In just two months--April 22--people around the world will celebrate Earth Day. The first Earth Day occurred in 1970. The idea came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, Calif. Here at Green Lodging News, I have reported each year on what hotels and hotel companies have done for Earth Day. If your property is planning to mark the day in any way--with a tree planting, special rates, volunteer activity, etc.--I would love to hear about it. In an article last year I wrote about some of the activities that were planned. Many of them were very unique. In New York and Chicago, The James properties gave away complimentary MTA and CTA transportation cards for guests upon request. At the Hotel Monteleone, a press conference was held on Earth Day to unveil an ecological quilt, “Beyond the Horizon,” commissioned by civic activist Penny Edwards. At the Embassy Suites Houston-Downtown, management purchased renewable energy credits for every room that was occupied on April 22.
At Bucuti Beach Resort in Aruba, Earth Day began with guests and employees joining to pick up litter along the beach. Guests received a free Bucuti T-shirt for participating.
In less than two months on March 31, Earth Hour will be marked around the world. In 2006, World Wildlife Fund-Australia inspired Sydney-siders to show their support for climate change action in the first ever Earth Hour event. Then in March 2007 in Sydney, 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights out for one hour to take a stand against climate change. In 2008, the plan was to take Earth Hour to the rest of Australia. But then the City of Toronto, Canada, signed up and it wasn’t long before 35 countries and almost 400 cities and towns were part of the event.
Last year Earth Hour was marked at many lodging establishments around the world. Starwood Hotels & Resorts participated for the third consecutive year. Individual Starwood properties turned out the lights--as many as they could--for an hour. At the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers, every guest received an Earth-shaped chocolate lollipop with a message attached encouraging participation. Fairmont Hotels participated for the fourth consecutive year last year. The Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park offered a special cocktail, the HUMing Bird, made of organic botanic HUM liqueur, freshly squeezed lemon, organic puree and ginger. A dollar from every cocktail was donated to the Grant Park Conservancy, the hotel’s Eco-Signature Project. These are just a couple of examples of Earth Hour activities.
Contact me to let me know how your property or company will be celebrating Earth Day and Earth Hour this year. Leave your comments here or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.