Category Archives: Endangered Places

Travel Experts to Discuss Lessons from COVID-19 on Tourism in a Changing Climate

Jokulsarlon Glacier, Iceland. The travel and tourism industry, which sustains environments, cultures and economies in communities around the world, faces twin crises of climate change and COVID-19. The Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) is hosting a free 2020 World Tourism Day Webinar on Tuesday, September 29 © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.

Join the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) for a 2020 World Tourism Day Webinar entitled Lessons from COVID-19 for Tourism in a Changing Climate, Tuesday, September 29, 11:00 am–12:30 pm EST

Registration for this free event is now open, and space is limited.

CREST’s annual meta-analysis, The Case for Responsible Travel: Trends & Statistics, will share key studies on COVID-19 and climate change and the lessons that may be applied from the former to meet the challenges of the latter. CREST’s World Tourism Day Webinar will share the report’s key findings and will bring together experts to discuss consumer, business, and destination trends in the context of recovery. 

Distinguished speakers will explore the unprecedented opportunity to mitigate two existential threats, climate change and COVID-19, with one coordinated approach, truly making the world a safer, more equitable, and more resilient place for all.

Panelists will include:

The latest report, The Case for Responsible Travel: Trends & Statistics 2020, a special edition on lessons from COVID-19 for tourism in a changing climate, comes at an unprecedented time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 has highlighted the immense need and value of tourism, while fundamentally changing the way destinations, businesses, and travelers will plan, manage, and experience tourism. At the same time, climate change remains an existential threat that has real consequences for destinations and communities everywhere.

The report includes a special focus on the two major crises facing our world today: climate change and COVID-19. Sharing cutting-edge research and examples, the report describes how travelers, tourism businesses, and destinations are implementing workable, sustainable solutions to support our planet and its people. The report also provides an overview of what consumers, businesses, and destinations are experiencing during COVID-19 and offers sustainable solutions that can help the tourism industry on a road to responsible recovery.

“Crisis often breeds innovation, and destination communities and businesses must now take the time to reconsider the path forward,” said Gregory Miller, Executive Director of CREST. “As we look to the future of tourism, the same rigor and dedication that is needed to adapt to the pandemic must also be applied to neutralize the threat of climate change.”

Trends & Statistics 2020 updates CREST’s previous industry studies, released every year since 2013. This year’s report was prepared in collaboration with more than 30 leading organizations, researchers, and institutions, including the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

The full report is available at responsibletravel.org.

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Save Venice Launches Immediate Response Fund Following Historic November Floods In Venice, Italy

Venice under water. Save Venice, an American non-profit organization, has formed an Immediate Response Fund for artistic and cultural heritage recovery following the extreme floods (acque alte) that devastated Venice between November 12-17, 2019 © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Save Venice, an American nonprofit organization, has formed an Immediate Response Fund for artistic and cultural heritage recovery following the extreme floods (acque alte) that devastated Venice between November 12-17, 2019. The Embassy of Italy in Washington DC and Save Venice are partnering to raise funds for the Immediate Response Fund, which will support urgent relief efforts and preventative conservation. Donations can be made at savevenice.org/donate by selecting the Immediate Response Fund, and will be matched by Save Venice, dollar for dollar, up to $100,000 through February 2020.

“Save Venice was born in the aftermath of the terrible floods of November 1966, and the November 2019 floods underscore the urgency of our mission,” said Save Venice Chairman Frederick Ilchman. “The Immediate Response Fund will allow Save Venice to move quickly to mitigate the effects of corrosive saltwater and deposits in flooded churches, museums, and comparable public buildings, to support emergency conservation treatment for paintings, stonework, floors, wooden furnishings, and books and archival documents, as well as to undertake preventative conservation to minimize damage from future floods. We will continue to do what our track record proves we do best: protect Venice’s irreplaceable artistic heritage.”

