People are becoming more aware of the impacts of climate change where they live and where they travel.
Tourism can catalyze environmental awareness via experiences that engage locals and visitors. Such education can be creative and help build alliances and supercharge relationships among local and international allies.
COP 16 – the next big international summit on climate change – takes place in Cancún, Mexico November 29 – December 10. This will be an excellent case study and a good indicator of where the global dialogue stands.
If we want to be part of a global constituency in favor of low carbon lifestyles, we need to spotlight the good practices of communities and countries making practical advances. While some argue that eco-minded travelers should simply stay at home, we favor the idea of traveling in a way that opts for the greenest choices and documents what we find.
For those of us who live far from the places we want to visit and who are concerned about the impact of our journeys, we would like to see a more integrated message from cities and national governments.
Is it a good idea to fly or travel far to attend a conference on ecotourism (or anything ‘eco’)? We would like to see events embrace free wi-fi and live streaming and tourism ought to lead the way. On site networking has great value, but too often conferences attract people who simply read at one another. We would like to see and participate in a more transparent and inclusive style of reporting including the wikification of climate change journalism.
As we explore the world’s wild places — the ‘destinations’ for some and ‘home’ for others — the more we need to see concrete examples of the culturally relevant, biologically respectful and downright fun tours that reward locals and visitors alike. Adaptation to climate change is a must, but it doesn’t mean we have to stay at home. If we’re going to leave footprints, we might as well leave positive footprints that others can follow.