August 21 2008 by Neal Mueller
In 2003 I set out on a 15-day adventure in Africa and it totally changed my environmental outlook. I traversed Mount Kilimanjaro from west-to-east and watched the Furtwangler Glacier melt and crumble. For me it was a dramatic example of global warming. It's hard to disbelieve what is right before your eyes. The ice fields on Kilimanjaro have lost 82 percent of their ice since 1912. I literally watched house sized chunks calve from this glacier a few hundred feet from me. It was cacophonous, traumatic and sad.
Like I said, this totally change my environmental outlook. This includes the way I travel and stay in hotels. Here are couple things I'm doing to green my travel.
- Turn off lights and air conditioning when gone from the room (a no brainer). The whole "we'll leave the light on for you" advertisement campaign is so 1980.
- Change linens only when needed. When I stay at hotels I ask the maids to do it every third day. They save time and I save the city some water, everyone wins.
- Refill water bottles. The energy we waste in America using bottled water is crazy; it's enough to power 190,000 homes. There is a great campaign called Refill not Landfill, www.refillnotlandfill.org.
- Use public transport. Here are two great public transport route finders. Google is doing their part www.google.com/transit. For all other cities go here www.publictransportation.org/systems
- Be an innovator. Think of creative ways to reuse "disposable" items to save money and the environment. lifehacker.com/386927/creative-ways-to-reuse-disposable-items
- Be a green advocate. Ask the hotel manager about their energy usage, such as energy-saving bulbs and recycling. You might be pleasantly surprised to hear what is going on behind the scenes to make Best Western hotels sparkly green. The point is, the more that hotel guests express concern the greener the hotel operations will become. Hotel managers are very responsive hosts and will take notice to innovate green operations.
What are you doing to green your hotel stay?
What can we be doing to green our hotels even more?