Key West has been in the news a lot the past couple weeks because it effectively kicked the mainstream cruise industry out of town. This was a long time coming. However, due to the global pause in cruising this year, the ecological impact became even more acutely obvious. With less silt being stirred up by large ships passing through the channel cut through the reef that surrounds the island, the situation could no longer be excused or ignored. While this is a major news story and another blow to an industry that faces a long recovery period, the concerns faced by conchs aren't limited to just Key West. Scientists and locals in other communities from Alaska and Hawaii to Mexico are having similar conversations. While different groups of people will have different priorities, the question of how to manage the inevitable exponential future growth that this industry will experience once again in the coming years is something we must all consider.

There are a lot of topics related to efforts that the cruise industry is making to "go green" and while some such as banning straws and single-use plastics are easy ... the fuel that runs these giant ships is not so clear. While there are currently no LNG or hybrid-powered ships planned for service on the west coast currently, we are home to four environmentally sensitive areas that are playing a global leadership role with reducing greenhouse gas emissions on cruise ships. This includes Alaska, Hawaii, California, and British Columbia who led the way by mandating the use of scrubbers and are now progressing to improve on that as well.