Climate Change is threatening Tourism business in Lapland!
Local people are worried in northern part of Finland because of the phenomenon we actually all consider sad and worring; lack of snow and shorter winter season. And as we all know they seem to be related to the climate change.
When reading posts and articles about this problem I sometimes get a bit irritated and I admit I make the same mistakes by myself; we talk about the problem, we ask others to observe our environment and we ask what kind of future are we leaving to our children.
It´s actually about doing something, not just talking
So – I would now like to ask everybody, including myself to do somethnig, and not just talking and observing. There is much to do and we can start with small things in our everyday life; save energy and water, buy local food and products, don´t use disposable and individually packed products, change your electricity supplier to the one offering alternative energy source.
Learn to make choices which cause less air pollution and greenhouse gas and be a good example for your children. In Tourism industry we should develop more alternative services for our visitors and let them feel welcome to enjoy the special spirit of Lapland and Finland even without snow.
It´s about trying to make right decisons
Now the solution seem to be to make tourists happy in any cost; dozens if not hundreds of cannons all over Lapland are ”making” snow and snow has been stored from earlier year for the use of this year.
That´s not ecologically very sustainable way of developing tourism, isn´t it? But it´s understandable. Those who are working in tourism business are living very stressful weeks just before Christmas; the climate has been very varying during the last years; after snowing there can be rains to come and snow desappears again.
Tourists are sending messages and writing in social media wondering if it is really worth of travelling to Finland if snow is not guaranteed.
Climate change is true – and has been taken seriously woldwide?
The whole world is preparing to a big event in 2015; the climate agreement will be signed by 192 countries in Paris. United Nations has put it´s goal to stop global warming to two degrees Celcius. But according to the resent studies the climate is expected to warm up to five degrees Celcius by the end of this century.
The climate agreement is expected to inlude a promise signed by European countries, that greenhouse gas emmisions are going to be reduced to half by 2030 and there is a promise to have carbon neutral society ( at least some of the coutries…) by 2050. And much is expected of the United States and China.
It´s my problem, it´s your problem, it´s tourist´s problem it´s global problem!
I know many Finns who would be happy to have mild winters and less snow. But it´s not so simple; climate change is a global problem and it´s causing different problems in different parts of the world.
Melting of glaciers, for example, cause changes in sea level and temperature which can cause changes in ocean currents – and the changes can be noticed far away. What has been approved is that climate change exists and it´s affecting our life. According to the newest IPPC- report the warming is going to be strongiest in north, even eight degrees Celcius above the Arctic Circle.
Climate change is a global, common problem, and we can not close our eyes of it. Unfortunately it doesn’t always go quite according to fair play either. Sea level rise and extreme weather phenomena often cause the most serious problems for those low-income countries, which have not, due to poverty, ever been major greenhouse gas emitters.
Will climate change kill Santa Claus
I have read a really nice article written by C.Michael Hall. He is very well known among the academic students and researches in Tourism field in Finland. He is also often seen lecturer in Lapland and Eastern Finland University. So we can trust he knows quite a lot about Finland and our Tourism Industry.
C.Michael Hall has asked whether the worldwide spreading message of Santa Claus worring about the climate change would make people to react. Could Santa Claus – who is now trying in every way to maintain the image created by the snow of winter idyll, to participate in the fight against climate change? He could openly tell that his home and life in winter idyll is threatened. ( Matkailututkimuksen Seuran julkaisu 2/2014. Hall, C. M. 2014,Climate change and high-latitude Christmas place branding. Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism.)
Or could Santa Claus be ambassador of goodwill?
I find it great idea – of course!!! Santa claus could be the ambassador of goodwill and help Finnish Lapland and whole Finland towards even more responsible way of developing the Tourism industry.
Santa Claus good tell the unpleasant truth and bring out other kind of wonderland even without snow. There are plenty of stories to tell; even the stories about the elves, and not only those helping Santa but also those known in epic stories. He would be the one to represent Finland and climate change globally!
I have a dream; I would like to see Finland as the first carbon neutral tourist destination in the world! It would really get us advantage and possibility to differ from the neighbor countries. At least we have worldwide valued knowledge in Cleantech- industry and plenty of forests to help in that target!