November 19, 2019

"What if All That Flying Is Good for the Planet?/Without tourism, it’s easy to imagine the Serengeti turned into cattle ranches."

An op-ed by Costas Christ (in the NYT). Christ is the founder of Beyond Green Travel.
As a conservationist and sustainable tourism expert, I am an advocate for a more responsible approach to tourism. Although I began my career as a wildlife ecologist, my work in the tourism industry is focused on transforming travel to be more environmentally friendly. While I recognize that flying is harmful to the climate, I also know what will happen if, in their understandable concern for climate change, travelers stop booking trips to go on a wildlife safari to Africa or decide to forgo that bucket list vacation to South America. Conservation and poverty alleviation will suffer twin blows....

Last year, some 1.5 million tourists visited Tanzania, the majority headed to the Serengeti, where they paid a minimum of $60 dollars per day in entrance fees. Take that income away, and the vast plains would most likely be transformed into cattle ranches — raising beef is already among the most significant contributors to carbon emissions....

[W]e also have the tools to start flying green class — like developing synthetic jet fuels and designing electric planes....

67 comments:

YoungHegelian said...

...and designing electric planes....

I read shit like this, and I remember a cartoon from a National Lampoon years ago:

"Dr. Von Neumann, are we ever going to see an atomic-powered stereo in our lifetime?"

Nonapod said...

Take that income away, and the vast plains would most likely be transformed into cattle ranches — raising beef is already among the most significant contributors to carbon emissions....

This assumes that enough beef isn't being produced elsewhere, that there's so sort of demand that hasn't been sufficiently met. I don't know about that. We seem to produce a lot of food here on Earth.

PM said...

He's a travel agent for chrissakes - he'd say anything to stay relevant to the ecos.

Ralph L said...

We seem to produce a lot of food here on Earth.

The Tanzanians can easily afford to have theirs shipped in from Brazil by Amazon.

If the tourists all motor-biked down from Morocco or Cairo, they'd have the ultimate vacation of a lifetime AND carbon-neutralize themselves.

tommyesq said...

Mass introduction of electric planes would be one sure way to reduce the number of people willing to fly.

AP said...

This is similar in concept to the benefits of places like Sea World. Sure, we all know its not humane to keep whales and other sea mammals in captivity. But if we didn't, would the last generation have gained as much appreciation for those animals, and be as concerned about preserving them in the wild?

tommyesq said...

Wonder if he is a believer in big game hunting preserves, that create a financial incentive to protect wild animals and their ecosystems?

Nonapod said...

A popular theme in recent years seems to be this presumption that we're going to start running out of food within the next few decades as we approach 9 billion in 2050, or at least that we're going to end up eating crickets for our protien. But that sounds pretty familiar. Malthusianism never seems to go out of style. People have been predicting a hunger apocalypse for hundreds of years. Yet somehow it never seems to come to pass, and in fact we seem to have the opposite problem, too much damn food.

Mr. Groovington said...

Cattle is also currency. My occasional driver paid 6 cows for his wife. The Herero tribe is so entirely about cattle, the women wear a hat mimicking a cow’s horns, bulk up their skirts and waddle at a cow’s pace when they walk. Google some images.

Limiting tourism would trash the Okavango Delta (where I am) for the reasons he talks about. It’s the elite destination, with camps from $1000 to $4000 per person per night. A mid-priced camp like Abu (about $2500) employs 15 people for every guest.

Paul Zrimsek said...

$60 dollars per day

Payable to the Dept. of Redundancy Dept.

Infinite Monkeys said...

Are we assuming that cows have less value than lions and wildebeests? That sounds like specieism.

Mr. Groovington said...

If anyone’s looking for a recommendation, I’d pick Little Mombo at $3500.

Jupiter said...

Have they canceled him yet?

Big Mike said...

Closely related, remember all those Californians who have been losing power to PG&E blackouts in response to high winds in fire season? Well, it turns out they still put out bills for "estimated usage" at the same time that they were delivering zero electrical power.

Only in California.

Roger Sweeny said...

[W]e also have the tools to start flying green class — like developing synthetic jet fuels and designing electric planes....

You can't go wrong relying on things that don't exist.

tim maguire said...

That's similar to the argument for zoos--they keep people interested in wildlife preservation.

Dave Begley said...

Travel is a luxury good for the virtual signaling leisure class. Also a big advertiser in the NYT and New Yorker.

West Texas Intermediate Crude said...