The Italian Ambassador, Armando Varricchio, noted, “Venice has deep historical roots and is a modern and vibrant city, innovative and open to the future with a strong entrepreneurial and industrial background. Venice and Venetians are resilient. They will rise to this challenge,” adding that “the legacy of the past, the energy and dynamism of nowadays Venice are the solid foundations on which to build a bright future for the city.”

Dr. Ilchman said, “We are honored to partner with the Embassy of Italy on this important initiative to make a difference for Venice, and we express our gratitude to Ambassador Varricchio.”

Headquartered in New York City, Save Venice maintains a full-time office in Venice with staff members diligently overseeing each conservation site. They are collaborating with conservators and local authorities to assist with damage assessment and plans for the recovery process. As new environmental challenges arise, Save Venice and its family of experts are prepared to devise and implement additional preservation protocols. The Board of Directors of Save Venice is convinced that the time to act is now.

Save Venice is a leading American non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the artistic heritage of Venice, Italy for the world. Founded in response to the floods of 1966, the worst in recorded history, and incorporated in 1971, Save Venice has since worked tirelessly to preserve, protect, and promote the art and culture of Venice and has funded the conservation of more than 550 projects comprising over 1,000 individual artworks. In 2015, Save Venice established the Rosand Library & Study Center in Venice, creating a nexus for the research of Venetian art, history, and conservation. Save Venice also provides grants for fellowships, exhibitions, and publications to advance Venetian scholarship and conservation.

For more information about Save Venice, visit: www.savevenice.org

Facebook, Instagram & Twitter: @SaveVeniceInc

Industry to Gather on World Tourism Day to Discuss Best Practices for Responsible, Sustainable Travel

Biking in India: Travel can provide the economic base to sustain ancient heritage and conserve wildlife and environment but too much can also destroy. Responsible travel industry entities and governments are working to minimize adverse impact. One of the ways for travelers to maximize their contribution and minimize adverse impact is by a bike tour © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

How can the travel industry better support the communities we love around the world? On World Tourism Day, leaders in tourism and community development will come together in Washington, DC on Friday, September 27, to discuss best practices for travel giving, voluntourism, and corporate social impact.

The 2019 World Tourism Day Forum, Impact Tourism: Giving Time, Talent, & Treasure, is a day-long event focused on how tourism business, travelers, and organizations are successfully making strategic contributions of time, talent, and treasure to social and environmental projects in destinations. Recognizing that “doing good” does not always mean “doing right,” the forum will also examine the downsides of poorly implemented travel giving programs.

Hosted by the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) and the Organization of American States, this event will trace the evolution of what was originally referred to as “travelers’ philanthropy” into “impact tourism,” which is recognized today as a core component of responsible travel. Designed to generate insights and highlight innovation, the forum will also discuss the future of this growing source of development assistance.

Select speakers include:

  • James Thornton, Chief Executive Officer, Intrepid Travel
  • Chris Blackwell, Founder, Island Outpost
  • Meenu Vadera, Founder & Executive Director, Women on Wheels/Azad Foundation
  • Katherine Redington, Vice President of Social Impact Journeys and Business Development, Elevate Destinations
  • Carmen Portela, Co-Founder, Local Guest

For a complete list of speakers and topics, visit the event website.

The event is taking place on Friday, September 27, 2019,  8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m at United States Institute of Peace, 2301 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC (reached by the Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro, Blue, Orange, and Silver lines).

National Trust Issues Appeal to Help Save America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places for 2019

National Mall Tidal Basin, Washington, D.C. is on the National Trust for Historic Preservation list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places for 2019 © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

By National Trust for Historic Preservation

Each year, the National Trust for Historic Preservation puts out an emergency call to protect the most endangered historic places. This year’s list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places sheds light on important examples of our nation’s heritage that are at risk of destruction or irreparable damage. Over 300 places have been listed in its 32-year history, and in that time, fewer than 5 percent of listed sites have been lost.

The 2019 list includes a diverse mix of historic places across America that face a range of challenges and threats, from climate change to inappropriate development to neglect and disuse.

