“Have you heard about the cruise ship debate in Key West?” a Seattle friend who has family in the Keys asked me recently.
Although Key West may be the farthest point from our corner of the country, AAA Washington does help many members plan their cruise travel. So, it was a fair question to me as CEO of the club — and I admitted that I wasn’t familiar.
Here’s the CliffsNotes: The Florida Keys are home to the third-largest barrier reef in the world, and scientists and experts believe that cruise ships of a certain size are damaging the ecosystem. While not banning cruises completely, the city of Key West — and more than 60% of its voters — want to limit the size of ships allowed through the channel, which includes the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
Although it’s not our club’s role to weigh in on this specific debate, it highlights one of our Guiding Principles and commitments to our members: “Act Today to Serve Members Tomorrow.” We strive to better understand the environmental impact of our business on the future of our communities and the entire planet.
As an auto club, we understandably emphasize environmental initiatives linked to driving, like clean air, electric vehicles (EVs) and protecting greenways. Equally important is learning how we can support sustainability in travel, like the cruise industry’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050 or what impact climate change-induced catastrophes, from increased flooding to more frequent wildfires, will have on the insurance business.
A significant step toward advancing this work is the addition of a VP, Corporate Affairs and Environmental & Social Governance to AAA Washington’s executive team. Through this individual’s leadership, AAA Washington will set ambitious, meaningful social and environmental strategies — with measurable goals — to guide us. Stay tuned for more about these efforts in a future edition of Journey.
Until then, this Spring issue is packed with articles to inspire outdoor adventures in the Pacific Northwest, Hawaii and abroad. Whichever way you choose to enjoy, explore or preserve the world around us, AAA Washington will be on the journey with you — today and tomorrow.
– Heather Snavely, President and CEO, AAA Washington