And we thought Q3 was going to be a little less busy than Q2- certainly not the case when it comes to driving climate solutions!
Indeed action is accelerating and one event seems to be chasing the next.
Students are flooding the streets across the globe to demonstrate for climate action. Extinction Rebellion have added a new extremism as well as urgency to the demands on politicians, corporate and private companies to stop the ‘business as usual’. (read our blog on this)
Should you agree or not on this approach, the reality is that of the 18 warmest years on record, 17 have occurred since 2000 (source European Environmental Agency). The year 2018 was the world’s fourth warmest year on record after the years 2016, 2015 and 2017. And sadly 2019 is set to look quite similar.
With a record number of wildfires in the Amazonas, there are many initiatives to replant or rather plant as many trees as we possibly can. Even at the WTTC’s Climate Conference in New York, it was recognised that one of the key issues we need to and can address through tourism is forestry. Not just because trees act as the most efficient Co2 absorber but because forests offer a unique opportunity for eco-tourism as they serve as a habitat for the most varied array of species and biodiversity. Costa Rica alone made an income of US$1.7 billion through eco-tourism and they only have 3 million incoming tourists a year. Imagine the impact in countries with a far bigger number of arrivals!
You can read more details on the outcome of this conference in my new monthly sustainability blog for HOTELS Mag here.
Forests have huge potential as a tourist attraction in Europe and the Northern Hemisphere – and this, along with the conservation potential of that offering, has not yet been recognised by either the tourism or forestry industries.
Incoming travellers, in particular from Asia, will increasingly be visiting Europe to witness our ‘clean’ environments and (relatively) unpolluted countries and therefore it is our responsibility to not only preserve them that way for ourselves but as an investment into the future of tourism. We urgently need to make sure they thrive and are protected and the easiest way of doing this as a hotel is associating yourself with a local reforestation programme wherever possible.
With the loss of biodiversity currently taking place at the speed of light (according to the UN’s latest report released in May 2019, at least a million species are at risk of extinction because of human actions), investing in our regional environment seems to be the most straightforward and simple climate action we can take.
There are a series of initiatives for hotels to invest in, which will also help them to offer carbon investment projects to their clients, should they want to offset their travel footprint. Supporting local projects for reforestation (these can be woodlands in Europe, Mangroves for those located in coastal regions or any other tree planting initiatives) or for conservation of local biodiversity can create unique guest experiences linked to restorative health, as forests and nature visits have been identified as a key factor for mental wellbeing. And last but not least getting your staff involved in replanting of woodland or other valuable community projects for the support of the environment are fantastic team building exercises that strengthen team spirit and staff loyalty. (please also contact us for our biodiversity toolkit for hotels)
So let this be our plea for the conservation and reforestation of our green ‘lungs’ everywhere as that can be an easy way to act quickly for climate change mitigation!
We hope this newsletter will also deliver you with ideas and inspirations to take actions in many other areas of your daily operational lives.