Impact of Travel on Culture and the Environment Essay

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Impact of Travel on Culture and the Environment

Travel and mobility play indispensable roles in our lives as modern Americans. Their largest impacts are seen within cultural realms: airplanes, automobiles, trains, and, to a lesser extent, boats allow fast and easy transportation to virtually all parts of the world. Such easy access to the inhabited portions of the planet has facilitated face to face meetings with family, friends, and colleagues living in distant parts of the world; the ability to move quickly and efficiently from home to work or school; and the ability to visit exotic locations for brief, recreational purposes. Usually, these cultural aspects of travel are the most salient when the subject is suggested. Yet, the
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Recently, an article on cnn.com (see link below) described how authorities in Monterey, California had banned a cruise ship from landing there because its crew had admitted to dumping 36,000 gallons of bilge water into the bay. The potential harm of such an act to the local marine life in the bay is considerable. This event, though not nearly as catastrophic to the environment, recalls the disaster of the Exxon Valdez, the oil tanker that spilled 11 million gallons of oil into the Prince William Sound in Alaska in 1989 (see link below for an account of the tremendous damage caused to the local environment). Though these are all modern examples of the interactions among travel, culture, and environment, evidence of these associations can be found in the history of the "Age of Exploration," when Europeans explored and conquered the New World of the Americas during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the expansion of textile production, and the development of triangular trade among Europe, the New World, and Africa.

The overall impact of European exploration of the New World is acutely felt within the domains of culture and the environment. Agriculture and disease each play major roles in the nature of this particular relationship. One of the main effects of agriculture is that food production becomes increasingly more efficient: more food can be produced from a given area of land than by earlier hunter-gatherer techniques. With this rise in
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