I don’t know about you, but I travel a lot with work. That in itself is an issue – and perhaps I should do more to replace these journeys with remote tech-powered ‘meet-alternatives’, but sometimes I just have to go…
So, on this past trip around the States I have been trying to channel a new, more mindful me with a number of resolutions:
- “Don’t disturb” means “don’t waste” – As soon as I arrive at any hotel, I put the sign on the door and leave it there until the moment I leave. Because every time the cleaner comes in towels and sheets are changed, soaps are thrown away, and chemicals are sprayed. Essential between each guest, but not essential during my three day stay!
- “No thanks” – And just in case there is any doubt I pop a little note on a piece of scrap paper on the floor inside my door asking for no towels or sheets to be changed while I am in the room.Easy.
- Use one towel – It’s become a thing for me – I choose one lovely, large, super-absorbent towel and just put everything else away as soon as I get in the room. And I mean everything – towels, flannels, bathmats, the lot.
- BYOS – I bring my own soap. It’s so tiny it doesn’t show up on the airport scanners and it’s enough. I don’t open any of the soaps or liquids available by the bathroom sink. Most are only lightly used, and the rest gets binned. To the new me that is just plain silly – just to feel a bit special for a mini-second? Just to try The White Company’s new Lavender and Moondust scent? Away with this nonsense!
- A/C goes off and fans go off – Unless I need it. But not just as a habit. Off until needed to be on.
- In fact…switch everything off – In every hotel room there is tons of electrical gear on standby. Really?! How long have we known that stand-by is as energy-sapping as ‘ON’. So – it all goes OFF.
- Bottled water ban – I bring my own bottle and get tap water or help myself to the lovely vat of deliciously cold water by reception. But never use the bottled stuff in the room. Even if it’s free. It’s a small price of convenience to pay – but I feel much better for it. ‘Thoughtful me’ feels better than the ‘lazy me’. And I might be able to look Greta in the eye if I ever meet her.
- Focus my feedback and ask hotels to change – Don’t waste feedback on stuff like the eggs not being quite done, or the queue in reception – focus on the stuff that matters. ‘Switch off the fridges’ is my big thing at the moment. I ask every hotel to switch them off unless visitors ask for them to be on. It’s daft that the hotel world is using no end of energy to cool boxes that are used only 5% of the time!
- Care less to care more – I guess some might feel doing these things is slightly awkward, even embarrassing. After all, it’s easier to stay quiet and stay ‘cool’ while the planet warms up. Some people might think these small steps are insignificant. I don’t care. Greta is a bit awkward. Changemakers are. And she’s right, I should try harder.
Bob Bayman, Elephants Can’t Jump Director