Just last month the US President Joe Biden asserted that this is the “decisive decade” for tackling climate change. In his opening address, he said, “Scientists tell us that this is the decisive decade – this is the decade we must make decisions that will avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis… We must try to keep the Earth’s temperature to an increase of 1.5C. The world beyond 1.5 degrees means more frequent and intense fires, floods, droughts, heatwaves and hurricanes – tearing through communities, ripping away lives and livelihoods.”
The need for action is increasingly urgent. The longer we procrastinate the more damage we shall do and the greater the cost. Sanderson and O’Neill in a paper published in Nature in June last year, calculated that each year of delay in tackling climate change costs 0.5 trillion dollars per year to keep climate change below 2°C.
There is growing awareness of the consequences of climate change. Last year the Pew Research Center surveyed people in 14 countries, amid the pandemic, about climate change. A median of 70% said that they were concerned about the threat of global climate change, 69% said the same about the spread of infectious diseases. The climate change issue is increasingly salient, and politicians are responding. There are promising developments with hydrogen and e-fuels, but the aviation sector is still investing in drop-in sustainable aviation fuels, which cannot be scaled up to decarbonise aviation on a sufficient scale. Planes being built and commissioned now will still be flying post-2050 or expensively scrapped.
Since 2004 when the Responsible Tourism Awards were launched, we have seen many proven solutions to sustainability challenges implemented by businesses and destinations. WTM has just launched the Global Awards for each category – selected from the Gold winners in each of the regions. There will be Gold and Silver awards in each of the four regions, and the judges’ may also identify ‘ones to watch’. The judges can only choose from amongst those that apply. You can nominate others or your own business, destination, or organisation on the awards page here. Those businesses, destinations and organisations which win Gold in the four regional awards in Africa, India, Latin America, and the Rest of the World will automatically be entered into the Global Awards.
There will be regional panels of judges and the global judging will be done by a panel drawn from the regional panels. All the panels will be chaired by Harold Goodwin, WTM’s Responsible Tourism Advisor, to ensure that the same processes are followed rigorously in all panels. They are free to enter. Apply & Nominate here
- Decarbonising Travel & Tourism
- Sustaining Employees and Communities through the Pandemic
- Destinations Building Back Better Post-COVID
- Increasing Diversity in Tourism: How inclusive is our industry?
- Reducing Plastic Waste in the Environment and 60 Growing the Local Economic Benefit.
Covid is part of our new normal, we need to learn to manage this new infectious disease with treatment and vaccination. The failure to manage tourism sustainably over many decades resulted in overtourism. The issue is a significant part of our new normal.
In 1986, the Italian author and holocaust survivor published his novel If not now, when? The answer to Levi’s question is now is the time for decisive action. As Joe Biden points out, we are in the decisive decade.