Inherent in this concept is that someone (the author, no doubt) has the wisdom and righteousness to determine the appropriate use and condition for any particular patch of land on God's green earth, to the exclusion of others, including the folks who actually live there. Analogous to the wizards (Greta!) who know the proper temperature for the atmosphere.
I'll take hubris for $1000, Alex.

joshbraid said...

My contacts in the Luangwa valley in Zambia (lots of big game preserves) also say that the local population benefits from the "trickle-down" of rich tourists. Of course, on the flip side, the elephants kill a few people every year and rip up the gardens used for feeding the population, so it is a mixed bag.

Nonapod said...

Travel is a luxury good for the virtual signaling leisure class

It's a tough contradiction for modern upper-middle class twits. On the one hand, travelling is generally considered a virtuous activity. After all, you're broadening your horizons, experiencing other diverse cultures, and filling your Instagram account with images that assure viewers that you're living your best life. On the other hand, travel requires the use of evil, carbon burning machines. So you must commit great sins in order to achieve virtue.

Begonia said...

OK, boomer.


(I should note that I am Gen X. I hate, hate, hate the "OK Boomer" phrase. But as I read Mr. "Beyond Green Travel" guy justifying his company's existence, that's all I could think of.)

Phil said...

Decreased tourism leads to increased cattle farming
Which leads to increased animal protein in the diets of a nation averaging 4 live births per female
Which leads to improved health outcomes for the children including improved brain development
All of which leads to diversified economic outcomes
Which leads to higher GDP per capita (it's $3200 right now)
Which leads to peace and prosperity for all.

BAN ALL THE TOURISM

Look how fun and easy it is to justify interfering with other people's lives!

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

Dang!! I got it!!

...wind-powered planes!!

The Drill SGT said...

Closely related, remember all those Californians who have been losing power to PG&E blackouts in response to high winds in fire season? Well, it turns out they still put out bills for "estimated usage" at the same time that they were delivering zero electrical power.

yeah, they should have factored outages into bills, but the mods to the billing system would not be fast or simple and they have other things going.

note that the estimated usage means that after actual measuring, they will get a rebate.

but bad pr

The Drill SGT said...

like developing synthetic jet fuels

we have synthetic fuels for a hundred years, but all are carbon based and many are effectively "coal oil" or now "natural gas oil"

tim maguire said...

The Drill SGT said...yeah, they should have factored outages into bills, but the mods to the billing system would not be fast or simple and they have other things going.

And estimated usage is not so precise that these rolling blackouts are going to make a noticeable difference anyway. As you say, it's too minor for them to bother with.

Michael K said...

I have actually flown in an electric plane. We were coming in to land at SeaTac some years ago when the plane was hit by lightning. A blue ball of electricity came down the aisle and then lights went out. The pilot lost his instruments and he flew by the tower so they could see if his gear was down.

They did not offer free underwear change. It was great fun.

gilbar said...

without all that flying; it's easy to imagine North American under a mile of ice

Things we "Know"*
man is pouring out lots of CO2 and stuff
that stuff 'should be' warming up the world
the resumption of This Ice Age* is LONG OVERDUE
hmmm?


"Know"* as much as we can know stuff
This Ice Age* y'all KNOW that we're IN an ice age, right? This warm weather is just a pause

Bilwick said...

From now on, every time I stub my toe, I am going to yell out "Costas Christ!"

Roy Jacobsen said...

To summarize the author's claim, "eco-tourism," which involves staying at camps costing $1k - $4k a night (something that the middle-class would be hard-pressed to afford unless they won the lottery), is a Good Thing(TM). Oh, and let's add in "eco-friendly" flying options like imaginary renewable jet fuel and imaginary electric airliners, which would make travel even more expensive/out of the reach of the middle class.

They're not being hypocrites. They're purchasing indulgences. Yeah. That's the ticket.

gilbar said...

hi! i'm a travel agent,
i make my money having people fly around the world, to places like Africa

Did you know? World Travel is, A Really Good Thing?
It IS!
Because of World Travel, i can afford Both air conditioning And Central Heat!
See how good it is? GO NOW! See The World!!

Mr. Forward said...

Electric dirigibles powered by electrifying testimony and hot air from fossil fools.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

We can save international vacations for rich elites by simply outlawing heat for the rubes in flyover country. Problem solved!

bleh said...

This is like the argument for Sea World. If they hadn't kidnapped a few orcas to showcase them for the enjoyment and edification of the general public, the worldwide orca population would almost certainly be much smaller today.

