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How the adventure travel community can 'Build Back Better' for Animals

There is no doubt, Planet Earth is experiencing the highest atmospheric CO2 concentrations that have not been equalled for millions of years, with resulting temperature rises threatening the balance of life and the collapse of everything that gives us security.


ANIMONDIAL, the specialist consultancy supporting travel and tourism businesses to better protect animals and nature, acknowledges the Climate Emergency, and offers a means for the adventure travel tourism sector, to embrace the “silver bullet” to lessen climate change and save ourselves.


I invited Daniel Turner, co-Director of ANIMONDIAL to share his insights with us below;


This requires much more then just counting and reducing carbon output, it requires the better protection and regeneration of the natural systems that absorb carbon and bring stability to life on Earth.


Professor Schellnhuber, Director Emeritus at Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, speaking at ITB Berlin 2021, acknowledged that nature is our “silver bullet” to combating climate change. He acknowledged nature’s ability to absorb carbon and maintain ecological balance, advocating a complete change in global priority-setting, whereby animal and nature protection underpins all human activity.


Whilst tourism can exploit nature, wildlife, and the limited natural resources, if managed well, it brings value to animal and nature protection, and enhances ecosystem services. ANIMONDIAL helps guide travel and tourism businesses to make the right choices and drive forward meaningful change.


Change is critically needed: Human activity has already degraded over 70% of the Earth’s land surface (IPBES, 2019) and more than two-thirds of the oceans (Halpern et al., 2015). This has resulted in significant biodiversity-loss, with an on average 68% decline in vertebrate species abundance (WWF, 2020) and 1 in 5 species facing extinction (IUCN, 2020). If nothing is done to lessen the impact, nature’s ability to prevent atmospheric CO2 overload and spiralling global warming will be severely compromised (C. Bradshaw et al., 2021).


Whilst it is easy to become overwhelmed and disillusioned by the mounting evidence of the Climate Emergency, there is hope. Hope that through our concerted efforts, we can lessen negative impact, better protect and regenerate nature, and improve the Earth’s ability to retain ecological balance. Businesses, not only governments, must step-up and adopt sustainable practices that better protect the life on which we depend.


ANIMONDIAL does not claim to have all the answers, but it does have the vision and the drive to work with others, combine knowledge and efforts, to simplify complexity and overcome challenges, and the ability to deliver meaningful change. In the months and years ahead, ANIMONDIAL will do what it can to connect, inform, inspire, and empower sustainable and regenerative tourism that prioritises the better protection of animals and nature – but we cannot do this alone.


What contribution can the adventure travel community make?


1. Reconnect with nature

As a part of nature ourselves, we must provide opportunity for travellers to reconnect, understand, appreciate and respect nature as our lifeline for wellbeing and prosperity.


2. Safeguard individual welfare

Ensuring all animals involved in holiday offerings / excursions have a life worth living. Where a respect for life on Earth starts with recognising and safeguarding their individual and species-specific needs.


3. Overcome industry challenges

Alternative to ‘stop sale’, work with your partners and suppliers to develop responsible alternative experiences to those activities with animals evidenced to compromise animal welfare and survival.


4. Protect threatened species

Underpinning biological diversity, efforts must seek to prevent the killing, wild-capture, trade and sale of animal and plant species threatened with extinction, and to better protect endemic fauna and flora.


5. Invest in nature

Bring much needed support and value to community-based animal protection and nature conservation, encouraging local people to value wildlife and natural habitat alive, not dead. Many adventure travel tour operators are already doing this.


Together we can Build Back Better for Animals, where nature-friendly tourism is part of the solution to lessen the global problem of climate change.


Learn more about ANIMONDIAL’s Build Back Better for Animals, sign up to the initiative, and received information and exclusive offers on trainings and services.


References:

Bar-On, Y. M., Phillips, R., and Milo, R. (2018). The biomass distribution on Earth. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 115:6506–6511. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1711842115


Bradshaw CJA, Ehrlich PR, Beattie A, Ceballos G, Crist E, Diamond J, Dirzo R, Ehrlich AH, Harte J, Harte ME, Pyke G, Raven PH, Ripple WJ, Saltré F, Turnbull C, Wackernagel M and Blumstein DT (2021) Underestimating the Challenges of Avoiding a Ghastly Future. Front. Conserv. Sci. 1:615419. doi: 10.3389/fcosc.2020.615419


Elhacham, E., Ben-Uri, L., Grozovski, J., Bar-On, Y. M., and Milo, R. (2020). Global human-made mass exceeds all living biomass. Nature 588, 442–444. doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-3010-5


Global Footprint Network (2021) https://www.footprintnetwork.org/our-work/ecological-footprint/


IPBES (2019). Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. Paris: IPBES Secretariat.

WWF (2020). Living Planet Report 2020. Gland: WWF.

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