In This Chapter


Authored by: Andrew Holden

The Routledge Handbook of Tourism and the Environment

Print publication date:  July  2012
Online publication date:  August  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415582070
eBook ISBN: 9780203121108
Adobe ISBN: 9781136325564


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The term ‘environment’ is now embedded in the global vernacular and since the 1960s has progressively become synonymous with concern and political controversy. The conscious and deliberate use of the term is symbolic of an increased re-awareness of human interaction with the surroundings, an interaction that had been up to the Industrial Revolution implicit to our own survival and welfare. A combination of Enlightenment rationality, scientific endorsement and industrial development had, until the latter part of the twentieth century, created a generalised perception that nature could be ‘mastered’ and controlled for our own benefit. However, the emergent realisation that human endeavour could affect our surroundings, an awareness created by research endeavour in the environmental sciences alongside political and ethical green discourses has caused a re-evaluation of our interaction with the ‘environment’. This process of re-evaluation is politically and economically contentious, we need look no further than the issue of climate change to exemplify divergent interests and stakes in the environment. However, in many debates, issues of spatial scale, ecological composition and ecosystem changes, ‘rights’ of non-human species vis-á-vis anthropocentric interests, reflect disparate constructions and interpretations of our surroundings.

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