Go green ... or stay home.
Green remains controversial, and the report Tourism and Biodiversity: Mapping Tourism's Global Footprint" by Conservation International (CI) and the United Nations Environment Programme paints a decidedly mixed picture (see "Taking The Natural Path," cover story, July/August 2002). According to the report, the tourism industry has swelled from 25 million travelers in 1950 to over 450 million today. Travel to ecologically sensitive areas has risen more than 100 percent in the past decade, with good and bad results. The best thing about ecotourism, says the report, is that it can simultaneously quench travelers' thirst for adventure and benefit local people and wildlife. Costas Christ, a senior director at CI and the study's head author, says, "By linking tourism development with biodiversity conservation and the well being of local communities, we can develop strategies that both conserve Earth's most endangered ecosystems and help make a significant contribution to alleviating poverty." CONTACT: Conservation International, (800) 406-2306, www.conservation.org; United Nations Environment Programme, (011)(254-2)621234, www.unep.org.