Hawaii, National Parks, And The Perils Of Overtourism - SOME MORE NEWS

Hawaii, National Parks, And The Perils Of Overtourism - SOME MORE NEWS

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(authoritative music) - Ugh, what's up, news perverts? Yeah, you love to watch me do the news in front of you, don't you? And of course, my news prudes, you hate it when I read the news in front of you, don't you? Here's some news, it's summer! Ah, at least in this hemisphere, don't mean to hemisphere shame you, I apologize and promise to do better. Anyhow, summer is when at least a third of Americans cram their personalized body coverings into bags and cram those bags into boxes, and bring that box somewhere that isn't the box they usually live in. Often a random person's box, we love it. We love traveling, how can we not? We're bombarded with vacation advertisements and movies that push us to wanderlust someplace new.

Perhaps we'll have an emotional affair with Bill Murray, or kidnap and impregnate a woman with a memory disorder. Oh, or maybe we'll get hostile, that'd be fun, getting hostile. We probably deserve to get hostile a little bit, we are, after all, a statistically white character who either gets magical help or is hunted and killed by the locals. Movies, movies are fun, we love them. We love them like we love traveling and watching me do the news, and we love going to the places we see in movies.

You like them "Lord of the Rings"? there's a tourist company that sticks you right in them rings, right in those rings! Or maybe you want to get real freaky on the same island as Leonardo DiCaprio's film "The Beach". You know how all the kids and adults love and talk about the film, "The Beach"? Well, just hop on the tourist boats that ferry you to that exact beach off the coast of Thailand. Or let's say you're an overachieving millionaire who saw 2015's "Everest" and want to conquer the highest peak in the world, no problem, guided excursions are now cheaper than ever. Wow, it seems like you can really go anywhere and all of your needs will be catered to without any repercussions or exponential cost to the environment. I even saw that they do "Titanic" submarine tours now. I didn't read the article, but it does sound fun.

Anyway, good episode, bye. (playful music) Overtourism is a big messy problem. Oh dang, sorry the script keeps going and these are blank, but I did read the script ahead of time, also we've never done a two-and-a-half-minute episode. Okay, so it turns out that this is an episode about how tourism can be bad. So, like, for example, that booming tourism industry in New Zealand has, according to a 2019 report by Tourism New Zealand, led to tension between visitors and locals, worried that they are clogging the roads, camping areas, and damaging water infrastructure. Oh, and it looks like that beach in Thailand was shut down for several years due to overcrowding and subsequent damage to wildlife and coral reefs.

And yeah, Mount Everest is also a terrible tourist spot now fueled by an irresponsible industry, and in order to remain competitive and make more money, many of the companies there don't require basic experience or physical conditioning. The result is intense overcrowding, excess debris and litter, and death. And in general, Nepal is now banning certain types of tourism due to problems.

But hey, the "Titanic" thing is still good, I'm sure. Not looking into it, not looking into it. See, it turns out that when people travel to an exotic location, they tend to have a lot of preconceived and often incorrect notions of what that location is going to be.

We also expect to be catered to even if the location is inherently rustic. After all, we paid a lot of money to be there and the tourism industry knows all of this, and to be successful often works to satisfy those expectations of its patrons, even if those expectations are silly and wrong. And that's what we're going to talk about today. An industry that seeks to flood an area with people who feel entitled to a curated experience as opposed to respecting or discovering a new area, and ultimately this dynamic destroys that location, even when it's specifically designed for tourism. - [Newswoman] Even before the Coronavirus pandemic, low-income areas of Orlando were plagued by a lack of affordable housing, with families packing into crumbling motels.

The Star Motel in Kissimmee, which was in disarray before the pandemic hit, was pushed over the edge by the recent economic shutdown. The motel's owner abandoned it in December. Since then, residents have been left to run the place. Kathia Badillo Feliu is a single mother who was forced from her home in Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria. She rotates with her family from staying at the Star Motel and a transitional housing site, which did not accept her dogs.

She works a graveyard shift at Universal Orlando Resort. When the pandemic hit, the shutdown left her with fewer hours and less income. - I make $13 an hour, I get a four hundred and something, 20 dollars weekly.

