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Pondering the universe


Tourism, pandemics and climate change

Tourism gets hit hard by pandemics as countries close down their borders to protect their citizens. Travel within countries is also restricted, and businesses are shut down, resulting in cleaner air as many fewer polluting vehicles are on the move.

Unfortunately, dependence upon tourism and the money it brings in seems to lead some governments' officials to suppress publicity around the negative effects, significantly affecting a proper public health response. The result has been a delay in people getting checked, and thus giving more opportunity for the virus to spread because people don't know they need to promptly deal with some symptoms they are having.

It seems that the more authoritarian countries with suppressed or state-controlled media are the ones more likely to engage in suppression and suffer the consequent blowouts in infections, as well as being key to the spread to other countries, especially if those countries have similar regimes.

Tourism is a big polluter as it promotes entertainment travel in an effort to soak up middle-class discretionary income. Couple that with business class indulgence to soak up excess corporate money, and there is a lot of fuel burnt. It encourages many people in popular destinations to significantly alter their lifestyles to pander to tourists, often to the detriment of their own enjoyment of their lives and surroundings. Tackling climate change requires us to abandon use of fossil fuels, which add extra heat to the atmosphere, both directly by burning, and via the products of that combustion.

We will have to significantly alter our 'business as usual' attitudes to allow the earth's recovery process to proceed, but we have been very reluctant to do so, largely with the 'help' of those harvesting those fuels in their efforts at corrupting politicians who are supposed to represent our interests, and in advertising the 'virtues and benefits' of burning these fuels to our societies and lifestyles.

This all has to change, and pandemics may well prompt the long-term curtailing of tourism and its effect upon the environment and our lifestyles, just because we will be able to see that we can learn to get along with a lot less tourism. People will begrudgingly have to acquiesce, but any long-term need to adjust will be accompanied by government advertising for the need to make the necessary adjustments, and advertisements for how to entertain ourselves and communicate in hopefully less fuel-consumption-conspicuous ways.

The writing may be on the wall that tourism will be the first real economic sacrifice to climate change. The irony of all this is that the later pandemics seem to be sparked by unsanitary conditions in wet markets where wild animals are kept in far too close a proximity to each other and people, and all for the economic advantage of pandering to relieving the privileged of their discretionary income. One seeming minor economic imperative impeding a much larger one.

The root of it all seems to be greed of the lowly in societies, but essentially leads back to the excessive economic divisions we have in society that force many have to go to extremes to support themselves. The greed of the rich, lies and false carrots fed to the middle classes to keep them occupied, the poor left to fend for themselves, and still the results are economic losses for the rich. Something's got to change before this foolishness leads to societal collapse.

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