Fish Consumption in Japan

Fish Consumption in Japan

Environment

Last Updated November 12th, 2019

A discussion on the fish consumption rates in Japan. How much is too much & can our oceans recover?

“I wonder how much seafood Japan consumes?” A question I continually asked myself while visiting Tokyo, Japan in November 2018 (this was also my first visit to Asia).

Can the blame of certain fish species population depletions be placed solely on Japan?

Do the Japanese over consume seafood?

It’s said that one out of every ten fish is consumed in Japan. This rings true as the worldwide view of the Japanese diet is based around its affinity to create incredibly delicious sushi.

So with an amazingly popular dish and a unique culture that millions of visitors want to experience each year, why should we care if there may be an overconsumption of seafood in Japan?

It’s important to consider that

  1. Seafood is a top provider of protein for diets around the globe.  As more and more people turn away from the heart health problems of red meats, seafood is seen as a healthy conscious choice.
  2. The fishing industry provides jobs for millions of people around the world, as in over 200 million jobs. This means that almost 3% of the entire world’s population is affected by the fishing industry.

 

        For decades fishing seemed like an endless opportunity in our oceans, yet overconsumption and unregulated fishing practices have pushed many species to the brink of extinction.

        Most notably affected is the torpedo shaped bluefin tuna, which Japan is the largest consumer of. This specis of tuna is a highly sought after endangered species. Oddly enough, we shake our fingers at poachers of endangered rhino species and sign petitions to end dog meat trades, yet are comfortable ordering a plate of sushi that offers an endangered fish.

Please keep in mind, the first two examples are terrible, this statement is merely aiming at opening your perspective in a new way and in no way trying to place negative opinions on those who consumer fish or undervalue the atrocity of other species killings and abuse.

So, how much is too much fish consumption for Japan?

Japan is one of the dominant importers of seafood.  Japan’s fishing industry is focused on feeding Japan, with 90% of its caught seafood consumed domestically, and importing the remainder from the United States and South America.

Due to their high consumption of seafood, they are one of a few countries who look to sustainably source their fish, however it’s an uphill battle. It was only in 2017 that agreements were haphazardly agreed upon to structure the fishing of the most popular fish sold worldwide, the bluefin tuna.

 

The population of tuna has been depleted by about 97% due to overfishing and has become a billion dollar industry.  In fact, each year there is a New Years tuna auction in Tokyo. This year, 2019, the winning bidder won with a record high $3.1 million!  Talk about a supply and demand market that is a perfect example for economics professors to use in their lecture halls.

    Japan asked for an increase in their annual quotas for bluefin tuna, which was thankfully denied by the Pacific Fisheries committee (thanks to the United States opposition to the request).  Japan has had plans to rebuild the Pacific bluefin stocks, with a target to regain up to 20% of historic levels by 2034.  However their asked for expansion was not approved due to the population levels not improving enough.

    Their Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries has said that fish consumption is down from 2001’s high of 40.7kg to 24.6kg consumed per person each year.  (Considering part of this could be due to Japan’s younger generation now having access to other options such as beef and poultry.)

    With the help of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), fisheries now have access to evaluations and strategies to implement more sustainable tactics.  It is clear there is a need to conserve the ocean’s ecosystem and maintain a healthy balance from low lying plankton to large predators, and also preserve the jobs of millions.

    Greenpeace compares this all to ‘simple housekeeping’ that I feel needs quite a bit of regulation and accountability. Luckily there is the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership who has the T75 goal, where 75 % of all fishing will be done sustainably by the end of 2020 (fisheries must be certified by the MSC).

              For a typical consumer it feels overwhelming to consider the ramifications of the interests of business owners overpowering the needs of our environment.  You can help make a difference by using your money as your ‘vote’. Here’s how:

      • Only purchase sustainable seafood from brands who only sell seafood with a certified MSC blue label.  This is currently the most trustworthy and widely known label for sustainable seafood

       

      • Support restaurants that are MSC certified; even asking if they provide MSC certified sustainable seafood will help.  Think about it this way- if enough people ask a restaurant if they sell sustainably certified seafood then they will look into, and hopefully, transition to it.

      The MSC Blue Label

      Image credit: http://global-impacts-report-2016.msc.org/

      The question of whether Japan consumes too much fish is a difficult one to properly answer, especially because I don’t believe we fully understand the impacts of the oceans shifting biodiversity.

      The actions needed to be taken should be based on how we fish around the world, the retail and food services industries seafood choices and higher consumer standards.

        If you’re planning a trip to Japan, then be sure to check these posts about Japanese culture & my First Timers Guide to Tokyo

          Citations:

          IWC “The IWC is the global body charged with the conservation of whales and the management of whaling.  The IWC currently has 89 member governments from countries all over the world.