- Orlando makes a ton of money from spots like Disney World and Universal Studios and that whale dungeon. Specifically, tourism in the area makes, quote, "$75 billion in regional impact, $5.8 billion in local and state tax revenue, and supports 41% of the workforce." Yet despite all those billions of dollars in visitor spending, Orlando actually has one of the lowest median hourly wages out of the top 50 metros in the country.

And even worse, it turns out that corporations like Disney and Universal actually wrote or pushed through a bunch of the county's tax law. That means the majority of any tax dollars taken from tourism like a 6% levy on hotel rooms is actually injected back into the tourist industry for stuff like advertising, and theme park infrastructure, and orca shackles, one assumes, they really hate those whales. The biggest slice of the county's tourist tax goes to Visit Orlando, which received $66 million in 2019 so they could continue promoting the city's attractions. In other words, these massive companies have completely sucked the life out of a city by propping up a brittle tourist economy, providing low-wage labor to people living in near destitution, and sucking up local tax revenue to line their own pockets.

My goodness, is there anyone willing to take a stand against these Disney fat cats? - Happening today Governor DeSantis expected to unveil a new crackdown against Disney World. According to the New York Post, DeSantis will announce plans to void a move made by Disney to strip the governor's oversight board of authority. - This state is governed by the interest of the people of the state of Florida. It is not based on the demands of California corporate executives. They do not run this state, they do not control this state. - Hey, there we go! Thank you, Ron DeSantis, a man I'm going to assume is very upset over Disney's poor treatment of their workers.

- If we had put in the bill that you were not allowed to have a curriculum that discussed the oppression of the Uyghurs in China, Disney would have endorsed that in a second. - Wait, what? - And we've done a lot of stuff to fight back and fight woke ideology, since our skirmish last year Disney has not been involved in any of those issues, they have not made a peep. - Oh, right, I remember now.

It's actually fine to drain the life out of a community and condemn workers to poverty so long as you're not all gay about it. Sorry, I forgot who Ron DeSantis was for a moment, because of the goof I was doing. It is pretty breathtaking to watch this weird gob go after a company that actually deserves scrutiny, and then completely miss the actual problem.

It seems like a person who shouldn't be a politician, because I don't think wokeness is why Orlando saw an 81% increase in its poor population between 2012 and 2020. I also doubt wokeness is why there are roughly 360,000 people living in poverty in a place that's among one of the worst shortages of low-income housing in the nation. That really doesn't seem like a wokeness issue, and I would further posit that the solution is not to build another prison because you're mad at black mermaids.

For the record, the solution isn't to get rid of Disney either, I'm not trying to shame anyone for wanting to ride Space Mountain, possibly on acid, and in fact, it should be stated that everyone should have the right and opportunity to travel and see new places, possibly on acid. Tourism isn't a bad thing, but the way it operates today is hurting the places we love the most. But again, no one should feel bad for wanting to visit a city, or theme park, or tourist location.

(authoritative music) A very good example of how caustic we are to the places we visit is our long history with national parks. National parks were some of the first well-known tourist attractions in the US. They captured the imaginations of Americans looking to explore and conquer, possibly on laudanum. Conservationists like John Muir, who advocated for the creation of national parks, wrote in great detail about these natural landscapes. Quote, "Through all the wonderful eventful centuries since Christ's time and long before that, God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand straining, leveling tempests and floods, but he cannot save them from fools.

Only Uncle Sam can do that." It's a pretty good quote, just not for the reasons John probably thinks, because it wasn't, you know, God who cared for those lands, there were actually like people there who took care of the land that we perhaps pushed out and maybe also murdered. Does that ring any bells that there were people there? Johnny, Jonathan, Johno, he can't hear me, he's dead, like we all will be someday. But Muir's writings are some of the funniest examples of the sheer honky brazenness regarding what is now our national parks. John described Yosemite Valley as, quote "pure wilderness," "no mark of man is visible upon it," even though the Ahwahnechee people had lived there for hundreds of years, you know, until they were either killed or pushed off their land by state militias in the 1850s. But before then, they would use controlled burns to manage wildfires, increase pastures for deer, and maintain biodiversity.

Something that John Muir would identify as "landscape gardens" with absolutely no understanding of how they formed, and if that wasn't enough to win him the title of most ironic (beep) I'm currently talking about, Muir would even regard native people as, quote, "Most ugly, and some of them altogether hideous. They seemed to have no right place in the landscape, and I was glad to see them fading out of sight down the pass." So, you know, gold medal (beep) stuff. Muir would go on to be actively against controlled burns and even push for military control of Yosemite.

