The volcanic eruption in Iceland is the sort of disaster I have written about and blogged about many times over the past decade. I have suggested that a major volcanic eruption could cause world wide catastrophic impacts on a scale that is almost unimaginable. It could be the factor that stops the alarming escalation of human populations. And this one in Iceland is tiny. But it has caused huge economic devastation.
As an example, our partner organisation in Brazil (REGUA), is suffering significant economic losses. A group of nine people representing the Zoos and Aquariums that have been supporting land purchase by REGUA, have had to cancel their visit. This represents a loss of over $8000 of income, from accommodation fees. And they were not the only guests from Europe booked over the next few weeks. I am scheduled to take Bill Oddie to the Atlantic Rainforest next week, as part of our PR and publicity for WLT's Chelsea Flower Show Exhibit, and if this visit is cancelled that too will impact REGUA, as our partners are always paid for services they provide, including to WLT staff.
There are certainly powerful arguments in favour of less air travel, but as conservationists, we know only too well that tourism plays an absolutely vital role in maintaining some of the world's most important habitats and species. Without tourist income, where would Mountain Gorillas be now? I can tell you: Extinct.
The World Land Trust needs to support its partners more urgently than ever in this time of crisis. Nature may be fighting back, as some commentators have described the volcano, but nature still needs your support.