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Climate change and ‘last-chance tourism’

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The New York Times or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: Claude Folmer, after four decades, revisited the Mer de Glace glacier in the French Alps, observing its dramatic shrinkage due to climate change. A new gondola now facilitates access to the glacier, sparking mixed reactions among visitors and locals alike regarding its environmental impact.

🔭 The context: The Mer de Glace has been a tourist attraction for nearly three centuries, with significant historical visitors
• In recent years, the glacier's retreat has necessitated adaptations, including the construction of a new gondola to maintain access as the ice recedes

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: The transformation of the Mer de Glace exemplifies the tangible effects of climate change on natural landmarks
• While efforts like the new gondola aim to sustain tourism and awareness, they also raise concerns about contributing to the environmental degradation they seek to mitigate

⏭️ What's next: The situation at Mer de Glace and similar sites worldwide underscores the delicate balance between promoting tourism for economic and educational purposes and conserving fragile ecosystems
• The upcoming Glaciorium exhibit aims to educate visitors on glaciers and climate change, potentially influencing public awareness and behavior

💬 One quote: "At some point, you have to leave the glacier alone," said Alain Folmer, expressing concerns over the environmental impact of new constructions on the glacier

📈 One stat: In a 2020 survey, 80% of summer visitors to the glacier expressed intentions to learn more about environmental protection, highlighting the potential of last-chance tourism to inspire positive behavioral change.

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