That strategy obviously had consequences that we are still dealing with today. Without prescribed burns, the forest floor began to pile up with dry fuel that eventually ignited catastrophic wildfires, because these National Parks were never blank slates of God-given beauty. People lived there and took care of them, and studies have shown that removing native populations from Yosemite Valley resulted in a decline in tree diameter and biodiversity. Regardless, the federal government adopted Yosemite into a national park in 1906, and it remained under military occupation until 1914. To add insult to genocide, the National Park Service had pretty much written off the critical stewardship of Native Americans on National Park land, and only a few years ago did they even start to reconcile with that history.

As for John Muir, his name is hung up in the rafters of several national parks, which of course it is, are you surprised by that? You shouldn't be, we love honoring (beep) in ironic ways and then when you mention specific harm they've done, you're accused of wokeing up the place, some real Disney stuff. And to be fair and balanced to this dead guy, we're being a tad bit reductive about his views of Native Americans and his contributions to environmentalism. He did conserve a lot of important areas and say some respectful things about indigenous tribes, but he also very much did say all the other stuff too. He's got layers and junk, and Muir's writing and steadfast lobbying for federally protected land sparked a wave of outdoor enthusiasm. By 1916, tens of thousands of people were visiting National Parks per year. Decades later, a burgeoning middle class doubled annual National Park visitations from 10 million to 20 million and continued to grow each year since.

After the war, National Parks Director Conrad Wirth secured a billion-dollar infrastructure project called Mission 66 in order to shore up roads, build visitor centers and sanitation systems, and kill all the Jedi. There are now 424 national parks in the US and just last year saw nearly 312 million visits to those parks. The onslaught of visitors has resulted in hours-long traffic jams within the parks, closures of popular areas, and excess debris and litter. And don't forget all the turds, I certainly never do.

In 2017, Yellowstone National Park staff pumped nearly 250,000 gallons of waste from its septic systems, a 19% increase over 2016. Some national parks far exceed their budget by tens of thousands of dollars just to pump all the poop out. In 2021, a ranger in Zion National Park packed out nine pounds of human (beep) from a popular canyon trail. Boy, I hope they got a sticker or something for that, my goodness, basically, the current park infrastructure and personnel can't handle the number of people coming through the gates.

For instance, the Glacier National Park Visitor Center has 231 parking spots for an annual visitation of 3.3 million. A study comparing major metropolitan and national park air pollution found that, quote, "From 1990 to 2014, average ozone concentrations in national parks were statistically indistinguishable from the 20 largest U.S. metropolitan areas. Further, relative to U.S. cities, national parks have seen only modest reductions in days with ozone concentrations exceeding levels deemed unhealthy by the U.S." We've just ruined these places by appreciating them so much.

Really tit punched Mother Nature, and if you're wondering, the pandemic absolutely made the situation worse as millions of Americans saw national parks as one of the few relatively safe recreational options. But of course, while the National Park System handles more visitors than some theme parks, they don't make nearly as much money from visitors. A family of four visiting Yellowstone just has to pay 30 bucks to park, whereas a family of four visiting Disney has to pay about $400 a day, plus parking, or I guess you can leave your least favorite kid in the parking lot where there are perfectly fun things to do, I saw a cloud that looked like Goofy once, nobody cared when I told them on the ride home, but I saw it. I'm not saying we need to raise the prices for national parks, but this is clearly not sustainable compared to the damage and staffing shortages. Since national parks don't make nearly enough in ticket sales, they rely on roughly $3.5 billion

in congressional spending for the bulk of their budget, which sounds like a fair amount except when you factor in that the total cost of repairs and maintenance has doubled to $22 billion since 2020. So to recap, national parks are being hosed down with tourists who are slowly degrading the wildlife and at the same time not making enough money to compensate for that. And that's just one type of tourist location in one country. We haven't even talked about other countries or perhaps the fact that there's an entire state that pretty much exists for tourists to visit.

So let's think about that out loud with our mouths, or more specifically my mouth, after we take a break for ads. (dramatic music) Holy balls! It's not easy being so cool. I'm Cool Cody, as you know, but being cool is an all-day endeavor. I have to make so many zines. Sleep is important to Cool Cody, more specifically, being literally cool is important to Cool Cody.

