02 December 2009

Granola S.N.A.F.U.

I mentioned in a previous post that for the past week I spent time working in New York! Amazing. If you had a peek inside my hand written journals since 2003...you'd know my love affair with New York...well before I began my love affair with Mr. Officer in New York. :) So the fact that I was able to work from there....AMAZING!

Here's my question. How can I practice sustainable acts when things are beyond my control?

First, I needed to get to New York. I suppose the most environmentally sustainable approach would be to walk there. Unfortunately that wasn't going to happen. I had to fly there. And there isn't a "Green Airline." And I am not a fan of carbon offsets. I believe they encourage complacency. I'm not sure that there was anything I could have done differently that would encourage a more sustainable approach with my flight.

 I suppose I could have taken the train and bus to the airport, as oppose to a car service. However, the car service arrived at 5am and where I live and with how dark it was...using public transportation on an early Sunday morning wasn't going to work.

(This sounds like I'm making a list of my own complacent acts. I complain about carbon offsets and how they serve as a platform for people to NOT think creatively about problem solving and developing and yet I wasn't being creative either. Now, I'm depressing myself.)

I will say that my stay at the Ritz was encouraging. I suppose I could have looked for a completely eco-friendly hotel in New York, of which I'm sure there are many. But the Ritz was a five minute walk to my office and remember my sustainable guidelines. Convenience is very important! (But not the most important.) What I will say is the Ritz doesn't change your sheets and towels every night. They encourage you to reuse them. And even though I forgot to unplug my chargers from the wall, when I came back to my hotel room...they had unplugged them and folded them nicely. (But they didn't unplug their stuff like the tv, radio and twenty lamps.)

They could probably take things like their in room dining menu and info packet and put it on their hotel channel on the tv to decrease their paper usage.

What I did do...was walk to work each day. There was also an organic grocery store a block from the hotel and I did my shopping there. I discovered this organic HEALTHY licorice from Australia that I fell in love with and Mr. Officer did too! When eating, I ate at local places and avoided restaurant chains. I avoided meat as much as possible. I also brought one of my water bottles from home and used that as oppose to bottled water.

So there were little things I was able to do here and there but what i want are BIG changes in the travel industry. That would be amazing. Seeing the aviation and hospitality industry make large leaps in areas of sustainability would make my life on the road so much easier.

I will admit...I turned the heat up in my hotel room. Not because I was rebelling. At home I keep a few blankets on my bed so that I don't need to heat on 100 degrees. But at the hotel there was only one comfortable. I suppose I could have requested another duvet. Especially since Mr. Officer kept pointing out that it was way too hot in the room.

Oooh. Another sustainable practice and romantic gesture. Mr. Officer and I showered together. Now in the back of my mind, I was thinking...look at us conserving water. I doubt that ever crossed his mind.

I'm not sure what else I could have done. Any advice on how I could travel in a more environmentally friendly way?

boyfriend not green at all.


Eco Mama said...

I think you did great! I'm not buying into the carbon offsets either, I think it's a nice idea, but not cutting it at all and frankly very suspect. Your setting an awesome example!
Eco Mama

SLY said...

You're too kind. I really feel like there are more things I could do and I either just don't or am not creatively thinking. But your words are encouraging. Very encouraging!

Shelagh said...

I know how you feel... I have a trip coming up too and I looked into taking the train there. Convenience sort of over-rode the environmental costs - it was 16 hours versus 1 hour by plane (plus the time to get to and from the airport, etc.). So yeah, I went for the plane. I go back and forth on carbon offsets.

I think you're doing a great job too!!! The more people that think about these things and try their best, the more things will start to change. In California, they are talking about high speed rail - I think public opinion can influence big change.

Anonymous said...

Your boyfriend sounds like my boyfriend. : )

I think you choosing to stay somewhere near to your work and cutting down on transportation use is much better than staying in an "eco-hotel". That's what I love about big cities: everything's so compact and accessible.

I also think carbon offsets are an excuse for those with the funds to rid themselves of the guilt associated with traveling. I wish there was an alternative...

SLY said...

Shelagh..the fact that you looked into taking the train is commendable. What I want is a high speed rail that goes from Cali to NY in three or four hours. Maybe with a stop or two in between.

Greenmyguy...yea, there's a boyfriend post coming. He gets his own one because he's so ridiculous!

I didn't think about how being so close to work enabled me to walk versus taking public transportation. Since public transportation leaves a footprint too. That's good. I'll give myself another point.