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The polluting end of tourism: Environmentalist pushes for cruise ship ban in Vancouver harbour

Last Updated Aug 7, 2019 at 1:53 pm PDT

(Source: Riley Phillips/NEWS 1130)
Summary

A local environmentalist is calling for an outright ban on cruise ships in Vancouver's harbour

Environmental advocate says impact cruise ships have on our ecosystem is criminal

In 2018, Canada Place saw the highest volume of passengers

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A B.C. environmentalist is calling for an outright ban on cruise ships coming into Vancouver’s harbour.

The push is in an effort to help reduce the impact of the vessels’ carbon footprint.

“We are destroying our oceans with plastic, with pollution, with noise, with everything,” Danika Dinsmore with Extinction Rebellion Sunshine Coast tells NEWS 1130.

The group says cruise ships carry “the equivalent of a small town directly into some of the world’s most beautiful — and vulnerable — ecosystems,” and that they emit about three times more carbon than a commercial flight.

“It’s one of those luxuries that, unfortunately, it’s really not a great time and place to be polluting our oceans in this way,” she says. “The oceans are the world’s lungs, and we need them.”

In 2018, Canada Place saw the highest volume of passengers, according to the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.

According to Tourism Vancouver, every cruise ship brings an average $3 million to the local economy.

While Dinsmore acknowledges the ban may never happen, she feels it’s a place to start. She also says she has the backing of other environmental groups in B.C. and the U.S.

“Me, personally, I’d like to ban cruise ships until we figure out how to fix what we’re doing to the earth and go carbon neutral, and draw down our greenhouse gases,” she explains. “Now, other people are less severe, and they just want people to do research when they’re taking a cruise.

“If you want to know what to do with the cruise ships, well, let’s park them some place and figure out a way to turn them into housing for climate crisis refugees,” she adds. 

The group hopes to make people “aware of the impacts” their own carbon footprint can have, and to get people to rethink their consumer choices.

Dinsmore, who is also a children’s book author, says she’s not just worried about the current state of the environment, but also has concerns about the future, for her kids.

“I’m not a politician and I’m not a scientist. I don’t have all the answers, and it’s not going to be easy, and I know people need to make money to survive, but we can also live with a lot less.”

She’s also hoping people will fly less.

“These are really hard choices, but I try to fly as little as possible now, and all of my dreams of travelling all over the world I’ve just sort of put aside because I can’t see myself having that kind of carbon foot print and walking the walk, and talking the talk, as they say.”

In a statement to NEWS 1130, Port Metro Vancouver says the federal mandate under which it operates includes cruising in a sustainable manner that considers neighbouring communities.

“Our EcoAction Program offers discounts on harbour dues to vessels meeting voluntary environmental best practices that reduce emissions, underwater noise and other environmental impacts. These practices include obtaining third-party environmental designations and using cleaner fuels and technologies and have helped to raise awareness within the shipping community around the importance of reducing air emissions, helping to accelerate change on a global scale while reaping local environmental benefits,” the statement reads.

The Port also points to its use of shore power technology, which allows ships to shut down diesel-powered auxiliary engines and plug into land-based electrical power.