Category: Environment
ECO-TOURISM AND ITS NEED IN NEPAL

“Nepal is a country in the south east Asia very rich in natural beauty and bio-diversity.” This is one of the most familiar sentence for students, especially for the secondary level students of Nepal. Truly does this sentence hold relevance for present Nepalese scenario? Being ranked as 25th richest country in the world and 11th richest country in Asia in terms of biodiversity and the presence of wide variability of land forms and climatological regions within a small area, there is rarely any arguments on truth of above sentence.ecotourism ghorepani

“Ecological tourism”, or “ecotourism” as defined by IUCN‟s Ecotourism Programme is “environmentally responsible travel and visitation to relatively undisturbed natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and any accompanying cultural features — both past and present) that promotes conservation, has low visitor impact, and provides for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local populations” .It can also be defined as “Travel to enjoy the world’s amazing diversity of natural life and human culture without causing damage to either”. Tourism industry is one of the ever expanding industry in Nepal. The number of tourists visiting Nepal annually is estimated to be around 0.8 million (2012 A.D). Tourism has provided employment to more than 5 millions of people and it is contributing 2% on National GDP( CBS 2012 A.D). However there are many negative impacts of tourism industry on environment as well. for e.g. In addition to being the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest has been labeled “the world’s highest junkyard” due to the amount of kit, rubbish, waste and even bodies left on its slopes. Indeed, various cleanup expeditions have been mounted over the years even venturing into the treacherous “death zone” – to remove polluting waste from the mountain. The establishment of the hotels, lodges and resting sites in the tourist destination areas (esp. in the trekking areas) has led to rapid deforestation and pollution. This is where the need of Ecotourism arises in Nepal. Ecotourism involves the responsible travelling to areas conserving the environment and improving well being of local people.

The Tourism for Rural Poverty Alleviation Programme (TRPAP) is an initiative of the Government toward Ecotourism in Nepal working on principle of sustainable eco-tourism with technical and financial support from various international development agencies and non government organizations. Nepal recently celebrated Visit Nepal Year 2011, but the saddest part is most of the remote parts with huge potential in tourism development were completely unknown about the campaign launched by the government and most of these areas were using the board of Visit Nepal year 1998 for attracting the tourist in the area. The foremost requirement for the publicity on tourism is the development of much lagging infrastructures in the country; proper road, drinking water and sanitation. As the infrastructures are developed, the flow of investment increases. When the number of tourist increases, the eco tourism-based economy has to be increased and attention must shift to sustained public action. With the environmental hazard increasing at alarming rate and the richness in biodiversity holding huge potential for tourism development, the sustainable Ecotourism should be the plan Nepal should look forward to.

About half a million youth leaving for abroad in quest of so called better job oppurtunities, it would be a huge boost for Nepalese economy if government would be able to attract the youth towards eco-tourism. As ecotourism helps in promoting the local industries, it thus provides abundant business and employment oppurtunities to the young generation. Youth participation in the promotion, management and maintainence activities in the local community will enhance the success rate of eco-tourism. These youth activities may increase the flow of tourists in their communities. Tourism brings technologies, foreign currency and other expenses along with the tourist. Thus Eco-tourism helps in bridging the gap between modernized areas and small local tourism potential areas in which the youth have the foremost role.

As youth are labeled as the most energetic age group, they must lead from the front in all of the developmental works in the country and Eco-tourism sector is no exception. The youth should have deep knowledge on area, flora, fauna, culture, lifestyle and tradition of the potential areas. In considering the development of tourism on particular location, one should not forget the existence of local inhabitants who depend upon the natural resources of the area for survival. So the relationship between the local people and the environment should be kept on mind while conducting the developmental works.

Youth can be involved in promoting the environmental and cultural awareness and raising awareness on the political, environmental and social issues of the locality.

The promotion of the local potentially rich eco-tourism sites is crucial, especially among the youth as this age group has the special power to link the needs of the present generation with the future generation. The youth should bear responsibility to preserve the quality of the environment in order to develop self sustained economy without compromising with the needs of future generation.

