There are lots of names for these new forms of tourism: responsible tourism, alternative tourism, sustainable tourism, nature tourism, adventure tourism, educational tourism and more. Ecotourism probably involves a little of all of them. Everyone has a different definition but most people agree that ecotourism must:
∑ Conserve the wildlife and culture of the area
∑ Benefit the local people and involve the local community
∑ Be sustainable, that is make a profit without destroying natural resources
∑ Provide an experience that tourists want to pay for.
So, for example, in a true ecotourism project, a nature reserve allows a small number of tourists to visit its rare animals and uses the money that is generated to continue with important conservation work. The local people have jobs in the nature reserve as guides and wardens, but also have a voice in how to project develops. Tourists stay in local houses with local people, not in specially built hotels. So they experience the local culture and do not to take precious energy and water away from the local population. They travel on foot, by boat, bicycle or elephant so that there is no pollution. And they have a special experience that they will remember all of their lives.
Natural disasters take many different forms and can happen without warning. Earthquakes, floods, volcanoes, drought, typhoons and hurricanes are all natural disasters.
The surface of the Earth is moving continuously (although very slowly) and has done so for billions of years. This is one cause of earthquakes, when one section the earth (tectonic plate) collides with another. Scientists can predict where (but not when) this might happen and the area between plates is called a fault line.
Volcanoes happen where the earthís crust is thin- lava, dust and gases burst out (erupt) from beneath the earth. They can rise into a massive cone shape- like a mountain- and erupt, or they can be so violent that they just explode directly from the earth with no warning.
Hurricanes are extremely strong storms. They cause high winds, huge waves, and heavy flooding and can be hundreds of miles across. Tornadoes or Ďtwistersí are very strong spinning winds. They can move objects as big as a car and can blow buildings down.
Floods happen in many countries after very heavy rainfall. When rain pours for weeks at a time, rivers overflow and people and property can be trapped or simply washed away.
A drought happens when there is no water- when it doesnít rain for a long time and rivers dry up. Plants, animals and even humans die as a result of drought, for we all need water to live.
All the disasters are very dangerous and continue to kill thousands of people each year as they are often unpredictable.
Climate change, global warming, the greenhouse effectÖthese days nobody denies that there is something strange and worrying happening to the atmosphere. But for the second year running scientists are puzzled by the rise in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. They are afraid that the world may be a short way from what they refer to as runaway global warming.
Climate analysts feel that it is too soon to draw conclusions about the phenomenon although some are concerned that the carbon dioxide emissions are getting out of control. They are starting to think that instead of having decades to find a solution to the problem, we might have only a few years. Some believe that the Earthís natural systems for absorbing the gas are breaking down resulting in the runaway greenhouse effect. This is something that could happen if the Earthís temperatures rose to such a degree that the planet was unable to contain the heat.
Forest fires might hold the answer to the puzzle, along with a couple of very hot summers in Europe. Vegetation would have died off and more carbon would have been released from the soil into the atmosphere.
Most scientists feel that it is too soon to say that a new trend has been set. All agree that the phenomenon needs to be closely observed.
Itís easy to suppose that we all feel the same way about global warming. After all, everybody wants to save the world, donít they? We all want to make a contribution, however small, and we all do our best. You arenít one of those people who wastes water, are you? Of course not! And Iím sure youíve got low-energy light bulbs in your house, havenít you? You bet! Not everyone is so enthusiastic, of course. Some people wonder what they can do to help, and donít really know what to do. Until they find out by paying attention to what the worldís scientists are saying. At least, we all hope this is true, donít we? Still, there are quite a lot of people who just hope that the problem will go away. Why do they do this, we might ask. Donít they want to make a difference?
Their usual response is ďWe donít really know whether the climate is changingĒ. Donít we? Well, of course we do. There is plenty of evidence of climate change, isnít there? We know that we are wasting energy and polluting the planet, donít we? Itís all quite simple really. And if you do know anyone who is still uncertain about whether to save the world or not, your message to them should be clear. What are you waiting for? If you think this is just somebody elseís problem, it will, very soon, be your problem as well. Believe it.