Not since April 22, 1970, when 20 million Americans took to the streets to protest for a cleaner environment has "going green" be so en vogue. From An Inconvenient Truth to Live Earth , support for and awareness of environmentalism appears to be spreading in a manner not unlike wildfire, though with hopes to preserve rather than destroy the lush vegetation in its wake.
Whatever the motivation, be it pop culture or pure concern, the growing support for green initiatives is a good thing, and one that the hospitality industry can and should get behind.
More and more press releases land in my in-box that tout new environmentally friendly technologies or operational procedures. And for every industry, there is a green association: Green Hotels, Green Restaurants, and a certification by the U.S. Green Building council for constructing energy-efficient properties, hotels and restaurants included. There's even a push to properly produce, use and dispose of computers, which can contain toxins harmful to people and the environment.
Here's a smattering of green ideas that we've learned about in recent months: recycle stained tablecloths into napkins; use toilet tank fill diverters in older toilets; chief engineers have found that they save about three-quarters of a gallon of water per flush; replace light bulbs with energy efficient ones; use numbered coins or chips for valet parking instead of paper tickets; use as much daylight as possible in bars and restaurants; use solar energy to light signage and heat water, particularly in tropical areas.
For your part -- and mine -- let us get behind the initiative while the momentumis high and long-term support can be achieved, making even just small changes where we can and researching long-term improvements for further down the road.
No one said it would be easy going green, but it's certainly worth the effort.