The Community Association of Big Sur (CABS) has launched a private public partnership to address tourism and its impact in Big Sur. In partnership with the Monterey County Board of Supervisors and their provision of a seed grant to begin the process, CABS has hired Costas Christ of Beyond Green Travel to lead the effort.
However, we need to raise more funding in order to not only complete the analysis and planning process, but to also test out recommended mitigations.
CABS is proud to announce that the Monterey County Weekly in partnership with the Community Foundation for Monterey County and the Monterey Peninsula Foundation have chosen our non-profit and this project to be highlighted in the Monterey County Givesfundraising campaign.
See link at below photo to go to the Monterey County Gives link to make a donation.
Your contribution will be matched by these sponsors, enabling our community to do this important work to benefit generations to come.
With gratitude, Butch Kronlund, ED, Community Association of Big Sur
“Our community can design innovative solutions to ensure that tourism benefits businesses, visitors, residents and our fragile coastline.”Butch Kronlund, ED, Community Association of Big Sur Donate to McGives & help Big Sur complete and implement a sustainable tourism plan.www.CABigSur.orgwww.BigSurPledge.org
I give you something a bit different for my Tourist Tuesday column today. Later, this afternoon, Community Association of Big Sur hosts a meeting here on the South Coast about developing our Destination Management Plan, specifically beginning with data collection. It is a follow-up of the ones held in a whirlwind series of meetings in August by CABS. Those meetings introduced us to what we have been planning and doing since last year. I will report on this meeting later. But for today, I would like to concentrate on what overtourism does to our local environment, and to the greater environment of our world and its impact on Climate Change.
I have been concerned about this for years, and have expressed my frustration in this blog about what some of our tourists/visitors have done, particularly at Bixby, McWay, and here in my backyard of Plaskett Ridge Rd. The destruction is visible and disturbing. From the wildfires started by abandoned campfires:
To the denuding of all the ridge tops:
There isn’t a single ridge top left on Plaskett that hasn’t been denuded and the wildflowers destroyed in order to create a new off-road road and campsite. The escalation of this destruction just this summer has been unbelievable. I have never witnessed anything like it.
I was inspired by the 5- minute speech given by Greta Thunberg to the Climate Change Summit of the U.N. yesterday. It is quite moving. One can find it here: https://twitter.com/CNN/status/1176159504288886785 And realized that our overtourism problem in Big Sur is just one example or manifestation of the destruction of this planet. We can watch the destruction for ourselves right here. But it is happening all over the world in various degrees and in various ways.
It discusses the granting of “Personhood” or legal status to various parts of nature. It begins with the new declaration in Bangladesh granting “rights” to all the rivers in that country.
It is a thorough article that discusses other areas that have done the same thing, including Ohio and the granting of legal status to Lake Erie. It ends with this discussion:
Granting the status of personhood to a natural environment may seem like a bizarre legal fiction, but it’s no more bizarre than the idea that corporations should enjoy that same status, which has been with us since the 1880s.
If we find it strange to view nature the way we view people, that may just be because we’ve grown up in an anthropocentric intellectual tradition that treats the natural world as an object to be examined and exploited for human use, rather than as a subject to be communed with and respected.
“The idea that we can be separate from nature is really a Western reductionist way of looking at the world — we can trace it back to Francis Bacon and the scientific method,” said Price.
He told me that just as women’s suffrage and the abolition of slavery were once unthinkable but gradually became accepted and normalized, the rights of nature idea seems odd now but will eventually gain social currency. “For the rights of nature to be understood and become something we’re comfortable with is going require a paradigm shift, just like the end of slavery did,” Price said.
That paradigm shift may entail nothing less than a total rejection of capitalism, according to Eduardo Gudynas, the executive secretary of the Latin American Center for Social Ecology in Uruguay. He argues that attempts to reduce environmental devastation while staying within a capitalism framework won’t be enough to address the climate crisis.
“The debate around the rights of nature is one of the most active frontlines in the fight for a non-market-based point of view,” Gudynas told me. “It’s a reaction against our society’s commodification of everything.”