          The Commission’s role has expanded since its establishment in 1946.  In addition to regulation of whaling, today’s IWC works to address a wide range of conservation issues including bycatch and entanglement, ocean noise, pollution and debris, collision between whales and ships, and sustainable whale watching.”

           

          Organizations you can support to help with ocean conservation:

          -WWF

          -Greenpeace

          -Marine Stewardship Council

          -Sustainable Fishering Partnership

            Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

            Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing web designer & photographer. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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            23 Ways to Help Prevent Overtourism

            23 Ways to Help Prevent Overtourism

            Environment

            Welcome to the second part of Blue Eyed Compass’s Over Tourism series discussing what you can do to prevent over tourism!  The previous post discussed what over tourism is, and its cause and effect on residents, visitors and the place itself.  It can be easier to discuss what the issue is, yet awareness is only half of the battle. It’s important to know ways that you can enjoy your well deserved travels while also creating a positive impact on the tourism industry.

            Here are ways that our governments and ourselves can help to prevent over tourism from creating a worse situation:

            Ways that governments can help prevent over tourism

            (1) Accurately tally & report tourism numbers based on type of visitors; for example cruise ship attendees, resort guests, backpackers, etc.  Having accurate numbers will help determine what future actions need to be implemented

            (2) Edit the ‘perception gap’ of destination management

            Geez, I’m proud of myself for using ‘big’ words (haha), perception gap in terms of over tourism means the gap of governments concern for the quality of their destinations → over their desire for more revenue from the industry

            Governments often think about where the money comes from in tourism, like developers, infrastructure, agencies, etc. instead of remembering that the ultimate tourism product is the actual place itself which ties into the next point:  Tweaking their outlook from more tourism is better, to better tourism is better could be very helpful.

            (3) Use holistic management models.

            Implement regulations that effectively impact the environment, economic, social and cultural issues.  After doing some research, it’s noticeable that irresponsible business practices lead to benefits that are too selective, which then doesn’t motivate anyone to protect things, which creates difficult obstacles for those who do wish to protect places based on legal, political and/or financial problems

            Examples of destinations tourism goals:

            San Diego: San Diego put into place a 20+ year plan in 2017 called ‘Experience San Diego Destination 2040’.  Their plan is to raise $1.3 billion in its first five years based on an increase in hotels tax rates.

            Is this plan good? YES! Because the funding goes back into the city to repair roads, work on infrastructure, etc

             

            Peru: Promperu, the agency of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism Specialized Technical Agency, predicted a 43% growth of inbound tourism in 2016

            China: in 2015, the Chinese people took 100 million outbound trips, and are predicted to take 160 million outbound trips in 2020.  This makes China the world’s largest outbound tourism market

             

            I had difficulty finding specifics for many locations on ways that this tourism would benefit the destinations and/or the residents there (if you are able to find any distinct details please share!  I would love to know more)

            (4) Governments can include the residents & caretakers of the place in their conversations

            The locals see the impacts on a place first hand and understand best how to support it.  Bridging the gap between these two is vital for the elimination of over tourism.

            (5) Improve visitor management by regulating tourism

            Examples of this are already being done in these places:

            • Gorilla tracking in Uganda, Africa; visitors are required to pay for an expensive permit to do so, which limits the number of people going into the forest to see gorillas
            • Havasupai Falls in Arizona, USA requires hikers and campers to obtain a limited number of permits.
            • Japan is enforcing new regulations on AirBnbs once the 2020 Olympics are over so they can ensure certain requirements are met, and therefore limit the number of vacation rentals
            • Iceland AirBnbs are now limited to being in use for only 90 days per year
            • The  Azores have a limited number of hotel rooms available & are working towards becoming certified as a ‘sustainable tourism region’

            (6) Raise prices (cautiously)

            • Bhutan’s solution to maintaining their culture is to require visitors to pay $200-$250/day just to be in the country & requires you to book your trip through a government accredited travel agency
            • It’s imperative to raise prices cautiously because if prices increase too much and only the very wealthy can afford them, then the culture, history & nature of a place can become the private property of the wealthy & they’ll be the only ones concerned with protecting it
            • *Consider this tactic this way: Apple iPhones are expensive, but those who really want it will pay for it, I believe the same could be possible for high tourism cities

            (7) Disperse visitors & spread their visitation over time by coordinating with a nearby city to spread economic benefits

            The Alhambra & Grenada, Spain currently do this by having timed tickets for the palace, so that visitors can spend time enjoying the city

            (8) Limit the number of visitors to a place

            (9) Have timed ticket admission

            (10) Favor longer stays over day trippers

            (11) Ban tour buses OR design a certain number of routes that run on a lottery of directions to prevent bottlenecking traffic

            (12) Channel people into spaces that are designed to be trafficked (this could be great for outdoor spaces)

