We Declare a Climate Emergency

The Covid-19 pandemic has been catastrophic for almost every industry, not least travel. But, at least personally, it has been good for two things: it has allowed me to spend more time with my family, and it has provided me with the time to think about why we do what we do, and how we can increase the positive influence we have on people and places.

“The planet will survive, in changed form no doubt, but it will survive. The question is whether we will be here to witness it.” Christiana Figueres

It’s indisputable that Earth’s climate has been changing continuously for billions of years. But, as we all know, it’s humanity’s impact since the industrial revolution that has seen temperatures soar because of the volume of greenhouse gases being pumped into the atmosphere. There is a climate emergency. We’ve got to stop burning oil, gas and coal; stop our forests – earth’s lungs – being razed to the ground to provide grazing for cattle, or to manufacture cheap bedside tables; we must change the way we farm and stop soil degradation and stop erasing wildlife from the face of the earth. One especially devastating fact I learned recently is that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is estimated to cover 1,500,000 square kilometres. That’s more than 60 times the size of the UK’s landmass. So, we must stop filling our oceans with plastic.

It’s not too late!

Amazingly, it’s not too late. I want The Slow Cyclist to do all we can to help leave a healthy, happy planet for our children and future generations to enjoy.

It’s true to say that the very existence of almost any business is a drain on the natural world. The Slow Cyclist is no different. We are carbon positive and, although every year we make efforts to reduce our carbon footprint, and although we travel sensitively and with a light footprint wherever we go, we are unfortunately contributing to the demise of the wild and beautiful places we so enjoy exploring.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We want to change. No longer is it enough for us to make incremental improvements that scratch the surface. It’s time for radical action; time to implore a slower, more thoughtful future where the protection of the natural environment is integral to the activities of any individual or business.

Tourism Declares

We are excited to have joined Tourism Declares, an initiative that supports tourism businesses, organisations and individuals in declaring a climate emergency and taking purposeful action to reduce their carbon emissions in line with the advice from The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to cut global carbon emissions to 55% below 2017 levels by 2030.

In joining the initiative, we have committed to:

1. Develop a ‘Climate Emergency Plan’ within the next 12 months, which sets out our intentions to reduce carbon emissions over the next decade.

2. Share an initial public declaration of our ‘Climate Emergency Plan’, and update on progress each year.

3. Accept current IPCC advice stating the need to cut global carbon emissions to 55% below 2017 levels by 2030 in order to keep the planet within 1.5 degrees of warming. We’ll ensure our ‘Climate Emergency Plan’ represents actions designed to achieve this as a minimum, through delivering transparent, measurable and increasing reductions in the total carbon emissions per customer arising from our operations and the travel services sold by us.

4. Encourage our suppliers and partners to make the same declaration; sharing best practice amongst peers; and actively participate in the Tourism Declares community

5. Advocate for change. We recognise the need for system change across the industry, and call for urgent regulatory action to accelerate the transition towards zero carbon air travel.

If you have any questions or suggestions about our involvement please get in touch with me at oli@theslowcyclist.co.uk. Please also consider also declaring at www.tourismdeclares.com, and follow on @tourismdeclares on Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin.

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