Dear A.M. Costa Rica:
Re: your article on carbon neutral tourism. It reminded one of the tobacco industry’s attempts to deceive smokers with the use of filter tips, menthol and mild blends of tobacco. Cancer was still the result. The tourist industry is bigger, more powerful and more pervasive than the cigarette giants.
The carbon offset efforts ignore the resources and energy that go into the resorts, the aircraft and ships themselves. The destruction of wildlife habitat, sewage and water issues caused by hotels and tourism are astronomical.
Entire cultures like those of Hawaii, Bali and Tibet are bowdlerized and transformed into travesties for tourist entertainment. Whole villages become dormitories for a servant class to wait on richer visitors. Ancient monuments lose their beauty when swarming with tourists and obscured by selfies.
In short, let us not kid ourselves that any tourism is good for the planet. It is part of humanity’s relentless destruction of our own environment. We all do it or have done it, but let us not be hypocritical about it.