Cycling, recycling, saying no to plastic and and yes to mindful travel — what goes around, comes around.
We're applauding the initiative adopted by the Italian city of Bologna that gives back to those who use sustainable methods of transport such as walking, cycling or public transport. The Bella Mossa programme runs from April to September via an app called Better Points, on which they log up to four journeys a day as they move around the city.
Local businesses who are keen to help reduce pollution contribute incentives to the initiative such as movie tickets, icecreams or even beer. A GPS tracker keeps users honest and tells them how much CO2 they've saved. Bella Mossa, which translates as "good job" is funded by local government and the EU.
Think before you travel
Website booking engine Booking.com has gathered data from more than 163 million verified guest reviews and research from more than to 21,500 travellers from various locations to predict its top travel trends for next year. Not surprisingly, conscious travel is high on the list, "reflecting increased global interest in social issues such as human rights, equality and working conditions", its insights revealed.
"[Next year] will see a more conscious traveller with even more questions being asked around social, political and environmental issues in potential travel destinations before making a decision on where to visit."
The research showed almost half of those surveyed saw social issues of travel destinations is important when deciding on a trip and more than half avoid a destination if they feel it will negatively impact its local people.
Another predicted trend is the desire by Millennial and Generation Z travellers for sustainable experiences, with 86 per cent stating they'd be happy to offset the impact of their trip by engaging in activities such as collecting rubbish from a beach or tourist site.
The current trend for reducing plastic use and upping green initiatives by tourism providers will continue.
In case you missed it …
Here's your fortnightly plastics update, starting with US airline Delta, which has pledged to remove single-use plastic from its planes and lounges, a staggering 136,000kg per year. It has already removed excess plastic from its Delta One amenity kits and reduced styrofoam in its Atlantic cafeterias; the latest announcement will be rolled out over the next few months.
Also joining the anti-plastics crusade is the Pan Pacific Hotel group, which owns ParkRoyal Hotels & Resorts around Australia and Asia, among other brands. Over the next year the company will phase out non-biodegradable single-use plastic items, including pens, wraps for in-room slippers and laundry wraps.
And if you feel like you've heard the words "single-use plastics" a lot recently, you're not alone. Collins Dictionary recently named "single-use" as the word of the year, saying its use has increased four-fold since 2013 in line with the worldwide movement against waste.
Hectors Restaurant, at the Heritage Auckland hotel, which offers a plant-based menu among its dining options, is the first New Zealand eatery to achieve official vegan status from the New Zealand Vegetarian Society's new certification scheme. To gain the status, every ingredient on the plant-based menu had to be audited, which took weeks of research, said executive chef Gerrard O'Keefe. Hectors, which sources the majority of its produce within a 50km radius of Auckland to support local producers and reduce its carbon footprint, has been offering the vegan menu since 2011. It will host a six-course plant-based meal on Christmas Day.
The Australian arm of luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent is lending a hand — or a spare wheel or bike frame or two — to the people of Tanzania with its Bike Shop Programme. The initiative will see the collection of used bikes, helmets and spare parts in Melbourne that will then be shipped to the Duuma Wajane Bike Shop in Babati, Tanzania, for repair and resale. Abercrombie & Kent's philanthropic arm, A&K Philanthropy, runs several Bike Shops in Africa and one in the Middle East in Jordan that empower local communities through mobility. Each of the stores employs five local women who have been taught business skills and how to be bike mechanics.
Captain Planet lives!
Actor and environmentalist Adrian Grenier will be awarded the "Superhero for Earth" Award at the Captain Planet Foundation's glittering benefit gala in Atlanta, Georgia, on December 7. The annual event recognises those who have "demonstrated extraordinary environmental stewardship" and past winners include Sir Richard Branson, Prince Charles, President Jimmy Carter, Dr Jane Goodall and famous environmental activist Erin Brockovich.