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Indigenous Peoples and Protected Areas

Essay by   •  October 8, 2018  •  Research Paper  •  2,125 Words (9 Pages)  •  54 Views

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Devin Brito

Noel Healey

Parks and Protected Areas

6/30/2018

Indigenous peoples and protected areas

The growth of environmentalism in the 1970s gave rise to the notion of sustainability. The significance of sustainable development has been increasing progressively in both national and international policies. It brings together the economy, the society, and the environment. Despite the fact that all three are separate entities, it recognizes that they are interdependent and establishes a common language. In the journal, Evolving Sustainably, Bansal quotes the definition of The World Commission on Economic Development (WECD) outlined in the Brundtland report of 1987. It is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (1). The fundamental principles that ground sustainable development are civil equity, commercial prosperity, and integrity of the environment. There are many indices that can be used to evaluate sustainable development, but only two of them incorporate all the three aspects of the concept. These are the Genuine Savings Index (GSI) and the Sustainable Society Index (SSI) (Strezov, Annette and Tim 1). With sustainable development, there is hope in significantly reducing some of the major challenges faced by the contemporary world such as economic inequality, global warming, and environmental degradation.

Sustainable tourism can be referred to as “tourism which is developed and maintained in an area (community, environment) in such a manner and at such a scale that it remains viable over an infinite period and does not degrade or alter the environment (human and physical) in which it exists to such a degree that it prohibits the successful development and well-being of other activities and processes” (Nelson, Butler and Wall 29). Sustainable development is by no means a consistent state of tranquillity but a changing operation where the present and the future probability that human demands will be adequately satisfied is enhanced. However, it cannot be reduced to a single definition. It can be tailored to adequately satisfy the needs of any interested party. It has seven major dimensions, managerial, environmental, political, social, governmental and economic. It requires that all the relevant stakeholders are involved and the political leaders should ensure that people participate widely and that a consensus is built. The process is a continuous one and the impacts have to be monitored regularly. When needed, the preventive and control measures need to be put in place. It satisfies the demands of tourists and the hosts in the region while simultaneously augmenting their future opportunities. It appreciates that people, their communities and their customs and traditional practices contribute to the experience of tourism and that these people, therefore, deserve a fair share in the economic gains brought in. It should maintain the economic benefits without causing harm to the environment that it relies on. It should develop rapidly considering the environment and the population as well as the capacity for accommodation. By protecting the environment, especially that which is saturated, sustainable tourism ensures its own survival. The concepts, therefore, warrant the name responsible tourism (Butler 10). The World Tourism Organization (WTO) combined these concepts to give meaning to sustainable development in tourism, “Sustainable tourism development meets the needs of present tourists and host regions while protecting and enhancing opportunities for the future. It is envisaged as leading to management of all resources in such a way that economic, social and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity and life support systems” (Liu 460). All forms of tourism operations that have a role in sustainable development are part of sustainable tourism.

The application of sustainability in tourism enhances satisfaction among the tourists and creates environmental awareness and promotes conservation. It also holds the cultural heritage of locals in the protected regions in high esteem. It enables the management of these protected areas to realize and value the resources that are at their disposal and helps them identify their vulnerabilities and reduce them where possible. It has also been instrumental in the transformation of the attitudes of the tourism operators and developers (Liu 460). Incorporation of sustainability has helped tourism to preserve its essence. It has been instrumental in reducing the tensions that are brought about by interactions between the visiting tourists, the environment, local residents of the protected areas, and the tourism industry. This has ensured that the quality of the accessible resources, both human and natural, has been maintained. The living conditions of the locals in the protected areas is increased immensely and the wants of the tourists who increase with each day are satisfied. Most importantly, the environment is preserved in order to achieve all this. The society, environment and the economy are, therefore, integrated to have a smooth interaction.

There are some gaps, however, that have not been addressed by this concept. Sustainability puts emphasis on the maintenance of the available resources, disregarding the fact that all resources change with the changes in the needs of the society as well as the technological advancements. In an attempt to safeguard the interests of the local residents in the protected areas, the common notion is that the community should gain economically but the culture of the hosts should remain unaltered. The idea that most of the changes brought by tourism are generally negative may cause the hosts to miss out on positive socio-cultural transformations. Some of the ideas and lifestyles that tourists introduce may be drivers of change both economically and socially. More attention is directed to the sustainability of resources for use by the tourists than the sustainability of the demand of the visitors at the destinations, yet a consistent flow of visitors is fundamental to the industry.

Although it is recognized that all the stakeholders should benefit from the economic gains from the tourist activities, little is done to empower the community members who are often not in a position to control the major developments that need to be overseen. If they are not well empowered, the poor are highly motivated to adopt practices that are not sustainable so that they can temporarily satisfy urgent needs. The locals are also the group that is most affected by the negative impacts of tourism. (Bramwell 361). It has become a challenge for organizations to set an acceptable threshold for the growth of tourism using the carrying capacities and the indices used to measure sustainable growth. This makes determining the speed of development problematic. “The greatest criticism of the tourism industry relates to the problem of its exceeding desirable limits. It is often too much of a good thing” (Rosenow& Pulsipher 214). The distinction between enough and too much is difficult to make, and so is selecting the methods to employ. The limit is difficult to establish since carrying capacity has many dimensions. The methods applied to accomplish sustainable tourism are selected with naivety and are unreliable. Methods like community and alternative tourism cannot be solely depended on to achieve sustainable tourism globally (Liu, 461).

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