I think it is important to emphasize that a paradigm shift must happen for us to end the destruction of Big Sur, a microcosm of the rest of the world, and Mother Nature. How that shift manifests may be completely unexpected.
Once one of Norway’s most accessible glaciers, the Nigardsbreen has receded to reveal a difficult trek across hard slabs of rock. Instead of 50 tourists at a time, guides now take as few as six people, even though business couldn’t be better.
Steinar Bruheim, a guide who’s led tours across glaciers for over 30 years, knows why tourists flock to Norway’s rural, western countryside in the summer.
“They want to see it before it disappears,” Bruheim said.
The Nigarsbreen, like over 90% of the world’s glaciers, is melting. And while the planet is experiencing record temperatures, global travel and tourism, which researchers believe represent at least 8% of carbon emissions, couldn’t be healthier. In 2017, there were 1.32 billion tourist arrivals internationally, with Norway earning almost $19 billion from tourism representing 4.2% of the country’s gross domestic product, according to Innovation Norway, a government entity focusing on business growth.
Norway, like most countries in Western Europe, is experiencing record numbers of tourists, especially during the peak summer months—more than half of all overnight stays traditionally happen from May to August. And most of those tourists, according to Innovation Norway, come to see the fjords and the famous Northern Lights in northern Norway.
That influx of tourists is putting a strain on its natural wonders, especially glaciers.
Young people from around the world are leading a massive coordinated strike from school on Friday, September 20, to protest government and business inaction on climate change. It is likely to be one of the largest environmental protests in history.
The Global Climate Strike comes just before countries will gather at the United Nations for the Climate Action Summit on September 23, an event ahead of the UN General Assembly where countries are supposed to ramp up their ambitions to curb greenhouse gases under the 2015 Paris climate agreement. A second worldwide strike is planned for September 27.
I cannot join in this strike/protest by marching, so I will be joining the digital strike on Friday. A notice to that affect will be posted on my blog.
Big Sur Sustainable Destination Stewardship Plan Update And A Request for Input Dear Big Sur Community Members,
Many thanks to all the community members who participated in meeting with Costas Christ of Beyond Green Travel during his visit in August. CABS has now entered into a contract with Beyond Green Travel to move forward on a Destination Stewardship Plan for Big Sur. To learn more about this process, go to the “Initiatives” page on our website.
An important component of this work is collecting data on traffic. CABS is coordinating with traffic engineers, Cal Trans and TAMC to consolidate existing data sets and reports on traffic volume as a preliminary step to establish where we are going in terms of gathering data for overall vehicle impact on the Highway.
Residents from up and down the coast have expressed that capturing traffic counts in real time, 24-7, 365 days a year for multiple years is an important place to start. Three locations stand out as initial gathering locations: Mal Paso Creek Bridge, Nacimiento Rd and Highway 1 intersection and the southern county line.
We believe that the residents who travel the highway on a regular basis may have insights that could inform the scope of this study. You can help us with the following question. Aside from these 3 locations, above, where else along the Highway or side roads would data on traffic volume be of value?
My latest article for Voices of Monterey Bay http://VOMB.org is out. Here are the first two paragraphs.
I’ve been enchanted with the spirit of wild places most of my life. I went backpacking to the top of Mount San Jacinto when I was 9, long before the tram was built. My family and I took a weeklong mule trip to the high country camps of Yosemite when I was 10. We camped every summer when I was growing up. I grew up as a Girl Scout and wild places were very much part of my life. We were taught to pack it in, pack it out, just because … well, what else would one do? Long before there was a “leave no trace movement,” it was what we were taught and what we did.
This upbringing probably contributed to my love affair with Big Sur. It was a natural extension of my wildness education in many of the most beautiful places in California and the West. I learned to water ski on Big Bear Lake and hike in the Sierras. We traveled to Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, and other wild places of the West. I wish others had the opportunities that I did. Sadly, most of these places are overcrowded and overrun now. The experience is not quite what it was. The wildness is becoming harder and harder to find.