Climate Crisis: Business As Usual Is Not an Option
Elizabeth Kolbert, the author of 'The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History', stated in her January 13, 2020 post in The New Yorker:
"Really waking up, and not just dreaming to ourselves that things will be O.K., has become urgent—beyond urgent, in fact. ... The world is in danger, and we need to act immediately to survive."
The wildfires in Australia, in the Arctic, in the Amazon rainforest and in sub-Saharan Africa in recent months are stark reminders of the climate crisis we live in, and yet another wake up call that immediate actions to reduce our climate footprints are required.
The business of tourism depends on the well-being of our destinations, and put simply, "there is no business to be done on a dead planet".
In our industry, the climate crisis is already affecting various destinations around the world and their abilities to protect and promote the competitiveness of our product.
So what can we do? How should the tourism industry address the climate crisis?
Declaring A Climate Emergency: Acknowledging Our Responsibility
Tourism organizations and professionals from around the world are joining to the Tourism Declares Climate Emergency initiative, stating:
We're a collective of travel companies, organisations and industry professionals who believe tourism should declare a climate emergency.
We acknowledge the science stating we have one decade to address the climate crisis.
We accept we have a responsibility to tell the truth, act now, and work together to help turn it around.
Declaring an emergency means committing to a concrete plan of meaningful actions to be taken this year, and not putting off decisions and actions for yet another decade.
We agree with Jeremy Smith, Lead Coordinator of Tourism Declares and a leading sustainability advocate, that "carrying on as before, or just tweaking business as usual is not an option", and wholeheartedly support his call for the tourism industry declaring a climate emergency as "a necessary step towards mobilising our industry to be part of the solution" (Source: WTM Responsible Tourism Blog).
Accepting our responsibility to address the climate crisis is no doubt an extremely challenging call.
But we are not alone.
We are inspired by our industry friends and colleagues who have been working on innovative climate solutions for years. We are moved by stories of destinations and communities around the world who are coming together to tackle the climate crisis.
We are empowered by the belief - which so many of us share - that travel and tourism, when managed well, can be a force for good and a much-needed driver for sustainable development.
We can also learn from local governments and businesses in many other industries that have already declared a climate emergency and committed to concrete climate actions.
It's not easy, but it's necessary.
As highlighted by B Lab UK, "real progress will require each of us to be committed to continuous improvement, fueled by the urgency of the situation to keep stepping it up" (Source: B Lab UK).
TrainingAid Climate Emergency Plan
At TrainingAid, we are proud to be part of the first group of tourism industry organizations to sign the Climate Emergency declaration.
Being part of this network means adopting and working towards fulfilling a ‘Climate Emergency Plan’. In addition to working on reducing our own emissions, a key part of making a meaningful difference is collaborating with others to advocate for change.
As a very small company, the actual reduction in carbon emissions we can achieve may be very small. However, by focusing on what we do well - sharing knowledge and inspiring change - we aim to achieve significant results in helping make tourism more sustainable.
Through our online courses and training offers, we will invest in strengthening knowledge sharing opportunities focused on climate actions and practical solutions. And through these efforts, we will seek to contribute to the goal of encouraging as many travel companies and destinations as possible to achieve “measurable and increasing reductions in the total carbon emissions per trip”.
Training is what we do and what our business is about. And training is the area where we expect to be able to achieve most meaningful impacts.
Given our core business competency, our climate commitments will heavily focus on opportunities to inform, educate and empower industry stakeholders and other professionals to reduce emissions and to implement climate-positive actions.
In our Climate Emergency plan, however, we have outlined the following 5 key areas of commitments:
- Invest in strengthening knowledge sharing opportunities focused on climate actions and practical solutions.
- Reaching out to other industry organizations to engage them in discussions about climate actions and practical solutions.
- Making our climate plan an integral part of our company by regularly monitoring and reporting on progress, challenges and lessons.
- Reduce our own carbon footprint by proactively addressing one of the most significant sources of emissions, business travel.
- Engaging our broader community of members and supporters to promote awareness, as well as joining forces with others to amplify out voices.
LINKS & RESOURCES:
- The New Yorker: "What Will Another Decade of Climate Crisis Bring?" (Jan 13, 2020)
- WTM Responsible Tourism Blog: "Should Tourism Declare a Climate Emergency?" (Oct 23, 2019)
- Climate Emergency Declaration: Business guide: ‘How to Declare a Climate Emergency’ (Jul 8, 2019)