With the climate news this year, it’s harder and harder to feel like the small changes we can make as individuals or as small companies can have an impact on the bigger picture, but that’s a feeling we have to fight. While we can’t make the wine industry or the Okanagan zero waste or zero carbon overnight, MANY people here are choosing to make small changes that are adding up to make a bigger and bigger difference. In the 20 years Discover Okanagan Tours has been operating in our beautiful valley, we’ve seen lots of changes – some of them short-term trends, and some of them long-term shifts that have reshaped the way we live our lives. We’re changing, too.
Today we are proud to announce a new initiative with which D.O.T. joins the many organizations and individuals working to make positive environmental change here at home! Previously, we have provided water for the comfort and well-being of our guests (proper hydration is so important!) in the form of single-use plastic bottles. Just in time to kick off the 2019 wine tour season, D.O.T. will still be providing every guest with water, only now it will come in a reusable metal water bottle that will keep your hydration game tight! With D.O.T’s metal water bottle, you’ll be equipped to stave off heat stroke with a lasting souvenir of your incredible adventure in the Okanagan, which can even help you go zero waste after your tour.
The team at Discover is inspired every day by people, businesses, and community organizations in the valley doing the good work of moving toward a more sustainable future. In April of this year, Kelowna’s first zero waste grocery store opened! Just last year, the city of Kelowna conducted a city wide consultation on growth scenarios in order to inform land use planning so that we can make our beautiful city more accessible by transit, cycling, and walking.
There are nearly 20 Okanagan wineries that are now producing third-party certified organic wines as part of a long-term shift toward more sustainable viticultural practices. A smaller but still significant number of wineries are incorporating biodynamic processes, which are designed to create a wasteless, symbiotic system that exists harmoniously with the natural biosphere. As we learn what it means to live without compromising future generations, the wine industry in the Okanagan is changing its practices, taking leadership in our community. Discover, along with many other Okanagan businesses, wants to ensure that generations from now, we will still be able to share our love of our natural environment with visitors from across Canada and the world.
The Discover team knows that there is more that we can do to lower our environmental impact while sharing our passion for the incredible natural bounty of the Okanagan with our amazing guests. Our strategic plan is to work toward sustainability by continuing to minimize our carbon footprint. In the immediate future, we are looking at providing transportation for smaller/private tours in more fuel efficient vehicles (think Honda Odyssey or CRV). Medium term we are looking to invest in a hybrid type SUV (think Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV), and longer term, we’re hoping Tesla will get on making a 10 passenger van after they roll out their pickup.
We are so proud to be taking this step toward sustainability, always with an eye to the future of how we can be better stewards of this valley we love so much. We hope you’ll help us promote reduction of single-use plastics on your visit to the Okanagan this year by tagging a photo of you with your metal water bottle on your DOT adventure! @DiscoverOkanaganTours #DOTGOESGREEN