While environmentalists have been promoting a “green vision” for almost 35 years now, it seems like the general public has just realized that each and every one of us has a negative, and lasting, impact on the environment. It’s about time.
From a traveler’s perspective this realization is important because travel can have significant impact on the environment: air travel consumes tremendous amounts of fuel, hotels are wasteful of water, people move without consideration through untouched natural habitat, simply for entertainment value.
Fortunately, if travelers are willing to make concrete and relatively easy changes to their everyday travel behaviors, the overall positive benefits can be enormous.
When you get down to it, being aware of the environment helps protect everyone’s favourite travel destination: the earth.
Travelers already know they carry a considerable amount of sway with service providers: hotels, attractions, tour operators are all keenly interested in the opinions of their clientele. Take advantage of this. Travel businesses are particularly responsive to customers who present concerns; that means when you speak to a hotel manager about the environment, you are sure to get their attention.
What can you do? Well, to start, simply consider how much water a regular hotel consumes in a single day, and take that concern to your hotel operator. Your voice carries a tremendous amount of weight, so be proactive and let them know that you want them to lower water and energy usage and reduce solid waste.
But don’t only react in a negative sense; acknowledge service providers who are making efforts to help the environment. Write a note to the operator or manager of your hotel, to your airline, or a tour company or cruise line with your compliments and impressions of their green program. Thank them for their green program if they have one, and, if they don’t, ask why not.
The impacts of tourism and travel can be quite severe, that’s why it’s important to spend your travel dollars with organizations that are actively protecting the beautiful destinations of the world.
When you get right down to it hotels and airlines which have an environmental agenda deserve your attention, because they make it easier for all of us to be good environmental citizens.