SnippETS for 28 June 2018


Welcome to this week’s edition of our SnippETS newsletter. In this SnippETS we look at a recent survey which suggested that NZ voters are ready for action on climate issues, the environmental implications of global and local tourism, and leave you with a couple of ideas about how you can reduce your environmental impact in your own life.

Climate change has long been a political hot potato and regulatory action has been stifled by election cycles. Now that the dates for our commitments under the Paris Agreement are nearing, true cross party support is being called for regarding which actions to take on climate change. A recent survey suggests that a majority of NZ voters support cross party action on climate change, and it appears that we may have a chance to de-politicise the issue and gain forward momentum at long last.

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Has tourism reached epidemic proportions? Perhaps it has, when in 2016 it generated nearly $8 trillion in revenue, or 10.2% of the world’s entire GDP. It also accounted for 292 million jobs or about 11% of the global workforce. No wonder the United Nations has been concerned about the sector’s impact on its 2030 goals for sustainable development, with 2017 having been declared as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism.

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In Hawaii, tourism is their biggest industry, with 9.4 million people visiting the islands in 2017. At the recent VERGE Hawaii – Hilton’s Daniella Foster stated that "The entire travel and tourism industry is going to rely on being sustainable, where local communities benefit and it is environmentally sustainable”. There are now plans in the industry to increase transparency by sharing data on carbon footprints, energy efficiency, water usage and local procurement strategies. Read More....

Since we are featuring articles on tourism and sustainability, we thought to revisit the announcement that international visitors will pay double what New Zealanders will for on the four great walks. As the Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage stated "The seven month trial from October 2018 to April 2019 will provide information on the effectiveness of pricing as a tool to manage visitor pressure”. From a demand perspective, this may be New Zealand’s first moves to make tourism more sustainable. Read More....

Contrast that with Greece, which is being overrun and with little to no plans on how to deal with tourist numbers. For every one Greek citizens, three foreign visitors will travel there this year. If that was to be repeated in New Zealand, that would be 15 million tourists a year. At least 20% of Greeks work in tourism and with tourist numbers continuing to grow at 2 million per year, it is simply not sustainable. Read More....


Another example of unsustainable tourism is in Maya Bay, Thailand, where unchecked tourist numbers coupled with rising sea temperatures have damaged 75% of Thailand’s coral reefs. Now Maya Bay will be closed for tourists, four months a year in order to protect the environment. Despite tourism making up 12% of the economy, Thon Thamrongnawasawat – a local marine expert said “Tourism is important, but we need to preserve these spaces for our future generations, for future livelihoods”. Read More....

Our last article on tourism is Kri Island, which is nestled in the heart of the Raja Ampat Marine Park - claimed to be the world’s most biologically diverse coral habitat. Already the island is struggling to cope with an explosion in visitor numbers, up from 998 in 2007 to 14,137 in 2015. Plans for installing renewable generation and electrifying all diving boats, to mooring systems that will not need the use of anchors, are all measures actively being pursued. Perhaps tourism itself is unsustainable?

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Ecosia, a search engine founded in 2009 and has just planted over 30 million trees and counting. Check out the video which highlights some of the benefits of all these trees being planted.

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This might be difficult for many people out there, but avoiding meat and dairy products is the single biggest way to reduce our impact on earth, a hard one to swallow. New analysis shows that while meat and dairy provide just 18% of calories and 37% of protein, it uses the vast majority – 83% – of farmland and produces 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions, somethings got to give!

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This week in Innovation, a clever fix to the biggest climate problem - the most dangerous greenhouse gases come from your fridge. This technology eliminates them. Read More

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