30 April 2013

Is eating out cheaper than cooking in?

The report from gobankingrates.com raises this question and I am not totally convinced.  The report states;

"The cost of food at home has risen drastically over the past decade. According to statistics from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the monthly cost of food for a family four under a low-cost plan has jumped by 38 percent from $601.50 in February 2003 to $830.30 in February 2013.

But is that adjusted for inflation?  
Is the dollar meal good for you, the environment and does it provide funds for a living wage for the restaurant employees?   I think not.  And how many people are still hungry?

Consider the price of food as part of the total household budget.  Back in caveman days, (cavepeople), the average family probably spent 75% of their time (or budget) for food.  Today it is probably 20%.  So food is cheaper today, right?  See this report noting cost of food over time.

Consider this timeline for the US.  Prices vary but it was a simple time....

20 April 2013

Westfield River Canoe Race today

We were up at the races this morning survey participants in the novice race and the expert race.  Another team hit "Hill and Dale" rapids to talk to spectators.  We did this study last year during a drought so we came back this year since the river was flowing well.  Check out the stream gauge data here.  While it rain last night, the sudden surge was the result of a controlled release on the river.  Back up on this site to see river flows across the country.  Thanks to James, Forrest, Jim, Mike and Sarah for helping me collect the data!

15 April 2013

Boston Marathon Bombing

My thoughts go out to the victims, and their family and friends of the tragic bombing at the Boston Marathon today.

It is a shame that an athletic event that attracts people from around the world has become another site of insensitivity.

The Boston Globe is jammed with visitors so check out the Washington Post of Cnn.com for the latest.

14 April 2013

Sustainability and Eco-health tourism

Sustainability and Eco-health tourism

Robert S. Bristow

Over the millennia, travel to foreign lands to soak in mineral waters has been popular for the privileged (Bookman and Bookman, 2007; Connell, 2011; Mitman, 2003; Reisman, 2010; Towner, 1996; TRAM, 2006). Long sought for their medicinal values, mineral springs have attracted visitors for thousands of years. And access to these resources has been possible through advances in transportation and a growing middle class that fuelled further interest in the experience of the holiday to escape the urban environment (Gilbert, 1949). The travel continues today as evidenced by the popularity of the historic mineral waters found at Saratoga Springs in the USA, Bath, England and Baden-Baden, Germany.

Yet today these tourists are seeking not only a bath and massage, but may also want cosmetic surgery or a knee replacement (Goodrich and Goodrich, 1987; Goodrich, 1993a; Hall, 1992; Hall, 2003). Fed by the interest to improve oneself, be pampered, or address some health concern, health travel is likely to continue in the future. Lunt and others (n.d.) found four consequences for the emergence of the international health market: large numbers of people travelling for treatment, the shift of tourists from more developed nations to less developed ones, the rise of information via the Internet, and public and private infrastructure development to promote tourism.

Health Tourism is the umbrella term for all tourist aspects of health, wellness and medical care (Smith and Puczkó, 2009). For example, Hall (1992) notes that health tourism may be appropriately viewed on a continuum from a sun and fun vacation to the need to seek a major medical operation. Progressing along this continuum the number of tourists decreases (Hall, 2003).

introduction of paper to be published in 

Sustainability in Tourism: A Multidisciplinary Approach, edited by Ian Jenkins & Roland Schröder, Springer Gabler July 2013.

09 April 2013

Nordic Geographers Meeting in Iceland this June

The NGM is a biennial meeting of Nordic geographers, taking place in turn in one of the Nordic Countries.

The 5th Nordic Geographers Meeting will be held in Reykjavík, Iceland, at the University of Iceland11 – 14 June 2013. Previous meetings include: Lund, Sweden (2005); Bergen, Norway (2007); Turku, Finland (2009); Roskilde, Denmark (2011).

The theme of the NGM 2013 is Responsible Geographies. Both human and physical geographers are encouraged to participate under this broad heading.

We will be adding to our data base by collecting data on the next Westfield River Wildwater Races.  Our abstract follows:

Rural Tourism: Challenges of Carbon Impacts

Robert S. Bristow
Department of Geography & Regional Planning
Westfield State University

Ian Jenkins
Les Roches – Gruyere
University of Applied Sciences

According to the United Nations Environmental Programme, CO2 emissions generated directly from the tourism sector account today for 5 per cent of global CO2 emissions.  In many cases, especially in the ecotourism sector, tourists may believe their impact is minimal as they try to travel green.  This misconception needs further examination since ecotourism is often touted as a green alternative to conventional mass tourism when in fact, the impact may be spread over a larger natural area.  The purpose of this research is to identity the carbon footprint generated by a whitewater canoe race from both the participants and the observers. 

The Carbon Footprint is one measure of the tourism impact of human activity related to leisure pursuits. According to the World Tourism Organization changes in the availability of water, loss of natural habitats, reduced to the visual landscape, altered agricultural production, and other factors will all impact tourism as a result of climate change.

Data for this study were collected by a survey administered on the date of the 2012 Westfield River Wildwater Races, a river with Class III rapids.  The sample represents 153 novice racers, 36 experts and 100 spectators yielding a total 289 respondents.  Calculating total emissions was based on the type and year of vehicle driven to the event, total round trip miles and calculating a per mile carbon emission for each party.  Based on this sample, it is estimated that a total 8558.98 pounds of carbon were emitted into the atmosphere for this tourist event.

Keywords:  Carbon footprint, rural tourism 

03 April 2013

NERR 2013 this weekend

2013 Northeastern Recreation Research Symposium

Sunday, April 7 - Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Otesaga Resort & Conference Center
Cooperstown, NY

program and details are found here.

02 April 2013

yesterday's post was fake

My annual April Fools Day Prank.  After all, it is more likely the NRA would give assault weapons to kids, right....

01 April 2013

NRA to give gifts to visitors in Parks

In an attempt to reach out to the non-gun owners in the country, the Nationalized Rifle Association is planning to give families visiting National Parks free gifts this fall.  Orange colored vests will be given to every adult visiting the parks, spokesperson Colt Wayne reporting in a Press Release on Easter.  "We want our visitors to stand out in the park, and the orange vest will do just that."

Also part of the give-away, will be animal shaped raincoats for baby strollers.  Shaped like deer, bunny rabbits and squirrels, these designs are meant to keep the toddlers happy during there time in the park lands.

The press release coincides with another NRA announcement to permit assault weapon hunting in our parks.  The huge capacity guns are encouraged since it is will likely ensure a good hunt and minimize injured animals during the hunting season.