            Ways that WE can help prevent over tourism

            (13) Visit unique places that are off the beaten path

            While major destinations may be overrun, remember there is beauty & diversity at the ‘under the radar’ places.  The world is stil a big place filled with natural wonders. Here are a few places I would suggest:

            • Norway
            • The Azores
            • Kennet Canals, England
            • South Wales, Australia
            • Slovenia, Ljubliana
            • Sierra Gorda, Mexico

            (14) Go outside of the major cities

            There are less people there & those small towns may very well welcome you with open arms, plus you’ll have a more realistic experience on what daily life looks like there

            (15) Travel during the ‘off’ season, aka ‘shoulder season’

            • Doing so will allow you to avoid inflated prices, long queues & herding crowds
            • I would suggest aiming to visit right before or after peak season

            (16) Be respectful & check your entitlement

            Yes, this may mean changing your attitude, however having a little respect to the people & place goes a long way for those who are living in a famous destination and are frustrated with tourists impolite & self entitled attitudes.  And if you see this behavior in your fellow travelers, speak up. Often times we may not notice when we need to check out entitlement at the door

            (17) Open your eyes

            Instead of going on a vacation to turn away from the stresses of your life at home, and then also looking away while traveling, open your eyes to what you are seeing & be present.  Take note of what people are doing, is it respectful? Ask yourself, “Can I do better?”

            Think about it this way, if you were being paid to stay in a nice resort, eating for free & having concierges look after your every need, you would most likely spread wonderful words about it to everyone you meet

            The idea behind this tactic is simple marketing, and it’s of course fine.  However, as a reader & possibly as a traveler, make your own conclusion about a place & try not to base your travels on the word of those being paid to say good things

            This could lead to becoming an ethical travel writer – so many travelers are PAID to write about a destination by the same place that they are visiting, so their perspective can be skewed.

            (18) Avoid geo-tagging and adding your location to social media in fragile environments

            As much we want to share the hidden beauty of a place, oftentimes it’s become that beautiful because of the lack of human interaction.  Leave a little mystery to your audience.

            (19) Come prepared

            • Ask yourself why you want to visit a destination – is it because you want to truly experience the place, or are you looking to take a great picture that you saw some Instagrammers shoot pictures at?
            • Prevent the creation of further waste – find responsible local restaurants ahead of time, bring your own reusable water bottle & cloth bags for shopping, and even pick up trash you see on the ground if you can.  With large crowds come lots of trash, so limit how much waste you create.

            Leave No Trace! is a set of principles for those venturing outdoors.  You can see their list of principles here.

            (20) Worry less about that perfect picture

            Many travelers will ignore roped off areas or boundaries to be able to capture themselves in a perfect picture.  However, those boundaries are these for you protection & for the environments Imagine if all 2 million tourists visiting Iceland every year walked over the roped off areas of their fragile land (which has been happening much more frequently), the reasons everyone began visiting Iceland – for its beautiful nature -will become mud pits from everyone’s shoes.

            (21) Focus on Quality over Quantity

            This is behavioral and based on what you, as a traveler, prefer – is it true travel experiences or snap & run selfie stick vacations?  Is it better to save yourself money on a cheap fast food dinner, or spend more on a fine dining experience?

            (22) Local local local

            • Eat local produce
            • Stay at a local guest house or a hotel with eco-friendly missions & recycling programs

            (23) Share with others their environmental impact while traveling

            Many aren’t aware of the issues at hand and the fragility of the destinations they visit.  I only stopped using single use plastic last year, and the friends I’ve seen pay to pet baby tigers only now know it’s horrible after I’ve told them how the animals are treated.  Sharing your experience & know how can help to create a larger community, and you never know what you can learn from others.

            (24) Continue traveling!

            This list of tips is meant to broaden your knowledge & provide insight into the travelers world.  Of course you should continue to travel, but now you are prepared to do so responsibly, so travel & enjoy!

            We all should rethink how we develop tourism and how we travel.  We cannot possibly fit an infinite number of people into finite spaces. And while there is no sole solution, there isn’t a  sole cause either. The more the tourism industry refines itself for each destination, the more people will feel comfortable coming to visit.  And just like we shouldn’t consume mass produced processed foods, we shouldn’t be mindlessly travelers. So, what do you think? Do you think over tourism is even an issue?  If so, do you have any additional tips or tricks to help protect the world?

            Interested in learning more about Overtourism?

            Here are a few resources for you to explore!

