Los Angeles and Burlington, VT, are moving towards a more sustainable futureSep 28, 2023
Cities are starting to jump on board with being more sustainable. The goal isn't necessarily to become known as a sustainable tourist destination, but as people realize the importance of sustainability for our futures and the future of the earth, I do believe that they will draw more tourists who are concerned with the many things that entails.
I live in Burlington, Vermont, and when I became a member of the Conservation Board, I realized that Burlington is even more of a special place than I had thought. Despite being on the shores of Lake Champlain, it has other goals that might not conform to other lakeside cities. Sure, it has its share of marinas, boardwalks, and bike trails, but it also has a goal of becoming a net zero city by 2030. New construction is already including electrification and eliminating fossil fuel use. The city is aiming to be more bike and pedestrian friendly and updates are slated to continue in the coming years. Some city buses are electric.
The city also focuses on nature-based climate solutions. These might include planting rain gardens, using motion sensor lights, low light conditions to prevent disturbance of wildlife, and planting native species instead of invasives. New zoning ordinances change parking requirements from minimums to maximums and are being incorporated into new construction projects. It is a really exciting time to witness these changes first hand. There are several hotels slated to be built as well, and with these net zero goals in place, they are likely to include at least some energy efficiencies.
I was very excited to see that Los Angeles Tourism has become a member of Global Sustainable Tourism Council ("GSTC"). This opens them up to making a bigger difference in both making Los Angeles a better place to live and making it more attractive for visitors. This is a new endeavor that is still in the early planning stages. This membership gives Los Angeles the ability to create a framework that will protect, conserve, and support their communities and continue to make the destination an enjoyable place to visit.
Los Angeles is undergoing the GSTC Destination Sustainability Assessment using GSTC criteria. The criteria are comprised of four different aspects: sustainable management, cultural sustainability, socio-economic sustainability, and environmental sustainability. While the planning is guaranteed to take years--and the implementation likely longer--it will be worth it to preserve that sense of place that makes Los Angeles special.
I was lucky enough to be able to visit Los Angeles for the second time in 2021. It is not difficult to find healthy food options, especially locally grown foods used in the restaurants. With the Pacific Ocean and beaches nearby, it is an idyllic travel option that has a little something for everyone. Making sure those natural areas are protected, the financial viability of the area is sustainable, and the city and county are welcoming to visitors while still preserving the cultural integrity of those who call it home, is a worthy goal and very good reason to spend your tourist dollars there.
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