There have been many stories in the media about the ongoing environmental crisis at Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Over the past two years, the reef has lost almost half of its coral because of bleaching events. Faced with this situation, the Australian government created the Reef 2050 Plan, a strategy to protect and maintain the reef through the year 2050.
Invasive species have been a problem for quite some time. Over the years, we have grappled with – among other things – invasive plants from Japan, zebra mussels from eastern Europe, and Asian fungus that kills off ash trees in our forests.
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, more than one billion international tourists travel the world each year. Tourism has become a powerful and transformative force for many millions of people. But all this travel is not as positive for the planet. To that end, the luxury travel network Virtuoso assembled a short, simple list everyone can follow to reduce the environmental impact of their travel.
Coral reefs are great tourist attractions. Nearly a million species of fish, invertebrates and algae live in these biodiversity hotspots and they generate billions of dollars yearly from the tourism industry.
Natural world heritage sites exemplify the world’s greatest areas of natural beauty, ecology, geology, and biodiversity. They are recognized internationally for their value as places with significance that is “so exceptional as to transcend national boundaries and be of common importance for present and future generations of all humanity.” Many of these areas also are a vital source of food, fuel, and water for rural communities, and provide a revenue stream for national economies through tourism and recreation. The livelihoods of some 11 million people are directly dependent on these areas.
The effects of climate change are being felt around the world, including in some well-known places in the Northeast. Buzzards Bay is a popular destination for fishing, boating, and tourism adjacent to Cape Cod in Massachusetts.
Nestled in the mountainous border between southwestern Macedonia and eastern Albania, Lake Ohrid is a deep, ancient lake. Its waters provide refuge to hundreds of plants and animals that live nowhere else, including seventeen species of fish.