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This New Council Will Help Your Travel Become a Force for Good

Wellness Sustainability
by Tim Wenger Sep 3, 2021

This is the Climate Win, the most positive sustainability news around the world each week.

This week we’re doing something different in the Climate Win column. We’re getting introspective. Underlying Matador’s editorial coverage is the belief that travel fosters global awareness and that travelers build empathy as a result. This plays into advocacy for causes including environmentalism and conservation, social justice, and mental health.

The Transformational Travel Council, a social purpose corporation based in Seattle, Washington, brings this together with the goal of awakening travel’s potential to make positive change in the world. The TTC is an affiliated group of travel industry veterans working to unite both travelers and the travel industry in its quest for a more inclusive, mindful, and eco-friendly travel sector.

“We are really focused on educating and training the trade — travel advisers, hoteliers, life coaches, retreat centers, on these practices, so they can set the conditions for travelers around the world to have those journeys,” says Jake Haupert, co-founder and CEO of the Transformational Travel Council.

Travelers and industry professionals can apply to join as an ally of the council. They can then participate in projects such as the Transformation Design Program, a workshop that guides participants through a series of exercises designed to help them assess how and why they travel, the impact of that travel on self and planet, and how it can be improved upon to create lasting positive impact. Of course, not everyone can afford the $1,950 tuition to join the program. It is primarily intended for industry professionals and businesses looking to further their positive impact on the sector.

For individual travelers, the easiest way to get involved and apply the Transformational Travel Council’s mission of empathy and ecological stewardship is with its Transformative Travel Journal. This journal costs about $30 and prompts users to mindfully prep and execute their travels, and reflect upon their experiences in order to form a plan of action to better take care of themselves, those around them, and the planet upon returning home.

“The three pillars that we operate on are connection and awareness to self, connection and awareness to others, and the third is connection and awareness to systems,” Haupert says. “All of our practices that we advocate for and train on are to help travelers become more aware and better stewards of the planet.”

The council is also working to launch a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion program called Unpacking Us. This program is about using travel as a means to address racial healing, while shining a light on social inequities. Overall, the TTC hopes to get travelers and the industry at large thinking about why they travel in the first place.

“It’s behavior and awareness that we’re advocating for, because that’s what’s going to stick,” Haupert says. “No one is going to live more sustainably or responsibly because they are told; they are going to make better choices because they have a relationship with the world around them.”

The Transformational Travel Council recently partnered with the Soul Focused Group to launch a DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) initiative called Unpacking Us. This program consists of workshops, courses, and programs aimed at helping organizations boost their DEI efforts. The initiative’s first workshop, Healing for the Holidays, takes place on December 15.

More climate wins this week

The Biden administration this week opened a new federal office for climate change and its effects, The New York Times reported. The Office of Climate Change and Health Equity will study how a warming planet impacts human health and what the federal government can and should do to plan for and counter these impacts.

The Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry visited Japan this week to discuss climate chage. Following the meeting the two countries released a joint statement broadly outlining a plan to work together to end government financing of coal and to harness the global momentum of the COP26 Glasgow event in November to ensure the world meets the demans of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

A federal judge tossed out a rule enacted by the Trump administration that permitted the draining and filling of waterways, marshes, and wetlands and that rolled back their protections, among the most significant of the past administration’s environmental rollbacks. The Washington Post reported that the judge found that the rollbacks failed to consider environmental impacts and violated the rights of Indigenous nations.

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