madrid, spain: international year of sustainable tourism
In the Fall of 2015, the United Nations launched The Global Goals for Sustainable Development. World leaders from nearly every country came together to agree to the 17 global goals. The outcome of completing these goals would mean an end to poverty, inequality and climate change by 2030.
I am so incredibly passionate about the Global Goals as it gives our planet (all continents) a cohesive structure to tell sustainable development stories, measure impact and make progress together. Since the Global Goals are fairly new and the coverage varies throughout countries, I have found varying levels of understanding throughout my journey. However, with more exposure and action-oriented stories, I am sure awareness will only continue to grow!
Each year the UN declares a theme that will help to address The Global Goals. I knew this year was serendipitous for me to be traveling since the UN has declared 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism! How fitting! It was not until I got to Madrid that I discovered the launch of the theme was at the International Tourism Fair in Madrid in December! UN Secretary General, Banki-moon has detailed tourism as a crucial tool in sustainable development given the 1 billion international travelers each year and the inclusivity and employment/economic growth provided by the industry (UNWTO).
Tourism was selected for its ability to drive economic growth, social inclusiveness, employment, poverty reduction, combating climate change, diversity, mutual understanding, peace and security. (Learn more here: http://www.tourism4development2017.org/) There is so much good to come from open borders and open dialogue especially when sustainable solutions are developed and implemented along the way.
While I travel, I try my best to limit my personal environmental footprint (public transportation, walking, biking, vegetarian, buying local food, reusing clothes/towels, using a reusable water bottle, recycling, looking for green hostels when I can, etc). Of course, I am human, and there are exceptions, however, just being mindful of your footprint goes a long way. I am so excited to learn more about sustainable tourism in different countries!!