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Blue Community Sustainable Observatory Visits NASA
June 23rd, 2017
Professors Dr. David Randle, PCGS Director of Sustainable Tourism, Louis Zunguze, Coastal Sustainability, and Rebecca Tobias representing the UNWTO Affiliate the Blue Community Consortium traveled to the NASA Kennedy Space Center this week to share the work of the USF PCGS led Blue Community Sustainable Tourism Observatory.
The presentation was on "Choosing Our Sustainable Tourism Futures." Dr. Randle described the process of the NASA Futures Team in the 60's that his father helped lead at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratories to help NASA define collaborative projects that could help move its space program into the future. Randle stated that the NASA futures team model may be a good blue print for preparing sustainable tourism to respond to the challenges of the future.
Dr. Randle presented to an audience of NASA employees and contractors the Blue Community Model the Observatory is using, best practices for sustainable tourism taking place within the Observatory and around the world, and the role that NASA contributes in assisting in meeting the challenges of the 9 Planetary Boundaries.
The Blue Community Model uses as its foundation the four Pillars of the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC): Sustainable Management, Social & Economic Benefits, Cultural Heritage, and Environmental Stewardship.
Utilizing the 12 Blue Community Strategies jointly developed by the USF PCGS and the Walt Disney Company, the observatory seeks to build sustainable social structures that provide a safe and just space for humanity along with just and sustainable economic development.
Randle explained that what makes the Blue Community Model unique from traditional sustainable tourism models that simply try to balance social, economic, and environmental concerns, is that the Blue Community Model operates within the limitations of the 9 Planetary Boundaries.
Dr. Randle shared the best sustainable tourism practices being implemented within the Observatory to address the challenges of the 9 Planetary Boundaries. In addition, Professor Zunguze highlighted the uniqueness of the Blue Community Observatory with its focus on protecting, enhancing, and restoring coastal habitat and marine environments.
Rebecca Tobias shared the work being done in the observatory with piloting low cost and low tech biodigesters developed by PCGS Professor Thomas Culhane that can be utilized in developing countries to turn waste into energy.
USF PCGS and NASA have an existing MOU which allows for these types of collaborations. The USF PCGS Blue Community Sustainable Tourism Observatory along with the Blue Community Consortium plans to host a conference in late October where participants can both learn and experience the Blue Community model in action.