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Environmental studies and Tourism (group 5)
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Environmental studies and tourism
Tourism and environment are connected in multiple ways. Tourism has many impacts on environment and it can help restore natural sites. It may also have negative impacts on nature and damage unique species and locations. Human-induced changes in the environment and for example climate change have effect on tourism as well. Changes in environment and locations effect on whether or not tourists want to visit locations. To mention few human-induced changes in environment, there are 70 per cent of world's coral reefs in danger and the 90s were the warmest decade since there has been research about climate. Tourism effects on environment in good and bad ways, example of these as mentioned earlier are coral reefs and on top of that the whole Baltic sea. Both of these impact on tourism with their own ways (Holden, 2006).
The history of tourism's relationship with the environment
1960s was the decade that environmental questions got more attention by scientific enquiry and media. After the industrial development the pollution became more visible for everybody and not just for the scientists. People wanted to get away from the dark smoke of the cities. This made exotic sites with beaches and clean environments more appealing to people and tourism continued developing. This woke up worries about the sites and "Milne (1988) comments that in the early 1960s there was concern being expressed over the possible ecological imbalance that could result from tourism development in Tahiti in the Pacific" (Holden, 2006, p.163)Tahiti was not the only concern, but just one in the many sites of Greece, Andorra, Biarritz and many others.
After the 60s had passed and the environmental questions were brought up, they got even more publicity in the 1970s. Travelling to wider set of sites developed different kind of issues which had to be considered. The investigation of the matter was led by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 1977. They had a group of experts examining the interaction of tourism and environment. All of the main points of concerns were observed, which include pollution and the destruction of local nature and fauna. OECD is still working this day and focuses on economical points such as fighting poverty and it also considers environment at the same. Academic circles were also worried about the suspect of tourism destroying nature. For example in the Golden Hordes by Turner and Ash "Tourism is an invasion outwards from the highly developed metropolitan centres into the 'uncivilised' peripheries. It destroys uncomprehendingly and unintentionally, since one cannot impute malice to millions of people or even to thousands of businessmen and entrepreneurs".(cited in Holden, 2006 p.164)
In the 1980s tourism continued developing and spreading on new areas further the Mediterranean all the way to South East Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. This meant that tourism was reaching the less developed countries and this created new problems. Concerns were focusing on economics, but the worries considering the environment and cultural consequences of tourism development were catching the most attention of the NGO groups. These kind of NGOs that were mainly worried about the link between tourism and environment, were born in the late 80s (Holden, 2006).
In the end of the 1990s these same groups as discussed in the previous chapter, were making more straight forward moves against the destruction of sites. "Ski facilities were burnt down in Vail in Colorado at the beginning of 1999 because of their possible impacts upon wildlife" Holden (2006). Besides the NGOs taking action with environment concerns, tourism industry also started taking action with this subject. For example tourism agencies and airports were making actions to improve their environmental friendliness. Different kind of NGOs and charities considering environment but not necessarily tourism, were also taking action about tourisms effect on environment and this way made collaboration with tourism industry. As the environmental issues were getting more attention then ever, it effected on the tourists choices of destinations and started to create ecotourism (Holden, 2006)
Environmental problems are a consequence of human behavior, and the social sciences have an important role in understanding and finding the right solutions to them. Speaking about environmental problems we talk about problems like pollution.
We have different categories of pollution when it comes to tourism, and these are (Holden, 2006)
Water: The contamination of water by faces has consequences on animal and human health, and is causing diseases.
Pollution is causing big amounts of nutrients in the water and big amounts of nutrients can lead to hypoxia, which means that an area will suffer from low oxygen.
An example to where this has happened is in a zone in the Gulf of Mexico. The zone is an area where basically there is no life under water. The dead zones are making living difficult for the people who is depending on the Gulf to be clean and healthy.
Other types of water pollution are caused by motorized leisure activities, such as jet ski, boats and more. (Holden, 2006)
A physical, biological or chemical alteration to the air in the atmosphere can be called a pollution. Dangerous gasses, smoke and dust is making the atmosphere dangerous, and one example on what creates the dangerous gasses is air travel.
Air travel is a large and growing industry that creates opportunities for us to travel to wherever we want. However, it has some bad affects considering that airplanes run on toxic fuels.