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Invest in the rest you deserve with the Eight Sleep Pod and you can be cool, like, Cool Cody, that's me, and his massive supply of homemade petroleum benzine. That's what I was talking about. (dramatic music) Hello, ad watcher! Hope you feel real good about yourself having watched those ads, you sick freak, you love feeling real good after having watched ads, it's disgusting. But before those naughty ads, we were talking about how tourism, while fun, tends to deplete an area in more ways than one and how overtourism has specifically plagued our national parks, but they aren't alone because we literally have an entire state that was colonized and commercialized for the benefit of the tourism industry.

I'm talking of course about sunny Indiana, home of the Spring Mill State Park where you and your friends can go, I don't know, look at this (beep) branch... It's Hawaii, all right? The actual state is Hawaii, I was doing a goof, it's Hawaii. The Hawaiian Islands are some of the most popular vacation destinations in the United States. In 2019, over 10 million visitors came by air and cruise, and those visitors accounted for almost $18 billion in total spending. These numbers crashed during the first two years of the pandemic, but have since rebounded to near pre-pandemic levels.

That's all according to a report by the Hawaii Tourism Authority, which generally makes tourism in the state sound incredibly beneficial, so that's a relief and good, and I'm sure we won't look into it any further later on. But before we get into what tourism looks like in the state, we need to understand Hawaii's actual identity, because it wasn't that long ago that Hawaii stood as a sovereign nation. The chain of islands had a strong cultural identity long before the first European settlers arrived. Hawaiians had their own language, universal healthcare, and education, and were fully self-sufficient through fish ponds, taro, pig, chicken, and sweet potato production. But in 1820, Christian missionaries and whalers arrived, bringing disease that wiped out huge swaths of the native population.

By 1843, Hawaiian delegates were dispatched to the U.S. and Europe to secure assurances that the islands would remain independent. Three years later, the Kingdom of Hawaii entered into formal treaties with the U.S.

and European countries that would secure Hawaii's sovereignty. And that's the end of that good history, or wait, oh! Oh, could it be that I've done yet another goof, classic Cody goofing all up in you? No, of course, that's not the end because by the late 1800s, the children and grandchildren of the first American settlers had amassed major political and economic power through their control of the sugar trade. Number one being Sanford B. Dole,

as in Dole, the juice, with the fiery anus in the logo. By 1890, Dole and his plantation-owning friends began petitioning the United States to officially annex Hawaii in order to maximize profits and usurp any resistance from the current matriarch ruler Queen Lili'uokalani. Dole struck the final blow when he led a militia backed by U.S. Marines to the steps of the queen's palace, forcing her to step down. It was a quick, bloodless coup, and the U.S. officially annexed Hawaii in 1898,

placing Dole as governor of the Territory of Hawaii. What followed was a systematic and cruel campaign to destroy the cultural identity of the Hawaiian people. White, big quotes, "educators" set out to Americanize Hawaiian children in the public school system by removing the Hawaiian language and history, replacing them with civics lessons and English classes, administrators sought to rewrite Hawaii's founding as an American possession. The U.S.-backed regime also disbanded Hawaii's novel universal healthcare system because that would be socialist, don't you know? And so, gradually, more and more native Hawaiians would be denied healthcare because they couldn't afford it. Fast forward to 1959, and President Dwight Eisenhower admitted Hawaii as the 50th state.

Just a few days later, U.S. airlines pounced on the opportunity, chartering new flights to carry mainland tourists over to the Aloha State, and thus began native Hawaiian culture's grotesque Cronenbergian transformation into a tourist novelty. - [Narrator] A grass skirt and the leis symbolize the simple life and the sun. But on Hawaii's islands, life is as modern as anything else in 20th-century America.

- [Newswoman] Want a palm-frond hat woven while you wait? Step right up. If you didn't have a hat when you came in, you'll have one when you go out. Skilled fingers come up with a perfect fit; he's ready to go native. - Oh yeah, nothing cooler than white guys going native, super cool and unproblematic stuff. The number of visitors to Hawaii took off in the 60s and hasn't really slowed down since, except for the pandemic stuff.

