Today is Blog Action Day 2009, and this year writers from all corners of the blogosphere are focusing on an issue that affects all corners of the world – climate change.
While there are some skeptics out there, most of us acknowledge that global warming is a real concern, a primarily man-made problem that will take a collective man-made effort to solve (or at least mitigate). We’ve made a real mess out of this beautiful planet of ours, and we must all do our part to curtail this crisis.
As the editor of Have Kids, Will Travel I am obviously passionate about exploring the world with my children. From an eco-perspective, I guess have a double-whammy of shame on my conscience as both “kids” and “travel” take their toll on the environment. However, it’s unrealistic to suggest that people neither procreate nor migrate in an effort to combat climate change, but we do have to be more aware of the resources we consume and the carbon footprint we make when we take to the skies, roads or oceans for what is largely a discretionary recreational endeavor.
From a practical business perspective, the travel industry is starting to recognize that its “product” (namely, Earth) is in jeopardy as global warming alters beaches, oceans, ski hills, National Parks and other habitats that draw visitors around the world. Sustainable travel practices are not only essential for the environment, they are good for the bottom line. Whatever the motivation, consumers respond to these corporate karma efforts – so let’s see more of them.
Many hotels are enacting recycling programs, planting low-water landscaping, switching to low-energy lighting, using low-flow plumbing systems and promoting linen reusing programs. Airlines are reducing fuel usage, imposing baggage weight restrictions, streamlining aircraft design and expanding their carbon offsetting initiatives. The big theme parks all have environmental policies including the use of eco-friendly cleaning products, solar paneling and other alternative energy sources, plus water conservation and recycling programs. The major car rental companies are doing their part to reduce auto emissions by purchasing carbon offsets and adding more fuel efficient and hybrid vehicles to their fleets.
None of these initiatives are enough but they are a step in the right direction. We seem to be coming to a tipping point where people are waking up to this issue and are starting to do something about it. Hopefully the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen will produce more than lip service to this grave global concern.
If we want to have a recognizable planet for our kids and our grandchildren to enjoy in the future, we need to act responsibly today. Consumers and the travel industry must commit and work together towards sustainable travel practices.