            *Be sure to read about what Overtourism is HERE

            *Overbooked by Elizabeth Becker

            *Crowded Out

            *EarthCheck – A group that created scientific benchmarking for destinations to follow in order to be considered sustainable.  This link has tons of different topics & resources to dive into

            *Sustainable Destinations Top 100 list, 2018

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            What is Overtourism

            What is Overtourism

            Environment

            Last Updated November 12th, 2019

            If you love to travel and you love the planet, put those two together and you’d get sustainable travel.  Alright, this isn’t the best or exact definition of the phrase, but an easy to understand the perspective of it.

            My love and respect for both traveling and planet Earth led me down the rabbit hole of research, observation, discussion and acknowledgment of sustainable travel, and one topic that I’ve witnessed more and more personally, which is overtourism.

            Overtourism is a relatively new ‘buzzword’ that was first coined in 2012, yet only highlighted in the media in 2017 when protests in Barcelona began against tourists.

            Definition of Overtourism :

            Overtourism describes a destination negatively by both locals and visitors as having too many tourists. Locals want the tourists to get out of their way, tourists feel like the places are too crowded, and caretakers spend much of their time performing crowd control and wear & tear control duties.  Essentially, the quality of life and the quality of the experience has deteriorated.

            There has been a serious loss in authenticity within popular destinations. Yet, we are all apart of the problem. Think of it in terms of car traffic. We complain about the traffic while we’re driving a car, just like we complain about too long of lines at popular landmarks while we’re waiting in the line.  It almost feels like there is no escape from overtourism, and genuine locals are becoming a new endangered species

            Tourism is a service industry that sells a product of which it does NOT own.  The physical place is the product. In most cases, tourism is considered a ‘pastime’ as opposed to an industry- when in fact, it IS an industry, and one that has gone unnoticed as it’s grown so quickly.

            This global phenomenon of over-tourism is happening all over the world, even in places that you wouldn’t expect. The cost of travel is continually decreasing, and the number of international departures from any given airport increases each year. The tourism industry grows no matter the global issues going on. Effectively creating a destructive force on high-profile and in-demand destinations.

            Yet, saying a place has an overtourism problem isn’t a specific label, as the phrase’ too many’ is a subjective term.  It’s easier to understand when you look at the causes and effects of over-tourism.

            What causes Overtourism?

            Why is overtourism happening?

                    As I mentioned before, tourism is an industry, and like most other sales-driven industries, its success is based around its growth.  And it seems that overtourism is a result of success for tourism boards.

            Many Americans began traveling after World War 2 ended with a significant increase beginning in the 1970s and 1980s.  Meaning the travel industry we know today has been around for just about 50 years, a measly few decades of uncontrolled growth. Worldwide we’ve gone from about 30 million travelers each year, to over 1.3 billion travelers every year.  And while it’s incredibly exciting to know that so many more people are able to experience the beauty of our planet, it feels as if the tourism industry has gone unchecked during its growth.

            Think of it compared to our technology advances.

            I grew up with dial-up internet on a bulky computer, then after college, I moved out of my parent’s house with a small, swiftly functioning smartphone. The travel industry has quickly transformed from an unknown perspective to one with multifaceted options, with little control over travelers behaviors.

            What are the Drivers of Overtourism:

            • Population growth — in 2009 there was about 6.8 billion people in the world, five years ago it was 7.3 billion & currently we are at 7.7 billion people across the globe.
            • Rising affluence of the middle class –> there are more people who are able to spend part of their income on travel
            • Lack of an ability to track & report accurate data: government’s report their overall tourist numbers which lump together cruise ships, duty-free shoppers, resort guests, backpackers, etc
            • Technological advances –>
              • mass air travel has taken off like a racehorse
              • the internet is accessible in more places
              • and the cruise industry has ships larger than many of the cities they port at, with their 8,000 visitors spilling onto the streets of aodrable places, only to have them all flock back for dinner

            *fun fact- cruise ships are allowed to burn cheap, bad for the environment fuels which is one of the reasons cruise ships can be cheap

            Effects of Overtourism:

                    A lack of accurate reporting leads to misconceptions and disillusionment of how severe an issue of over tourism may be to a destination.  The effects of over tourism reflect on residents, tourists and the destination itself. Here are a few of the effects on all three:

            Alienated LOCAL Residents:

            • Irreparable damage to infrastructure, natural areas & cultural monuments
            • Harsh resident resentment due to excess traffic, too large of crowds in inconvenient places
            • Inflated real estate & rent prices: this is partly due to businesses like AirBnb (who is often pinpointed as a scapegoat for this issue).  This happens because apartments are suddenly for vacation rentals instead of rent, and a lack of living spaces creates a new supply & demand issue
              • A decreased supply of living spaces →  higher demand to find a place to live = which means owners can charge tenants higher rent
            • A shift of relevant retail stores to souvenir shops, along with other neighborhood setups catered to tourists, as opposed to those residing there
            • Many jobs are low paying and seasonal, with much of the revenue going back to large, wealthy corporations out of the destination

