Reduce your carbon footprint on the road

There is no shortage of information available today about how to "go green" and reduce your carbon footprint. At home, many people take steps toward this effort by adjusting the thermostat, recycling, combining errands to save gas, or buying locally grown food. But what can you do while traveling to and from locum tenens engagements, and practicing in unfamiliar surroundings? Plenty.

Before you leave home. If your house will be empty while you are away, unplug electronics, put your water heater on the lowest possible setting, adjust thermostats to a "protect the home" level, and suspend newspaper delivery. Do you prefer to prepare your own meals while on location? Then, use the Internet or call ahead to find out where to buy local produce and other goods.

Travel smart. Try to book a direct flight. Just like your car guzzles gas when you accelerate, jets use more fuel during takeoff and landing than they do when they are cruising along at 30,000 feet. If your engagement is within a day's drive, consider taking your own car instead of flying, particularly if you have a fuel-efficient model. Ask your locum tenens agency representative about reimbursement for using your own vehicle.

Where to stay. Check out before booking your reservations. Depending on your destination, you might be able to find a hotel that has a clear mission of protecting the environment. And these are not just the exclusive resorts and spas. Major chains including Holiday Inn, Marriott, Embassy Suites, and Hilton appear on the list of environmentally conscious places to stay in many states. That said, you might also want to consider a locally owned inn or B&B as an option for a unique experience.

Car rentals. When arranging for your rental car, select a hybrid or choose the smallest car that you feel comfortable in and safe driving. If your contract is located in an urban (or even semi-urban) area, consider going "car free" by staying at a hotel close enough to your practice site so you can walk. In addition to being a stellar example for environmental awareness, you will get to enjoy plenty of fresh air and exercise. Check out airport shuttle services and public transportation as other resources that might make skipping the rental car a feasible alternative.

Be a green guest. Most hotels (even those not listed on the "green" website) now offer programs designed to save energy by limiting the frequency of laundering linens. Opt to have your bed changed just once a week and hang towels to dry for more than a single use. When you check in, ask how the hotel recycles paper, cans, plastic, and glass; and find out how you can support their efforts. Something as simple as not tossing newspapers in with the trash might make it easier for the housekeeping staff to recycle. When you leave your room for the day (or night) turn off the heat or A/C, all lights, and of course the television. Bring your own toiletries in reusable containers and leave those mini-sized ones provided by the hotel for the next guest.

Be a positive influence. As you embark on a new practice opportunity with the tools of your trade—stethoscope, cell phone, PDA, and the like—add a reusable water bottle and coffee mug to your pack. Over the course of a day at a medical practice, hospital, or clinic, you can save several plastic bottles and paper coffee cups simply by rinsing and reusing your own supplies. For items that do need to be tossed, find out where the facility's recycling bins are located and use them faithfully.

You can be a "high impact" practitioner when it comes to taking care of your patients and a "low impact" environmental consumer by planning ahead and following a few of these simple tips on your next locum tenens opportunity.

Views and opinions expressed herein are those of NALTO and not necessarily those of Advanstar Communications Inc. or LocumLife.

About the Author

Karen Childress is a Colorado-based freelance healthcare writer currently crafting a series of articles on behalf of NALTO.

Share this post:

Comments on "Reduce your carbon footprint on the road"

Comments 0-5 of 0

Please login to comment