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 Р14 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 

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