Tourism in Kullu
Alarming Factors
Global Issues
Sustainable Future
Earth Summit
Community Tourism
 Tourism in Kullu Valley
 Problems and Prospects of Sustainability -
 Global Issues

by Ben Heron

So, in what way is the lifestyle of the West unsustainable and how is it endangering the livelihoods of future generations? The answer is simple - Materialism and consumption in the West, in particular, is depleting the planet of its vital resources faster than they can be renewed.

The world's forests are being cut down, the air, land and sea are being polluted by large-scale industries and many species are threatened with extinction because of mankind's unsustainable activities. As Gandhi said, "there's enough on earth for everyone's need but not for everyone's greed".

I will illustrate this with an important example; one of the major resource problems is man's increasing dependence on oil. It is now a known fact that the world's known oil reserves, which took millions of years to develop, will be used up in approximately 40 years time. In the year 2000 there were protests in several European countries about the high prices of petrol, which resulted in a widespread blockade of the countries' oil refineries. In England, within three days of the oil blockades all the petrol stations ran out of fuel; many schools, hospitals and emergency services were forced to shut down, the shops ran out of food, businesses went bankrupt and the country turned into chaos. So, unless major changes are made to the lifestyles of people in oil-consuming societies, what will happen to them in 40 years time when the oil runs out?

Tourism itself cannot be a sustainable industry if it continues to rely on oil to fly tourists to their destinations. Once the oil reserves start to run low, unless renewable energy is used to provide aeroplanes with fuel, the number of global tourists visiting the less developed world will drop rapidly. But regardless of what will happen in forty or fifty years time, the tourist industry is expected to grow much, much larger during the next couple of decades. It is therefore vital that both the local people and the tourists are made aware of the problems tourism can create and that they know how to prevent the problems from happening.


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