It is time for a new environmental fad.
The attentive environment-aware reader will have no doubt heard of the 100-mile diet.
This is an attempt to eat and drink only those items grown and processed within 100 miles of one’s residence.
Ecologically it is a grand step in eating low on the carbon scale.
This means low amounts of greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere due to minimal transportation requirements.
Nothing is trucked thousands of kilometres from down south.
From an economic perspective it can also mean that dollars stay within a community.
Money is not being spent outside the Yukon to pay for vegetables.
Instead the money goes to local farmers.
The idea of eating locally is good for the environment and the local economy, but let us now extend the concept.
It is time to consider the 100-mile vacation.
This means taking holidays within 100 miles of where one resides.
This could be a bit of a damper for those who look forward to their annual ‘trip out’.
For those not aware of the term, the annual ‘trip out’ usually refers to those Yukoners who feel the need to get Outside (that is out of the Yukon) at least once a year.
The trip is usually to some large Canadian metropolis in order to experience all the delights modern consumer culture now offers.
This concept was somewhat justifiable when there were no big box stores, fancy coffee shops or diverse restaurants available in the Yukon.
But now Whitehorse has these things.
The idea of a going on a greenhouse-gas spewing jet plane and then flying over 2,000 kilometres to experience big box stores and the like has become pointless.
Regrettably mainstream consumer culture is now part and parcel of the Yukon.
But there are still aspects of the Yukon that are unique and contribute towards making all Yukon residents who we are..
By taking a 100-mile vacation one can establish a sense of place and identity within the region where one lives.
A 100-mile vacation would have important environmental benefits.
For some a local vacation can be done in extreme environmentally friendly fashion using bicycles, canoes or cross-country skis.
Even the use of well-tuned and wisely used cars, power boats, motor homes and snowmachines would probably cause less greenhouse gas emissions than jetting off somewhere.
This would mean more money would remain within the local economy.
Instead of vacation dollars being spent outside it would stay within the territory.
This would in turn expand the local economy, thus diversify it away from the usual boom and bust resource extraction industries and the heavy dependence on federal transfer payments.
A quick look at the map will show the wide variety of vacation spots within one hundred miles of Whitehorse.
The entire southern lakes system is within this distance.
Ben-My-Chree, Atlin and Teslin are all admirable destinations or starting points for water adventures.
The Haines Junction region, including most of the southern portion of the Kluane Range, is accessible for those with hiking and climbing vacation plans.
Skagway is also within the prescribed zone.
It looks like Haines, Alaska, is just over the 100-mile radius.
Given the awesomeness of its Beer Festival and the South-East State Fair let us, out of pure indulgent self interest, include them within the list.
Heading north Carmacks is just within the zone, which means Yukon river canoe trips can be contemplated.
Looking east most of Teslin Lake is part of the 100-mile destination, as is Quiet Lake on the South Canol Highway.
There is a lot out there that is close to home, or at least within 100 miles.
By vacationing at these spots it is good for the environment on a global scale and is good for the economy on a local scale.
The 100-mile vacation also helps establish a sense of regional space and identity.
Here is wishing everyone a happy summer holiday.
Lewis Rifkind is a Whitehorse
based part-time environmentalist.