The type amount of energy and the type of energy we use has major impacts on the enviornment.
The problems of climate change and ocean acidification are directly related to the amount of carbon emissions from our use of fossil fuels. In addition we have the issues of polluting our water supply from fracking, contaminating our streams from mine tailings, and polluting our air just to name a few. Continued dependence on fossil fuesls also drains the economy of badly needed resources and threatens national security as well.
Fortunately, there are proven solutions to wiser energy use that happen to also be economically advantageous.
In the book Reinventing Fire, Amory Lovins and the Rocky Mountain Institute provide a blue print for how the United States could get off oil by the year 2050 while increasing the GDP 158%, increase jobs, improve the environment, and seriously address the challenges of environmental issues such as climate change and ocean acidification.
Companies committed to Sustainable Tourism such as Walt Disney World® have already made a commitment to addressing climate change and cutting their net carbon emissions 50% from 20006 baseline levels by the year 2012 and to then become a net carbon zero company.
Some of their programs include:
Becoming a "Energy Star Partner" which resulted in the first year enough energy savings to power the entire Animal Kingdom.
Using LED lighting for the Cinderella Castle using the equivalent of the energy to power 12 microwave ovens to light the entire castle.
Establishing a carbon solutions fund in 2008 which set a carbon tax on each business unit of the company. One year later $15.5 million was invested in carbon offset programs. The fund was used for such purposes as purchase of clean fuel vehicles, conversion of trains to run on biodisel wastes from restaurants, and collaboration with conservation international and Nature Conservancy to purchase $7 million to preserve forests in the Congo, Peru, and U.S.
Switching to more energy efficient light bulbs. Over 176,000 light bulbs have been replaced.
Commitment to increase its use of solar energy. Disney received and award from the Florida Solar Energy Center.
LED Lighting for the entire Cinderella Castle uses the same amount of energy that it would take to power 12 microwave ovens.
Each tourism operation has opportunities unique to their own situation for reducing energy. The examples of Walt Disney World® may be useful for some but not others.
Some other examples of sustainable tourism energy practices include:
use of solar photo voltaic energy systems such as the one in Joshua Tree National Park that reduced both pollution and operating costs by 90%.
use of wind energy For example the Taurikura Lodge in New Zealand is using wind mills to produce more energy than it needs and selling the excess back into the network.
carbon sequestration combined with native habitat restoration. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has restored 80,000 acres of land and acquired an additional 40,000 acres of land through this program
painting roofs white. According to California Energy Commissioner Art, Rosenfeld, painting roofs white have potential savings of 20% of a homes annual energy costs.
Painting roofs white can save 20% annual energy costs
A Tale of Two Futures: Sustainable Buildings or Unsustainable Last Updated on 2014-04-15 17:15:25
Today's existing buildings use 72% of our nation's electricity, much of which is wasted. We cannot transform our energy system and prevent runaway climate change if America's commercial buildings continue to consume dirty fossil fuels at today's rates. Join the movement to change this by visiting http://www.rmi.org/stand and get involved!
Huge steps forward for clean energy islandsLast Updated on 2014-03-11 13:59:06
The Ten Island Renewable Challenge is an idea that calls for us to scale up renewable energy across the region and then across the wider world. Today, seven countries have committed to working with us on the 'Ten Island Challenge' (a friendly, informal competition for the most progressive island states to see how fast they can scale clean technology).
The British Virgin Isles
Colombia for the Islands of Providencia and San Andres (Caribbean)
Turks & Caicos
St.Kitts & Nevis
The last few days have been incredibly productive. The leaders here are determined to take their countries as close to carbon neutral as possible. They will save resources, save money and help people and the planet.
Having kicked off the conversations and split into five working streams, we divided into a series of working groups and began to form... More »
Xanadu Resort Earns a Green GlobeLast Updated on 2013-11-30 09:23:30The Xanadu Resort in Belize was the first Monolithic Dome resort in Central America and the Caribbean when it opened in 1998. Now it can lay claim to another first. The property recently became the first Green Globe Certified Island Resort in the town of Ambergis Caye, according to The San Pedro Sun
The Green Globe program was launched at a United Nations Summit in 1992 as a way of stemming environmental degradation from the consumption of non-renewable resources. Companies that choose to participate in the program are required to measure their environmental impact, and then develop and implement strategies to reduce their impact.
Xanadu is sustainable on many levels. First there is the dome building itself, which is energy efficient. Then the owners, Ivan and Judy Sheinbaum, added a number of other environmentally friendly features such as low-flow shower heads, CLF lighting and rain... More »
Blue Community Series Part 2Last Updated on 2013-11-25 12:40:51
Dr. Reese Halter hosts Part 2 of the Blue Community Coastal Habitat & Marine Environment series that presents best practices for sustainable tourism at the Walt Disney Company. This video focuses is on Buildings, Energy, and Transportation. The video features Tammy Brister, Manager, Environmental Integration, Walt Disney World Resort.
Alex Steffen on Carbon-Zero CitiesLast Updated on 2013-07-16 22:52:08March 19, 2013
by Theresa Riley
In 2003, environmental journalist Alex Steffen and Jamais Cascio started a blog called Worldchanging that focused on innovative solutions to the planet’s problems. The blog attracted a global audience and became one of the most trafficked sustainability sites on the Internet. Wired columnist Bruce Sterling called it “the most important website on the planet” and it won numerous awards, including two Webbys, before shutting down in 2010 due to lack of funding. Since then, the site has merged with Architecture for Humanity and will re-launch in October of this year.
Alex Steffen recently published an ebook, Carbon Zero: Imagining Cities That Can Save the Planet, that explores the technology and design innovations that could “transform our cities into low-carbon engines of prosperity.” Earth Day founder Denis Hayes... More »
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