Major Week for National and Global Environmental Change

For those of you out there who feel as though you’re the
only ones confronting the pressures of global climate change (It’s not exactly
easy getting used to those 110 degree heat bicycle rides just to save gas money,
is it?), rest assured that you are not alone. Both the National Geographic
Society (NGS) and the group of eight major industrialized countries known as
the “G-8” are feeling it, too. This week, each has made major breakthroughs
both in acknowledging the true impact of our human footprint, and taking
steps to reduce it.

On Tuesday, NGS president and CEO John Fahey, along with
representatives from five U.S.
agencies, signed an agreement enacting new methods for promoting “Geotourism.”

“What the heck is Geotourism?” you may be wondering. Basically,
it’s fancy terminology for tourism that tries to sustain or improve the
geographical character of a place, including its unique environment and culture.

 Fahey put it best when he said, “Tourism in recent
decades has exploded to become one of the most pervasive industries on Earth.
By this collaborative, sensitive approach to tourism, the destructive pitfalls
of mass tourism can be avoided in our country’s great outdoors. Today’s signing
is a tremendous step forward for geotourism and sustainable tourism in the United States.”
Read more about the agreement in this
press release

Also on Tuesday, leaders at the 2008 G-8 Summit in Toyako, Japan, announced an agreement to
cut carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2050. Prior to the summit, all members
had agreed only to consider such a

To some, this may seem insignificant as agreements made by
the G-8 are non-binding. But most believe that such commitments are at least indirectly binding because they garner
so much publicity. Think about it: If six out of eight of the member nations
cut their emissions in half by the 2050 and two do not, those two are going to
receive a lot of pressure and criticism from the international community.G8 Leaders take a break from meetings to “walk and talk”

If you are interested in reading more about the summit’s
climate issue discussions, click here. If,
like me, you’d like to find out more about the G-8 in general, check out this
really useful FAQ.

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