Editor’s comment: Taking control of climate change

Regional Gateway editor Chloë Greenbank summarises the latest happenings across airports serving business, regional and low-fare routes.

Sir David Attenborough issued a stark warning last week that the human race is running out of time to save the planet unless urgent action is taken to tackle global warming.

In a BBC TV documentary, Climate Change: The Facts, the veteran broadcaster joined other experts in calling for an end to the use of fossil fuels that are polluting the atmosphere.

However, in a ‘message of hope’ released on Earth Day, the acclaimed presenter of Life On Earth and Planet Earth II also revealed that it’s not too late to stop damaging Earth and to secure a harmonious future for all living organisms, as he said: “There’s never been a better opportunity to take control.”

Observed on 22 April every year to spread awareness and demonstrate support for environmental protection, Earth Day is marked by organisations around the world. And airports are no exception.

With the sheer nature of the aviation industry being about flying passengers from one location to another and burning huge amounts of jet fuel in the process, airports (and airlines) have a huge role to play in seizing the opportunity to take control of achieving a lower carbon future by ensuring sustainable operations wherever possible.

And earlier this week airports across the US embraced Earth Day as they looked to spread the word about their green initiatives. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Texas offered information booths and activities throughout the Barbara Jordan Terminal for passengers to find out how they can reduce their environmental impact in air travel and in daily life.

Orlando International Airport also joined in the Earth Day celebrations offering travellers the chance to find out more about sustainability efforts around Central Florida and the airport, while San Francisco Airport deployed its first public battery-electric buses for passengers in its quest to be the world’s most sustainable airport.

Ford Airport in Michigan announced that it is was partnering with Kent County to roll out a new recycling programme that includes a ‘stoplight’ colour scheme to encourage people to separate their rubbish responsibly. Boise Airport teamed up with Delaware North, a hospitality and food service provider, to give away reusable straws to passengers and Eastern Iowa Airport gave away packets of seeds so people can plant beautiful pollinisers.

Even the Transport Security Administration did its bit, partnering with the airport authority to reduce energy consumption by turning off lights airport-wide and making the most of the afternoon sun.

These may all seem like small steps, but it’s about a shift in mindset and airports taking responsibility, looking at the bigger picture and the longer term.

As Sir David said: “We now have the choice to create a planet that we can all be proud of… There is a path to sustainability. If enough people can see the path, we may just start down it in time.”

The editor’s comment is published weekly as an accompaniment to the Regional Gateway e-newsletter. If you do not currently receive our email updates, you can subscribe here.

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