20131206_152232I have had the privilege of staying in a variety of hotels over the past 18 months. I have traveled to Boston as well as Savannah, Augusta, Rome, Macon, Dahlonega, Blue Ridge and Ringgold, GA. I have traveled as far as San Jose, Quepos, La Fortuna, and Tamarindo, Costa Rica and finally Richmond and Cave City, KY. Each of these hotels with the exception of one had a small placard on the bed when I checked in asking that I be environmentally friendly by giving the hotel permission to not wash my towels and bed linens daily while I stayed there.

I don’t have a problem with this request. I can handle not having my sheets washed for a few days. After all, I don’t wash them everyday at home. Why should I expect that when I travel. I do expect the sheets to be clean when I arrive but the thought of having them cleaned every night seems wasteful to me. I do know people that believe they should receive clean sheets nightly even though they don’t do it at home. Their belief is they pay for it so they should get it.

Our country has been blessed with an overabundance of resources. These plentiful resources make scarcity seem nonexistent. Being wasteful is not seen as a problem since there is plenty to replace what is wasted. That is why we go out and buy new appliances and electronics when they break. They break because they are made to be easily replaced. The idea of fixing things is mostly a distant concept for many Americans today. We now believe that being wasteful is okay.

Our wasteful nature is evident in our desire to have clean sheets when we travel. We see all the water resources around us and think we have an abundance of water. Why should we conserve? That is what we say to ourselves. The better question for me is, Why should we be wasteful? Why use the water just because we perceive we have plenty of it. Just because we can use it doesn’t mean we should.

The idea of being environmentally friendly became more important to me when I visited Costa Rica with Ms. Thrift. It was apparent to us they practiced what they preach. On a rafting trip, we stopped to have lunch that had been packed away into water proof containers that were brought down the river in several rafts. When it came time to clean up, the guides made sure that we sorted our trash into the containers and that all trash was cleaned up before we left. It was important to them that we left nothing. This theme repeated itself during our entire visit.


We need to think about being more environmentally friendly. Doing so doesn’t make you a tree hugging liberal. It just means you recognize we don’t have to waste our resources. Try finding a way to reduce your water usage per day. Instead of throwing things out, look for ways to recycle or reuse. Perhaps you can start by not leaving the placard on the pillow during your next hotel stay.

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