Still some more to talk about the fantastic three days at the WTM in London.
There is another very important topic that I’d like to share for awareness….related to the two major environmental challenges: Carbon & Water.
Passing on what I learned means ‘wanting to shout’ the impact that this has had on me; so that our number can grow, the number of us that can make an informed choice about small things in our routine.
Some examples, courtesy of World Ocean Observatory:
1. Avoid buying items packaged in plastic. Look for produce and other items that aren’t over-packaged. Buy food in glass jars rather than plastic ones, and detergents in boxes rather than bottles. Not only are you reducing the plastic you use, you’re sending a powerful message to the makers of those products that you don’t like plastic packaging.
2. Use cloth shopping bags. Plastic bags are an eyesore and are dangerous to wildlife. Keep reusable bags somewhere handy—in your car or your bike or by the front door—so you don’t forget them when you go to the market, grocery store or mall.
3. Skip bottled water. Carry a reusable canteen. Plastic bottles are one of the top five most common types of litter found on beaches. Since bottled water is much more expensive than tap water, you’ll also save money doing this, and avoid the possible hazards of plastic toxins leaching into your beverage.
4. Upcycle. Think of new uses for old items rather than discarding them or buying new ones.
5. Bring a reusable mug when you order coffee. Stow it on your desk, in your purse, car or bag so you have it on hand when you order or refill your drink.
6. Say “No straw, please.” Straws are one of the top 10 items found on beaches. In most cases, drinking out of a straw is simply unnecessary. If you do need a straw, you can get a reusable stainless steel or glass one.
7. Wear clothing made from natural (not synthetic) materials. Wearing and washing clothes causes fibers to flake off, and polyester clothing is made of plastic. Tiny particles of microplastic found in oceans around the world have been traced to such synthetic fabrics.
8. Avoid disposable tableware, or use the compostable kind. Try using washable and reusable cups, plates or utensils. When using compostable tableware, be aware they will not biodegrade in a landfill and must be disposed of in appropriate composting conditions.
9. Don’t just discard electronics. Aim to repair or upgrade your devices instead of buying new ones. Sell gadgets and computer parts, or find a facility where you can turn them in for recycling.
10. Bring your own container for takeout and leftovers. When ordering takeout or bringing home leftovers, ask if you can get the food in your own reusable container.
The above is a tiny effort in our day with a big impact in our world. In my case for example, I am trying hard to be more mindful in the small things that are part of my routine and lifestyle: I do not use a car but only public transports, I don’t buy anymore the sparkling water in plastic bottles that I was used to buy a lot, and I am paying more attention to my recycling behaviour.
My support to this cause is a result of awareness and education, since only after I have proactively educated myself on these topics, I am now actively doing something about it. We get too much used to hear negative news on TV, concerning facts and figures of the climate changes. We often apply a filter that limit our ‘true absorption’ of what we are hearing. The consequence is that
we do not empower ourself to take part to the ‘wave of change’ that is needed.
I spent many years working in the Corporate world and as such, I was traveling often for business reasons. I spent months in hotels around the world and it never really sink to me before…the negative impact I was having on the environment with my carbon footprint.
Let me explain…
Reducing my carbon footprint means that I try to reduce the amount of carbondioxide that is emitted due to my daily activities such as driving the car, buying products that are shipped from overseas, water consumption, frequency of flying, etc.
Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. These are molecules in our atmosphere that absorb the heat. However, too many greenhouse gases can cause the temperature to increase out of control. This is the reason why the accumulation of these gasses is causing the climate to change, with the recurrence more and more frequent of worldwide disasters.
There are ‘green’ initiatives in place to try and move more people forward in terms of sustainability (Carbon emission).
Green Tourism is a not-for-profit organisation established in UK, whose mission is to encourage and enable us to make sustainable choices that reduce our impact on the planet.
They have created a network of ‘green destinations’ with a Green Tourism leaf tag. They have established grades of this certification depending on the level of commitment and achievements of the different businesses.
Bronze – Committed, Good
- Some ethical or green purchasing such as fair trade coffee and local sourcing
- Low energy lighting in most areas and good general recycling
- Promotes local public transport or car-free activities such as walking and cycling
- Has a green co-ordinator working to reduce impacts in all key areas.
Silver – Progressive, Excellent
- Shares its values in going green to both staff and customers
- Significant use of recycled products as well as recycling to close the loop
- Sources supplies from ethical and/or local area extensively and is working to green its whole supply chain
- Energy and water efficiency are key issues. Evidence of heating and lighting changes to become more efficient
- Monitoring of resource use such as energy, water and waste is helping to deliver significant changes.
Gold – Inspirational, Outstanding
- Achieving the highest standards of sustainability with a strong, broad ethos and excellent practices throughout
- Uses the latest technologies, from LED lighting to efficient boilers and renewables.
- Efficient control of resource use and can demonstrate effective monitoring with targets for savings.
- Green procurement includes sustainable fish/meat sources, a range of ethical products and working with local suppliers to provide fresh, local and often organic items
- Changes in working practices, bringing significant benefits to the business, community and supply chain.
Next time you are going on business trip, try to look for hotel chains that are actively engaged with some of the initiatives above. Most often the Hotels claim their activities to reduce their carbon emission as part of their CSR strategy. At the same time, you can pay a little more attention on the number of towels you use, and the times you ask for them to get changed when you stay in hotel..
Why don’t tell the cleaning services to provide you with a new shower gel and/or shampoo packed in those dangerous plastic disposals …only when there isn’t any in your toilet?!
Another amazing initiative launched in Australia as a trial consists of an App that serve as a meter indicator for hotel guests on their carbon emission.
My Green Butler incorporates detailed ecofeedback and practical advice to guests to meet their health and general wellbeing needs.
The activities recommended can support local community initiatives to improve their productivity. Overall guests are persuaded because the accommodation can localise its communication to reflect their geography. It can also build the resilience of its staff to apply low/no carbon adaptive measures for comfort (My Green Butler).
Finally for today, I am going to mention another cause for greenhouse emissions given by poor waste management.
Almost half the world’s waste isn’t properly managed, leading to disease, pollution and climate change. Proper waste management is a vital health service, and an engine for global sustainable development. There are more than 7 billion of us, and we’re producing waste every day. A staggering half of that waste isn’t collected, treated or safely disposed of, and it’s causing a global waste crisis. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cannot be met unless waste management is addressed as a priority. Failing economic models treat resources as if they were infinite (SDG No.12) and consumption patterns favour the disposable. How can we continue with a growing and increasingly urbanised global population without getting waste sorted? (SDG 12)