            Tourists & they’re mitigated experiences:

            • Very  crowded destinations
            • A low value for their money spent
            • No sense of authenticity in a destination, which leads to fewer stories to take home to share

            Overloaded Destinations:

            • On the bright side, tourism in some places has brought wealth to lesser-known or forgotten rural communities
            • Tourism has helped restore crumbling historic infrastructures
            • Negatively, there is an increase of garbage at these popular landmarks
            • With an increase of visitors, a destination is often unable to enforce respect & regulations for the place

                    These causes & effects all bring about concerns with overtourism.  Not only are major destinations losing their unique identity – which is the main reason for so many visiting – there is also a lack of control over the situation.  Tourism managements are either nonexistent or are ill equipped to handle the influx of visitors in a way that still produces revenue for the country. And the ‘sweet spot’ number of ‘happy to have’ visitors versus too many people does not exist, and would be unique to each destination.  The term ‘carrying capacity’ is used to describe this, and needs to be thought of in terms of physical carrying capacity and social carrying capacity.

            PHYSICAL — how many people can infrastructures & landmarks contain?

            SOCIAL — how many visitors can residents & other tourists tolerate before having a negative experience?

                    No matter how you spin it, there is an overall loss of identity that these over visited places are experiencing.  Here are a few examples of over tourism from fellow travel writers, bloggers & photographers:

            Overtourism Example & How Rome is trying to fix it

            Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

            Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing web designer & photographer. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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            Examples of Overtourism:

            Where is Overtourism occurring?

            You’ll hear and read about overtourism being a continuous problem in many countries. Most recognized is Barcelona Spain, Venice Italy, Amsterdam Netherlands, Japan, Croatia, and Bali Indonesia.

            Below are examples of Overtourism witnessed around the world from fellow travel bloggers :

            Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

            “The whole park had a little boardwalk that you had to follow to see the waterfalls. It was PACKED”

            From Nicole, @ourwildestlife

            Tram 28, Lisbon, Portugal

            “The other day, I saw a queue of (I counted) more than 200 people lining up for Lisbon’s Tram 28.

            Tram 28 is one of Lisbon’s most scenic tram routes, and the journey is recommended in countless guidebooks and on travel blogs. Unfortunately, it’s not actually a sightseeing bus: it’s home people in neighbourhoods like Graça get to the city centre.

            A queue of 200 people not only means that locals can’t use this tram, but it’s also not going to be a particularly fun experience for tourists either.”

            From James, blogger at Portugalist.com, check out his post on tourist alternatives, like walking the route this tram takes!

            From James, blogger at Portugalist.com, check out his post on tourist alternatives, like walking the route this tram takes!

            Basílica del Voto Nacional in Quito, Ecuador

            “This photo was taken during a trip to the Basílica del Voto Nacional in Quito. Prior to entering, the security guard made it very clear that we weren’t to deface any of the stonework or climb on the structure. Although the Basílica was constructed in sections, parts of it are very old and undergo frequent maintenance work. Upon reaching the top of the tower, we were greeted with this sight. Clearly the memo hadn’t reached everyone.”

            From Sheree, blogger behind Winging the World

            Machu Picchu, Peru

            “We went to Machu Picchu at sunrise, when there were relatively few people. After a tour with a guide, we hiked up to the Sungate. When we got back to the main site, we could barely get around due to the amount of people. The cleared areas you see in the photos are because you can only walk on specific paths around the historic site. I wanted to stay longer at Machu Picchu because it’s incredible, but it was just too uncomfortable with the crowds. Now, I don’t really recommend going to Machu Picchu unless you can arrive at sunrise and have a moment alone with the site.”

            From Hanna, blogger behind Moderately Adventurous

            Angkor Wat, Cambodia

            “This past summer I traveled to the famous Angkor Wat to watch the sunrise. Turns out that it was quite a popular destination with hundreds of people lined up along the water’s edge.”

            From Chelsey, the blogger behind The Ninja Gypsy

            Nyaung Lat Phat Kan, Myanmar

            “…on Christmas Day 2018 (when these photographs were taken) the crowds were out in Bagan. At sunset, the Nyaung Lat Phat Kan hill viewpoint was seriously overcrowded as hundreds of tourists competed to take that perfect sunset photo. Our sunset pictures may look serene but that was far from the reality. Our two small children were towered over by the crowds who pushed past them.

            Much of the overcrowding at the viewpoints is because nearly all the temples in Bagan that tourists were once allowed to climb are now closed for safety reasons. This is putting a lot of pressure on the few designated viewing places.”

