Climate change and travel are often linked in the news, especially as people rush to 'see the sights' before they disappear.
There's no question that climate change will affect the way we travel - in fact, it's happening already. Should you be rushing to see the sights?
Women on the Road NEWS: Contents for Issue #32
What You Need to Know About Climate Change and Travel
Travel to endangered places is on the rise as people rush to see them - just in case. Climate change travel, or climate sightseeing, will probably intensify if the environment continues to change as predicted.
After all, wouldn't you rush for a final glimpse of the Swiss Alps or the Great Barrier Reef if you thought they'd be gone in a few years? Actually, you never know - they could be. In the next 10-15 years, parts of the world may look quite different than they do now - if they exist at all.
Small low-lying islands will be the first to suffer.
Sea levels are expected to rise and temperatures get warmer, bleaching and eventually killing corals. Beaches will erode and shrink as water levels rise. For most small islands, this means lost tourism dollars and for a few, it may spell extinction. In the Caribbean, tourism accounts for 15% of the economy and 13% of jobs, so there's a lot at stake. Island countries like the Maldives - a glorious collection of 1190 coral atolls - and Tuvalu are battling for their very existence.
Glaciers are retreating and the snow line is moving up.
The snows of Kilimanjaro, the Andes and the Alps are melting. In fact, the disappearance of glaciers in the Alps is so dramatic I can actually see it from one year to the next (I only live an hour away). In Bolivia, glacier melt threatens the water supply in cities below. In some places, snow is falling significantly later and lighter, and warm weather is precipitating avalanches. Skiers will have to head ever higher up to find snow and for local communities, this spells economic disaster.
With climate change comes species threat.
When climate warms, insects, plants and animals - the very ones we pay so much to visit and observe - may become threatened as their habitats are destroyed. Mountains, deserts, floodplains - everything stands to be affected. Wildlife tourism may suffer as migration paths and breeding grounds shift. Species that could face extinction as a result of global warming include polar bears in the Arctic, wildebeest in the savannah, mountain gorillas in Central Africa, and Monarch butterflies in Mexico. I've been to see those amazing mountain gorillas - and I'm glad I did.
While some species go, others may come.
Malaria mosquitoes have been spotted in certain parts of southern Spain, well out of their usual tropical habitat, and if climate trends continue, these insects may decide to call the region home. Imagine having to take Lariam in Spain! Other areas that are at greater malaria risk because of global warming include Central Asia, China, the highlands of Kenya, and the southern regions of South America.
Temperatures may rise unbearably.
Major heat waves that kill thousands - like the 2003 catastrophe that killed 15,000 people in France - are becoming more common. Searing temperatures could make some destinations too uncomfortable to visit, not to mention the water shortages the lack of rain might cause. In some places, desert areas could spread. Areas where heat could become an issue include parts of southern Europe, possibly in Crete, Greece and Italy - and some forecasters believe these heat waves could even reach as far as Great Britain in the next few years.
Global warming could increase other natural weather incidents.
We could face stronger cyclones and hurricanes and heavier rainfall. We all saw what happened in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and it seems the Florida Everglades may also be at risk from increased hurricanes. Northern snowfalls may also increase with global warming, since warm air is wetter (so, more snow). Extreme flooding is also a risk, especially in poorer countries that don't have a good infrastructure. Travel to these destinations in the rainy season could become impossible. Places like Goa in India, for example, could face a combination of severe cyclones, wind damage and coastal flooding.
Your favorite activity could be... cancelled
If you love to dive in coral reefs, warmer seas could make corals scarcer. If you're a golfer, you probably know by now that golf courses are thirsty things that drink up scarce water, lower water tables and damage the environment. Climate change, by making water scarcer, may turn golf greens into golf yellows. And if you ski, you'd better have access to some high mountains.
So - should you go or should you not?
Excessive crowds can be as dangerous to a place as climate change. Too many visitors put pressure on the environment, and in your haste to see something before it goes, you may be helping it disappear. On the other hand, money generated by tourism helps save endangered places by financing conservation and rehabilitation efforts. I would go - but would travel responsibly. Take the most direct flight, even if it costs a bit more. Use the train when you're at your destination. Find a conservation volunteering project while you're there. Give to a local environmental charity. Or make your flights climate neutral by supporting schemes like Climate Care.
Are you a woman on the road with a travel question?
Are you wondering...
- how safe it is to travel solo?
- the best places to go on your own?
- how much it might cost?
- what to pack?
- how to meet people and ward off loneliness?
- about the most unusual destinations?
Here are some recent questions readers have asked in the past month:
Israel/Egypt solo for a young, first-time female traveler?
Can women over 70 travel solo?
Lost, confused, 25 and wishing I could travel
If you're a woman on the road - or about to hit the road - and have a question which could be of interest to other readers, post it here and I'll answer it online. Please don't ask me for job leads or recommendations for hotels or restaurants - plenty of sites out there do that far better than I ever could!
If you need to get in touch with me personally, please either Reply to this email or use this form. Unless you include your email, I can't get back in touch! Several of you have kindly made comments or pointed out errors (Elena in Switzerland?) but I have no way of contacting you so please, don't forget to include your email address.