Or for zoos.

Or for responsible trophy hunting where expensive permits pay for conservation efforts (supposedly, assuming no corruption).

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

I don't know how it could be clearer that no one really believes in AGW. Believes in it to extent that they would make meaningful sacrifices in their own lives. Not Al Gore, not Matt Damon, not a single one of the Democrat candidates, not Greta Thurnberg, none of my Prog friends and relatives, no one.

n.n said...

Hamster... human wheels for a Green future. The medical, food, shelter, etc. costs will plummet overnight.

Birkel said...

Cattle ranching implies strong property rights.
I can think of nothing better for poor nations' peoples.

madAsHell said...

Cattle ranches

The Serengeti is a cattle ranch. The cattle are wildebeest, and the cheetah are the cowboys.

We traveled to a camp deep in the Serengeti. The truck became stuck in the mud after the rains rolled through. Its more than a little disconcerting when the truck is stuck, and there is nothing but grass, mud, and singular Acacia trees for miles in every direction.

As we worked to free the truck, a small boy, and his dog appeared, but I never saw them approach. I assumed they sprang from the earth. Soon, others just appeared without approaching. By the time we freed the truck, we had an audience of maybe a dozen Maasai.

In the Serengeti, good entertainment is hard to find. The circus was in town, and we were the circus.

mccullough said...

Rich People’s Global Trotting Saves Planet From Cow Fart Caused Climate Change

Danno said...

Not sure if Althouse and Meade give a rip about jet travel, but I would bet money on their negative opinion of future highway travel restrictions caused by green initiatives that make cross country driving trips a thing of the past. I have seen too many posts from their wedding and anniversary trips to Colorado, much less a few others to think they would give these up for uncertain environmental benefits.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

I am an advocate for a more responsible approach to tourism.

Translated from NYT's speak: you rich people can keep traveling and keep virtual-signaling.

As to the target audience. Effective, I think.

wholelottasplainin' said...

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...
Dang!! I got it!!

...wind-powered planes!!
************

Essentially, that's what we've got now. The jet engine turbines generate the wind that pushes the plane.

btw: electric planes already exist, for short hops. But battery size and weight make long hauls uneconomic, if not impossible.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-06-21/why-electric-powered-airplanes-are-headed-for-takeoff-quicktake

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

If flatulence is a danger to the planet, we need to cancel Rep. Swallwel

madAsHell said...

like developing synthetic jet fuels and designing electric planes....

Do electric planes dream of synthetic jet fuel??

I'm Full of Soup said...

Doesn't he realize the globalists want to take money directly from the rich Westerners and just give it to the poor in the 3rd World? That way the middlemen, like him, get eliminated from the equation and the rich can be restricted from real travel except for "travel" over the internet like Althouse recommends.

wholelottasplainin' said...

Doncha just LUV these people lacking any idea of what science and technology are all about airily claiming, "Well, all we've got to do is invent and deploy products that will overcome our problems!"

DERP.

p.s. "Fusion energy scientists, please call your office."

rhhardin said...

BBC's The Honourable Woman (2014) first episode, in pipeline laying at the beginning, there's a classical piece as score. The captioning reads "VIOLIN MUSIC"

Which is ignoramus for Partita in D Minor.

exhelodrvr1 said...

And the same is true about hunting, and hunters. Hunters and fishermen do much more for the environment than any "activist" groups

Ann Althouse said...

“ Not sure if Althouse and Meade give a rip about jet travel, but I would bet money on their negative opinion of future highway travel restrictions caused by green initiatives that make cross country driving trips a thing of the past. I have seen too many posts from their wedding and anniversary trips to Colorado, much less a few others to think they would give these up for uncertain environmental benefits.”

I’d be happy staying in and around Madison.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

arent our jets currently powered by this?:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jet_fuel

are cars with internal combustion engines "torque-powered"?

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

I’d be happy staying in and around Madison.

That seems to be a very narrow perspective.

What about your kids. You happy to have them stay in Austin or wherever? What about any grandchildren? And Meade's family in Colorado?

Are you ok with just Skyping friends and family.

n.n said...

From the anthropogenic warmed Pot of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. That said, carbohydrates are a first-order forcing of catastrophic anthropogenic girth progression (CAGP).

stevew said...

