I heard an interesting statistic the other day: The average age of the engineers who worked for NASA when we first landed on the moon was 26 years old. So, when President Kennedy issued his challenge to the nation of sending a man to the moon eight years earlier, many of the people responsible for the ultimate success of that mission were either still in high school or had just graduated.
I thought about this fact recently in light of President Obama’s calls for renewable energy technology. If history repeats itself, the leaders in the field of green technology may be high school seniors today. So, just take a look at the naysayers — those who want to keep the status quo and ignore the green revolution going on around them — and you are looking at a generation that is out of step with the future.
And make no mistake, the future is here. Just take a look at a few recent headlines. On the very day this issue comes out, Virgin Galactic is scheduled to reveal SpaceShipTwo, the first space vehicle of its kind, developed to take private passengers into space. Also on this day, the United Nations Climate Change Conference convenes in Copenhagen, Denmark. Finally, just a couple weeks ago, KLM announced it made the first passenger flight using biofuel.
Certainly, the course for future environmental progress is becoming clearer every day. In this issue’s cover story, “Green Cruising” (page 10), we take a look at the green initiatives of one of the travel industry’s most important players, the cruise lines. The story discusses onboard and shoreside innovations and what leading lines are doing to change the way business is done.
Certainly, cruise lines cannot afford to lag behind when it comes to green technology. As these “floating cities” get bigger, practices need to be put in place to ensure ships are sustainable and have a minimal impact on the planet.
The industry may have further to go before it will be considered environmentally friendly; however, the seriousness with which it is tackling this issue should be applauded and can serve as a model for other businesses. I have no doubt that, over time, this challenge will be met by the cruise industry — and the rest of the travel industry, as well.