All those people coming in fueled an absolute juggernaut of private capital the tourism industry is today now supporting over 200,000 jobs and $2 billion in tax revenue, roughly a quarter of the state's economy. One would then assume that perhaps with all that money, it would make living in Hawaii somehow better. But despite a multibillion-dollar tourist industry built off the concept of Hawaiian hospitality, the actual health and economic disparities of native Hawaiians continue to get worse through the 20th and 21st centuries, mostly because of that thing where we took away their healthcare. You remember how we did that? It seems like a real dick in retrospect, areal foul goof, why would we do that? Native Hawaiians now have a shortened life expectancy and exhibit higher mortality rates than the total population.

They're more likely to live below the poverty line, experience higher rates of unemployment, and live in crowded and impoverished conditions. And despite making up 10% of the population on the island of Oahu, native Hawaiians are 51% of the unsheltered population. While Hawaii has one of the highest rates of houseless people per capita, large swaths of the islands or entire islands themselves are owned by large developers, billionaires, and the military. Since tourists outnumber residents seven to one, they take a massive toll on the island's fragile infrastructure and resources. Tourism accounts for 44% of total water consumption, 60% of fuel and electricity, and is propagating a dire housing crisis. On Maui alone, 52% of homes are sold to non-residents, and 60% of condos and apartments are sold to second-home buyers and investors.

This is probably why a majority of residents believe the islands are being run for the benefit of tourists at the expense of local people. Because while the tourist industry at large does provide jobs, most of those jobs pay exactly (beep) wages, and most of all, that fresh tourist cash is exported to outside investors from the U.S. mainland and foreign countries like Japan. But it's not just the economics that suck, social media has made it easier to share certain locations and trails, instigating tourists to trespass into closed areas or obscure sites, which often result in cases like this. - Officials are urging both tourists and locals to stay away from closed hiking trails after a woman died at Wailua Falls on Kauai over the weekend. - [Reporter] And despite the closure and danger, many people still regularly trespass into the area.

And with the most recent death on Kauai, many officials are now looking at what can be done. - Hawaii spends a ton of money every year to maintain its trails, reefs, beaches, and forests. A 2019 report by Conservation International found that Hawaii had an annual spending deficit of $360 million to sufficiently maintain these areas.

And while you might think that tourism revenue can make up for that impact, that is becoming less and less true. Since 1989, tourist numbers have gone up, while visitor spending has stayed the same when adjusted for inflation. In other words, tourism's worst impact on the community and environment has grown, while the overall economic benefit has gone stagnant.

So we're just draining the life out of Hawaii like a sad coconut, and that's weird, coconuts don't have feelings. Also, it's weird that there's an American state that the rest of the country exploits and bullies like Biff Tannen making George McFly do his homework. I guess it's because it's like all the way over to the side, you know? One of those freak inset states on the map. How dare they? So, you may have noticed that we've focused exclusively on American tourist destinations, but this isn't exclusively an American problem, of course, there are so many examples of beautiful places being absolutely affected by overtourism.

You might have heard that Venice is being bombarded with cruise ships and garbage, but it's certainly not the only place having that issue. The Mexican island of Cozumel is fighting an industry of cruise ships destroying their coral reefs. In general, cruise ships are just big garbage-jizzing whale rammers, and have absolutely no right to exist on this planet, distopyan piss islands they are, and boy, they really, really hate whales.

I wonder if that's going to be a problem in the future, hm. Meanwhile, ancient sites like Machu Picchu and the pyramids are being slowly degraded by the wear and tear of tourism. Similarly, quaint locations in Iceland, and Austria, and Amsterdam have become so commercialized to outsiders that residents are either outnumbered or simply can't afford to live there anymore. Amsterdam specifically has struggled to maintain its city against hordes of tourists, closing down its last floating florist shop, banning Red Light District tours, and battling Airbnb over gentrification and rising property prices.

In a lot of these cases, it's not specifically the fault of individual tourists, but rather the climate created by them. In other cases, people are literally stealing Komodo dragons and selling them. A quick FYI, unless you're a Bond villain, it's probably a bad idea to purchase a black-market Komodo dragon. Or you know what? Go for it, I'm sure it'll work out. In a lot of these cases, it's much like what we talked about at the start of this video, people see a place in a movie, or TV show, or online, and proceed to ruin that place.

