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The Greta effect: Is climate change changing your travel?

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By George Stone, TRAVEL Executive Editor

Some say she’s ahead of the curve. Others call Greta Thunberg and her low-carbon tour of America overhyped. There’s no question that the teenage environmental warrior has raised big issues for travelers: How much can we travel without hurting the world for future generations?

We asked 2,200 Americans about it and found nearly a quarter of them have changed their travel habits to be more environmentally friendly, according to a National Geographic-Morning Consult poll. The poll found 24 percent—and more than a third of respondents under 30— had changed their plans in various ways, including limiting air travel or avoiding overtouristed places.

Speaking of overtouristed, my tip from June: Stay away from the mass of humanity that clogs the arteries of Porto in the summertime. (I recommend beating the crowds by going to the Portuguese city in the autumn.)

Have you changed travel plans for overtourism or aversion to carbon usage? Let us know at justwondering@natgeo.com.

Today in a minute

Hello, again: America is considering rejoining the U.N.’s World Tourism Organization, Skift reports. It's a big change for the United States, which dropped out two decades ago over questions whether the organization was worth it. Will the UK, Canada, and Australia join as well?

Amid the protests: After four months of demonstrations, how can visitors stay safe in Hong Kong? David Swanson, writing for National Geographic Travel, checked on safety with the tourist booth at the airport, then found the sparsely attended Zoological and Botanical Gardens and no wait for the normally packerd Peak Tram.

Luxe Antarctica: Modern-day Antarctic polar explorers don’t have to endure the harrowing travails of British pioneer Ernest Shackleton. In a hilarious essay, Afar writer Aislyn Greene acknowledged her surprise at braving the elements ... as a coddled cruise ship passenger. “I was ready to suffer,” writes Greene. Instead? She sipped champagne as the ship passed the ice floes.

Who needs pumpkins?: Here's your guide to National Geographic’s seven best autumn festivals in America, including this weekend's balloon festival from the riverfront bluffs of Natchez, Miss.

Your Instagram photo of the day

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Autumn in Japan is a spectacle of joy and color near the Kitano Tenman-Gu Shrine in Kyoto. Read more on our Instagram page.

Autumn in Japan is a spectacle of joy and color near the Kitano Tenman-Gu Shrine in Kyoto. Read more on our Instagram page.

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Overheard at National Geographic

What’s it like climbing with Alex Honnold, the fearless summiter behind the documentary Free Solo? Our podcast host Peter Gwin did it, once. And he says it was not pretty. Gwin described his own climbing technique as overgripping—and Honnold gave him, well, “guff” for it all day. Hear more from Gwin as he kicks off Season 2 of our podcast today. If you don't already subscribe, download it now: applepodcasts.com/overheard

The big takeaway

Still haven’t found what you’re looking for? Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist and Hunger, says she hasn’t either. The Yale visiting professor and New York Times Opinion contributor, of Haitian descent and raised in Omaha, Neb., was asked at the end of an interview where she is most at peace. “Um, I don’t know yet,” Gay responded for our new book, Women: The National Geographic Image Collection. Does that mean you haven’t found that place, we asked? ”Correct,” she answered.

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Tomorrow, SCIENCE Executive Editor Victoria Jaggard describes Nobel Week and the preponderance of a similar type of winner (at least in the science awards). If you’re not a subscriber, sign up here.

One last glimpse

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Where the tourists aren’t. Who needs to be jostled on vacation when you can go to Redwood National and State Parks and hang out quietly like this? Here are a few other undervisited national parks.

This newsletter has been curated by David Beard. Have an idea or a link for us? We’d love to hear from you at justwondering@natgeo.com.