Home Publisher's Point of View Memories & Lessons from My Summer Vacation in England & Scotland

Memories & Lessons from My Summer Vacation in England & Scotland

Glenn Hasek

In the last few years my family has managed to vacation even with the threat of getting COVID-19. We took the precautions we needed to take and did just fine. In recent weeks we took our first trip to Europe since before the pandemic and enjoyed visiting some cities in England and Scotland—Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Dundee. We tried to minimize our driving time because it seems folks in the U.K. have gotten things backwards and drive on the left side of the road with the steering wheel on the right and there are enough roundabouts to make you dizzy. I lost count of the number of times we headed off in the wrong direction but getting lost worked out well because we saw amazing countryside—especially in Scotland.

During our visit to the U.K., many heat records were set. On July 19, London’s Heathrow Airport recorded a temperature of 104.4 degrees, shattering the previous record. Britain issued a red alert for the first time ever. In France, some areas hit 108 degrees and above. The week prior to our arrival in the U.K., record-breaking heat and raging wildfires swept through Spain and Portugal, killing more than a thousand people, and forcing thousands more to evacuate.

Record-setting heat and reports of it cannot be good for tourism. And many hotels used to temperatures in the 70s are not prepared to cool spaces hit with such heat. Climate research suggests there is more abnormally high temperatures to come. According to the publication Nature Communications, heat waves in western Europe are increasing in frequency and intensity three to four times faster than in other parts of the midlatitudes.

Putting on My Hotelier Hat

While staying in hotels throughout the U.K, it was great to see LED lighting, master switches upon entry/exit, bathroom dispensers, and no plastic water bottles in the guestroom. During breakfast there were no throwaway cups, plates, or utensils. Electric Vehicle charging stations were common and at highway convenience stops there were many charging stations. At restaurants paper straws were used and to-go boxes were made with easily biodegradable materials.

Across from the original Cavern Club site in Liverpool

During our stay in Edinburgh, we had a great visit at a place called Dynamic Earth. Says Dynamic Earth’s website: “It’s a chance to experience the primeval forces of nature as they shaped our planet, to journey through space and time and even go on a 4DVENTURE around the world. You’ll be embarking on the interactive adventure of a lifetime—the lifetime of our planet.”

Dynamic Earth had many fascinating exhibits, including ones on plastics and microplastics pollution. One exhibit really hit home—some shells from a deep-sea mollusk. Said the sign above the display: “Despite living at over 500 meters water depth in the Arctic, scientists have found microplastic fibers inside their gut.”

Microplastic fibers are tiny plastic pieces less than 5mm in size. Many are fibers or threads that come from fishing ropes or nets or are shed from washing our clothes during washing and drain into the sea. And yes, they are apparently now everywhere.

As a hotelier vacationing in another country, or networking with one of your peers based overseas, be sure to keep your green radar on and ask specific operations-related questions. You may just learn something that will help you reduce your environmental impact and operational costs. And be sure to seek out places like Dynamic Earth. It is important to enlighten yourself about the impact we are having in the farthest reaches of our planet. It might just inspire you to implement “green” changes at your hotel or company that will in turn inspire others to do the same.

Who is Your Sustainability Champion?

Green Lodging News is always looking to profile sustainability champions in our Personnel Profile section. If you would like to nominate someone for this section of Green Lodging News, contact me at (813) 510-3868, or by e-mail at greenlodgingnews@gmail.com.

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Every two weeks Green Lodging News posts a new guest column on its website. (Click here for examples.) The guest column also appears in the weekly e-newsletter. Green Lodging News is currently in need of industry experts to contribute occasional guest columns. Experts may include consultants, architects, designers, suppliers, and those who own or operate green lodging establishments. Columns may be articles that take a stance on a particular subject or be strictly educational in nature. Columnists benefit by having their photo included along with a one paragraph description of their company. Interested in writing a column? Contact Glenn Hasek, publisher and editor, at (813) 510-3868, or by e-mail at greenlodgingnews@gmail.com.

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