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How Green is Cruising?

Climate Change Impacts Vacations

To many the debate over the impact of climate change is essentially over. The prevailing view is that it's real and unless measures are taken to reverse certain trends the matter will become worse. A recent slew of "super storms" are being studied by climatologists the world over to detect correlations between these events and the influence of human-made carbon emissions. While the data is being review there is no escaping the fact that climate change is having an impact on the tourist industry.

 

The idea of "green traveling" is catching on with many vacationers as they adopt eco-friendly policies for their trips. Just because you are traveling abroad doesn't mean you can be aware of your carbon footprint expenditure. You can take many proactive steps to offset a plane ride. Choosing to go with the flow of public transportation at your destination is a popular option. You'll probably be doing a lot of walking anyway so forget renting a car. However, it's not just about taking the bus or riding a bike at your destination. There are also specific issues with regard to where you can plan your trip that might be affected by the weather. In other words, because of global climate change you might not be getting the vacation you've always dreamt of.

 

The Shrinking Slopes of the Pyrenees

For generations, ardent skiers have made the trek to the Pyrenees for some of the best skiing that Europe has to offer. Separating France from Spain, this idyllic range of mountains is rich in culture and amazing surroundings. This region is also feeling a serious impact from climate change. Due to rising temperatures the ski seasons are predicted to be shorter and shorter with each coming year. These findings are based on a study conducted by the Polytechnic University of Catalonia. Not only will this be bad news for potential skiers but it could also result in a loss of nearly 50 million Euros annually. This region brings in close to 10 million visitors a year. If those skiing seasons become shorter and force the slopes to become even more crowded, those fans of winter sports might seek their outdoor adventures elsewhere.\

 

Kenyan National Parks Scramble to Protect Resources

Down in Kenya, the national parks provide a much-needed boost to the nation's economy. Here photo safaris attract millions of tourists from around the world every year. This is a change to still see African nature in the raw but that nature is feeling the unwanted pinch from climate change. One of the issues is excessive rainfall.

As the world's temperature rises the chances for a buildup of moisture in the atmosphere can lead to torrential downpours. That's been happening at Lake Nakuru in the Rift Valley. This is where millions of flamingos make their home. It's also where 14 hotels overlooking the lake provide the perfect spot for visiting bird watchers. However, due to the unrelenting rain the lake has overflowed and the flamingos have gone off to seek a dryer nesting area. No birds means no business for the locals.

 

Greenland Melting Before Your Eyes

If there is one spot on the planet where the direct impact of climate change can be witnessed in tangible terms its Greenland. On some level, climate change is having the opposite effect here. There has actually been an increase in tourism to this Icelandic region. That's because many people want to see for themselves the melting ice caps and eroding flows. This is due to a increase in temperature of around 5 degree Fahrenheit. More that 80% of Greenland is covered in ice. As that ice melt it is exposing the land and forcing the locals to readjust their entire way of life. Fortunately, there are still amazing vistas to marvel at around Greenland and the best way to take in that scenery is from the deck of a comfortable cruise liner. Because of the popularity of this unique destination, the cruise lines have increased their trips to the region. They're also becoming "green cruise lines" as they embrace eco-friendly policies in everything from water conservation to solar energy for many onboard systems. This approach allows you to embrace green traveling and still see the wonders of the world. That's a win/win for everyone.

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International Institute for Peace Through Tourism