True heroes are the ones who not only have great ideas, but are willing to share these ideas with others, knowing that they’ll benefit too.
That’s what Crystal Creek Meadows’ Christopher Warren is like – he invented a sustainability management system for tourism accommodations which allows financial savings to be directed straight into nature conservation. How? It uses real-time resource use data and gives guests practical tips on how to save on energy and water.
Chris says the system – called My Green Butler – took years to develop and be ready for market – in fact, it took five years of research and development, using Crystal Creek Meadows as a test site. This research and testing culminated in doctorate research, which provided evidence that visitors to destinations can be persuaded to reduce their consumption.
“The big idea behind [My Green Butler] is to explain that resource conservation, not eco-efficient technologies or renewable energy alone, should be a key strategy to reduce carbon emissions to internationally agreed levels,” explained Chris.
He goes on to note that resource conservation through behaviour adaptation can empower hosts and guests to reduce their energy and water use by using climate change adaptation.
Chris is so dedicated to sharing this message that he’s has published 13 scientific papers on the topic, created a short video explaining how My Green Butler works and is currently writing an easy-to-read self-help book for accommodation managers to identify ways to conserve resources and persuade their guests to do the same.
“Efficiency and renewables are not adequate to help prevent escalating global warming and extreme weather events which impact wildlife and their habitats,” Christopher notes. He says eco-efficient technologies do not change people’s behaviour and that we’re unlikely to have sufficient quantities of renewables to replace fossil fuels in time for target carbon emission reduction dates.
Christopher’s implementation of the Green Butler System at his own accommodation business, Crystal Creek Meadows, has resulted in a massive reduction in carbon emissions, from 50 tonnes a year to just 15. The property itself has also been rejuvenated, resulting in a growth in bird species from 20 to 100 and a return of the local wombat population.
So what do his staff and guests think?
“Everyone at Crystal Creek Meadows has been involved in the development of My Green Butler,” Chris notes, “whether they’re the cleaner or a business partner.” He says this brings a diversity of perspectives, encourages a more holistic solution to challenges and enables everyone to take ownership of the program.
And guests, who are motivated by persuasive face-to-face interaction with passionate staff and a daily advice sheet and web app, seem more than willing to comply – especially when they know that all fiscal savings are donated to two local wildlife caring charities.
“Ecotourism is considered the pinnacle of sustainable tourism and therefore has a leadership role for all tourism to promote and celebrate innovative methods to progress the entire sector to a far higher level of climate change mitigation and adaptation,” Chris says.
We couldn’t agree more!
For more information on our other Everyday Ecotourism Heroes, check out the other articles in this series:
- Edition 1: Ronda Green, Araucaria Ecotours
- Edition 2: Zane Robnik, Park Trek
- Edition 3: Jess Leask, Kings Ningaloo Reef
- Edition 4: Zak Kelly, Whitsunday Segway Tours
- Edition 5: Tracey Larkin, Mt Barney Lodge
- Edition 6: Alex Crowe, Broger’s End Kangaroo Valley
- Edition 7: Elizabeth Hackett, Magnums Backpackers
- Edition 8: Judith Muir, Polperro Dolphin Swims
- Edition 9: Margaret Heffernan, Back Country Bliss
Is there someone in your business who you think is an Everyday Ecotourism Hero? Tell us about them!