While millions of people around the world love to travel every year, it can be tricky to explore new destinations without harming the environment. In the United States alone, flights account for 12 percent of all transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions.
One approach for tackling this issue is to create destination options near densely populated areas so tourists don’t have to travel long distances. That's part of the thinking behind the locations of Disney theme parks around the world. But a new collaboration near Disneyland Paris between Euro Disney SCA and the Pierre et Vacances Center Parcs Group has yielded the Villages Nature Paris; a "green village" focused on environmental sustainability and ecotourism.
Villages Nature Paris is an accessible lodging option that millions of tourists can to travel to via public transportation or green taxi. The site is three miles from the Marne La Vallee-Chessy railway station, which operates TGV, Eurostar and RER—so guests from northwest Europe only need to travel few hours by high-speed rail to reach the park. Parisian residents can be there in 35 minutes via the RER system. Located about 3 miles from Disneyland Paris and 18 miles from the center of Paris, Villages Nature Paris was designed to create an eco-friendly model for the travel industry.
To execute this vision, the two companies also teamed up with Bioregional, an organization that works to create practical solutions for sustainability. The teams designed the new destination according to a Sustainable Action Plan. As a result, the property is able to harness geothermal energy which completely takes care of the heating needs of the entire development and allows guests to swim year-round in the lavish pools and slides.
The water park, which is called Aqualagon, is one of five “worlds” Villages Nature Paris designed to immerse the guests in an environmentally friendly destination. Kids are encouraged to learn about agriculture at the BelleVie Farm, where they can interact with farm animals and learn how to grow food. Another park, called First of Legends, encourages kids to build tree houses and learn about forest stewardship. The last two parks, Extraordinary Gardens and Lakeside Promenade, continue to blend nature with a variety of hands-on activities for families.
Villages Nature Paris is the latest of many efforts by Disney to lower its carbon footprint. For example, the Disney Conservation Fund was created to help non-profit groups to work with communities to protect wildlife and ecosystems.
Disney is also working to protect forests and source paper responsibly. In fact, Walt Disney’s affinity for nature created a lasting impact on the company’s values. The iconic founder once stated, “The land itself—should be as dear to us all as our political heritage and our treasured way of life. Its preservation and the wise conservation of its renewable resources concerns every man, woman and child whose possession it is.” The passion and commitment definitely show.
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Traveling can be a great experience for many of us, yet we often don’t stop to consider the ecological impact of our travels. For travelers with a desire to do good, these five places around the world will speak to your eco-friendly heart.
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts' sustainable practices include extensive support for bees, beekeeping, and pollinator gardens.