[Coral-List] Sustainable tourism!?

Bill Allison allison.billiam at gmail.com
Wed Nov 30 18:53:44 EST 2011

RE. the deep water cooling, I wonder:
1). What is in the water brought up from depth and how it is to be disposed
of? I know of one location that intended to release it into the beach berm.
Perhaps closed circuit is the answer?
2). There is a danger that this "free" cooling will be an incentive for
even less energy conservation. At many resorts the low-hanging fruit have
yet to be picked.

On Tue, Nov 29, 2011 at 4:58 PM, Douglas Fenner <douglasfenner at yahoo.com>wrote:

>      I agree that the consumption of fossil fuels in flying to tropical
> resorts is a major problem for dive tourism.  Trying to reduce fossil fuel
> burning is also a major problem for a lot of aspects of our lives, not just
> dive tourism, and one we must solve, but most governments don't want to
> act, and most individuals don't want to reduce their consumption or pay
> extra to change to more sustainable ways.  It is a major problem for the
> whole world, and of course the world is warming which is threatening mass
> coral mortality from bleaching and acidification that will increasingly
> slow coral and coralline algae calcification, and together these threaten
> to end coral reefs as we know them.
>      I think we are going to have trouble getting traction just asking
> people not to take vacations to go diving in the tropics, I doubt just
> asking people not to do that will make much of a dent, and if it did it
> would be a major economic hardship to many poor countries in the tropics
> that depend heavily on tourism.  But I think we might have better prospects
> for trying to reduce fossil fuel consumption without reducing dive
> tourism.  (dive tourism, in spite of all the limitations, still provides an
> economic incentive for people to protect reefs)  One thought I have long
> had is that if I could take half as many trips, but stay twice as long, I
> could have as much diving fun and yet use half as much fossil fuel flying
> there and back, which would also save me money.  Another idea is that we
> can fly carbon-neutral.  There are companies that provide the service of
> reducing greenhouse gas emissions somewhere in an amount equal to that
> produced by
>  your part of a flight.  They do things like reduce methane emissions from
> land fills, which provides a relatively large effect for the cost (I was
> tempted to say "bang for the buck" but with methane, maybe I won't light
> that match!  grin).  Anyhow, the cost is surprisingly little for a fairly
> long flight.  The trick is to somehow get people to do this, because it is
> an extra cost for their trip, and even though it is a small cost, the
> traveler doesn't experience any immediate direct benefit themselves, other
> than perhaps feeling a bit less guilty.  But it has the potential to
> neutralize the effect of flying on greenhouse gas production.
>     Resorts certainly use fossil fuels as well.  One major form of this is
> electricity for air conditioning, because the electricity is almost always
> produced by burning fossil fuels.  But there are alternatives, and one is
> highly cost effective.  Right offshore from most dive resorts there is cold
> water only 1000 feet deep.  A pipe and pump can bring that water up,
> distribute it through heat exchangers to cool rooms, using a tiny amount of
> electricity for the pump for the amount of cooling produced.  The system
> saves so much money that it quickly pays for itself, and then goes on
> saving money and CO2 emissions long long after.  A resort in Tahiti that
> uses it loves it.  I'm told that such a system is planned for Honolulu.
> The piping is clearly the main hurdle.  But unlike renewables like solar,
> wind, and ocean thermal electricity generation, it is much less expensive
> to run than current practice.
>     My point is, that there are ways of greatly reducing greenhouse gas
> emissions produced by dive tourism.  We can do much better than we have
> been doing without killing dive tourism.  Dive tourism helps build a
> natural constituency of people who love reefs and will stand up for them.
> Doesn't seeing them first hand give us motivation to want to save them?
>     Cheers,  Doug
> Douglas Fenner
> Coral Reef Monitoring Ecologist
> Dept Marine & Wildlife Resources
> American Samoa
> Mailing address:
> PO Box 3730
> Pago Pago, AS 96799
> work phone 684 633 4456
> Climate summit faces big emitters' stalling tactics
> http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15894948
> Rich nations 'give up' on new climate treaty until 2020
> http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/nov/20/rich-nations-give-up-climate-treaty
> Cold Comfort: Frigid Months Will Still Come in a Warming World
