I was sitting in front of my television this weekend mindlessly watching A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix when I was prompted by the character Esmé Squalor to reevaluate what was ‘in’ in my own life.
I started making a list of all the things I liked and whether or not they compared to the ridiculous standards of the show. Needless to say, they did not meet her standards. My number one favorite thing on my list was the beach, and according to Esmé Squalor, a fictional character by Lemony Snicket, AKA Daniel Handler, beaches were out because they involved light, and since ‘dark is in,’ then all things ‘light are out.’ Get it? Just watch the series and you will understand.
Sadly, this remains true on more than just a fictional characters standard, according to the World Economic Forum, Southeast Asia has been closing its beaches for a while now due to climate change and the rise of tourists.
Ghostly white bleaching is a common image associated with climate change in coastal islands, yet despite the evidence of marine ecosystems dying, we continue to bury our heads in the sand leaving devastating effects on marine ecosystems and economic conditions to residents of the islands who rely heavily on tourism for their livelihood.
In both Thailand and the Philippines, two GDPs who rely heavily on tourism, forced beach closings are due primarily to warming oceans—which lead to coral bleaching, massive die-offs of marine species, and the literal disintegration of the shells of sea snails and other organisms, paired with tourism, urban sprawl, and pollution, the beach closures indicate an environmental disaster.
In late March, Thailand announced that 11 of its 33 marine parks would be closed until further notice. Last February, officials recommended that the entire island of Boracay in the Philippines be completely shut down for six months to a year, to assess the damage done to marine ecosystems.
For anyone who loves going to the beach as much as I do, this news is troubling and extremely probable to expect more beach closures to happen in the future. Not only is climate change affecting tens of thousands of jobs in developing economies, but also the environment we are living in.