camper van that's as green as current technology will allow.

His idea for the Volkswagen Westfalia Verdier came to him when he was travelling around Europe in a traditional VW camper in 1994. Updated for the eco age his version comes with solar panels, a GPS to calculate the optimal position for maximum sun exposure, an on-boar wi-fed computer, pneuamtic suspension, sliding doors, integrated folding staircase, and a swivel cooking range to cook inside or al fresco. It also has a hybrid engine.

eco_lodge.jpgDining under the stars before retiring into your earth friendly lodge is a prospect that would appeal to the hippy in most people, and Nature's Retreats can offer you all this and more with their ecologically sound lodges that don't compromise on comfort or style.

Their 'hamlet' of ten lodges in Yorkshire ticks all the green boxes. Renewable energy? Check. Recycled water? Check. Grass for a roof? Er... Check. But the best thing about Natural Retreat's lodges is that you won't be sitting around the communal fire, singing about Mother Earth and having to dash off to use the "compost toilet" when all those beans and lentils get the better of you.

You're much more likely to be lounging around in your modern living room, sipping a glass of organic Shiraz from the welcome hamper, cooking up a dish from the locally sourced produce and all the while listening to your favourite tunes on latest, renewable-energy powered entertainment system. Not exactly roughing it, is it? [via Lost Weekend]

florame travel pack.jpgBack in work after the first long weekend of the year, I have to admit I've developed a taste for travel, and am already planning my next break! Will I take another eco-friendly train trip down to sunny Spain, or should I explore the beautiful greenery that this country has to offer?

All that is details, because one of the most fun aspects of holiday planning is thinking about all the bits and pieces you'll be taking on your travels (at least I always think so!) And Florame's organic travel kit is just what every eco-friendly traveller needs to freshen up in style.

LonelyPlanetChapters.gifMost people still consider a guidebook an essential addition to their global wandering. Packed with sights, restaurants and bar listings, these weighty tomes generally require a wheelbarrow to cart them around. Geared more to the lifelong backpacker, rather than weekend breakers, a lot of unnecessary paper used to go into these guides, which in turn would add a lot of extra weight to luggage.

Now, however, Lonely Planet is offering readers the chance to download and print any chapters from over 100 of their books, including the Americas and Africa, meaning no extra paper wastage. This is also a great deal for your wallet, guidebooks aren't cheap, but these individual chapters cost as little as £2-£4. Pick them up at the Lonely Planet Shop. [Via Lost Weekend]

Tourism and Climate Change The recent "Tourism - Responding to Climate and Poverty Imperatives" conference focused on tourism's role in the global climate change, and the tourism community has agreed to come together and "act effectively on the common cause of climate change response". Linking climate change with the fight against poverty, the UN agency in charge of tourism, UNWTO, is the taking charge and leading the efforts to help address climate change.

This year's World Tourism Day (WTD) will take place in Peru on September 27th and will focus on the increasing awareness of the Davos Declaration Process. Aside from simply helping to advance the awareness of climate change and promote the Davos Declaration Process, they're also going to encourage tourism stakeholders to adapt and to use new technology and "secure financing for the poorest countries".

pembrokeshire%20holiday.jpgIf you're looking to avoid the carbon cost of flying this year, there are more 'green' holiday destinations than ever, right here in the UK. Conscious of the limitations placed on UK holidaymakers by the weather, many of these are laying on lots of activities to take care of rainy days, and one exciting development is the opening of Bluestone; an eco friendly holiday village set in the ancient woodland of Pembrokeshire Coast.

Due to open in July, Bluestone bills itself as a 'luxurious retreat away from it all' and will comprise of 355 sustainably-built lodges, cottages and studios for self-catering guests. The park is run according to ecologically sound principles, with energy for its attractions coming from an on-site Biomass plant.

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Enjoy camping but prefer to hang on to a few home comforts on your travels? Here's some good news: caravanning is green! Or at least it can be, if you take care to keep your emissions as low as possible. I found a great site called Green Caravanning, which helps you plan your trip for maximum energy-efficiency.

The site lets you enter your size of car and caravan and journey details to calculate an approximation of your C02 emissions, then offers advice on how to make the trip greener. There's also a handy comparison tool, which you can use to work out if going by plane or train would be a greener option for the trip you're planning, and a quick play with the tool shows that touring caravan journeys appear to be relatively green in many instances. Let's hear it for the caravan!

fuelpod2.jpgNo, that's not an unusually high-tech coffee machine you're looking at: it could in fact be your own personal biofuel maker!