I fly for work a lot but it is Boston to NY or NJ usually, occasionally to the West Coast. Took two vacations this year, one to FL the other to Italy. Guessing about 60,000 air miles, total by the time 2019 is done. Roughly 15,000 auto miles.

Just doing my part to save the planet, which is nice.

GingerBeer said...

But the right sort of people will fly to Tanzania, Peru, and the South Pacific. The real threat to the environment is all those rubes using straws at Chick-fil-A.

Mark said...

The real threat to the environment is all those rubes using straws at Chick-fil-A.

Don't worry. I expect that there will be a lot fewer of them from now on.

Michael said...

Shorter version: we'd like to be thought of as saving the planet just as long it doesn't require us to sacrifice anything.

Milwaukie guy said...

Thank you Gilbar. I believe I have posted more extensively on the Quartenary Period.

We are 11,650 years into our current interglacial, the Holocene. The over/under for the last 800,00 years is 10-15,000 year-long interglacials. Are you feeling lucky, punk? Give me global warming or give me Death!

I hope everyone is clued in on the new hypothesis about the onset of the Younger Dryas.

Milwaukie guy said...

Screw that missing zero.

iowan2 said...

Inherent in this concept is that someone (the author, no doubt) has the wisdom and righteousness to determine the appropriate use and condition for any particular patch of land on God's green earth, to the exclusion of others, including the folks who actually live there.

This is the only proper response.

Gahrie said...

btw: electric planes already exist, for short hops. But battery size and weight make long hauls uneconomic, if not impossible.

There are credible rumors out there that one of the giants in electronics science (Goodenough) is leading a team that has made a huge breakthrough in solid state batteries. There is speculation that he is working with Tesla to bring it to production. These new batteries would make electronic planes feasible if perhaps not economic. If they pan out, Tesla will start driving some of the ICE auto companies out of business.

Bobb said...

Because flying is good when it serves environmentalist's personal/work interests. Others flying is bad.

Kevin said...

When it's all said and done, we'll be told it was increasing jet travel that saved us from global warming.

If it weren't for celbrities in their private jets, the situation would have gotten much, much worse.

Gahrie said...

If it weren't for celbrities in their private jets, the situation would have gotten much, much worse.

What happened to feeding starving kids in Africa?

Lance N. said...

Nonapod said...
[...]

This assumes that enough beef isn't being produced elsewhere, that there's so sort of demand that hasn't been sufficiently met. I don't know about that. We seem to produce a lot of food here on Earth.

11/19/19, 12:53 PM

I don't think this would be true in East Africa where the free market doesn't really function too well. A lot of the dirty money gets funneled into larger and larger cattle herds because it's easy to hide and is liquid. Greater access to grazing land would lower the cost of maintaining these herds. Also food security would be used as justification, and giving land away to farmers is a great way of buying votes. Honestly land encroachment on national parks is a serious issue and the tourism dollars are the only thing that is keeping a lot of parks from being turned into smaller and smaller zoos.

Also, just so I don't get any hate messages: I'm not an environmentalist baby killer, just a conservationist who loves the Masai Mara, Serengeti, Nairobi National Park, and I can't wait to go to Ngorongoro Crater next year. I encourage everyone to do a safari in East Africa.

Lance N. said...

Another also: I see a lot of comments seem to be making fun of the cow farts part of the writer's concerns. That's not really the issue for me so much as human animal conflict that would result in the slow extinction of any number of species and the resulting loss of biodiversity.

Roger Sweeny said...

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent,

I believe in global warming. Really. And I do a little bit to slow it. Apartment at 65 in the winter. A sindle room with a window AC that only gets turned on during hot spells. Walk to the grocery, library, etc. Most food is "plant based".

But I know that cutting way back on fossil fuels will not happen. And should not happen. It would somewhat lower the standard of living of the world's well-off (including me) but would also condemn billions to continued poverty. The only hope lies in developing cheap, reliable non-carbon sources of usable energy. So I support research and development--which would include seeing if any of the new, supposedly safe, cheap nuclear designs actually live up to their hype.

Tomcc said...

I say: why not solar powered electric planes!? A nice ancillary benefit is that, although not required, praying would be greatly encouraged.
I have a cousin who recently made a tour of the Canadian arctic, including visits to a number of hard to reach villages. She mentioned that a sizeable number of native folks have turned to producing and selling pieces of art (as anyone who has visited Alaska can attest). It's a tricky issue of eco-conservatism vs self-sustainability. If tourists stopped coming, a significant source of personal income would be missed.