Mike Gunter Attends Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference
September 21, 2011
Associate Professor of Political Science Mike Gunter recently attended the Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference at Hilton Head in September 2011, speaking with The International Ecotourism Society’s lifetime achievement award winner Stanley Selengut and noted environmental activist Fabien Cousteau.
The trip was part of a long-term project Gunter is conducting on ecotourism and climate change and allowed him to line up interviews with the executive editor at National Geographic Traveler, manager of the Costa Rica office of Rainforest Alliance and the WWF Galapagos program officer.
Spawning seven continents, Gunter’s work examines eco-tourism with its emphasis on minimal environmental impact and empowering local populations as a lens to better understand climate change. He argues that, as the fastest growing sector of an industry that has become the principle export in 83 percent of the developing world, ecotourism offers remarkable potential to link conservation interests to economic development, and that the developed world, in turn, can better understand the process of climate change and the dangers it presents with such firsthand experiences.
Gunter’s project, in particular, highlights scientific studies he assisted on in the oldest national park on the African continent, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi in South Africa, and Tampobata Research Center in the Peruvian Amazon as well as stints in the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador, Great Barrier Reef of Australia and peninsula of Antarctica.
Gunter is author of a number of pieces on climate change, ecotourism, and sustainable development, including the critically acclaimed Building the Next Ark: How NGOs Work to Protect Biodiversity (2004/2006) and a forthcoming piece on climate change and security in The Review of Policy Research.