Deep down, most people know, Travel & Tourism must respond to the eXistential challenge of Climate Change, must fully align with the Paris Agreement targets, and must play a leading role in the Green New Deal paradigm shift. Our sector is a central part of the human activity – social, economic and environmental: its influence and impact are growing: its role in development is fundamental. Mobility is a part of our DNA.
But we are in the middle of a massive “New Climate Economy” transformation. It will affect all consumption, all supply, and all investment on the planet, as well as a shift to the circular economy and nature-based solutions. The scientists say we have about a decade to get our house in order and keep global temperatures at tolerable levels for humanity. If we don’t fix it, our grandkids will freeze or fry.
Many will say that we are acting already – conferences, declarations: observatories: pledges: certification: awards: offsets: clean energy technology and so much more. We have WTTC linked to UNFCCC, IATA & ICAO taking care of aviation and CLIA, WOC & IMO looking after cruises. We’ll also get a huge boost from societal shifts to low carbon lifestyles, smart cities, electric transport: synthetic fuels: green buildings, satellite or big data monitoring, AI, IOT and the like.
At the same time countries, cities, businesses, and consumers will deliver an increasing number of national and local regulations as states take steps to ensure that the SDGs and Paris targets are achieved. All this change will intensify under the dictates of a progressively tightening Paris climate regime. Surely this will be enough?
I suggest it will not. Our world is just beginning to understand the impact of extreme weather, melting ice caps, warmer oceans, severer drought, fiercer forest fires, disrupted supply chains, and migration mayhem. The harsh reality is we still need to move further, faster and more strategically on Climate Response in the coming decade.
Tomorrow’s leaders must have the right mindset to deal with the dynamic disrupted world of tomorrow. The ingenuity to conceive and build responsive Travel & Tourism systems for liveable, as well as enjoyable destinations. And that means starting now and accelerating to stay on the intensifying Paris curve.
SUNx – a legacy program for Maurice Strong, the father of sustainable development – has crafted the start of a response. “Plan For Our Kids” will create 100,000 STRONG Climate Champions in all UN States by 2030. Not to replicate or substitute work done by committed industry or government bodies dealing with Climate response – we will need all of these. There will be no magic bullet
Our contribution is to help prepare the next generation of decision makers, as well as help companies and communities connect with them. It’s a low cost, CSR linked program, which will support nextgen leaders with lifetime learning, from school through graduation and it will teach Climate Friendly Travel ~ measured to manage: green to grow and 2050 proof to innovate. It will provide cloud-connected online education, analytics and a heavy emphasis on innovation, to spread best practice around the system.
“Plan For Our Kids” will help keep a central focus on climate resilience for destinations, companies, value chains and travelers themselves. It will focus on communities because that’s where lasting impacts are made and it’s where ultimate lifestyle decisions rest. It will be expanded through SDG 17 Partnerships for change.
To take this plan to global scale in the 2030 timeframe requires us to find a pioneer group of like-minded industry and government partners, prepared to commit to a real strategy for a real existential climate emergency. Just 50 STRONG Climate Champions in each State, every year for the next decade will see a global movement of 100,000 by 2030. They will be from the Greta Thunberg generation. They will have the same vision, commitment and tenacity. They will help deliver Climate Friendly Travel.