A Green Congress
Let's face it – traveling itself, via jet planes, staying at hotel accommodations and consuming food and drink on the go are not exactly the best way to reduce carbon emissions in the world. After all, travelers leave a carbon footprint just by jetting to Honolulu from the other side of the world.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature, nevertheless, is making every effort it can to green its upcoming World Conservation Congress in Waikiki Sept. 1 to 10. The IUCN and Hawaii Host Committee are attempting to host a zero-waste event for the largest gathering of conservationists from around the world.
> Offset carbon emissions. First of all, participants can offset their carbon emissions from air travel by contributing to the IUCN Congress Carbon Mitigation Fund when registering for the Congress. Proceeds will be go to the Cordillera Azul National Park Project in Peru.
> Use alternative transportation. Upon landing, participants are encouraged to stay at hotels adopting green business practices nearby and to take TheBus, walk, bike, carpool or request a hybrid or electric car from rental agencies.
> Go plastic-free. No plastic water bottles or plastic bags, cups, straws or packaging are to be distributed or sold at the center. Water stations will be available around the convention center for free refills. Only drinks in aluminum cans and glass bottles will be available for purchase.
> Go digital. There will be no printed program. Instead, the Congress encourages registered participants to use the official IUCN Congress mobile app (free) to reduce paper waste. Participants are encouraged to go digital, as well, for documents.
> Eat local and compostable. As much locally sourced food as possible will be sourced for the menu, which of course, can not feature any threatened species. All kitchen scraps and food waste will be collected, along with the compostable plastic tableware, to be converted into compost at local farms.
On a side note, the guidelines also request that only endemic, non-endangered, potted plants be used for decoration and only environmentally-friendly cleaning products be used on the facility.
It seems as if the Hawai‘i Convention Center, placed up on a world conservation stage, is taking pioneering, large-scale measures to make this congress as sustainable as possible. Perhaps these are measures that will set the standard for future events going forward.