I have a cynical attitude towards ‘green-‘, ‘responsible-‘ or ‘ecotourism’; I consider it green washing. With that I mean that I think that the negative effects on the environment by the local travel industry, especially as most of the foreign tourists visiting Lapland travel via aviation, by far outweigh any mitigative actions I could possibly take as (one person) company to reduce the negative effects of tourism on the environment, and that such ‘green’ attempts are literally futile.
I think that statements about environmental responsibility should be critically examined.
Even if aviation would be properly taxed instead of subsidized, I sincerely can not understand how one can consider tourism to be ‘green’ or ‘responsible’, considering the immense marketing that occurs in order to attract more tourists to visit Lapland by aviation. To me it is logically inconsistent to at the same time express a wish to become less polluting, and to market for an increase in incoming foreign tourists. The ignorance, or arrogance that it does not really matter to reconcile words with actual, significant, deeds, is shocking to me. And so far, there is no viable alternative for aviation in international mass tourism.
Now you might ask, if you have such a negative outlook on the field you operate in, why don’t you do something else with your life? Well, that is very good question. Besides my guide work, I try to have different sources of income, so I am not totally financially dependent on this. In my work I try to highlight attractions and activities that do not receive many visitors. As well, I try to enrich an activity with knowledge about local history and, for example, the effects of climate change on the Arctic. I consider those important and useful acts. I don’t think I can change the amount of incoming tourists, but once somebody has decided to visit Lapland, I would like to make it a richer, more diverse and non stereotypical experience.
If one really cares about the environment, I think it is time to start to work towards about a sustainable decrease in tourism.
Moreover, I do not see why a company has to (pretend to) be green. If you are concerned, like many others, about global warming and environmental degradation, please think twice if you have to make this travel. It is much more comfortable, and cheaper, not to fly, and recreate near your home. Think global, act, and recreate, local!
But then, to overcome the above cynicism, I will be positive from here; 10% of the turnover of any sales through my web shop will be donated to a charity working towards a more sustainable future.