It is impossible to live pleasantly without living prudently and honourably and justly, and it is impossible to live prudently and honourably and justly without living pleasantly - Epicurus (341-270 BCE), Kyriai Doxai V 

Declaration of Principles: was established in 1999 with the aim of supporting the philosophy & practice of Ecological Tourism, a Tourism informed by the science and political philosophy of Ecology.

We advocate for a Tourism that meets the following criteria (the Ecological Tourism Criteria):

1. Minimises its Environmental Impact.
2. Respects Human Rights, Labour Rights and Animal Rights. 
3. Meets Real Needs and Eliminates Poverty.
4. Promotes Freedom, Social Justice, Inclusion, Empowerment & Solidarity.
5. Increases Scientific Knowledge & Intercultural Understanding.

ecosunThe current global environmental and socioeconomic crisis (aka Climate Change), according to scientific consensus, is unprecedented in its magnitude in terms of endangering life on this planet. But looking on the bright side, it is only the latest episode in the long series of human-made crises which have been eventually overcome. Such crises are inextricably linked to the historic evolution of humans and their competition for control and concentration of natural resources. Despite technological and medical progress, which has allowed the global population to expand greatly, personal freedoms, social justice and environmental protection are still lagging. The fin de siècle euphoria and peace dividend resulting from the end of the Cold War was short-lived. Progress in meeting the real needs and aspirations of the Global South is outrageously slow, while in the Global North there is a regression: the general public feels increasingly insecure with the rapid & haphazard dismantling, rather than repair, of the welfare state model, the rapid erosion of employee rights, and the raised risk of redundancy and personal bankruptcy. Human progress is threatened by a toxic mix of product dumping, disregard for human rights, extreme financialization (subprime mortgage crisis), never-ending regional wars, and heinous terror acts in the name of religion, indirectly funded through the global economy's dependency on Fossil Fuels and the quasi-religion of "Growth at all costs". A growing number of citizens now feel left out as indicated by election results around the world (in the few countries lucky enough to be able to hold truly free and fair elections). People around the world fear that "Globalisation", especially that of the neoliberal variety, directly and indirectly, threatens their interests. Let us hope that the majority can democratically & peacefully decide to build a socially just, civilised and environmentally sustainable global system rather than follow the Sirens of ultra-nationalists, racists & fascists to a tragi-comical and potentially far more lethal repetition of the 1930s. For Humanity to survive let alone to progress further, we need, on the one hand, to constantly identify and oppose ecocidal, undemocratic and oppressive aspects and actors of the global system; on the other hand, we need to recognise and encourage emerging peaceful, progressive aspects, currents and movements wherever they may occur. Our gaze needs to be scientific and humanistic at the same time, to pay attention to detail but without missing the forest for the tree. We also need to reject all dogmas and dogmatisms, use rational thinking, an open mind and test, retest, check and recheck everything and see how it can be improved. The proliferation of Green, Social and Liberal Democracies around the world is the only peaceful and practical path towards a happier, sustainable world without borders and divisions (racial, social or class).

Still, progress requires a constant effort and is very slow: over two centuries after the French Revolution, following two catastrophic World Wars, a protracted Cold War and amidst the global war against violent religious fascists, most governments claim to be proponents or even defenders of Freedom, Equality, Justice and Social Solidarity. Yet, these lofty goals are still rarely present in the daily lives of the majority of the world's peoples... In fact, in the early 21st century basic human rights and freedoms are increasingly under threat in nearly all countries and continue to be non-existent in others. In the context of Travel, freedom of movement is largely limited to the movement of capital and of wealthy tourists, while immigrants (war, economic and climate refugees) perish while trying to cross deserts and choppy seas in search of a better future; a future that for most of them will sadly involve a menial job and constant harassment in the global north. Access to free or affordable, quality health care and education is retreating worldwide as, thanks to neoliberal misanthropes, these two basic human rights have become tradable commodities. In the global north itself the middle class is being slowly crushed and many of its members suddenly become members of a precariat unable to find work, while in the global south extreme poverty and lack of sanitation and education remain key generators (as well as key forms) of violence leading people to death and/or the dead end of extremism. It need not be this way; the world can get better.

Resistance to the forces of ecological destruction and social oppression and the implementation of reforms at the top are necessary but not sufficient conditions to bring about human progress: they must be supported and refined on a daily basis through the creation of viable and practical alternatives, including - especially in areas that have no other resources - ecological and equitable tourism alternatives, organised at and by the grassroots. The proliferation of such alternatives can, in turn, contribute to the emergence of genuinely free, classless communities where mutual aid prevails, and individuals thrive, as no one is exploiting or oppressing anyone else, while at the same time all the real needs of all people are covered. The proliferation of and voluntary cooperation between such equitable & free communities, and between their respective individual members could create a better and less violent world where the well-being and the individual & collective rights of all people (as well as the rights of animals) are respected considerably more than they are today; a world where the French Revolution's "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" may not sound as contradictory and improbable.

Learning from the 20th century's wars, multifaceted cruelty, dictatorships, genocides and extreme socio-political experiments, and realising that business-as-usual is not an option as we are destroying our planet, in the 21st century, we have to aim for a democracy which is as sustainable (ecological, social, liberal, inclusive, participatory and equitable) as possible. Democracy, by definition, can never be absolute or total - if it attempts to do so, it turns into totalitarianism or mob rule. But it can be socially just and green! The most important thing today is to resist racism and fascism, the regressive easy-fixes offered by the enemies of open societies. We need to encourage and co-develop the alternatives and support peaceful, voluntary, intelligent, rational and diverse paths to human progress. These include Ecological Tourism (genuine ecotourism), which has a unique, pivotal and multifaceted role to play in creating quality, meaningful jobs, opening hearts and minds, in total mobility between and within nations and in contributing towards a more equitable re-distribution of wealth between and within countries without further harming the planet.

We have no time to waste, yet this may turn out to be an Ultramarathon. The full humanization of humanity (if it is ever to arrive - it could be that some cosmic or human-induced 'accident' puts an abrupt end or that this is/was as good as it gets) could take another 10,000 years (since the first settlements based on agrarian surpluses emerged) or even another 4 million years (since Australopithecus afarensis walked upright!) but we should remember (Lao-Tzu) that "a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" and (Cavafis) that "when you set out for Ithaca ask that your way be long...". In the end, nothing, apart from inertia, prevents us from helping each other today and every day, from "living prudently and honourably and justly" and thus "living pleasantly", today and every day. This is exactly what - International Ecotourism Club is trying to do: to unite and support all open-minded and positive people who share the above ideas and are or would like to become active in Ecotourism - join us today!

ecosunOur Logo: The colour (teal) combines green and blue, key colours of the earth and is one of a few colours named after an animal (a duck, the common teal, whose eyes are surrounded by this colour). The smiling sun symbolizes a pragmatic, positive, non-violent, non-sectarian, non-dogmatic, philosophical attitude to life which combines the Epicurean "LATHE VIOSAS" ("ΛΑΘΕ ΒΙΩΣΑΣ" get through life without drawing unwarranted attention) and "ATARAXIA" (ΑΤΑΡΑΞΙΑ - tranquility) with the will to assist others, solve real problems, rise up every day, in a peaceful, daily revolution in all our individual and collective dealings; it also symbolizes solar power - renewable energy in literal and figurative terms and light - the light of science, enlightenment. 

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Ancient Greek Writing Tablet, Red figure Kylix by Eucharides, 480 BCE (U. of Pennsylvania Museum)

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