Tourism’s Impact on the Amazon

Ecotourism has become quite a buzz word over the past few years, and with an increased awareness of global climate change, many of us are more acutely aware of the impact of our travels then ever before. This is especially true when we journey to remote, fragile ecosystems, such as Antarctica or the Amazon, the latter of which is the subject of an article in the The Guardian today.

In the story, travel writer John O’Mahoney travels to Brazil to experience the greatest ecosystem on the planet, but in doing so, he’s also came face to face with the various threats (deforestation, encroachment by man, pollution, etc) that have put the health of the rain forest in jeopardy. He also can’t help but wonder if by visiting these places, we are contributing to their demise.

O’Mahoney visited the Mamirauá Preserve in Brazil, and got a chance to see some of the eco-friendly tourist options that are available there now, such as floating lodges that work hard to ensure that they have as little of an impact on the region as possible. The author makes it clear that now all the lodges in the region are eco-friendly, and encourages travelers to do their research, but the gist of his story is that it is indeed possible to now visit these locations, and have little impact on the environment and the species that live there.

The story was especially timely for me, as I leave Friday for the Amazon myself. I will not be staying in one of these lodges however, but will instead be living aboard an Amazon river boat for my stay. I’ll also be much further upstream, as I’ll be in the Peruvian Amazon, but I’m already looking forward to investigating this issue as well. Stay tuned for an update on my return.