Air traffic has grown at an average rate of five to six per cent per annum over the last 50 years, currently accounting for three per cent of the world´s CO2 emissions. The strong demand for air travel has led to air transport being the fastest-growing source of GHG emissions and it is predicted to be contributing in the range of 6-10 per cent of the world´s total CO2 emissions by 2050. (Holden, 2006)
A noise is an unwanted sound, and noise pollution is noise that is may harm the environment. When it is disturbing to the degree that it is affecting the people and animals. These noises can come from cars, airplanes, trains and other types of transport.
Take New York as an example, one of the busiest cities in the world.
If you live in a place where there is a noise that is bothering you, it can affect your life in many ways.
Environmental noises can lead to things such as sleep disruption, psychological stress, disturbance if daytime activities and more. (Holden, 2006)
One of the most evident aspects of pollution that is associated with tourism is the aesthetic transformation of tourism areas.
“The most worrying problem now prevalent in the islands relates to the anarchic urbanisation of the coasts…Also, the built-up areas by the seaside are often not aesthetically attractive due to the diversity of architectural styles” (Holden 2006, p.175).
Rather than focusing on aesthetic concerns, we are developing more based on the maximization of getting a profit.(Holden, 2006)
How can we resolve the pollution problems?
We have to focus on recycling and disposal trash in the right way, and not just throw trash anywhere. We have to reduce and make our use or cars, airplanes, busses eco-friendlier. We have to educate ourselves and the future generations about pollution and how we can reduce it. (Holden, 2006)
Different kind of natural recourse have been overused by tourists and it had let to huge
issue and worry. One reason has been over consumption of the resources, like one particular natural resource. People overuse resources for their own benefits and are not impacted what is good to the whole world. Hardin’s allegory ‘ Tragedy of commons’ explains how people think more what they need and how they can benefit, than what the whole world can benefit (Holden, 2006). Also it brings a group pressure to use a particular resource or resources. In Hardin’s allegory the commons refers to the people, like farmers in a common land.
The typical resources that are overused by our society are called as ‘common pool resources’ (CPRs). Often used mentality as for using CPRs are to use them before someone else does. For CPRs its very common to be abused and displaced. Being displace is not seen admirable, because it can be very expensive. Examples of CPRs are different kind of natural resources like corals and coral reefs (Holden, 2006).
Coral reefs are one of most important ecosystem in the ocean, they include a huge amount of different kind os species. Coral reefs are needed for so many species in the oceans, for example to feed from or live in. It has been research that one fourth of the all species in the ocean needs for staying alive in coral reefs. In reality coral reefs cover only very small area in the oceans, which makes them more important because of their huge value. Not only for the species of the sees, but also for the people coral reefs are necessary. They have huge economic value, like feeding people and in tourism they have a major impact (Ocean portal team, 2015).
Also coral reefs do prevent the shores from fast erosion, and make the process much more slower.
As said coral reefs have a major impact in people and in all kind of species, what makes them really valuable. But overusing CPRs can hugely damage and even destroy the coral reefs. In tourism industry the coral reefs are abused by hotels and overall in tourism tourist damage in many ways the coral reefs. Different kind of attractions like a boat rip and diving in the coral can permanently damage coral reefs (Holden, 2006).
The negative impact that these stakeholders have are in example the unrefined feces that flow from different hotels to the oceans and pollute the coral reefs. It changes the chemical imbalance in the water and is a major reason for algae. Which damages coral reefs and does not allow them to reproduce. Not only algae, but as well starfish are a negative impact from polluting the oceans. It has already been seen what huge damage starfish can produce by feeding on the coral reefs (Holden, 2006).
The coral reefs to be maintained need a specific temperature, but because of the climate change the temperature of the oceans can change and also effect the coral reefs negatively. Cold and warm water can move irregularly threw different ocean areas which can impact the reefs negatively. When the temperature of water reaches quite high an algae which is attached in the corals can start bleaching them which leads to reefs destruction (Holden, 2006).
Also only by diving in the ocean and walking on the shore can ruin part and coral reefs, that is why there has to be action to start taking care of CPRs and not overusing the resources.
Nancy, K. & Smithsonian (2015). Corals and Coral Reefs. Retrieved from http://ocean.si.edu/corals-and-coral-reefs
Holden, A. (2006). Tourism studies and the social sciences (illustratition;1; ed.). London: Routledge
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