Looking back on this year, there were more headlines about extreme weather conditions than in any other year before. So, is this the year that everybody finally recognized the urgency behind climate change and that we need to do something about it? John says that he is actually finally seeing change happening in the hotels and tourism industry, even if it is only baby steps. Climate change recognition
Clio and John carry on talking about how the term “sustainability” often has a negative connotation. John explains that being sustainable is somehow associated with more costs and therefore is not something businesses are excited about. Nevertheless, for him, it is important to see sustainability as an opportunity. For example, a hotel taking sustainable actions could use sustainable actions as a promotional tool.
Although, as John continued the discussion: “We just gotta be careful we don’t go down the road of greenwashing.” What does he mean by that? He explains that one type of greenwashing, for example, is businesses paying to get green certificates instead of earning them for sustainable actions. For him, an ideal situation would be a certification program launched and funded by the government. Businesses would actually have to show their efforts to get the certification. He takes Scotland as an example, which already has such a program in place with their Visit Scotland initiative.
The two continue to talk about how Lanzarote has been way ahead of the other islands in terms of Climate Change recognition, sustainability and sustainable tourism, largely influenced by the sculptor and architect Cesar Manrique. John explains how in Lanzarote, small business owners think about their island and their community, whereas here in Tenerife, most managers continue with an “I” mindset, without considering their community. John stresses that we have to start thinking with a “we” mindset.
When asked about the stigma “a cheap family holiday cannot be cheap,” John responds that it is indeed possible to be cheap but also sustainable, if we learn to appreciate the simplicity of these beautiful islands. It does not always have to be the (costly) Jetsky tour. A sunset walk from Callao Salvaje to La Caleta can be just as an amazing family activity.
Recircling to the discussion about Climate Change recognition, John highlights that there are still so many people who are unaware, uneducated, or simply don’t care. For these people, he says, that if we take out the topic of global warming and just make it about us people, finding microplastic kilometers off the coast of Tenerife in the middle of the sea should not be something normal. That alone should be alarming and make people realize that the society we live in today has a significant plastic problem, and we need to change.
Why, for example, are we packaging bananas in plastic? They already come with an organic shell to protect them which we later take off when eating the banana. So why that extra layer of plastic around the bananas? This and other unnecessary usage of plastic simply show us that we desperately need a mindset change, on a personal but even more importantly, on a societal level.
The two proceed to talk about how we can achieve the change that we need and end up chatting about Canary Green and why John started it all. At Canary Green, we work with positive reinforcement, meaning that we want to shed light on all the businesses doing something right. We already have so many great examples of people and their businesses caring about these islands and their communities. John mentions Mynd Hotel Adeje as one of these prime examples, and we are proud to be working with them.
Finally, John has one important message for all of us: “Get involved!” Only if we all start doing our part, will we be able to see the change that this world needs. John is still hopeful, and so is our whole Canary Green Team!
Thank you so much, Clio O’Flynn, for having John on the show, and thank you, John, for taking your time to talk about these important topics! Listen to the whole podcast now on Spotify!
Thank you to everyone involved in this Canary Green project where our aim is to help promote sustainable tourism in the Canary Islands.
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