Beyond twisty bulbs 

A look at carbon offsets and teh hard realities of saving the planet

click to enlarge Air travel has been called "a sin" by some environmentalists because it produces more greenhouse gases per person/kilometre than other modes of travel.
  • Air travel has been called "a sin" by some environmentalists because it produces more greenhouse gases per person/kilometre than other modes of travel.

Awareness, if not acceptance, of global warming appears to have reached a critical tipping point. For the majority of Canadians the eco-awareness light bulb has gone off — and predictably it’s a CFL, a compact fluorescent light bulb, or as they are more colloquially known, a twisty bulb.

As the awareness of the potentially devastating impacts of global warming increases, so does the average citizen’s desire to do more than replace burned out incandescent bulbs with low wattage, eco-friendly compact fluorescents. And what most of us want to do falls somewhere between composting when convenient and contemplating blowing the kids’ college fund on a shiny new Prius. We want to save the planet; we just don’t want it to be too expensive or too inconvenient.

The Resort Municipality of Whistler and Tourism Whistler are adding another tool to the arsenal of the average environmentally aware citizen. The two organizations are joining forces to create an easy to use, web-based carbon calculator, aimed at visitors. The concept, which has been proposed by various Whistler 2020 task forces, will go from paper to practice in the next six months thanks to seed money from the province’s Community Action on Energy Efficiency (CAEE).

Ian Dunn, director of marketing services for Tourism Whistler, is excited about the possibilities the new project presents.

“With us managing the website, that’s the key tie-in and obviously with it being such an important issue for our visitors its something we’re really keen on and excited to be working on.”

Dunn sees two objectives for the project: its primary purpose is to help the environment; its secondary objective is to support Whistler as an eco-friendly destination.

“The goal, as I see it, is basically to facilitate reducing or offsetting the impact of carbon emissions that could be generated by a trip to Whistler,” says Dunn. “We want to continue to position Whistler as a sustainable destination.”

While both the municipality and Tourism Whistler will be involved with the planning and execution of the project, ultimately TW will be managing the end product, as the calculator will be part of the popular website.

And while concern over global warming seems like a natural fit for ski resorts, Dunn believes it’s the first time such an endeavour has been taken on by a tourism marketing association.

“I think it’s a growing issue in our audience in terms of importance, and that’s reflective of how important global warming has become as a major issue for everyone. With it having such a large impact on ski resorts, it has become an important issue that resorts need to address.”


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