Climate-Change Porn Is Driving Tourism Across the World

  • Date: 02/08/19
  • Inside Hook

Instead of curbing tourism, climate change is actually inspiring people to travel more, sometimes to the detriment of the environment.

Climate Change Influencing Tourism

You may have seen the phrase “climate grief” making the rounds in the media this year. It’s a more intense version of “climate anxiety” or “eco-anxiety,” a condition reported in The New York Timesback in 2008, where people express feeling helpless against the scientific consensus of climate change and its effects. For some, the forecasted “climate change catastrophe” has taken a quantifiable toll on their mental health.

Meanwhile, others are experiencing, you could say, the opposite effect. There is a less reported, climate change-adjacent phenomenon occurring that’s actually causing people to jump into action — not to curb greenhouse gases, protest pipelines or lobby politicians, but to travel.

You could call it “climate-change porn,” or “disaster capitalism” or “last chance tourism.” Whatever the term, what we’re talking about here is a trend wherein travelers use the global crisis as the impetus to visit sites that may rapidly change in their lifetimes (like glaciers) and to access places that were once off limits or inaccessible for tourists (like the Northwest Passage). It’s part misguided exploration, part morbid Instagram fodder, but it doesn’t look like it’s slowing anytime soon. 

Looking at the trend as a whole, there are at least three types of climate-change tourism that stand out. Below, we take a look at them, taking place from Alaska to Italy to the Arctic Ocean. 

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