The environmentalists around the globe are hailing Saturday’s “turn-off the lights for a full hour” a huge success as hundreds of millions of people from an Antarctic research base to the Pyramids of Egypt, from the Acropolis in Athens to Malaysia's landmark Petronas Twin Towers, from Times Square in NYC to Rome's ancient Colosseum, turned off the lights from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) announced a few hours ago that nations have a mandate to deal with climate change. Yvo de Boer, the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat interpreted the event as a mandate for an ambitious course to fight global warming. Representatives of 190 nations launched talks in Bonn last week, designed to culminate in Copenhagen in December, aiming at a new agreement to curb greenhouse gases beyond 2012, when provisions under the Kyoto Protocol expire.
So, what are these greenhouse gases exactly? Chemical compounds in the atmosphere act as “greenhouse gases” allowing sunlight to enter the atmosphere freely. When sunlight hits the Earth’s surface, some of it bounces back in space as infrared radiation. Or heat. According to the ENERGY INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION, greenhouse gases absorb this infrared radiation and trap the heat in the atmosphere. The agency explains some of these gases are found in nature (water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide), while others are human-made (industrial gases for example). The concern over the possible effects on the earth’s environment has fuelled a movement for sustainable development that aims at satisfying human needs without compromising the power of future generations to satisfy theirs.
Within this movement towards sustainable development, mass tourism with its excesses has come under attack while sustainable tourism is being embraced. Sustainable tourism is mainly comprised of agrotourism and ecotourism. Agrotourism means that you visit an agricultural area, stay in local guest houses, eat the local food and observe or even participate in the local rural activities. That is your vacation. No populated beaches (unless the farming area is close to sea), no big resort hotels, no your typical city night-life, fewer green house emissions. Ecotourism is visiting a beautiful natural site on which you impose the minimum damage. A gorge, a lake, a mountain, a river. Small guest houses, local cuisine, quietness, emphasis on preserving the nature, participation in sports the site facilitates (river/kayak, mountains/paragliding). Again, no noise, no urban life style, no resort facilities. Again, fewer green house emissions.
Simple stuff. Not for everyone. Unless of course it becomes fashionable.
If you were to go on a vacation, would you opt for mass tourism with its comforts or would you consider agrotourism/ ecotourism?