How to deal with the crisis, part 2: Reasons to be cheerful…

How to deal with the crisis, part 2: Reasons to be cheerful…

In my previous blog I asked the question ‘How do we really deal with the crisis facing us all?’, and then spent most of the rest of the post cataloguing the many crises I had seen on twitter in just the previous couple of weeks.

Therefore, by way of redressing the balance, and to reassure those people who were kind enough to contact me to check that I personally was actually doing OK (thank you, that meant a lot), I have spent the last two weeks keeping track of some signs of progress and causes for optimism.

So, at the end of Climate Week, on Friday’s for Future Global Day of Climate action, and with World Tourism Day at the weekend, here are my latest reasons to be cheerful (all taken since my last blog went live…)

Part 2: Europe set a more ambitious 2030 CO2 target of at least 55%. China said it will peak its emissions before 2030, and be carbon neutral by 2060, causing more optimism from the many climate specialists I follow than I have ever seen about targets being possible. And in the US, the southern city of Charleston is planning to take fossil fuel companies to court to the tune of $2bn to combat the climate crisis they have caused.

New Zealand says it will become the first country to require Climate Risk Reporting. Any company with more than $1 billion in assets will have to publish an annual report declaring the risk climate change poses to its business. It has also moved forward its target to be powered 100% by clean electricity from 2035 to 2030.

In Sweden, they’ve been running a ‘speed camera lottery’ test where cars recorded as driving under the limit are automatically entered into a lottery to win a pot created from all the fines – it reduced speeds by 22%.

Skyscanner published a report that imagined a much more sustainable future for tourism, stating: “Destinations that previously relied on cheap, mass tourism will have to have a rethink, as the areas and attractions that used to rely on large visitor numbers become less busy.

And there was even positive action from the world of aviation, with Norwegian committing “to cut CO2 emissions by 45% per passenger kilometre in ten years, the carrier is to remove all non-recyclable plastics and recycle all single-use plastics by 2023.”

All of these give me hope. They help me to see beyond the other headlines. To not dwell on the fact just 1% of the $12 trillion pledged by major economies in pandemic recovery packages is ‘green’. Or that the UK government’s leadership team for COP26 are all men. Or that some airlines are flying flights to nowhere.

All that is for another week.

Right now, we need reasons to be cheerful. And they don’t come better than Part 3

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Jeremy Smith is a writer, speaker and sustainable tourism consultant. He is co-founder of Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency, an initiative that supports tourism organisations in declaring a climate emergency and working together to reduce their carbon emissions in line with the Science Based Targets. He is the author of Transforming Travel - realising the potential of sustainable tourism (2018), and co-founder of Travindy.com, the travel industry sustainable tourism website news site. He consults widely on sustainable tourism strategy and communication, with recent clients including Bruges Ommeland, GSTC, English National Parks, Tripadvisor, the Travel Foundation, and the European Travel Commission. He is a member of Travalyst’s Independent Advisory Board and was a member of Rotterdam’s International Advisory Board in 2019, helping develop a new vision for the city’s tourism.

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