88. Lucy Siegle; Travel in the Era of Climate Crisis - The Big Travel Podcast

Episode 88
February 26 , 2020

88. Lucy Siegle; Travel in the Era of Climate Crisis

Yes, we love travel, but how can we do this in the era of climate crisis? On this special episode, combining The Big Travel Podcast and WTM Insights podcast, Lucy Siegle, journalist and leading authority on environmental issues, examines the environmental impact of travel; the impact of tourism and aviation, what can travellers do to lessen this and what can the travel industry do to help. It’s an earnest one, but as usual with Lucy and Lisa who’ve been spent many a late night debating eco issues, travel, fashion, clown shoes and the diagnostic benefits of a wheel of brie (best ask us in person about this one!) there are a few laughs too.


On this episode we cover:


How bad is the travel industry for the planet?

Aviation equivalent to the fashion industry

We are in the era of climate crisis

We are in the age of rapid extinction loss

Aviation is increasing exponentially

Why we need to decarbonise

The oceans absorb 90% of heat

Irrefutable evidence that the planet is warming

We had the hottest oceans on record

The equivalent to exploding 1000s of Hiroshima bombs

British cod swimming to the Baltic States

A warming world bringing higher incidences of diseases, oceans rising, ice caps melting, more widespread fires

What Greta Thunberg is like in person (no jazz hands!)

The spread of the Coronavirus

The travel industry needed to come up with more inventive products, different ways of doing things

The Guardian travel section primarily focusing on places you don’t have to fly to

Easyjet carbon off setting all flights by the end of 2020

The truth, pros and cons and complexes of carbon off-setting

Tree locking carbon into the ground (carbon sequestration)

Aviation and shipping industry being outside of the discussions

What aviation need to do now

A slow win for climate is the same as a loss

The issue of over tourism

Travel and tourism having done a lot of good for people

Communities now reliant on tourism being vulnerable

Knowing people who are choosing not to fly

How change can often be accompanied by a lot of fear

How the travel industry need to harness that knowledge is power

The climate emergency era needs to be forefront at the travel industry’s mind

It’s always better to disrupt before you are disrupted

Constant gains and losses in the travel industry

But resorts and areas will suffer from environmental issues

How travel and tourism is full of agile thinkers by its very nature

Smaller resorts might have a slight advantage

Soneva resort in the Maldives having pioneering ideas with plastics and water

How travel industry can get involved with Investment in sustainability, food growers, desalination plants, renewable energy… to help making communities on the front line resilient

Consumers of travel need to be more generous with their holidays

The benefits of travel, helping to combat prejudice

Cultural experiences become impoverished very quickly if they’re not protected and nurtured

Venice struggled with tourism and cruise ships

The ‘instead of’ travel trend – instead of Barcelona go to Valencia

Is there a backlash against ‘instagram travel’

How ‘digital waste’ is becoming a big issue

Lisa not eating meat, not driving, but flying…

How getting the train is lovely…but costs a lot and takes time

How the imperative needs to be strong enough to stop putting yourself first and putting your planet first


Global Travellers being environmentally aware now

Booking.com stats say that 70% of global travellers would actively book accommodation that is environmentally friendly

37% of travellers say that an international standard for environmentally beneficial hotels needs to be created

63% of travellers believe that through travelling in a more environmentally conscious manner, they will learn more about local culture, language and pay greater respect to destinations.

All inclusive buffets shown to be really bad for food waste

Take an interest in the working of a hotels – what is their policy on food waste? Are they giving it to the community?

Some of the big hotel chains reducing plastic toiletries

Hotels need to work with providers that understand waste

Stansted Airport’s scheme to support food banks (anything upopened and over 100ml that has been refused)

To sum it up – we need to wake up, think consciously, act as if there is a climate emergency because there is one. It’s up to us and people who work in the industry to entice us with products and strategies that are going to help us.