chapter  11
16 Pages

Scuba diving, environmental change and sustainability

ByC. MICHAEL HALL

Environmental change Global change refers to planetary-scale biophysical and societal changes in the Earth system (Hall 2013). The global environment is always changing, although change is never uniform across time and space. Yet ‘all changes are ultimately connected with one another through physical and social processes alike’ (Meyer and Turner 1995: 304). However, what is most signifi cant with respect to contemporary global environmental change is that it is not primarily due to natural processes. Instead, the scale and rates of change have increased dramatically as a direct result of human action related to the consumption of natural resources, the creation of new habitat for human activities (including tourism) which have in turned altered the habitats of other species, and the waste products of human consumption and production. Human impacts on the environment may have a global character in two ways. First, ‘global refers to the spatial scale or functioning of a system’ (Turner et al . 1990:15); the climate and the oceans have the characteristic of a global system. Second, global environmental change occurs if a change ‘occurs on a worldwide scale, or represents a signifi cant fraction of the total environmental phenomenon or global resource’ (Turner et al. 1990:15-16); an example is coral bleaching. Tourism is signifi cant for both types of change (Gössling 2002; Gössling et al. 2002; Gössling and Hall 2006a; Hall and Lew 2009).