It can be anywhere from "Breaking Bad's" Albuquerque to quaint cities and landscapes featured on "Game of Thrones," to this very viral street in Vietnam. (train honking) - [Tourist] Oh my god! (train honking) (train honking) (train chugging) (train honking) If you're on TikToks or Instagrams, you have absolutely seen that street, the draw of which is that there's a big honking train dangerously blasting in the middle of it. And sure enough, they had to close that area specifically because tourists began getting in the way of the big honking train, because like every location we've discussed, the draw is that they are unique and exotic, which is ironic when the flood of tourism literally ruins that very appeal. When we go to these places, we also bring our expectations of them.

We want them to be both isolated but also accessible. We want to take selfies at the places without people taking selfies in the background, to see the unique thing that everyone else also wants to see. And we are met with an industry trying to crank us through that so-called unique experience, even if it damages the very place we're there to celebrate and enjoy. Because the cold, hard truth of the matter is that some places just aren't for tourists, and the push to make them accessible can often range from hazardous to downright insidious, for example. - [Reporter] In the center of this crime and poverty-stricken township, there's a brave woman named Mama Rosie, who's risen above all odds and developed an orphanage called Baphumelele Children's Home.

- [Influencer] We're visiting an orphanage in the Philippines and we're bringing you along to show you something culturally different and interesting. Well, hello there. - Dear goofing Christ! Look, sometimes you don't even need to explain why something is wrong, you just know it, deep down in your goof bones. Those videos are examples of something called orphanage tourism, and it's a disturbingly common practice in developing countries. It's also, weirdly enough, often a scam. - [Reporter] Cambodia has some relatively well-run orphanages, but far too many are not.

And less than a quarter of children in orphanages are actual orphans. A misrepresentation that critics say is designed to attract foreign money. Orphanages are part of the tourist circuit, misery tourism has created a perverse incentive in forcing children to look sad and pathetic. This is Hong Teri, who spent more than four years in an orphanage, despite the fact that she comes from a happy family.

- Basically, orphanage tourism is an unregulated industry that traffics children to appease our charitable sensibilities. Social media influencers gain millions of followers and clicks by posting photos and videos of their charitable actions, and the orphanages essentially charge admission. And while it is in theory good to give money to an orphanage, often these places mistreat the children specifically to make them attract more sympathy. They will literally make them dance like trained animals, and so the money isn't improving individual lives so much as fueling a tourism industry where the attraction is suffering children. Children who have often been taken from their parents. According to a 2009 report by Save the Children, a not QAnon-related nonprofit, at least four in five children in institutional care have at least one living parent.

It's a grift, a tourist trap like (beep) Wall Drug or South of the Border. But instead of an animatronic T-Rex, these places feature starving kids, which is arguably less awesome than a T-Rex. Hell, it's less awesome than a Pachycephalosaurus, and that is pretty much the rock bottom of it all.

Orphanage tourism really exposes the root problem of why tourism can be such a (beep) up industry. There's a common thread among all the examples that I've brought up so far, whether it's the U.S. pushing Native Americans out of the way to make room for national parks, the illegal overthrow of Hawaii's government or orphanage tourism in poor countries.

The corrosive effects of tourism start with specific people who thought their way was the best way. It all perpetuates the idea that Westerners with more money and status can swoop in and somehow improve an area that they know nothing about. Nancy Shoemaker, a history professor at the University of Connecticut, calls it, "romantic colonialism," and that is exactly what it is, not all of it, but in its worst form, this is just a modern form of colonialism. Tourism is a machine that exploits a culture and gives nothing back. It destroys the environment and makes life unlivable for locals, all while ironically claiming to celebrate that very same place it demolishes. And yet, accepting all of this, the concept of tourism isn't inherently bad, except for the whale torture, but I don't think we should ban tourism, nor would we, obviously, it's not going away.

It's amazing, the world is big, and beautiful, and fascinating. So, what do we do about that? How do we remedy generations of colonial exploitation? It's a pretty big question there, we should probably cut to some ads, while I goof up an answer, yuck. (dramatic music) - Hey, look at Katy! She's a free spirit, like a wild horse and much like a wild horse, I can't be transported without kicking a lot of things. One time I rode a Venetian gondola and kicked someone so hard that they named a law after me. Anyway, this is an ad for NextEvo Naturals and their Stress CBD Complex Gummies. Do you also get nervous when traveling by Venetian gondola? Maybe you have trouble sleeping or some kind of stress in your life.

