Eco holidays
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Date: 22 May, 2008


'You can make even more (or do I mean even less) of an impact if you work on an eco project or do an eco course when you get there.'


Is there such a thing as an eco holiday, asks Suzanne Elvidge

Air travel makes up about 6% of the UK’s carbon emissions, and international travel is likely to double by 2020.

So what can you do?

One solution is to avoid flying, perhaps by holidaying in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern or Southern Ireland (have I missed anyone out?) rather than overseas.

And you can make even more (or do I mean even less) of an impact if you work on an eco project or do an eco course when you get there.

Eco projects in the UK

National Trust working holidays last from two to seven days. You could be clearing scrub, gardening, archiving photos or building fences, but no experience is necessary, and you even get some time off! National Trust for Scotland runs Thistle Camps – these are all booked up for 2008, but you can go on a waiting list.

British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) runs Natural Breaks in England and Action Breaks in Scotland, but these are booking up fast. Jobs include habitat maintenance, hedge laying and dry stone walling.

Fancy something a bit wetter? Canal Camps could involve clearing silt out of a canal lock, driving a dumper truck or laying bricks.

Designed for 16 to 25 year olds, in Cathedral Camps you could be cleaning monuments, polishing brass, clearing out crypts or gardening in the church grounds, at cathedrals from St Ninian's in Perth to St Deny's in Southampton.

Over in Wales, the Centre for Alternative Technology looks for short-term volunteers, generally jobs like digging holes, weeding, moving compost, fixing and painting. And in Ireland, at the Eco-work camp in Donegal, work could include farming, forestry, habitat management and wildlife inventories.

Eco courses

If you don’t fancy working your holiday, why not do an eco course? There are many across the UK and Ireland – you could learn about:

Many of these links also contain lists of other courses. Or you could spend a Summer in the Woods and choose from a whole range of courses.

Further reading


• Read other ethical lifestyle articles


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