Antonis is the Founder and Editor of Ecoclub.

no taxes please, we are airlines

  UNWTO has issued a press release release today assuming on the one hand - on behalf of Tourism - a 5% responsibility of global carbon emissions and on the other "cautioning" against 'mitigation' measures for air passenger transport 'taken in isolation' so as 'not to harm' developing countries and 'small island developing states' dependent on tourism. Hostage to its powerful membership, as the only UN body with multinationals as voting members, UNWTO fails to evaluate what sort of 'development' path the current capitalist tourism model offers to these states,  any "development" will do...(similar to "tourism creates jobs" or the "we employ locals"). But it seems small island states are also being used as hostages by the powerful airline lobby, so that the oligopoly of airlines and aircraft manufacturers can avoid green taxes in perpetuity. The rest of us can happily pay VAT and subsidise new airports, fuel etc.
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a civilised way to research whales

A great video showing that research is a lot more fun for both whales and humans when combined with respect and tourism. Not for fine sushi purveyors and other delicacy enthusiasts or for those who would like us swallow that they 'need' to kill whales in order to "research" them. Featuring dwarf minke whales at the Great Barrier Reef off Queensland and Alastair Birtles, a marine biologist in the Tourism Department, who has been studying them for the past 15 years, during their annual migration from/to the Antarctic, when they are in playful mode and hence friendly and curious towards people, doing a bit of human-watching. A limited number of swim with whales operators based in Port Douglas and Cairns, have been licensed by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority  on the understanding that sightings will be reported and form part of a monitoring program with the cooperation of James...
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Can the state tell people how to dress?

This year in some European countries with large Muslim populations, such as Belgium, France and Spain (where the proposal was narrowly defeated on Tuesday), there were proposals for a total ban on face veils (niqab / burqa) in public places. The Left, progressive and open minded people seem split on the issue, trying to defend both multiculturalism and personal freedoms. There is evidence that the niqab tradition long preceded Islam. On the other hand, moslem countries like Tunisia also ban the niqab. Also consider that "the extremist imams ... are the products of the Islamic fundamentalism that proliferated under the patronage of the grand anti-communist alliance of the past century, comprising western powers and Saudi fundamentalism, generously funded by petrodollars. "  Source: http://www.bmsd.org.uk/articles.asp?id=12 Is it the state's (i.e. the majority's) job to tell people ( i.e. the minority) how to dress, or is it a case of protecting the individual rights...
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Union leader alleges greek hotel 'trainees' living 'like animals'

In today's Avgi newspaper, the president of the Greek Federation of Catering & Tourist Industry Employees (POEE-YTE) Leonidas Karathanassis, blasts the growing exploitation of tourism student trainees by large hotels and the displacement of hotel workers. According to Mr Karathanassis, the phenomenon first started in 2000 when some large hotels in northern Greece struck direct agreements with foreign tourism schools. He alleges that today mainly through the intermediation of specialist 'trainee agents', many of the trainees are not really tourism (or any other sort of) students, they have to work long hours, live in below-ground dormitories or even store-rooms 'like animals', without insurance, with a meagre Euros 500 half of which goes back to the agency! The union representative called on the government to investigate this illegal and abusive practice and to set maximum limits of 10% for trainees, compared to the current 50% which is the case in hundreds of...
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real 'Avatar' tribe tries to save sacred mountain from Miners

real 'Avatar' tribe tries to save sacred mountain from Miners
   Two 'Na’vi' from 'planet Pandora' landed in London today to participate in multinational mining company Vedanta Resources’ Annual General Meeting.  The happening was part of a colourful demonstration against the miners, over their controversial plan to extract bauxite (Ed. surely unobtainium?) from Niyam Penu (Niyamgiri Hill) the sacred mountain of India’s Dongria Kondh tribe, that they worship as creator and sustainer, in the Indian state of Orissa. Monty Python star and travel writer Michael Palin  expressed his support to the 3 year campaign, supported by Survival International and Amnesty Int. saying he had  "seen the forces of money and power ... arrayed against a people who have occupied their land for thousands of years, who husband the forest sustainably and make no great demands on the state or the government." India’s Environment and Forests Ministry is currently investigating the Dongria’s claim to the forest while Odisha state is conducting a...
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consumerism as a disease

Consumerism, a modern disease: Stuffed animal beer bottles sell out in hours, in Aberdeenshire, Scotland:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-10737787
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Bank speculation & food crises

A new report by the 'World Development Movement' describes "how the current situation came to pass, the risks of another speculation induced food crisis, and what specifically can be done by policymakers here in the UK as well as in the US and EU to tackle the problem. " Concludes that "reregulating commodity markets is a vital step in tackling hunger and reshaping the global economy to work for the benefit of people rather than profit for the small elite of bankers." Capitalism is not even mentioned once, let alone blamed, still the report makes interesting reading. The question is how can crises, which are systemic and regularly occuring, be overcome through system 'regulation', rather than system change? Download the report at:http://www.wdm.org.uk/sites/default/files/hunger lottery report_6.10.pdf
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The Crisis explained!

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOP2V_np2c0&feature=player_embedded 600x400] Animated version of Prof. David Harvey's speech "Crises of Capitalism" at the Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, Manufactures & Commerce, UK  
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The Distortion of Hospitality - From Philoxenia to Philochrematia and back

The Distortion of Hospitality - From Philoxenia to Philochrematia and back In Ancient Greece,  strangers / visitors  (the “xenoi”) were considered sacred (possibly gods undercover) and Philoxenia or ‘loving care towards strangers’ was a duty. This took the form of free hospitality and even gifts to the departing stranger, creating friendship bonds that would bind offsprings as well. Of course there were similar customs in many other regions and civilizations, until the industrial era. Beyond ethics, there were practical reasons for this too, as strangers (tradesmen, explorers, philosophers etc) were rare sources of information, knowledge and wisdom, not to mention that there were very few hotels! The above sounds surreal  considering  what today goes by the name of  ‘tourism industry’, characterized by the luring of clients, who will never engage in any meaningful dialogue with their hosts, to small boxes where they will be offered fake care and attention in exchange...
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"Islands for Sale"

  The Guardian reports (or advertises?) that the Greek government plans to sell off state-owned land in some well-known resort islands such as Mykonos, and even entire islands, under pressure from the IMF and the EU. It is indeed tragic that our - nominally socialist - government, is enthusiastically (rather than under pressure) following thatcherite, neoliberal policies, which, along with disposing public utilities, facilities (ports, airports, trains, postal services) and public lands, include the dismantling of the social welfare state, the creation of a 'flexible' labour market and more.Otherwise the - usually quiet - sale of small islands is nothing new, some have been in private hands for generations, claimed (arbitrarily) by the descendants of sheperds, monks, fishermen, seamen etc. There are also some who have been bought and resold and are in the hands of Greek shipowners (famously Skorpios, Petalioi, Spetsopoula).The newspapers are of course trying to create provocative headlines...
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