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plus a free bottle of Premium Pure CBD, $50 value, limit one use per customer. That's N-E-X-T-E-V-O .com/morenews. Be just like Katy, the free spirit who once broke the window on a shuttle bus because she kicked it too hard and is now banned from LAX. Haven't flown since 2019, I mean, they won't let me.

(dramatic music) - Oh yes, look how we are back. If you recall, we were discussing all the many ways that tourism as an industry is a terrible and destructive force. But also, and this is important, traveling is fun and good, this isn't an episode about how we shouldn't leave the places we're from. That's what makes this such a pickle, because the answer isn't to simply stop doing the inherently destructive thing, so we can't stop tourism, but of course we can pursue certain regulations and behaviors that prevent the most harmful effects of tourism. For example, there's a very simple thing we could do to help our national parks. In 2017, only ten parks accounted for 57% of visitations every year, creating significant stress on those parks alone.

So what if the Park Service advertised and promoted less frequented parks in order to more evenly distribute crowds and lessen damage to ecosystems? Or better yet, what if we simply limited the number of visitors a national park can take in at a time? It would be extremely easy to do considering that parks are already supposed to be doing that. As in, there's a 1978 amendment to the National Parks and Recreation Act that actually requires national parks to outline carrying capacity and general management plans. Basically, park superintendents need to very clearly outline how many people a park can accommodate without damaging natural resources and diminishing the quality of the experience. But it turns out that only a few national parks have a carrying capacity in place.

And in fact, only 51 parks even have a general management plan. So literally, the solution here is to just do the thing they're already supposed to be doing, but instead it seems like they're actively working toward the opposite. In 2020, the acting director of the National Park Service said the coronavirus-caused shortage of Park Rangers should not be an excuse for limiting access to national parks. That seems like the opposite should be true. We can't have the same mindset as resort executives when it comes to visitations in national parks, sorry to say, but national parks need to be seen as a limited attraction with a specific amount of available tickets, like a movie theater or a fancy orgy.

Of course, reservation systems, much like everything in America, can be discriminatory toward people of color and low income, so we would have to keep an eye on that. That classic hopeful solution, just keep an eye on it, make sure there's no funny business. There's also the risk that the system can be hijacked by bots, which coincidentally was the same problem my fancy orgy had. (authoritative music) So after we get a grip on how many people our parks can actually accommodate, we should probably boost our federal budget.

Some of those biodynamic bucks could go towards building more robust transit systems within the parks. Zion National Park, for example, has a shuttle system that, according to one analysis, has reduced CO2 emissions by over 24,000 pounds a day. Also, we need more money to hire guides to safely take people away from overcrowded areas and disperse tourists throughout the park. Or heck, maybe instead of hiring guides and trying to manage these parks, we could just, spitballing here, give the land back? After all the native tribes were doing a pretty good job of taking care of it in the first place.

That's happening right now in Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. By a resolution made last year, 1.3 million acres of land in southeastern Utah is managed jointly by the Federal Bureau of Land Management and Native American tribes. The agreement requires the government to engage with the tribes on land management and conservation. Now, technically, Bear's Ear is a national monument, which is designated by the president, whereas national parks are controlled by Congress.

But you get the point, land back proposals are a direct way to repatriate and protect the land. Similarly, there are efforts to return ancestral land back to Native Hawaiians. And when I say efforts, I mean to say decades of bureaucratic red tape and empty promises. A ProPublica investigation from 2020 found that the state agency charged with appointing homesteads to those who qualify is failing miserably. Since 1995, the department has developed only 3,300 plots while the waitlist for those homes has stretched to 23,000. As a result, many Native Hawaiians are dying long before their number is called.

Funny, how we keep circling back to Hawaii, it's almost like that state is a microcosm for all the troubles we've expressed here today. And just like everywhere in the world, the problem isn't the individual tourists so much as an industry allowing limitless exploitation to line their own pockets. Like, remember the Hawaii Tourism Authority we mentioned earlier and how I goofed about bringing it up again later? Well, it says here "Is the state agency charged with managing tourism for the benefit of the Hawaiian Islands."

