Cruise ships: ‘Rethink what tourism should look like’

Cruise ships pose a much worse threat to our well-being than long lines extending into parking garages, as described by “Sea-Tac Airport sees up to 90-minute security wait times Sunday morning” [Sept. 18, Local News]. Missed flights are just the tip of the melting iceberg.

Cruise ships are more polluting per passenger mile than any other form of travel, burning 30 to 50 gallons of fossil fuels for each mile traveled. Almost 90% of passengers who take a Seattle cruise fly here, adding jet fuel to the fire that is the climate crisis.

Cruise ships hosted by the Port of Seattle dump 4 trillion gallons of pollution into waterways each season, pay part of their workforce as little as $2 per hour and avoid federal taxes by flying flags of convenience.

World Tourism Day is Sept. 27. How can we explore places, cultures and activities without harming the very things we packed our bags to enjoy? How can we plan family vacations that don’t cost our children an unstable or unlivable planet? How do we avoid forms of tourism that can advertise low prices because they are exploiting workers, using the dirtiest fuel available, and externalizing the costs of pollution? We need to collectively rethink what tourism should look like.

Stacy Oaks, Tulalip, member of Seattle Cruise Control

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