News & Dispatches

This Land Is Your Land. US National Parks Under Threat

“National parks are the best idea we ever had,” wrote author and environmentalist Wallace Stegner in 1983. “Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.” Stegner echoes the view of President Franklin D. Roosevelt nearly fifty years earlier when he pronounced, “There is nothing so American as our national […]

How Peru Has Allowed Monopolized Access to Machu Picchu

Purported to be two of the most expensive rail and bus routes per kilometer in the world, the train and bus succession which transports the 1.3 million tourists to Machu Picchu every year has been controlled by a government-granted monopoly for much of the last two decades.  Fertransa, the private owner of the 30 km […]

Surf Tourism: The Good, the Bad, and the Waves

Colonizing. That’s a term Leon Mach has used to describe surf tourism. “Colonizing in the sense that surf tourism often arrives first to remote coastal areas and effectively takes over the development process,” says Mach, the co-founder of SeaState, a program that offers courses related to sustainability in several countries. “Often this entails rapid development […]

Growing Demand for Food Increases Pressure on Sub-Saharan Africa’s Forests

  In an ambitious plan to eradicate poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015. Setting out 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs), the agenda pledged that, “no one will be left behind.’ Meanwhile, a growing demand for food combined with […]

‘White Fragility Training’ for International Volunteer Trips?

When Kimberly Lucht volunteered with Panama-based dance service nonprofit Movement Exchange in 2012, the experience of teaching dance to at-risk youth inspired many discussions relating to race and racism in dance among her fellow volunteers. For researchers Zoe Luba and Dr. David Thomas of Mount Allison University in Canada, those are exactly the type of […]

Chile’s Conservation Progress at Risk?

Blaring horns and a cheering crowd greeted me when I arrived in the sleepy town of Puerto Varas, Chile on presidential election-day, December 2017. Sebastian Piñera, a billionaire businessman was elected for the second time by a population disappointed in job growth under Michelle Bachelet. Piñera’s victory marks the latest shift to the right in […]

Is Post-Natural Disaster Tourism Ethical?

In 2004, Justin Francis decided to visit Phuket on vacation. It certainly wouldn’t seem out-of-the ordinary for a Westerner to holiday in Phuket – after all, a little less than 3.5 million non-Thais visited the island in 2004. But his excursion to the popular tourist destination didn’t come at the best of times. Phuket – […]

Overtourism at UNESCO World Heritage Sites

World Heritage Sites, as designated by the United Nations Scientific, Educational, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), are places of outstanding universal value. Each one represents an incredible culture and its history or living tradition, a work of architectural or artistic marvel, or a place of exceptional natural beauty or ecological importance. By design, UNESCO World Heritage […]