Green Travel: Tech is good
I often find myself wondering if we were better off before the technological age. The frequency of these thoughts is directly proportional to the times in which my internet service provider fails to perform as promised or, worse yet, fails completely to provide internet service. This is where I currently find myself, forced to piggyback on my neighbor’s internet (with their permission of course), cursing the lack of choice of internet service in my neighborhood. Sure, there are options, but that would also mean switching out all of the hardware that I also just updated all of 2 months ago. The fact that I am back where I started two months ago with the same issue and out some cash too, it makes me believe that we were better off before all this tech stuff entered out lives, but is it too late to go back? And if we did, would it be the green thing to do?
After all is said and done, my issue with my service provider is a prickly situation that is partly my fault and party theirs. Mine in that I want to put things where they look good, not where the signal is at its peak. Granted, the signal isn’t exactly Herculean anywhere in the house, but the spot I selected for the new TV is probably the worst spot possible. Their fault because they want to sell me their latest greatest product that, from what I have heard, isn’t really all that great. Plus I don’t really watch much television and have even less need for cable. What I want to watch I either buy the DVDs for, or now, I am beginning to learn and get excited about downloading directly into my new TV. There is something wonderful about new tech gadgets.
Despite whose fault the problem is, there are times when it seems like a good idea to ditch everything and go back to the way things were in the 1970’s. Cell phones were a reality on Star Trek and televisions were huge. Pictures were printed and shared through the United States Postal Service, along with hand written letters, sometimes even in cursive script. Your only options with books were hard back or paperback, or if you went audio is was on a record, an 8-track tape, or the new fangled cassette. You had to either be at home to make a call, or you dropped a dine into a pay phone, which you could find on just about every corner. Life was simple back then. The news came to you either by newspaper, which you had delivered to your front door (or the end of your drive way, depending on your paper boy) or by television via people like Walter Cronkite and Stan Chambers. When you went to a hotel, your sheets would be changed everyday and you got fresh towels if you needed them or not.
But now, in the tech age, we have everything at our fingertips all the time. You can get the BBC World News on your cell phone while you sit in a coffee house, reading the newspaper on an iPad. Email will arrive as you commute to work, and you and 25,000,000 people can watch your friends young child take his or her first steps on YouTube, all in real time. Your favorite song is now available for download on iTunes and you can even download the video for it, even if the band didn’t last long enough to see MTV. And if all that weren’t enough, and you long to hear Mr. Cronkite’s report on the atomic tests done in the Nevada Desert, you can do that too. All you have to do is Google it, which you can do from the lobby of your green hotel as you check in. As for those sheets and towels, you can either get them every day, every three days, or when you ask for it. Now that is a step in the green direction.
I will admit, all these new gadgets and technological advances in our daily lives has had a huge impact on how we all see the world and the speed of the information age is only getting faster. Newspapers on newsprint are slowly becoming a thing of the past, as are magazines, and even that hand written letter that is still lovely to receive. All these new things do have their environmental impact, both good and bad. There are new rules that didn’t exist when garages doubled as computer laboratories. And all this new technology makes it so much easer to be far more environmental that we could have imagined 40 years ago. And just think, everything we do is now etched into the internet memory bank, for anyone to access, for all eternity, unless they happen to have my service provider that is.
And since we are always looking at travel issues, hotels have many more options as to how they use their resources as well, not only in regard to those towels and sheets. Would they have thought of solar power and key card access to electrical power way back when? Of course not. But now, not only are technological advances seen in the home, they are expected in hotels and the better the service, the better a selling point it is. Did anyone expect Star Trek like technology in a hotel room? Sure, we all dreamed about it, but now we demand it. How far we have come, and yet, even the simple things like stable internet service in a single home still can cause serious disruptions in the life of a few. Namely, me. I have become a devotee of, and a slave to, all things tech and love that I can be greener in my life with all these wonderful tools (and toys). I also demand, albeit gently, that my hotels, when I have the choice, also provide these services in a green manner.
Goind back to the 70’s would be fun, for a while , and to make a few investments in stock options, but I wouldn’t like to stay there. Life is greener and better now, and I look forward to what is going to be the next great thing that will cause me angst until I get it working with my still less than adequate internet service provider. Curses upon the two year contract!
Travel green. Pass it on.