            From Kirsty, the blogger behind World for a Girl 

            Resort in Kusadashi, Turkey

            “This is a resort in Turkey that is filled with European tourists. We spent only about an hour on this beach before leaving as it was such an unpleasant experience! I had to move at least half a dozen cigarette butts just to clear enough space for my beach towel! ”

            From Hayley, the blogger behind Life as a Butterfly

            The Taj Mahal

            “We recently visited the Taj Mahal. From distance you can see the impacts of overturisim. The white marble is tainted by the smog and the fog makes the view a little blurry. The lines to enter starts at 6am. Although tourist seems to believe that if they get there early it will be empty, the reality is complete opposite. Inside, crowds gather on the same spot to get the same picture everyone will be posting on instagram. The expectation surrounding the Taj Mahal comes to pieces once you see the real location without filters; magnificent, but far from what you think it would be like. However, It is an impressive view with or without photo editing.”

            From Laura, the blogger behind Three Decades Ago

            The Grand Canyon

            “The Grand Canyon is one of the most popular national parks in the United States, with over six million visitors annually. Most visitors don’t stray far from the the South Rim Visitor’s Center. But the Grand Canyon is nearly 300 miles long! A few minutes walk/drive away from the crowds, visitors can have plenty of space for themselves.”

            From John, the blogger behind The Hangry Backpacker

            Venice, Italy

            “Activists in Venice have formed “No Grandi Navi,” a group which fights against large cruise ships in the Venetian lagoon. These massive vessels contribute to issues related to overtourism in Venice for three main reasons. The first is that many people who arrive by cruise ship are day-trippers that don’t contribute to the local economy by staying in hotels and dining there. The other is the significant movement in the water caused by the cruise boats, which damages Venice’s underlying wooden structure. The final reason is the pollution that the ships bring, which harms the lagoon’s ecosystem. In 2017, a referendum to divert large cruise ships out of the lagoon and into the docks in a nearby town passed with overwhelming support, but some are skeptical about the length of time and logistics needed to make this happen. No Grandi Navi keeps up their fight in order to protect the future of their beloved city.”

            From Molly, the blogger behind Luggage and Life

            That Wanaka Tree, New Zealand

            “Nestled in the heart of New Zealand’s Southern Alps, a curved, spindly tree breaks the still waters of Lake Wanaka. Its branches spread out like fingers, its unique shape instantly recognisable. The landscape is striking yet serene. At least, that’s the expectation and the impression that most photographs of That Wanaka Tree give. In reality, head to the lake shore at either sunrise or sunset and you’ll be met by a coach-load of tourists all fighting for the perfect spot from which to take their image of New Zealand’s most photographed tree”

            From Joss, the blogger behind Little Green Globetrotter

            The Mona Lisa, inside of The Louvre, Paris France

            “Not wanting to be jostled and pushed by fellow tourists I spent less than a minute in her presence.  So if you want some peace and quiet to appreciate the Mona Lisa, don’t go to Paris in high season or visit the Louvre on the weekend.”

            From Katie, the blogger behind Just Chasing Sunsets

            The Narrows, Zion National Park

            “This is at The Narrows – one of the most popular hikes in the park (this taken early too – only 10:00 AM!)”

            From Stephania, the blogger behind Travanie Travels

            Sunset Beach in Koh Lipe, Thailand

            “It’s hard to believe that just 30 years ago there wasn’t a single resort or tourist on this 2.5km by 3.5km isle.  Whilst it hasn’t suffered extreme overtourism like Koh Phi Phi has, you can start to see strains on this tiny island. The first time I visited Koh Lipe was a year ago at Christmas, which was when this picture was taken. I was surprised when I revisited a month ago in February (1 year later) to find double the number of visitors.”

            From Sherri, the blogger behind Travel Mermaid

            Want to learn how you can help prevent Overtourism?

            23 Ways to Help Prevent Overtourism

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            Hiking Madeira’s Mountains

            Hiking Madeira’s Mountains

            Environment

            An experience I never expected

                    Tossing bits of dried fruit over to a pair of red-legged partridges, it suddenly dawned on me that perhaps I greatly underestimated the vast wildlife we were about to encounter on our eight-hour hike through the mountains of Madeira. The local guide and our new long-limbed friend, David, chuckled with my sudden influx of inquiries concerning the danger of mountain lions and cliff jumping goats. Much to my surprise, the only ‘predators’ to fear on this Portuguese island located off the coast of Morocco were the hungry feral canines and felines that roamed the domesticated neighborhoods. 

                    I jumped at the opportunity for an all-day nature hike in lieu of another day of urban exploration; however, amidst my excitement I neglected to research what to expect from this Portuguese archipelago. As we continued our cliff-hugging journey through the tallest peaks of this island, I was mindfully balancing out the thoughts of ‘how did I not consider the wildlife?’ and ‘do NOT look down!’ 

