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)

If only it was so easy! Perhaps it is?If only it was so easy! Perhaps it is?Ecoclub, the International Ecotourism Clubis the first Ecotourism Portal and Professional Network, established in 1999 in Athens, Greece, today with Members worldwide. The founders of Ecoclub understand genuine Ecotourism as Ecological Tourism, a tourism which incorporates the scientific and political principles of Ecology. Inspired by the Global Greens Charter, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the wisdom of Epicurus, we believe that Ecological Tourism may contribute to a gradual, peaceful transition to a better and happier world, a world with justice and freedom for all, a world with fewer borders, class divisions, violence, exploitation and oppression, that respects the fundamental rights of all people and other life forms. Examples and good practices of this better & happier world already exist and new ones pop-up every day, so we cooperatively try to promote and propagate them, beyond profits. In short, we advocate Ecology Through Tourism!

ecosunThe Four Ecoclub Ecotourism Criteria are: 

1. Minimise your Environmental Impact.
2. Respect Human Rights, Labour Rights and Animal Rights
3. Meet Real Local Needs and Reduce Poverty & Inequality. 
4. Increase Knowledge & Intercultural Understanding.
 

Our four criteria broadly correspond to the four Green pillars: Ecological Sustainability, Social Justice, Grassroots/Economic Democracy and Peace & Non-Violence. They reflect our conviction that another world is possible! A green, free and fair world, incorporating the civilised tetraptych of Ecology-Liberty-Social Justice-Internationalism

ecosunEcotourism & the World: The current global environmental and socio-economic crisis (aka Global Warming/Climate Change), according to overwhelming scientific consensus, is unprecedented in terms of endangering our presence, let alone our well-being, on this planet. While technological and medical progress has allowed the human population to grow, despite hundreds of treaties and fanfare, progress is agonisingly slow in terms of reducing poverty and inequality and increasing environmental conservation, social justice and human rights. The problem, equitable distribution of decision-making and resources, goes all the way back to the dawn of the Anthropocene, to the first agricultural societies where accumulation, surplus, debt, money, markets and human-made pollution first emerged and have since been inextricably linked to the basis of human civilization, so there are no quick fixes that would not involve mass starvation and mass violence. It is also not realistic for 7.5 billion people to retreat back to the countryside, the forests and to a nomadic-mode of survival, nor should they, as cities can be the most eco-friendly environments, saving space and resources. But we believe that it is credible to argue, and practical to aim, that the current, globalised, socioeconomic system can be peacefully and gradually transformed, if a handful of key changes are introduced, in particular changes in how money, energy and food are produced, distributed and stored. For these changes to occur we need on the one hand open-minded, progressive, green governments, and on the other to help each other and do things differently, each and every day, at the grassroots. Not everything that counts can be quantified and accurately measured, and vice versa, but, we believe that ecological tourism providers in particular, should make an effort to follow quality green standards such as the GSTC Criteria for Destinations, Accommodation and Tour Operators and the European Union EU Ecolabel for Tourist Accommodation criteria.

Freedom, Mutual Aid and Ecology can help us progress in the 21st century leaving behind the dated 19th century Capitalist vs Communist and Right vs Left dichotomies. We need synthesis and practical solutions rather than endlessly stating the problems, ignoring the problems or proposing impossible or violent paths. A steady, peaceful path towards change can only be ecological, voluntary and gradual and be based on international cooperation and technological progress. For Humanity to survive, let alone to progress further, we need, on the one hand, to constantly identify and oppose ecocidal aspects and actors of the global system, and on the other hand, to recognise and encourage ecological trends, currents and movements. We believe these include Genuine Ecotourism/Ecological Tourism/Sustainable Tourism, which, although not a cure-all, has a pivotal and multifaceted role to play in creating quality, meaningful & pleasant jobs where no other options exist and, as importantly, in opening hearts and minds, in greater mobility between nations and within societies, in re-distributing wealth peacefully, effectively and more equitably between and within countries without further harming the planet. 

We have no time to waste, yet this will probably be an Ultramarathon. The transition to a fully-civilised, peaceful, global socio-economic system and the full humanization of humanity (if it is ever to arrive - it could be that some cosmic accident or human-induced blunder puts an abrupt end) could take another 10,000 years (since the first agrarian societies emerged) or even another 4 million years (since Australopithecus afarensis walked upright!). However, 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...". The simple truth is that, apart from inertia, nothing really 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. Ecoclub, as a latter-day, virtual Garden of Epicurus, aims to unite and support open-minded, green and progressive/modernist citizens of the world, who share the above ideas and are active or would like to become active in Ecotourism/Sustainable Tourism or other Green Economy sectors - join us today!

ecosunOur Logo: The colour (teal) 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 = tranquillity) with the will to assist others, solve real problems, "to get up again and start over", 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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ecosunAncient Greek Writing Tablet, Red figure Kylix by Eucharides, 480 BCE (U. of Pennsylvania Museum)Ancient Greek Writing Tablet, Red figure Kylix by Eucharides, 480 BCE (U. of Pennsylvania Museum)Recommended Reading: