One of the dangers in being so immersed in green lodging is that it is easy to become hypercritical of individuals or organizations that have just not gone far enough with their green commitment or investment. I have to keep reminding myself that even a little green is better than no green at all. This holds especially true when talking about the various state green lodging programs around the United States.
I just wrote an article that summarizes the progress of the 16 state programs of which I am most aware. One of the programs is barely breathing and only about half of the programs require any kind of on-site inspection to confirm what a property says it is doing. It would be easy to scream about this and the fact that 34 out of our 50 states still don't have any kind of organized green program for their lodging establishments. Even my own home state of Ohio does not have a program—kind of embarrassing for this Buckeye!
As tempting as it is to go on and on about apathy, lack of leadership, etc. at the state level, I would like to congratulate and commend those individuals and organizations that are doing a great job running their state programs. Those in California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin have reason to be proud of their efforts to reduce their environmental footprint. It is a safe bet that properties in these states are doing a better job at attracting those travelers who care about social responsibility—especially meeting planners.
In this new year, let's all work together to build upon those 16 programs. If nobody in your state cares enough to get a program going, why not you? It is not as difficult as one would expect. Really, all you have to do is copy what some of the leading states like Maine and Florida are doing. I suspect that they won't mind at all. In fact, they will be flattered. Click here for a list of the 16 state programs.