            Tall, lush grass veiled the hand laid steps that furrowed into the fertile mountainside which appeared hidden from a faraway glance. The only note of caution was to not grip the slim wire that hangs like a mere barrier between the rocky mountain side and the steep descent down the sharp cliffs.  

                    Madeira is a floating garden-like island where what little was brought here has remained. A place where the most popular beverage, Poncha, uses ingredients sourced from the backyards of neighbors growing sugar cane in their own yard. The friendly and modest locals prepare seafood with inherent skill and captivate visitors with conversation in English. I learned that the only wildlife sustained on the island are birds and feral ‘pets’, at least for now.

            Immersed in the island’s flora and fauna, not only did my experience cultivate a newfound respect for this island that dates to the ice ages, but I didn’t feel like a tourist.

                    It’s moving to be in a place that still feels untouched by human permeation of insatiability. With little to fear from non-existent predators, it is no wonder the partridges teetering on a cliffside with us were welcoming during our midday snack break. This pearl of the Atlantic Ocean maintains much of its original beauty, and is truly a paradise in the purest form. It felt as if we were the first group to hike this trail, and when we left no trace that we had been there- I had the distinct feeling that I experienced something I never expected to.

            The majoirty of the hike was on hand made trails with this wiring you see here.  Our guide told us to not truly hold onto it as it had sharp pieces… yet the ground was slippery, so we needed to hold on (haha).  However the views (below) were well worth the before-dawn pick up and tricky hiking conditions.

            We took this hike with a tour group — Up Mountain Madeira

            I would highly recommend them.  They were easy to book with, communication was always timely and the guides went above what I would have expected.  We also loved that the size of groups were limited.

            Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

            Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing web designer & photographer. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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            A Visit to Crater Lake, Oregon

            A Visit to Crater Lake, Oregon

            Environment

            Winters affect on Crater Lake

            Note: this post contains affiliate links to products we love and have purchased ourselves on Amazon. Clicking these links doesn’t cost you any extra money, and you’re supporting us by doing so. You can view my disclosure page for additional details.

            When I strapped on borrowed snow shoes at Crater Lake National Park, I laughed out loud at how much difficulty I’d have with this simplistic adventure.  With multiple layers of clothing on and too-large-for-me snow pants, two steps in and I was teetering over… fortunately onto 15 feet of snow.  Luckily, the winter weather doesn’t harm the forested surroundings of Crater Lake National Park as much as it hindered my ability to walk.  Inhaling a deep calming breath of crisp air, our national park guide directed through our first (successful) steps on top of the snow into the wilderness surrounding America’s most beautiful lake.

            The snow crunching underneath our feet was a rhythm in itself as we snow shoed single file behind our park ranger through a mixture of tall and small pine trees.  He huddled us into a circle for the first of four stops to discuss the winters season impact on Crater Lake.  One of the snowiest places in America, it averages over 40 feet of snow annually.  A burning question of whether this wintery weather is a blessing or a burden to the area was one our guide happily explained throughout our snow shoe trek.

            Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

            Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing web designer & photographer. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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            1. Evolution at its finest:

            One of the hikers with us was asked to grab the top of a small pine tree and pull it to the ground. Surprisingly, the tree was pliable enough to bend all the way over like a slinkie.  Throughout time trees that are more pliant have survived the mass snowfall.  The flexibility allows them to bend to the heavy snowfall without breaking.  This progression has allowed the trees to be protected by the snow instead of harmed by it.

            2. The annual snow covering

            The snow protects the flora from drought and in turn from fire.  So, it keeps everything safe like a big blanket.

             

            3. Seasonal animals

            Surprisngly animals can thrive in this environment. Shrews, voles and pikas tunnel deep beneath the ground with the snow covering adding an extra layer of warmth overtop of them.

            4. Melting Snow

            As the snow melts in the warmer months it flows downstream supporting local farmers, wildlife and cities.

            5. Crater Lake itself

            Probably the most important, the caldera that is Crater Lake exists because of this annual snowfall. No streams or rivers feed into the lake, which is what makes it so clear and blue– zero pollution!

            Finishing our snow shoe hike, behind us are the tree covered slopes, in front stunning vistas of Crater Lake.  After a massive eruption almost 8,000 years ago, what used to be the Mount Mazema volcano collapsed and is now home to the cleanest body of water in the world.  The deep blue waters that fill Crater Lake are the deepest, bluest, most clean and clear in the world.

            Check out more images from Crater Lake, Oregon by scrolling through the pictures below!

            Top TIPS for visiting Crater Lake, Oregon-

            • Snow shoeing is a free activity offered in the winter months; dress warm!!
            • If snow shoeing, bring some extra cash to ‘tip’ the guide; it goes back into the national parks fund
            • Winter months are often dreary so be prepared for a less than stellar view (we just happened to be lucky to visit on a clear day)
            • Only one road is kept open during the winter months due to the difficulty of plowing with high levels of snowfall.  Summer months you can drive around the entire lake.
            • Hiking & skiing can be done here!  Plan ahead for the weather.

