10 years to rewild the planet heal nature and climate
According to The European Environment State and Outlook Report (SOER 2020) “Europe will not achieve its 2030 goals without urgent action during the next 10 years to address the alarming rate of biodiversity loss, increasing impacts of climate change and the overconsumption of natural resources.”
One of the biggest threats for biodiversity loss is climate change, and one important cause of climate change is biodiversity loss (as forests have the capacity to act as natural carbon sinks). To reverse this vicious cycle, actions towards decarbonisation and biodiversity restoration should be developed hand in hand. Earlier this month the UN Decade for System Restoration: a global rallying cry to heal our planet, was launched to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems worldwide.
Rethinking the way we move has an important role in addressing biodiversity loss. Transport causes 24% of global carbon emissions (1) and is a big cause of pollution and environment degradation that threatens biodiversity. It has also been estimated that tourism contributes to 8% of carbon emissions (2) .
Changing the way we travel
Unsustainable travel patterns and carbon-based transport are not only threats for the planet and its environment, but also for the well-being of societies and communities itself. The negative effects of tourism models that do not acknowledge the limited capacity of natural resources and the undesirable impacts on local communities, were present long before the pandemic: an overconsumption of resources and an increase of pollution, stresses ecosystems, as they force them to lose their capacity to recover. Not to mention the other side effects in communities, as unsustainable tourism can reduce the quality of life of territories (with overcrowded touristic areas, overpricing of housing, etc.).
But it is possible to use the post-vaccine opportunity to re-imagine the way we travel? Is it possible to find a way for tourism to not only have a low environmental and socially negative impact, but actually generate ripples of positive effects in the destinations themselves by restoring life and ecosystems, supporting the creation of vibrant communities, and boosting local economies?
#MoreCyclingTourism as an ally
Wanting to #ActNow to reimagine and recreate the way we travel in the Decade for Ecosystems Restoration? One place to start is to travel in the most green, inclusive and smart way possible. At ECF we are working for #MoreCycling, believing that cycling has the capacity to blend in perfectly in achieving a decarbonised, healthy, inclusive and green future. And promoting '#MoreCyclingTourism' can help us change the way we travel and support biodiversity protection and restoration during our holidays.
With this purpose in mind we are launching a campaign to promote #MoreCyclingTourism, reflecting the potential of this way of travelling to generate benefits and in its capacity to change our future for the better.
EuroVelo’s Campaign for #MoreCyclingTourism wants to communicate the benefits that travelling by bike can have for our environment, society and economy (find out more in this article on how can cycling tourism in natural areas help in biodiversity recovery ). For the following months we will be sharing articles and communicating in our different EuroVelo channels the benefits of Cycling Tourism on four pillars:
#MoreCyclingTourism to take care of your wellbeing
Cycling is a safe and healthy option that can benefit us as individuals in many ways. Its benefits on a personal level go beyond physical exercise. Freedom, connection to nature, life-changing adventures, are just some examples of how travelling by bike can contribute to a feeling of wellbeing (for our social, physical and psychological health).
#MoreCyclingTourism to take care of society
Cycling is an accessible, healthy and safe way of travelling for daily mobility and leisure. It is accessible for all ages, capabilities and budgets and generates more inclusive societies. Cycling Tourism can repurpose unused infrastructure, improve rural connectivity, bring life to remote areas and boost local economies.
#MoreCyclingTourism to take care of the planet
Especially when combined with public transport, cycling tourism can notably reduce the carbon footprint of the tourism sector and can therefore bring us closer to a decarbonised future. This way of travelling helps to disperse tourism flows, extend the holiday season and access natural areas with a minimal impact. It has the capacity to support the regeneration of ecosystems and it is aligned with regenerative travel principles.
#MoreCyclingTourism to take care of the future
Changing the way we travel brings us closer to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), through rethinking tourism, developing sustainable mobility and encouraging a slow form of travel that leaves a positive impact on communities. Travelling by bike is a key activity for achieving the Tourism of Tomorrow, a tourism that cares for the communities and territories, respecting the limits of the planet. We have to #ActNow to address the multiple crises we are facing, we have to act now to allow future generations and nature to thrive.
With this campaign we look forward to engaging more people in exploring their own countries on two wheels, or adventure across borders. We want to take advantage of the momentum that cycling tourism is experiencing right now and the related opportunities like bringing life to rural communities promoting them as cycling destinations, and promoting ‘slow’ tourism, which can take care of the local communities and the environment.
Do you also stand for #MoreCyclingTourism? Stay tuned and join the movement!
Author: Marta Orihuel