Why a global insect decline affects us all

Insects crucial for ecosystem functioning and food production


A comprehensive review of insect declines around the world gives a stark picture of the scale of the declines and the consequences both for ecology and human welfare. The paper, published in Biological Conservation, warns that 40% of the world’s insect species could become extinct within a few decades under current trends. And the loss of this diversity could lead to dramatic increases in pest insects which harm food production and human health.

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On International Mountain Day, let’s look at mountain tourism


Today, 11 December, is International Mountain Day Almost one billion people live in mountain areas, and over half the human population depends on mountains for water, food and clean energy. And mountains are also important for tourism, attracting visitors for their scenery, wildlife, healthy air, winter sports and summer activities such as hiking, climbing and mountain biking. The UNWTO has issued a new report on mountain tourism, presenting a summary of the information generated at UNWTO’s mountain tourism events, including a systematic definition of mountain tourism. In addition, it gives an overview of the development of mountain tourism in different parts of the world over time, and the recent structural changes affecting this segment as a result of new market patterns. It includes a number of “learning cases”, all of which have been presented at UNWTO’s World Congresses on Snow and Mountain Tourism, organized on a bi-annual basis in cooperation with the Government of the Principality of Andorra since 1998, and at the First Euro-Asian Ski Resort Conference of UNWTO, which took place in Almaty, Kazakhstan in October 2013. Continue reading

World Tourism Day 2018: Tourism and the Digital Transformation


Since 1980, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has designated the 27th of September as World Tourism Day (WTD), to mark the anniversary of that date in 1970 when the Statutes of the UNWTO were adopted. The purpose of the day is to raise awareness of the global role and importance of tourism. Each year, WTD has a different theme, and for 2018 that theme is Digital Transformation.

So why should tourism have an international day, and why has digital technology been chosen as the theme?   Continue reading

National Parks Week UK

Keswick, Lake District National Park. Image from Pixabay

National Parks Week is an annual festival championing what is special about national parks in the UK. This year’s festival takes place Sunday 22 to Sunday 29 July and aims to publicise how people can get outside and discover national parks in the UK, with many special events organized to showcase places and activities within these areas. Continue reading

Tourism creates 8% of global carbon emissions – can they be curbed?

The global carbon footprint of the travel and tourism industry has long been a concern, with aviation in particular being a major source of greenhouse gases, and the major component of the estimated carbon cost of tourism. But a new analysis published in Nature Climate Change says that the carbon footprint of the industry is much higher than previously estimated. Gossling and Peeters (2015) estimated that in 2010, the global tourism system caused about 1.12 Gt CO2, or about 2.5–3% of global CO2-equivalent (CO2e) emissions. But the latest analysis by Lenzen et al. (2018) claims that in 2013 tourism’s global carbon footprint was 4.5 GtCO2e, four times more than previously estimated, accounting for about 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The new assessment is bigger because it includes emissions not only from travel, but also the full life-cycle of carbon in tourists' food, hotels and shopping. 


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Cutting plastic bottle use in adventure travel

Earth Day 2018 is on Sunday April 22, and the theme for this year is ending plastic pollution. One of the biggest sources of plastic waste from the general public is single-use plastic bottles, and tourists are a big source of this waste. Even those of us who rarely use disposable drinks bottles when at home often use several a day when travelling. Western tourists travelling to developing countries where they do not trust the local drinking water are regular high users, often buying single-use bottles for all the water they use. The travel trade is trying to reduce this use, and the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) committed to curbing the use of single-use plastic bottles as one of its strategic initiatives in 2018. To get a picture of the current situation among ATTA members, ATTA teamed up with Travelers Against Plastic (TAP) to create and distribute a survey to the ATTA and TAP’s database of adventure tourism businesses. The results show that despite high levels of awareness and concern, most adventure travel firms still use plastic water bottles on many of their trips. 


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Water, tourism and gender – how tourism can increase inequalities. From the work of Dr Stroma Cole


March 22 is World Water Day, designated to focus our attention on the importance of water. The theme for World Water Day 2018 is ‘Nature for Water’ – exploring nature-based solutions to the water challenges we face in the 21st century. But of course water is essential for life, and thus affects every aspect of human development, as well as the ecosystems that support us. Today, 2.1 billion people still live without safe drinking water at home; affecting their health, education and livelihoods. Earlier this week, on a visit to CABI Headquarters in Wallingford, CABI book author Dr Stroma Cole gave a talk on gender equality and tourism in which, with World Water Day this week, she focused particularly on water issues, and how women bear the brunt of the problems which can be created when tourism development increases demand for water. Dr Cole, a senior lecturer in tourism geography at the University of the West of England and a Director of Equality in Tourism, has worked on tourism and water inequality in Indonesia, Costa Rica and India, and in her presentation focused particularly on the situation in Labuan Bajo, a rapidly growing gateway town to Komodo National Park in Indonesia.

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