Perfect! Love that, conceptually, because the Hawaii Tourism Authority Board of Directors currently consists of such members as a General Manager at the Disney Resort and Spa and a CEO of OLS Hotels and Resort. In fact, they're actually required by law to have at least five of the twelve board members with tourist industry experience. And since its inception 25 years ago, the board really acts as a trade association, pushing pro-tourist and pro-development policies, and using millions of taxpayer dollars to pay outside marketing firms to advertise tourism on the island. The tourism authority received $79 million out of the total tourist tax fund in 2019, which is a ton of money when the agency is routinely accused of poor accountability and failing to prove effectiveness by state auditors.

Local lawmakers are now considering bills that would dissolve the authority and replace it with a commission with no requirement for tourist industry representation, which would sure be a start. But of course, the problems that residents and Native Hawaiians face are multifaceted and nuanced. Disbanding one government agency and replacing it with another probably won't do much, but at least it's recognition that business as usual is really hurting people and the land, and not just in that one place, but everywhere. Tourism as we know it, makes places worse, and we know this for sure, thanks to certain recent events.

- [Reporter] Wildlife around the world, wandering freely in cities and regions normally bustling with people. Just one of the ways in which the coronavirus lockdown has quickly and dramatically changed our environment. - What does it say that a global event that killed millions of people was a good thing for our environment? And that when tourism comes to a halt, it actually gives the land time to heal. In Hawaii, popular locations like Hanauma Bay went down to zero visitors overnight. After only a few weeks of calm, researchers found that larger fish were returning and the water clarity improved by nearly 42%. And while the pause on tourism left thousands unemployed, a 2020 survey from the University of Hawaii's Public Policy Center found that 81% of residents did not want tourists visiting the community right now.

69% of survey respondents said they prefer the tourism industry make reforms before the state lifts its quarantine measures. In fact, a lot of people saw COVID-19 as an opportunity to reshape the way we travel, but of course, we didn't do that. Why would we? That would mean we'd have to change something and we hate doing that. So if the government isn't going to regulate it and corporations certainly won't be helping, we can at least think about our vacations a little more responsibly? For example, if you're going to a place like Hawaii, you can sign up for a volunteer day at a locally owned farm or beach cleanup. Volunteering can seem like a pretty measly approach to counter centuries of harmful colonial policies, but you can still take part in positive change. Local farmers recruited the help of thousands of volunteers to restore an ancestral watershed along Wahoo's northeastern shore, which now filters mountain streams through a network of taro patches, feeding clean water out into the ocean.

I know that it's gross to work on your vacation, but it's a good way to lessen your impact on the island, and you might feel all warm and fuzzy inside after doing a good deed, a vacation for your soul. Or heck, you don't even have to lift a finger, maybe it's enough to just rethink the reason we go on vacations. Going back to the start of this video, to the expectations we set on the destinations we visit. Maybe we need to redefine what it means to travel and accept that we are visiting someone else's home and not just other people's homes, but animals and entire ecosystems that we don't have ownership over.

And instead of expecting a specific experience, we actually strive to respect and learn about the place we're traveling to. That is, after all, what a vacation should be, right? An opportunity to step out of the norm and actually experience a destination for what it actually is. And yeah, it's fine to pamper yourself and do lots of drugs while that happens. Can't forget the drugs, we need, pfft, we need the drugs, but we also should share the drugs with the local children instead of exploiting them. I think that's the moral, you know what? I know that's the moral, give your drugs to children, legally signed, Cody Johnston. (dramatic music) Redacted, pull it out, stop it, edit out, bleep me saying that.

Don't give drugs... Give drugs to me, give your drugs to me, okay? Give 'em to me. Ah! Thanks for watching, everybody. Make sure to like and subscribe, video into the channel, leave a comment if you want, you don't have to, but please like and subscribe, please like and subscribe! And we've got a podcast called "Even More News" where all the podcasts are. We've also got this show as a podcast, it's called "Some More News" and you can hear it instead of look at it and hear it.

And that's also where the podcasts are. We have a Patreon at www.patreon.com/somemorenews. We have merch with Warmbo and other stuff on it. We've got shades on my face and they're not for sale, unless somebody wants to... No, they're not for sale. Get your own!

2023-07-24 17:09

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