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Thongs ... The Girl From Ipanema ... Ethanol?

These Are A Few Of Our Favorite Things (About Brazil)

We at TravelCool believe that consumers can use their "buying power" to encourage environmental responsibility. Thus, we recommend a vacation in Brazil.

Brazil recently made news because of its announcement that the country will be free from foreign oil by the end of 2006. This was no small feat: With a population of 174,468,575 Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world.

They've been able to accomplish this thanks to massive research into sugarcane ethanol. Ethanol burns cleaner than traditional gasoline, thus Brazil has been able to cut its carbon emissions dramatically. Even the by-products are beneficial: Sugar cane waste is burned to generate steam for turbines, which then provide electricity.

Today, 70 percent of new cars sold in Brazil are flex vehicles, which cost no more than a regular car. These cars give the option of using a gasoline ethanol blend or 100 percent ethanol, depending on whatever is cheaper.

If Brazil's energy policies aren't enough to make you hop on a plane and visit, don't forget it's located in the Southern Hemisphere, so you can enjoy summer weather in January.