It is official. Yesterday the 34-member Anthropocene Working Group (AWG) determined that we have now entered, in geological terms, the Anthropocene: the Age of Man. The group is still to determine the “golden spike” which may be the fall out from nuclear tests in the 1950s or the appearance of plastic in what will become the fossil record of our civilisation. We have become the dominant influence on climate and the environment.
This reminded me of Kate Raworth’s doughnut. The doughnut visualises the challenge we face: how to meet the needs of all within the means of the planet.
Kate’s doughnut looks like this:
We live on a finite planet – we cannot have infinite growth in population or consumption. We are already bumping up against the limits to growth and those limits apply to tourism as much as to all other industries and human activity. Carbon pollution in our atmosphere is causing global warming, plastic pollution is entering our food chain and damaging many other species. Earlier this month we heard from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) that 1 million species are threatened with extinction. There are many challenges, some of which can be addressed through tourism by the producers and the consumers.
A sustainable future for our children and grandchildren is what we all (well most of us) aspire to. The World Responsible Tourism Awards, now an extended family with Awards in Africa and India, identify those taking responsibility and through the way they run their business addressing carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption and shortages, plastic pollution and inclusive tourism by encouraging local economic development through their purchasing and employment policies.
We look for examples of good practice which if others emulated would make humans more sustainable.
You might be interested in…
- Carbon moves up the political agenda – action is overdue
- Netflix’s new David Attenborough series ‘Our Planet’ shows us what tourism’s future might be
- 2019 World Responsible Tourism Awards are now open
The categories for the WTM World Responsible Tourism Awards are:
- Best for Wildlife & Nature Conservation
- Best for Reducing Carbon & Other Greenhouse Gases
- Best for Transparent Reporting
- Best for Reducing Plastic Waste
- Best for Coping with Success, dealing with Overtourism
- Best for Benefiting Local People