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greece santorini travel adventure sunset
greece santorini travel adventure sunset
Jackie Ryan / Her Campus
Culture > News

Your Travel Plans Might Need Adjusting Since Europe Is in Flames

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

For many college students, traveling is a constant dream. Being immersed in new cultures, foods, landscapes, and people thousands of miles from home is such a unique experience. Whether it’s escaping with your best friends for a trip in the summer, committing to a semester studying abroad, or discovering where your family is from, traveling to new places can be a bucket list item for many people. I remember traveling out of the country to Europe for the first time like it was yesterday. I’m still so grateful I had the opportunity to visit Europe with some of my closest hometown friends. Even though I have only been out of the country once, my eyes have been opened to all the possibilities that come with traveling, and there are now so many places I want to visit. Those memories last a lifetime; I know I will never take them for granted. But what if in the future we can’t make those memories?

Areas in Greece Are Burning Up

I would love to go to Greece. Who wouldn’t want to live out their Mamma Mia! fantasy in the beautiful, blue-and-white coastal country? However, this fantasy destination is slowly becoming more and more damaged due to human environmental impact.

With the increasing impact of climate change due to human activity, Greece has been experiencing hundreds of wildfires this summer. These wildfires have continuously raged across Greece, starting as early as July. According to an article written by Alex Olorenshaw in the Guardian Post, the fire burning in Dadia National Park is the “largest single wildfire recorded in the EU” since 2000, which is when they started keeping a record. These fires have destroyed thousands of hectares of land, causing a significant decrease in the biodiversity of surrounding ecosystems and increased mass evacuations of people in neighboring at-risk areas. Lives gradually constructed for decades are quickly destroyed as flames cover parts of the country.

In his article from The Washington Post, Anthony Fiola attributes the development of these fires to the “toxic mix of extreme heat and drought, together with human malice or carelessness.” Earth gradually heats up when human activity emits harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This aspect of climate change, including the dry temperatures, contributes to the fires seen in Greece, as well as in Canada, Australia, and many other countries recently. These fires pose both societal and environmental risks to Greece and could prohibit people from traveling to its beautiful cities in the future.

Why you hadn’t heard about the Greece Fires

Negative environmental impacts, such as the fires in Greece, are often overlooked by people in surrounding areas. We are thousands of miles away, yet people are still planning their next trip abroad. Especially with Florida State University’s International Programs opening summer study abroad terms, traveling to another country has been something many students have been talking about on campus. However, no one is discussing the damaging effects that we have begun to see all over the world due to climate change.

Many people outside Greece and countries experiencing similar problems must realize these climate-induced events’ detrimental impact on surrounding areas. People often focus only on the good aspects of their travels, such as the food, views, and events. When researching a country you might want to visit, most people focus on the essentials such as transportation, hotels, and events to add to the itinerary. By not understanding important issues currently occurring within their country of choice, people could experience a culture shock upon their arrival thousands of miles away, in a country they might have never been in.

That is why I am stressing the importance that every location experiences environmental issues, but people should become more aware when it is on a larger scale, such as the Greece fires. By becoming more inclusive and highlighting these more significant issues through more news articles, film clips, and social media posts, our generation can become more aware and cautious of the damaging effects human activities have begun to have on popular travel locations.

Where We Go From Here

Traveling is such a rewarding experience. The opportunity to be fully immersed in different cultures and lives was one of the most memorable moments of my time abroad. However, climate change could halt these opportunities if we continue to lose crucial parts of these valuable countries. Greece is a historically and culturally rich country whose livelihood is easily threatened by these outbreaks. As fires damage these cities known for their beautiful landmarks and architecture, Greece could slowly lose its dream destination touch.

If fires, floods, and other natural disasters that result from global warming continue, tourist destinations could become unappealing, causing a decline in tourism. Some cities in Greece economically rely on tourism, and if these wildfires continue to rage across the country, many people could lose their way of life. It’s time we start realizing society’s impacts on surrounding areas and how detrimental the environmental, social, and economic effects could be if we continue to ignore them.

Before planning your next trip, or applying for study abroad, I suggest researching the areas you are considering traveling to and ways to be environmentally friendly throughout your stay. Be mindful of what is happening, whether socially, environmentally, or politically, so you can know what to expect when traveling. Awareness is the first step; learning how to be respectful and sustainable to our surrounding environment is the next.

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Hey yall! I am a second-year undergraduate student and member of the Her Campus at Florida State chapter. I am an out-of-state student majoring in environmental science, and have always had a passion for writing. Within HerCampus, I am part of the social media team for Instagram, an academic intern, and staff writer. My work often varies from campus advice and environmental current events to lifestyle articles based around healthy habits and some of my other passions such as thrifting, being outdoors, and attending concerts. Beyond Her Campus, I am involved in my sorority, Gamma Phi Beta, as a Social Media Chair and Line Dance member. I additionally fundraise for Dance Marathon at FSU and am a member of both the Environmental Service Program and Maji Project.