Where Have All The Flowers Gone? | Tourism Is Killing Our Fields

 

 

You’ve seen the popular Instagram pictures of beautiful people in beautiful places. With a travel influencer posing in a picturesque field of flowers, an almost embodiment of the sublime. However, behind this structured romanticism, lies a trampled meadow, a lost space, crushed under the idealised image.

 

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Rows and rows of flowers spread across the horizon. As tourists flock to various meadows each year, famous for the perfect Instagram shot. Yet, behind the serenity of the scenes are trampled stems and crushed petals. This ‘flower tourism’ is destroying these idealistic habitats.

These beautiful spots are celebrated around the world. Whether it is the tulip fields of the Netherlands or the lavender meadows in Washington DC. Whether it is the tulip fields of the Netherlands or the lavender meadows in Washington DC. These beautiful spaces have become a number one hot spot for online influencers and casual tourists. In California, the famous flower fields receive on average 150,000 visitors each year.

 
 
 

THE ECO-ISSUE: SELFIES AT WHAT COST?

Despite this flower-tourist economy being great for local businesses, it is detrimental to local wildlife. In 2019, the famous flower field Keukenhof in the Netherlands generated €25 million in revenue. Yet, with each tourist giving back to the economy, there are two feet crushing flower stems as they search for perfect lighting.

Every year, super blooms occur across the US, attracting various visitors. One popular destination was the Californian sunflower farm Bogle seeds. But due to various destructive visitors, the farm had to close in 2019, fearing their flower field would be irreparably impacted. This is not the only destination to introduce environmental measures. A famous flower field in Siniy Utes introduced a fence and clear signs after tourism to the area began to threaten research and development for local biologists.

 
 
 

FLOWER FIELDS: A SMALL BUT VITAL ECOSYSTEM

Flower fields are much more than just a pretty space. They are home to a diverse, bustling ecosystem. These vital habitats support a variety of species, from grasshoppers and bees to small mammals and birds. Biodiversity, no matter how small, is something we need to protect.

Yet these spaces are disappearing. Not only tourism, building and infrastructure have also contributed to the loss of wildflowers and meadows. In Germany, species-rich meadows have decreased by almost 83.6% since the 1950s. Wildflowers are also essential as a primary habitat for bees, who are vital to multiple ecosystems as pollinators. Bees are also under threat. The loss of their habitat and increase in pesticide use has resulted in eight bee species being classified as endangered. The more wildflowers and flower farms we destroy through our ignorance, the more bees will be under threat.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

A shift must occur in our tourism. New, conscious tourism needs to be encouraged. Instilling an awareness and appreciation of the environment around us, rather than ignorance of our impact. When visiting flower fields, remain on the paths and behind fences, rather than venturing out to the middle for a 5-second picture, leaving destruction in your wake.

As we explore our world, we must be aware of how delicate our nature is. We can also encourage wildflower preservation, by donating to local and international charities whose goal is to preserve these diverse ecosystems.

 

 +  Words:
Emily Fromant
Luxiders Magazine