            You can find some of the winter gear I use here:

            Grey Beanie Pom hat: I love this hat because the inside is so soft & fluffy, plus it looks cute with almost any of my other winter gear.  The exact hat is not longer available but I found a few similar items:

            Womens Winter Knit Hat

            Thick Cable Knit Fuzzy Beanie

            Women’s Winter Soft Knitted Beanie

            North Face Backpack: I’ve had this backpack for years!  Its very comfortable to wear on your shoulders & I love how it’s cushioned so I feel comfortable traveling with delicate items in it.  It’s also durable for outdoor activities.  It doesn’t look like this color pattern is available anymore but here is the style:

            North Face Classic Backpack

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            Eco-Friendly Tips for the Beach

            Eco-Friendly Tips for the Beach

            Environment

            Five simple tips to help keep our beaches clean

            Note: this post contains affiliate links to products we love and have purchased ourselves on Amazon. Clicking these links doesn’t cost you any extra money, and you’re supporting us by doing so. You can view my disclosure page for additional details.

            When choosing a destination for a vacation one of the most popular reasons for going will be a place with stunning views and landscapes.  In order for these destinations to be desirable they are well maintained by someone who is being paid to do so, and some beaches cannot keep up with the trash pollution (hello tides bringing things in and out).

                    Beaches are easy places for people to leave behind garbage because the assumption is that ‘I won’t be coming back here so not my problem anymore’, or a personal “favorite” of mine is the assumption that someone will clean up after you.  It’s confusing to think about how and when that mindset settled in, but the reality is no one is coming in after you to clean up your mess on a beach.  Beach clean ups are great, but they are a band-aid over a bigger problem, not a solution.  So, I’ve put together a simple list of things YOU can do to prevent waste and be eco-friendly on your next beach visit.

            Five Friendly Tips to help keep our beaches clean

            1. CARRY A (REUSABLE) WATER BOTTLE

            Instead of purchasing another plastic water bottle, reuse one you already have or carry a sturdy reusable bottle with you.  It’ll be a great reminder to fill it up and stay hydrated, and it saves plastic from being left behind.

            Here is a resusable water bottle that I really like

            *My suggestion would be to not invest too heavily into a reusable bottle that you will travel with.  I once had an empty water bottle tossed via a secondary, full plane, re-check of our carry on luggage with the reason being I couldn’t have any bottles of any kind…

            2. BRING A REUSABLE CLOTH SHOULDER BAG OR GROCERY BAG

                    Plagues are to human destruction, as Plastic is to the ocean… alright, my attempt at an analogy may not be great, but the point I’m trying to make is that plastic is the devil- especially to our oceans.  Avoid plastic like a plague and always bring a reusable bag with you.  Some clothing stores use cloth bags, such as Free People and Verge Girl, that you can reuse or use a reusable grocery bag.  They are lightweight and very useful.

            These cloth bags are a great size for a long day spent at the beach

            3. WEAR REEF-SAFE & CRUELTY FREE SUNSCREEN

            Coral reefs maintain and protect vast parts of our oceans.  They can be bleached and die from oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are main ingredients in many mainstream sunscreens.  They are toxic to our oceans.  Protect marine life and coral reefs by wearing reef-safe and cruelty free sunscreens.

            I am currently working on reviewing various sunscreens that fit into this category to share which ones are best for protection, quality and for your dollar.  In the meantime, here are brands that I have heard of:

            • Sun Bum; I use their 30 spf
            • Hang Ten
            • Jason Mineral
            • Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen
            •  Australian Gold Botanical Sunscreen
            • Bare Republic

            *search for mineral and zinc oxide based sunscreens

            4. BRING YOUR OWN FOOD

            Packing your own food will allow you to use reusable Tupperware and avoid horrific items like foam packaging and plastic straws.  While at home I use the Pyrex brand, but for travelling these silicone bags are great (plus they have cute little pandas on them too)

            If you bring items that are individually wrapped, such as protein bars, be sure to…

             

            5. TAKE YOUR TRASH WITH YOU

            Some beaches will have garbage bins on the beach, which is wonderful!  However, beaches are windy places.  When the wind starts it’ll pick up whatever lightweight items are in a garbage bin and float them away.  Use that reusable bag you’re going to bring with you and store your trash in there to toss out at home or at your lodging.

                    That’s it!  Five very simple things you can easily do to help preserve beaches.  It’s incredible to think about how simple these five tasks are and even more incredible how impactful you, as an individual, can be utilizing these tips.

            Share this post with someone you go to the beach with so you and your team can be prepped for the beach that all you have to do is enjoy the the rays & the waves!

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