> http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2011/11/cold-comfort-frigid-months-will-.html?ref=em&elq=e2655e4e80274b0ca3710f83f4f572c9
> Greenhouse gases soar: no signs warming is slowed
> http://news.yahoo.com/greenhouse-gases-soar-no-signs-warming-slowed-220224145.html
> Skeptic finds he now agrees global warming is real.
> http://news.yahoo.com/skeptic-finds-now-agrees-global-warming-real-142616605.html
> In 2010, a survey of more than 1,000 of the world's most cited and
> published climate scientists found that 97 percent believe climate change
> is very likely caused by the burning of fossil fuels.
> The American 'allergy' to global warming: why?
> http://news.yahoo.com/american-allergy-global-warming-why-171043981.html
> ________________________________
>  From: Juergen Herler <juergen.herler at univie.ac.at>
> To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> Sent: Sunday, November 27, 2011 6:05 AM
> Subject: [Coral-List] Sustainable tourism!?
> Dear listers!
> I really like some of the ideas, especially that well-managed coral reef
> destinations should be certified and financially rewarded by visitors.
> However, the main problem why I believe that tourism cannot contribute
> much for sustaining ecosystems in general is that tourism in itself is
> highly unsustainable. If you fly across half the world to spent one or two
> nice weeks in one of the luxury resorts of the Maldives, which takes an
> enormous amount of gasoline every day to be run in a comfortable way, how
> can that ever save their coral reefs in the long term and not do major
> damage to these and other ecosystems in the world?
> It of course would be great if tourism would become more 'eco' (based for
> example on some of the good suggestions in previous posts) but in terms of
> energy consumption, there is no such thing as 'eco'-tourism. Sustainable
> holidays will unfortunately only be the ones that are spent in the own
> garden. But since people will certainly not accept that, it is of course
> good if they prefer short- versus long-distance trips and destinations,
> which perform good conservation and are highly efficient in terms of water
> and energy consumption, but such destinations are usually expensive and
> restricted to the more wealthy people, which do not represent the majority
> of tourists. I have been doing research in the Red Sea of Egypt for more
> than seven years and this country has experienced a tremendous tourism
> boom, especially along the Red Sea coast, but unfortunately they receive
> many tourists which carry little money to Egypt and do not care much about
> corals reefs at all. The great majority are even not divers and do not
> like corals (because it hurts when they step on them during swimming). I
> also doubt that it is is a very humane approach that we preserve
> ecosystems (especially those of third world countries) because wealthy
> people from other countries - who can afford to travel there - would like
> to see them untouched. Very often you meet tourists who wish that, for
> example, fishing is banned from reefs so that they can see more fish while
> diving, but this fish very often feeds the local people (although they
> very often also do not fish sustainably).
> This all may apply less to destinations (just for example) like the
> Caribbean, when visited by US-tourists from the southern USA or to the
> Great Barrier Reef, visited by eastern Australians, but what I want to say
> is that it is just not correct to tell people that they do something good
> for an ecosystem if they travel a long distance to see it, instead of not
> visiting it, at least as long as tourism is run the way as it currently is
> (usually starting in pristine areas and degrading those areas quickly). I
> know this is a dilemma, but Ulf’s suggestion of a sustainability index
> could be applied to holiday trips also, and tax the travel and service
> providers according to that would be a necessary thing. So people could
> not easily shift to cheaper and unsustainable travels or destinations (and
> there are far too many of those in the world), if the sustainable ones
> become even more expensive (and some of the previous suggestions would of
> course cause that). People with less money would probably have to make
> shorter-distance trips and stay there longer, which for sure would still
> enable nice holidays. Today, people are 'fined' if they decide for more
> sustainable holidays. From my point of view, this cannot be the right
> approach.
> Best wishes
> Juergen
> --
> <°))))><
> Dr. Juergen Herler
> Faculty of Life Sciences
> University of Vienna
> Althanstraße 14
> A-1090 Vienna/Austria/Europe
> e-mail: Juergen.Herler at univie.ac.at
> http://homepage.univie.ac.at/juergen.herler
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