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How do you solve a problem like tourism? It employs hundreds of millions of people, buoys entire industries – but can tear apart the very cities that benefit from it, alienating residents and causing irreversible damage to their culture and heritage.

Protests across Europe have spurred talk of “responsible tourism” and forcing the sector to factor in sustainability, but the problem is already at such a scale that doing anything about it seems akin to turning around a cruise liner.

What’s the way out of this mess?
Read the full article here to find out.

By  for The Guardian.

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SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA – Maria Amalia Revelo, Costa Rica’s new minister of tourism, has revealed her plans to increase tourism to the Central American nation over the next four years. With over 40 years of experience in the airline, tourism and hospitality industry, Revelo has an ambitious agenda to continue placing Costa Rica at the forefront as the most visited destination in Central America.

Among her priorities for the next four years are the promotion of small and medium-sized companies while strengthening the joint work between the public and private sector. Great emphasis will also be on the development of new local destinations and products with a special focus on culture and gastronomy.

“We are a destination that is constantly evolving, able to offer unique experiences to visitors 365 days of the year. A small but large country not only in its natural richness, but also because of our warm and hospitable people, who will certainly manage to sow in your hearts the desire to return,” said Revelo.

Red the full article here.

By Angelos Restanis for Travel Daily News International.

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The western settlement of Longyearbyen, with a population of roughly 2,000, is the area’s main tourism hub. Currently it’s high-season, which means thousands of international tourists hungering for a glimpse of the Arctic’s natural splendor cruise on both small and large ships, occasionally disembarking for land excursions on remote islands.

On Sunday, 12 crew members from the German ship MS Bremen landed on the northern-most island of the archipelago to prepare for an on-shore excursion with passengers, according to a statement by the Svalbard governor’s office. A 42-year-old crew member was attacked by a polar bear, which was then shot and killed in what the crew member said was an act of self-defense.

The incident is being investigated by authorities, although it is possible that the crew had happened upon a starving bear.

“When you have more people coming to the same area in which the polar bears and other arctic animals live, the risk of conflict and disturbance increases — it’s more of a mathematical law,” said Morten Wedege, head of environmental protection for the governor of Svalbard. “Our challenge is to inform and educate and guide people to know how to behave in the high arctic.”

The incident sheds light on the challenges of tourism growth in the area.

Read the full article here.

By Sarah Hucal for ABC News 

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asian elephants, thailand, thai elephants

A wild elephant investigates a pickup truck in Thiland – Photo: © IUCN / Bampen Chaiyarak

A new study conducted by the Thai foundation Bring the Elephant Home (BTEH) shows that certain types of deterrence measures could reduce human-elephant conflict (HEC) in Thailand, and save lives on both sides. The study’s findings suggest that people’s interest in conserving elephants is more or less proportional to how much they stand to gain from the animals’ presence. It also found that those currently in conflict with elephants show a willingness to shift to alternative methods of deterrence to those currently being employed.

Elephants, revered and loved for ages in Thailand, have lately become a problem. Human settlements are expanding into elephant habitat, leaving wild populations of the species no other option but to invade human territory. Here, they can ravage plantations and destroy houses, which often escalates into direct confrontation. Conflicts between people and elephants result in hundreds of deaths per year on both sides, and pose a significant threat to the survival of Asian elephants, which are classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™.

Read the full article here.

By IUCN.

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plastic pollution, volunteers, plastic ocean

Volunteers clearing plastic from a beach in Mumbai, India. Photo by Hemanshi Kamani/Hindustan Times

Despite the increasing concern about the issue, there is little sign that plastic use is falling. Half of all the plastic ever made was produced in the last 13 years, says investment house Hermes, while output is set to increase by 40% in the next decade.

The plastics problem is a stark illustration of the problems of a global economy that is “overwhelmingly linear”. The linear economy sees goods produced in a “take, make and waste” model that assumes resources are essentially infinite and will always be available to make new products.

The circular economy requires a significant shift in mindset, starting with the design process, which must ensure that goods not only have minimal environmental impact in terms of the use of water, energy and materials, but also that they can easily be repurposed or recycled through a “cradle-to-cradle” approach.

Read the full article here.

By Mike Scott for Forbes.

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recycling, sustainability thailand, children recycling

Photo: © Siriporn Sriaram – IUCN/MFF

In a special World Environment Day op-ed, Aban Marker Kabraji, Regional Director for IUCN Asia and Director of IUCN’s Regional Hub for Asia-Oceania, writes about grassroots initiatives and efforts to engage the private sector that IUCN and Mangroves for the Future are already undertaking.

In Trat, residents of Mairood are showing how local action is not only possible and replicable, but also empowering and lasting. Through a project initiated by Mangroves for the Future (MFF), a joint IUCN and UNDP programme that provides grants across 11 countries, the community has started sorting, composting and recycling waste, and is looking to reduce collected waste by 80%.

Read the full article here.

By IUCN News.

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For those in the world of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Environmental and Social Governance reporting (ESG), an interesting dynamic is at play in Hong Kong, with a large multinational brand being drawn into the domestic “dirty” laundry of its licensee. The question is whether that local partner, and flagbearer of that brand, is able to find solutions which will not pull the value of the international brand down with its own domestic reputation.

In short, Maxim’s — the licensee of Starbucks in Hong Kong,  Macau, Singapore and Vietnam, with over 180 stores — is also the largest restaurant chain in Hong Kong, and it continues to serve shark fin. This is akin to having a menu option for elephant or rhino.

Read the full article here.

By Doug Woodring for GreenBiz.

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More than eight million tonnes of plastic enters the world’s oceans every year.

The BBC is to ban single-use plastics by 2020, after TV series Blue Planet II highlighted the scale of sea pollution.

First, throwaway plastic cups and cutlery will be scrapped by the end of this year, followed by plastic containers in canteens by 2019.

By 2020, the BBC hopes to be free of single-use plastic across all sites.

Tony Hall, director general of the BBC, said he had been “shocked” by the plastic waste featured in last year’s nature documentary.

Announcing its three-step plan on Tuesday, the BBC said some of its kitchens had already started replacing plastic cups with glasses.

Read the full article here.

By BBC News

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Credit: 123RF

Vanuatu’s foreign minister says a national audit currently underway will help determine the next stages of the country’s plastics ban.

Ralph Regenvanu said the audit would also examine ways of reducing plastic use, recycling and alternative materials.

He said the ultimate goal is to eliminate all single-use plastics going into the ocean.

“There’s going to be a number of options. There are some items we can obviously ban outright like we did with the three items we just banned. But then of course there’s options for container return, return and deposit schemes.

“That’s seems to be something that is very successful in other jurisdictions. Having a levy which is charged and then people get given a refund for the return of a particular item.”

Read the full article here.

By Radio New Zealand

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Credit: greenaperture / Shutterstock.com

At Collision, which calls itself “North America’s fastest-growing tech conference,” former United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres threw down a challenge to tech titans: move the world from incremental to exponential action on climate change.

Most significantly, the biggest influence the tech sector can have is not on its own emissions or even those of its suppliers—it is, after all, just 2-2.5 percent of global emissions. Tech titans are the interface with global consumers and citizens. On a daily basis, Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft influence the behavior of billions of people—the world’s middle classes and the world’s businesses.

Read the full article here.

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