“The future is green energy, sustainability, renewable energy”
Eco-friendly. Biodegradable. Sustainable. In this day and age, they've become familiar terms, and form the basis of our understanding of caring for, and protecting our planet and its ecosystems. Quoting environmental activist, Greta Thunberg,
“The climate crisis has been solved. We already have the facts and solutions. All we have do is to wake up and change.”
Today, sustainability, in both the short and long-term, plays a key role in many sectors of life. This includes areas such as fashion F&B, travel and, naturally, tourism.
As evidenced by history, humans have travelled around the world for centuries- either over land, or over sea. The period between the 15th and 18th centuries, was particularly fruitful to travel- called the Age of Discovery. This period marked a time where great explorers travelled the globe, venturing off to distant lands in search of new discoveries.
Nowadays, however, jet travel is the preferred method of transportation. However, the minerals required to produce the fuel for the jets, are starting to decrease rapidly, and very soon, we won’t have any of left. To prevent this, The UN World Tourism Organisation has implemented three useful steps to ensure sustainable tourism development.
Per the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organisation), a suitable balance must be established between the environmental, economic, and socio-cultural aspects of tourism development to achieve effective long-term sustainability.
In line with this, sustainable tourism efforts must:
- Make optimal use of environmental resources that constitute a key element in tourism development, maintaining essential ecological processes and helping to conserve natural heritage and biodiversity.
- Respect the socio-cultural authenticity of host communities, conserve their built and living cultural heritage and traditional values, and contribute to inter-cultural understanding and tolerance.
- Ensure viable, long-term economic operations, providing socio-economic benefits to all stakeholders that are fairly distributed, including stable employment and income-earning opportunities and social services to host communities, and contributing to poverty alleviation.
We all have to play our part in protecting our home- and every effort counts, no matter how big or small. As His Holiness Pope Francis wrote, in his encyclical Laudato’ Si On Caring For Creation, “Let us be protectors of creation, Protectors of God’s plan. Inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.”
UNWTO (2019). Sustainable development | UNWTO. [online] Unwto.org. Available at: https://www.unwto.org/sustainable-development.