Find out what you can do to support these irreplaceable sites:

Tenth Street Historic District, Dallas, Texas

ADD YOUR NAME

Primarily settled by formerly enslaved people after the Civil War, Dallas’ Tenth Street Historic District includes a collection of buildings dating from the late 19th to early 20th century. A 2010 change to a local ordinance allowed the city to obtain demolition permits for houses less than 3,000 square feet without Landmark Commission review, which is substantially increasing the rate of demolition. To date, at least 70 of the district’s 260 homes have been demolished.

To challenge this local law, a local preservation group filed a lawsuit against the City of Dallas. Add your name to our petition telling the City of Dallas to amend or repeal this unjust city ordinance.

Nashville’s Music Row, Nashville, Tennessee

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Nashville’s Music Row is a world-class musical mecca that harbors more than 200 music-related businesses, making it unlike any other place in the world. Out of its modest homes and large commercial buildings has emerged an unmatched canon of music recordings across a wide variety of musical styles, which has delighted music fans for generations.

Despite its critical role in the identity, economy, and culture of internationally renowned “Music City,” Music Row is on pace to becoming a thing of the past. Since 2013, 50 buildings—the majority serving music-related functions—have been demolished to make way for new development. With a new plan to guide Music Row’s future under development, now is an important time to urge Nashville lawmakers to preserve and protect this epicenter of America’s musical heritage.

James R. Thompson Center, Chicago, Illinois

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The James R. Thompson Center is Chicago’s best example of grand-scale Postmodern architecture. But Governor J.B. Pritzker recently signed legislation allowing for sale of the building within two years to help fill a state budget gap. Without preservation protections, the Thompson Center could be demolished. Add your name to our list urging Governor Pritzker to require retention and reuse of the Thompson Center when the building is sold.

Industrial Trust Company Building, Providence, Rhode Island

An iconic part of the Providence skyline, the 1928 Industrial Trust Company Building is under threat due to deterioration and deferred maintenance after six years of vacancy. While this site is located within a qualified “Opportunity Zone” (an area eligible for capital gains tax incentive benefits), there is no redevelopment plan for the so-called Superman Building, and its future is in question. Read More.

Ancestral Places of Southeast Utah, Southeast Utah

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Archaeologists believe this area to be one of the country’s most culturally rich but unprotected landscapes open to oil and gas extraction. In the last two years, the Bureau of Land Management dramatically escalated leasing activity in the region, despite concerns from the National Trust, affected tribes, and our regional partners. Send a letter to the Department of the Interior urging them to recognize the cultural significance of these lands.

The Excelsior Club, Charlotte, North Carolina

Listed in the Green Book, the Excelsior Club was a leading private African American social club in the Southeast, hosting artists like Nat King Cole and Louis Armstrong during its heyday. The Art Moderne building needs significant investment. The property is currently listed for sale for $1.5 million, but even if a buyer is found, a reuse plan and significant investments are necessary to ensure a strong future. Read more.

National Mall Tidal Basin, Washington, D.C.

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This iconic cultural landscape comprises some of our nation’s most renowned monuments and famed cherry blossom trees. It’s estimated that as much as $500 million is needed to upgrade and maintain one of the most popular and visited sites in the National Park System. Join our three-year campaign to ensure the Tidal Basin is preserved for future generations.

Hacienda Los Torres, Lares, Puerto Rico

SIGN THE PETITION

Hacienda Los Torres—built in 1846 during the height of Puerto Rico’s coffee industry by Jose Maria Torres—is one of the last historic coffee plantation houses on the island and one of the oldest remaining structures in Puerto Rico. It’s also associated with the “Grito de Lares” revolt and the Spanish-American War.

Long-term deterioration and the effects of multiple hurricanes, including Hurricane Maria in 2017, threaten this historic site. Support saving Hacienda Los Torres.

Willert Park Courts, Buffalo, New York

ADD YOUR NAME

This complex, a unique example of early Modernism with bas-reliefs depicting scenes of everyday life, was New York State’s first housing project constructed specifically for African Americans. Today, the site is vacant and many of its structures are open to the elements. The Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority has proposed demolishing the complex to construct replacement housing.

