Climate change is having a negative effect on tourism around the world. This puts the livelihoods of millions of people who depend on tourism at risk. You have to appreciate that there are nation’s whose entire economies are dependent on tourism. Thus anything that threatens tourism turns out to be a national security threat in such nations. And for sure, climate change is threatening tourism by among other things:
- Altering ecosystems: thus, for instance, in nations where there used to be lots of wild animals to be viewed by tourists, the numbers have dwindled. In some places, there are actually no wild animals remaining – sounding a death knell to the local tourism industries. The same applies even for marine life. That is where, due to climate change — and the resultant changes in ecosystems — places that used to have rich and attractive marine life now have none. Also at risk are some seaside tourist attractions, that are at risk of sinking/disappearing due to rising sea levels caused by climate change.
- Making the weather less predictable: this makes it hard to move tourists from one point to another. You also have to understand that there are tourists who move around in search of friendlier weather conditions. There are, for instance, tourists who flee from the cold (during the winter) to places that are likely to be warmer. Then, due to climate change, you find that places that used to be warmer during certain months are now colder and vice versa. This messes up tourism.
- Introducing conflicts where previously there was peace: tourism thrives where there is peace. But climate change is causing resource-based conflicts. These scare away tourists, leading to the decline of the tourism industries.
Now as mentioned earlier, there are millions of people who depend wholly on tourism for their livelihood. It can be hard to believe this, if you work in other sectors – such as public service, agriculture, finance, retail… and so on. Like if, for instance, you work in the food industry for a company like PepsiCo. In that case, you have a system where, on a fortnightly basis, you visit the My pepsico login page, to get your paycheck. The said login page, which is part of PepsiCo’s HR portal at Mypepsico.com is the gateway to the site where PepsiCo staff get to access all their work-related resources in one place…
Now being such a (PepsiCo) employee, it can be very hard for you to envision the life of someone else whose livelihood is predicated on tourism earnings. Yet the reality is that there are millions of such people globally. And those are people whose livelihoods are badly threatened by climate change.
There are certain steps we can take, to get people to take the climate change debate seriously. Currently, one easily gets the impression that the climate change debate is not taken as seriously as it ought to. People don’t seem to realize just how high the stakes here are. You will hardly find a front-page newspaper story on climate change. In parliaments and other houses of national congress, climate change is treated as a backburner issue. In a nutshell, the climate change debate is not really taken seriously. And this state of affairs is what gives rise to the question as to what we can do, to get people to take the climate change debate seriously. That is where we come to learn that some of the ways in which we can get people to take the climate change debate seriously include by:
- Ensuring that the debate is driven by credible people: if the climate change debate is driven by folks who are known to be jokers, or (discredited) conspiracy theorists, it will always be hard for it to be taken seriously.
- Backing the arguments with solid facts and figures: rather than being overly verbose, and trying to arouse people’s emotions in an ‘empty’ way, a better idea would be to back arguments with solid facts and figures. That will increase the chances of the arguments advanced in the climate change debate to be taken seriously.
- Showing people how climate change is likely to affect them personally: people tend to respond better to things that affect them personally. People tend to take things that affect them personally very seriously. This applies even for things that are perceived as minor or petty. If, for instance, you start talking about gift cards, and someone happens to have gotten one such card (which they are managing online at Mygiftcardsite.com) they will be all ears. Even if their last visit to the gift cards portal – that is, the Mygiftcardsite portal – showed them that their card had only a couple of bucks left, they will nonetheless pay attention. That is because they understand what their stake, however small, is. We can apply the same principle to the climate change debate. It is all about getting people to stop viewing climate change as a ‘global’ phenomenon that affects other people ‘out there’. It is about getting the people to understand that climate change is also a ‘local issue’ — one that is bound to affect them in one way or another, if it is not mitigated. Once they see that sense, they will be inclined to take the climate change debate more seriously.
We still have people out there who don’t believe in the reality of climate change. These people are also known as ‘climate change skeptics’. And they fall into two broad categories. In the first category, we have those who simply believe that the entire climate change story is a hoax, created to achieve certain objectives. And in the second category, we have those who are not entirely convinced that climate change is a reality. They are open to further persuasion, but for now, they are not entirely convinced.
So the challenge that arises is that of getting these climate change skeptics to accept the reality of climate change. How are we to do that? Well, in my view, there are two ways in which we can attempt to get the skeptics to accept the climate change reality, namely:
- By demonstrating to them how weather patterns have changed: this should be obvious – where, in some parts of the world, people are experiencing longer summers (than they used to), whereas in other parts, people are experiencing longer winters (than they used to). This is also where we see more frequent floods, droughts and other extreme weather patterns. So it becomes just a matter of highlighting these patterns, and trying to figure out what is causing them. Inevitably, the climate change answer will come up.
- By demonstrating to them how climate change is impacting human lives: there are people who will only get to understand the climate change reality when they see how it is affecting human lives. Here, you may be dealing with a fellow who works for a leading American corporation, and who is almost assured of finding a monthly paycheck at paycomonline.com. Such a fellow knows that he only has to show up at work regularly. Then, at the end of the month, he would log on to www.paycomonline.net, and find a nice paycheck waiting for him. To him, the reality of human existence in other parts of the world is remote. But you can nonetheless make an effort to get him to see how climate change is causing people to immigrate, and how climate change is causing conflicts in various parts of the world. Then, hopefully, he may get to a point of accepting the climate change reality.
In recent years, there has been a lot of talk on climate change. A lot of literature has been churned out on this topic. The scientists are able to pore through such literature, and from it, find the information they need to combat climate change. But ordinary people don’t have the time, energy or inclination to trawl through such literature, looking for info on how to combat climate change. Ordinary people want summaries, with simple practical tips on how to minimize negative climate change. Aware of that fact, I decided to write this short article, in which I will be outlining the three most important things that can be done in that regard. That is, the three most important things we can do, to minimize negative climate change.
Firstly, to minimize negative climate change, we need to get all members of the society to really know and understand the concept of climate change. You realize that there are many people who don’t understand the concept of climate change, and how it is likely to affect them. They are eve less informed about the roles they can play, as individuals, to minimize negative climate change. Therefore, there has to be an educational campaign (a sustained one), to help the members of the public in this regard.
Secondly, to minimize negative climate change, we need to switch from ‘dirty’ sources of energy. We really have to. Admittedly, this is a difficult suggestion to implement. The dirty sources of energy tend to be cheap. And nations need cheap energy, to prosper. Therefore getting them to switch from dirty energy, you will encounter difficulties. But if you can get them to appreciate just how much of a threat climate change is, perhaps you will have much less of a challenge. That is, much less of a challenge convincing them to switch from dirty energy sources.
Thirdly (and related to the second point above), we need to move towards clean energy. There are no two ways about it. Clean energy sources may not be as cheap as the alternatives. But when you consider climate change, and its likely impact in the long-run, you come to one conclusion. You come to the conclusion that the switch from dirty sources of energy to clean energy sources is a well justified move, whatever the cost.