If you're willing to shell out £1,750 ($3,607), that is. But think of the savings on petrol? The FuelPod2 is based on technology from a long tradition of engineering and agricultural types who've been making their own fuel for years, and turns used chip fat and other edible cooking oils into clean, green energy you can run you car on. Since you'll presumably be sourcing these oils from your own kitchen, there's no immediate worry about starvation in other parts of the world, and the C02 saving is incredible.

The FuelPod2 makes up to 50 litres of fuel a day and according to the makers, uses "external, thermostatically-controlled band heaters to pre-heat the oil, which ensures that the warming takes places prior to the addition of chemicals". I'm guess that anything else would cause a nasty accident, but the makers assure us it is "safe".

Chocolate sprinkles with that?

[Via Engadget]

How green is the new Eurostar service?

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Eurostar1.jpgA couple of days ago I was lucky enough to be one of several hundred green activists, academics and hangers on (that’ll be me then) who caught the first Eurostar train out of the new gleaming and incredibly beautiful St Pancras station.

Not only was it the first train to depart from north London as opposed to Waterloo, it also marks a new era for Eurostar in that the company claims the train was the first ever to be carbon neutral. So what does this mean in practice?

When most companies claims to be carbon-neutral there isn't really a huge amount the likes of you and I can do to check up on them. It is slightly different for Eurostar in that while much of their claim has to be taken on trust, there are a few things passengers can do to check the green creds for themselves.

Firstly the trip was really little more than a PR stunt. Eurostar has been trying to green its service for many months now. What happened on Wednesday was that it used the high profile launch of its new service to underline its current green credentials and suggest where it is going in the future.

Bikes are faster than cars if you commute in cities -- it's official, and proven to us by none other than Mr. Gas-Guzzler himself, Jeremy Clarkson. But we didn't need him to tell us that.

So what could be faster (and greener) than a bike that does half the work for you? The new Powabyke commuter bike with lithium batter is the first in a series of electric bikes we put to the test.

Eurostar1.jpgToday is a big day for green travel: Eurostar's first ever fully carbon-neutral journey across the to Paris has just left St Pancras station in London, and Ashley Norris is blogging the trip for us, live from the train. Read on to find out what's happening...

"The brand new station concourse is filling up, the punters are jostling towards the platform and the first Eurostar train to Paris is set to rocket out of St Pancras station in about twenty minutes time. Yet on board isn’t the usual mixture of local dignitaries, politicians in search of a photo opp and railway enthusiasts. Many of the, ahem, VIP crew for the first journey are green activists, campaigners and of course bloggers (which is where I sneaked in) here to judge for themselves the environmental credentials of Eurostar's new cross channel carbon-neutral service.

It has widely accepted for some time now that the journey between London and Paris by train produces a tenth of the carbon dioxide as one using a plane (11kg as opposed to 122 by plane). But Eurostar claims that thanks to some core changes in its service passengers can enjoy a completely carbon neutral trip."

eurostar.jpgAs Eurostar moves its HQ from Waterloo to St. Pancras, and shaves off 20 minutes' journey time to the continent, another milestone is being somewhat overlooked: it's about to complete its first ever carbon neutral journey.

The greenest Eurostar trip yet will leave London for Paris on at 11.03 on Wednesday November 14th. All journey on Eurostar from then on will be carbon neutral, at no extra cost to passengers.

stagecoach.jpgStagecoach has decided to power its Scottish buses and coaches with chip fat - hot on the heels of McDonalds doing exactly the same thing with its delivery vehicles. It sounds like a strange choice for a fuel, but used chip fat makes a good biofuel because it doesn't present the same problems regarding destruction of natural habitats or interference with the food chain which other biofuels do.

I have to admit to the fact that Stagecoach, like McDonalds, is not one of my favourite companies - if you remember the scandal involving Brian Souter donating £1m to the Scottish Schools Boards Association in order to campaign to keep Section 28 in place, you'll know why. However, while I have reservations about Stagecoach as a company after Souter's actions, I have to admit that this latest initiative is a good idea.

Related: McDonalds to turn chip fat into delivery van fuel

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This bike looks pretty ordinary to me, but don't be fooled; it's the latest designer fashion accessory from Chanel.

The 'ergonomically designed' 8-speed bicycle, which incorporates the label's signature quilting and 'double-c' logo has been created as part of Chanel's spring/summer 2008 collection. It's sure to appeal to the ultra-chic 'green is the new black' set, who'll be trading in their Vogue Land Rovers for the brand new it-bikes next spring (here's hoping).

The Chanel bike hits the boutiques in time for Christmas, and will cost around £6,200.

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