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A Level Geography: Tourism Holds A Great Threat To The Global Commons

A Level Geography: Tourism Holds A Great Threat To The Global Commons

In this edition of Endoxa essay help we will be looking at the argument that “tourism holds a great threat to the global commons”. We will be looking at the points you can use to support this argument using the case study of tourism within Antarctica.
So, what are the global commons?

The term ‘global commons’ refers to resources that are shared and accessible by all with no single governing country or power. The four notable global commons include the high seas, the atmosphere, outer-space and the only commonly shared land-mass, Antarctica. These four areas of the global commons are parts of the planet that fall outside of national jurisdiction and are therefore protected by many international treaties, laws and regulations. However, in this edition we are going to be looking at how, although ‘protected’ by treaties, Antarctica is under threat due to tourism. Let’s now look at this example in more detail, looking at how the effects of tourism, such as environmental degradation, can negatively impact Antarctica.

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Does tourism hold a great threat to the global commons?

Let’s introduce the first argument point, that tourism disturbs habitats and causes interference with vital eco-systems, we can break this argument down into simple steps. In Antarctica wildlife tends to breed from November to March. These breeding patterns overlap with the peak tourist seasons and this results in high levels of disturbance and interruption to breeding patterns of endangered wildlife. Therefore, we can argue that tourism is negatively impacting upon wildlife with a detrimental effect.

To further support this, we can bring in a second point, this being that tourism within the Antarctic region greatly increases pollution and this results in the destruction of very fragile landscapes. Due to the fragility of the Antarctic eco-system this damage, as a result of tourism, will last for many decades and therefore this will pose a great threat to the global common.

Introducing the counter-argument

Having used two points to support this argument, it looks strong and supported, however we can support this even further to allow you to access the highest marks in your exams and essays by adding a counter-argument and then disproving it. An example of a counter-argument you can use is the idea that The Antarctica Treaty System prevents damage to the fragile environment via the implementation of strict rules surrounding tourism and other activities. However, this counter-argument cannot be true as it is clear that regulations are not always followed by some tourist operators, this is demonstrated when we look at sites of cultural heritage, such as whaling stations and sealing areas, which see drastic increases in footfall and environmental degradation during tourist seasons.

The above is a well-developed and critically argued explanation that tourism does hold a great threat to the global commons. Using the techniques outlined in this blog post allows you to access the higher marks for critical argument and evaluation in your essays and exams.

Endoxa A Level Geography Graph


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