With most of the planet at home on lockdown a large portion of the population has had a lot of extra time on their hands and a unique opportunity to think about the future. The Lights Over Lapland team is no exception. While the virus hit towards the end of the aurora season the volume of emails, phone calls and general inquiries has drastically slowed which in turn has given us a chance to reflect on the future of tourism in the Arctic and the role that we play in it. We understood that an opportunity like this does not come along very often so we have done everything in our power to invest our spare time into re-evaluating all our tours and activities in Abisko National Park.
During the last several weeks we have spent a lot of time doing everything we can to ensure that our offices create the smallest environmental impact possible. While we already use, renewable electricity generated by wind this includes upgrading the electrical system at our company headquarters from a standard grid connection to a new system which is heavily augmented by solar power. We plan to expand this system in the future with the long-term goal of having all our offices powered with 100% solar energy sources. We have also installed a rainwater collection system which is designed to collect precipitation from the roof of our offices. This grey water will be used for things like watering plants, washing vehicles, and any other activity that requires water which that does not have to be potable. In just two weeks we have collected 1600 litres and counting! We are also in the process of building a small greenhouse which will grow fruit and vegetables, further reducing our need for fresh food which must be shipped to Scandinavia from all over the world.
As we worked on these energy saving projects we have had lots of spare time to think about the tours that we offer and the impact that they have on the spectacular natural surroundings in Abisko National Park. Since we have invested so much time and money into making our offices greener, we thought that our future guests might appreciate an opportunity to know which of our activities have the lowest environmental impact so that they can make educated decisions about which tours they might like to book when traveling to Abisko National Park. This new category of activity in Abisko National Park will focus on our daytime and evening activities that require the lowest amount of fuel and other energy to be used, which in turn creates less pollution and has a lower impact on our environment.
The first two activities that we will add to the new environmentally friendly category are our Morning Hike in Abisko National Park and our Nightly Aurora Photo Tour. We chose these daytime and evening activities because they are among the most sustainable activities that we offer in Abisko. Our morning hike is a leisurely stroll through the National Park that does not require any consumption of fossil fuels. The nightly Aurora Photo Tour is also a walking tour within an easy distance from the starting point at the STF Abisko Turiststation which does not require any form of transportation during the tour.
In addition to the fact that our Morning Hike in Abisko and Nightly Aurora Photo Tour both require very little non-renewable recourses, we have put much thought into the recourses that they do require and have done everything in our power to limit our impact on the planet. The first example of this was a simple change in the type of cups we use during the adventures. We have recently switched from a white cup which could easily be lost in the snow if one of our guests accidently dropped them during our activities. Our new cups are made of two layers of sustainable board with a coloured and embossed outer layer lined with PLA, a renewable material made from plants. This means they are easy to find if they are accidently dropped in the National Park, and are made from plants which makes them a fully sustainable resource. Another example of a simple, yet effective initiative is how we manage the candles that we use during our tours. Starting last season, we realised that the candles that we use to provide cosy lighting during our evening adventures could potentially be used on more than one night if properly managed. After a bit of experimentation, we achieved our goal of using the candles two nights in a row which effectively cut the volume of the partially used candles that we dispose of by half! These two simple changes will have a massive long term effect and have helped us think about the way we look at all our tours. With this in mind we plan to examine everything we do with a fine-toothed comb and create a sustainability statement on our website which will make our commitment to protecting the environment that we are so proud to call home public and transparent. Stay tuned for more information and a brand new environmental policy page which will be added to our website in the coming weeks.
While it may not be possible for us to reduce our carbon footprint to zero, we are confident that the two aforementioned tours and activities will allow you to experience the beauty of Abisko National Park with a clear conscious. If you would like to learn more about these exciting daytime and evening activities in Abisko please head over to our Activities page for all the details. We will be working with our local partners to encourage them to join us in focusing on offering the most sustainable tours possible and will likely be adding a few more sustainable adventures in the coming weeks and months – stay tuned!
Are you looking for an even greener alternative? Head over to our Virtual Tours page for several new VR tours and an incredible 360-aurora video that we captured earlier this season!