A Delicate Balance: Building Back Tourism In Ways That Support Nature and Communities

A Delicate Balance: Building Back Tourism In Ways That Support Nature and Communities

By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer “Nature is healing” memes aside, the past year of paused travel has had an unexpected downside for wildlife worldwide. In some countries, fewer tourists and cruise ships have given animals a reprieve, like whales off the coast of Alaska no longer subjected to five months of constant cruise ship […]

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First All-Civilian Private Space Flight to Launch This Year

First All-Civilian Private Space Flight to Launch This Year

On Monday, SpaceX announced that it would launch the first all-civilian crew to space this year, with no training or assistance from NASA or another government agency.  Leading the four-person mission will be billionaire Jared Isaacman, an experienced pilot and CEO of e-commerce company Shift4.

Why this Matters: This publicity stunt is meant to suggest that the goal of space tourism — to bring ordinary citizens to outer space — is nearer than we think.

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37% of UNESCO Heritage Sites Damaged by Climate Change

37% of UNESCO Heritage Sites Damaged by Climate Change

Many of the world’s most well-known treasures are UNESCO heritage sites, from the Great Barrier Reef to the Taj Mahal. Yet dozens of these sites are under threat from climate change. Flooding, droughts, fires, and the bleaching of coral reefs have marred 83 of the 252 World Heritage Sites.

Why this Matters: UNESCO World Heritage sites are incredibly important ecosystems and cultural symbols, and it would be a tragedy to lose them.

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Mauritius Scrambling to Save Wildlife and Its Tourism Industry After Devastating Oil Spill

Mauritius Scrambling to Save Wildlife and Its Tourism Industry After Devastating Oil Spill

On Saturday, the Japanese oil tanker Wakashio that ran aground three weeks ago off the coast of the island of Mauritius broke in half. The Panama-flagged vessel was traveling from China to Brazil with no cargo, but it was carrying more than 4,000 tons of heavy fuel oil and diesel, of which between 800 and 1,200 tons have already spilled. 

Why This Matters:  It is unbelievably challenging to clean up an oil spill of this magnitude — just ask anyone who stood on the beaches in Louisiana mopping up oil after the Deepwater Horizon spill.

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Blue Economy Is Worth $373B to US Economy, Largely Tied to Tourism and Recreation

Blue Economy Is Worth $373B to US Economy, Largely Tied to Tourism and Recreation

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) calculated for the first time the value of commercial activities dependent on the nation’s oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes and found that they “floated” $373B of GDP in 2018 and that their growth was stronger than overall GDP growth that year. 

Why This Matters:  Ocean health matters but its impact on the economy is one of the biggest reasons – and now more than ever as we rebuild it.

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Botswana Lifts Ban On Hunting Elephants

Botswana Lifts Ban On Hunting Elephants

After a 5-year ban, the government announced recently that elephant hunting is again legal in the southern African nation of Botswana. The former President Ian Khama originally implemented the hunting ban, but it came under scrutiny by Khama’s successor, President Mokgweetsi E.K. Masisi, with the Environment Ministry citing conflicts with humans and an inability to manage increasing elephant populations as the rationale.

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