Image Credit : Sujan Paudel | Ghorepani Treking Route

With great power, Youth overcoming climate change

“Lovely weather today, isn’t it?” maybe the most common expression when two person meet. Well, it’s not that they are actually concerned about the weather and climate, it’s just a simple ritual or a movement of awkwardness.

Youth and Climate change

Mountainous landscape of Nepal.

However, the rate we are going on exploiting the mother planet, it’s high time we show that we care. The climate has never been so sick. The atmosphere nowadays showing resemblance with mars and venus. The level of toxic gases Carbondioxide, Sulphurdioxide, methane are jumping off the charts. The concentration of co2 has increased from 280-365ppm since the initiation of industrial era. Similarly the temperature has raised about 0.6C in past 200 years. Every time we write a page, the chlorine produced during the bleaching of papers destroy millions of ozone at a time for more than 150 years. Well, chlorine lives more than us and the one we have produced will be making a ozone hole until our grandchildren.

Thank god there are oceans that absorb about three quarters of green house gases. But for how long? The rapid acidification in ocean has left with destruction of coral reefs and the natural ecosystem making a giant graveyard.

Everything has been messed up with. The meteorological elements bring hammered the most. Weather surely was unreliable. However, nowadays if anything is sure about weather should be unnatural uncertainty. The change in rainfall patterns due to destruction of climate resulting in drought in many countries, to which all in Sudan sadly says, “Though we live in dry countries, but that does not mean we can live without water”. In biosphere, the condition could be harshly termed as cancer, but if its about atmosphere the similar state us softly summoned a climate change or any other clichéd terms like global warming or ozone depletion.

World population is growing, most if its members reside in Facebook. Twitter has the fourth largest population after China and India. Among them most of those social networking consumers are youths. After investing a zillion dollars on them what we expect from them is not the prolonged clocking before the screens but a visionary perspective about the worsening climate and an enthusiasm to pitch in some ideas for better earth.

Well they might excuse pointing the global giants of world population like USA, China and Russia which need to be responsible in sanitizing the air and mending the broken climate cycle. They need to be reminded that no countries outrageously degrade the weather and climate like the young generations do. They are the titans of the fossil fuel pollutions and silicon and Germanium induced hazards. Every year tons and tons of carcinogens are dumped in the air for producing lipsticks, skin creams, shampoo and deodorants. These products are collectively synonymous to youth and blended with ingredients like lead, Mercury and formaldehyde that could tear up the living cells or the environment. To which beauty expert Nudelman suggest, “Beauty industry requires a much needed makeover.” The least efficient vehicles are preferred and a boy without a bike seems irrelevant. Likewise, could write an odyssey on effect of cell phones. Similarly an increase in temptation to buy useless trinkets and knick-knacks just because it feels good to accumulate things is raising everyday.

In that case, young people should bear burden of climate change. Anyway there are next inhabitants to inherit the power to run the planet which is followed by descent of vigorous role after all as said in Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibilities”.

In that case, the UNFCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) has taken a lead to invert youth in changing climate. It has been making efforts to ensure the growth of youth in changing climate and that they survive and revive it. It has extended youth and young NGOs to participate in meeting, request speaking and shaping intergovernmental climate change policies through adaptation and initiation of awareness training, behavioral campaign and educational reforms.

On 2008 International youth day, “YOUTH AND CLIMATE CHANGE: TIME FOR ACTION” UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon addressed “Young people are well placed to contribute to fight against climate change.” He further stressed about   the active roles on global levels and leading to the passage for far reaching legislation.

But we don’t need no Armani or a foreign accent and a conference hall in the New York sea shore to better the weather, it could be done through adoptions of green behaviors, that save  both our health and that of the planet’s win choices.

Purchase of clean power instead of dirty energy like fossil fuels, coals decreases the household energy efficiency. It is not a difficult job to turn off the lights or switch off the TV by remote. Similarly the energy efficient appliances should be accommodated in the house. Until now nobody knew that eating less red meat is both friendlier to our heart and our planet. Studies have shown that the family’s emission from the rich meat would easily outweigh the construction and running cost of large GWO vehicles in less than 5 years, who knew? ‘we can convert our carbon foot prints to finger prints.’ Walking in the greenest way of transformation or may be cycling or at least public vehicles could save a few trees. Recycling and reusing have been so extensively used that it must have imprinted on our DNA. Moreover youngsters have shown keen interest on green economic growth through green jobs which involves adoption of green behaviors on workplaces like telecommunicating and teleconferencing that saves 9 times the energy as compared to flights.