Ask the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority to preserve and redevelop rather than demolish this important site.

Mount Vernon Arsenal and Searcy Hospital, Mount Vernon, Alabama

ADD YOUR NAME

This arsenal was held by the Confederacy during the Civil War and housed Geronimo and approximately 400 Apache prisoners of war during the 1880s and 1890s. The hospital complex served as a segregated mental health facility for African Americans after 1900. The complex closed in 2012 and is currently vacant and deteriorating. Tell the Alabama Department of Mental Health that you support the site’s preservation and economic revitalization.

Bismarck-Mandan Rail Bridge, Bismarck, North Dakota

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The Bismarck-Mandan Rail Bridge connects Bismarck and Mandan, North Dakota. Constructed in 1883, it was the first rail bridge built across the upper Missouri River. The iconic bridge has been recognized as an International Site of Conscience for the role it played in opening the western United States to white settlement—and the resulting profound impacts to Native American communities—but it has been proposed for demolition by railway company BNSF.

The Coast Guard is in consultation with BNSF and other parties under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The Coast Guard has proposed a conditional permit that would require BNSF to retain the historic bridge until after an adjacent new bridge is constructed, in order to allow time to identify a preservation solution for the Bismarck-Mandan Rail Bridge. Tell the Coast Guard not to allow demolition of this iconic bridge.

For more information, follow us on Twitter and join the conversation using the hashtag #11Most.

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Hurry: 7 Places to Visit While You Still Can

See Greenland with Big Chill Adventures (photo by Mindy Cambiar).

The world’s warming climate, rising sea levels, booming development and changing political landscape have the potential to impact travel in the not-too-distant future. Here are seven trips highlighting natural wonders, wildlife and cultures to see while you still can.

  1. Antarctica: Major ices shelves along the Antarctic Peninsula have broken apart, retreated or lost volume in recent decades, and the trend continues today with a crack in the Larsen C shelf growing this year. Book a cruise with Adventure Life and use the ship as your base as you explore the peninsula on kayaking, hiking, snowshoeing, mountaineering, camping and Zodiac excursions.
  2. Greenland: Greenland’s ice sheet is one of the largest contributors to sea level rise around the globe and the country experienced its highest average summer temperature on record and an early melt last year. With Big Chill Adventures, you can see calving glaciers, giant icebergs and Arctic landscapes accompanied by geologist and glaciologist Sarah Aciego and professional photographer Mindy Cambiar.
  3. Cuba: Travel restrictions between the United States and Cuba have eased recently with the first regularly scheduled flights between the countries, but the 2016 election brought several tourism-related questions. On this cruise, meet Cubans in person and see the historic architecture of Old Havana and the island’s natural wonders.
  4. Alaska: Several Canadian copper and gold mines are in operation, being explored or under review for approval, and their tailings pose a hazard in the headwaters of Alaska’s major salmon rivers. Book a trip to an Alaskan fishing lodge with Frontiers for a chance to cast for the five main species of Pacific salmon, plus trout, grayling, char and more.
  5. Rwanda: A study released this year shows that 75 percent of primate species have shrinking populations and 60 percent are threatened with extinction, with their decline being attributed to hunting, farming, ranching, logging, mining and oil drilling. Encounter some of the last remaining mountain gorillas, as well as chimpanzees and golden monkeys, on a trek in the forests of Rwanda with Gondwana Ecotours.
  6. Russia: Russia’s Lake Baikal holds about 20% of the world’s unfrozen freshwater – making it the largest freshwater lake by volume – but it faces threats from pollution and hydroelectric projects. With MIR Corporation, travelers can see the lake by train and boat, and also visit the Gobi Desert to the south in Mongolia.
  7. Solomon Islands: Research published last year showed that rising sea levels resulted in the disappearance of five of the Solomon Islands, while erosion on others has forced the relocation of villages. Visit secluded bays and remote beaches, snorkel coral reefs and meet villagers in the Solomons and other nearby archipelagos by booking a cruise with Adventure Life.

 

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