Thank you for your feedback on my free travel course!
Dozens of you have now completed the course and have found it useful - I'm delighted to hear that!
If you've ever thought of writing to pay for your travels, you may be like thousands of others who love the road, need the money, and would be thrilled to see their name in print.
I've paid for my own travel as a writer so I've learned a trick or two about what kind of writing sells and how to make a living at it. To share some of these travel writing tips with you I've developed a free online course called the The Travel Writing Magician, available exclusively to readers of this ezine.
Just sign up and get it in your mailbox in seven easy daily installments. Work the assignments on your own and see how your writing improves after just one week. You'll never know if there's a travel writer lurking inside you until you try!
Last Month's 10 Most Visited Pages on www.women-on-the-road.com
1. Travel Packing List
2. Overseas Jobs
3. Travel Money Belt
4. First Aid Kit Checklist
5. Solo Travel
6. How to Avoid Crime Abroad
7. Dealing with Street Beggars
8. Volunteer Work Overseas
9. Travel Accessories for Women
Travel News from across the Web
The World's 10 Safest Countries?
How to Travel Africa
Losing the Wonder of Travel?
Be a Treehugger: Amazing Trees Around the World
44 Internship, Volunteering and Other Opportunities in Africa
8 Safety Tips for Female Travelers
How to Play it Safe in an Internet Cafe
How to Make Friends Abroad
Movie Beaches Tour
How Could You Afford a Round the World Trip?
10 Best US Independence Day Fireworks
If you prefer your travels in video
Backpacking Cat Amazing Story (in French - but well worth it if you're a cat lover)
Around the World in 80 Seconds
For food lovers...
Alicante's Sweetest Escape: Jijona
Battle of the Best Ice Creams in Buenos Aires
A Consumer's Guide to Jamón Serrano and Jamón Ibérico
A Rough Guide to Dim Sum
Epicurean Travel in Panama City
Riding the Iron Rails Through Arctic Russia
Cycling in Djerba, Tunisia
Liechtenstein: A Friendly Little Country
Gentle Spirit, The Island of Curaçao
Croatia: 10 Best Stops
Walking in the Footsteps of Pancho Villa
Riding the Cape Peninsula Loop
Travel to Turkey: A Recommended Reading List
Plitvice National Park, Croatia: The Land Before Time
A Walk Through George Town, Penang
The World's Most Dangerous Place: Our Own Imagination
Book Review: The Art of Solo Travel: A Girl's Guide
by Stephanie Lee (2010)
If you're thinking of traveling solo for the first time, The Art of Solo Travel is the place to start.
Feisty, congenial, pictorial and smart, this e-book will tell you everything you need to get you out the door and on the road, including how to save for your trip, how to leave your loved ones behind, what to do along the way, and how to come home. It's short, light and to the point, no padding like so many other e-books.
It's written by Stephanie Lee, an architect turned travel writer, who traveled solo for six months and took plenty of notes to write about it when she got home. Her advice carries plenty of common sense, from the obvious - don't walk alone in dark alleys - to using iGoogle for everything from location to translation.
The author's central premise? "Embrace your individuality and sense of adventure."
Cause of the Month
Why Landmines Should be Banned
Every two hours, somewhere, someone is killed or maimed by a landmine or unexploded ordnance, bombs that have failed to explode.
As is usually the case in a humanitarian crisis, the most vulnerable are also the most affected - farmers (whose fields have been mined), refugees or people returning to heavily mined homes.
Children too are particularly vulnerable to landmines or bombs:
Landmines still affect millions of people in more than 80 countries, two-thirds of them civilians. They don't discriminate - landmines kill everyone, men and women, friend and foe, old and young. They also maime for life.
- cluster bombs come in pretty bright colors - they look like shiny toys and are tempting to pick up
- children run around and play, and can easily stray into a minefield
- they're small and can miss seeing a mine that an adult would easily see
- if they're too young or too uneducated to read, they won't be able to read the warning signs
- they're not as likely to get artificial limbs as injured adults
- and even if they do, they may not get replacements as they grow out of their prostheses
Not only do landmines injure and kill people, they devastate societies. Where mines are plentiful, the simplest tasks become highly dangerous, like farming, tending livestock or gathering firewood, yet people may have no choice since they have to feed their families. A landmine victim usually can't contribute to the family, so other family members will use their own productive time taking care of injured relatives. Landmines also leave psychological scars that can last for life.
A major tragedy of landmines is how easy and safe they are to lay - and how deadly they are to remove, one by one, often by poor people who need work in countries already torn apart by war. It costs $3 to make a landmine, and up to $1000 to safely remove one.
To help the fight against landmines or to find out more:
ICBL - International Campaign to Ban Landmines
US Campaign to Ban Landmines
Clear Path International
The Catholic Campaign to Ban Landmines
Human Rights Watch
War Child International
Petition to President Obama on Landmines
Next Month in Women on the Road NEWS?
Travel to Unrecognized Countries
(c) 2007-2010, Leyla Giray. All rights reserved. Women on the Road News is published monthly. Reproduction of any material from this newsletter without written permission is prohibited.