Nowadays the concept of ‘Embodied energy’    is gaining attention which takes account of all the carbon, water and energy that goes on producing a product or manufactured item. Local products have lesser embodied energy tag attached to them which must be prioritized.

Many things could be changed and adopted however some stiffs we cannot avoid. Not using toilet papers to reduce ‘Cl’ could literally backfire at us. And not bathing to conserve water only increases foulness around our vicinity. The main theme is not to cut from our basics but from our extravagant life. Like we can live with lesser parties and steaks but we cannot comprise with our water supply and medication.

The world is pointing upon youth to lead to protect our climate and weather but they are not readily handed with defined roles.

“The old have stacks of money and power but the young just have more tomorrows to stacked up”. They should be mobilized and utilized after all the earth too is seeking compassion form its young generation.

The world is a lego  and we are its bits that makes it complete.

The expression,” Lovely weather isn’t it? “ focuses on the weather today but the main concern is the weather tomorrow.

Think sensibly, act responsibly…It’s time for ABCDE

I- Who are you?

Me- I am a girl studying veterinary science.

Myself- But above all you are a human.

I- Where do you live?

Me- I live in Chitwan, Nepal.

Myself- Oh girl! foremost this world is your residence.

……..soliloquy continued…..

I- Day by day your environment is getting polluted. What approaches have you made for sustainable environment use?

Me- There are so many concerned eco- warriors to ponder about environmental issues. Why should I bother?

Myself- Do only environmentalists reside in your environment?

The last line struck a chord within my soul. In the zephyr of thoughtfulness eventually I, me and myself converged and concurred in point of fact that this earth renders a canopy to entire living beings, every of us won a part of it. This environment where we dwell is merely a mirror to reflect how well we get to grips with its individual component. How the input is, so the output results. In this era of mechanization and industrialization, advancement in technology is surging at lightening speed. Researches are ongoing at sub-cellular and ultra microscopical level. DNA segregation, gene manipulation, automaton are no more a wonder. The world is getting narrower, people and events million miles away are accessible through electronic communication. In this hustle and bustle, people are in thirst of undue achievements. Wow! human progression seems so admirable. But the crucial question lies herewith, how long will this all sustain? Pollution along with increasing population is escalating but the mother earth has finite carrying capacity. A breathe of fresh air, a glass of clean water and landscape of natural environment is more a dream than reality. Advancements are achieved at the expense of environment. Consequences are deleterious climatic change, health hazards, green house effect, global warming, desertification, extinction of various flora and fauna etc. threatening the survival of overall living beings. If this proceeds no more time it takes to question on the sustainability of living beings.

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Environmental education has evolved as a discrete subject of study worldwide and also included in school curriculum. Uncountable approaches have been made  for sustainable environmental use through speeches, awareness campaigns and several dedicated organisations. The concept of 3R ( Reduce, Recycle, Reuse ), 4R ( 3R + recovery), 5R (3R + Restore + Replenish ), 3A ( Aware, Awaken, Apply) have evolved. Yet, environmental degradation is a burning issue globally. All because we consider environment to be an issue only to environmentalists. Why do we forget the reality that healthy environment is indispensable  to each and every of us. So, it’s time to think sensibly and act responsibly, be the primer for making this world a cleaner, greener and healthier home to dwell in.

The elementary and remarkable attempt each of us can make are- segregate degradable and non- degradable solid wastes of our home, composting degradable while as reduce, recycle and reuse the non degradable stuffs. We can make pocket our dustbin and dispose at appropriate place. Refusing polythene bags and use of eco- friendly fabric bags can be noteworthy effort. Plantation in barren land serves as adjuvant in environment conservation.

Reformative youths there’s urgency to wake up right at this moment. It’s time for ABCDE- Apply by yourself, biodegrade the suitable waste, change your attitude, disseminate your knowledge and encourage others to follow your path. Itsy- bitsy contribution from each and every individual can result in earth- shattering consequence.