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Quintuple Crisis? Five more reasons to act and green our act!

Tourism communities, businesses and destinations, the world itself is now facing a quintuple or five-fold crisis: the Climate Crisis, the Coronavirus Crisis, a structural Economic Crisis, a sharp Financial Crisis and an ongoing Refugee/Humanitarian Crisis.

It should be, but it is not always obvious to everyone that the five crises are interconnected. Habitat loss and a warming climate encourages infectious diseases. Diseases worsen the simmering, global, structural economic crisis, which brings about a sharp drop in financial exchanges. All these worsen the socioeconomic conditions in already-troubled and poor parts of the world with wars ensuing and new refugees and economic migrant streams created. This in turn gives rise to xenophobic political forces which puts pressure on the political class and sabotages progressive, green initiatives, the very ones we need if we are to combat climate crisis or at lease adapt to some of its side-effects.

This is a vicious circle. To break this vicious circle, we must intervene at every block in this rusty, blood and oil-soaked, dangerous chain.  Every country has a right to choose their system of government, however Human Rights and Environmental Rights are universal and should be universally respected. Low-cost and often low-quality, goods built on the broken back of workers, animals and the environment destroy the productive basis of other countries, create mass unemployment and encourage consumer waste. Trade wars can be easily transformed into real ones. It has happened in the past, the main cause of most wars are conflicting economic interests. It may be a tautology, but we need to stress that world cannot become greener without genuinely green policies. We will not get these genuinely green policies unless we elect green or at least greener governments and unless we as consumers and our lawmakers encourage/pressure/tax the private sector to green, rather than greenwash, its act. And a just transition towards green energy and green transport requires massive investment so that no workers are left behind but retrained and re-employed in the green economy, and this investment should be fairly born by all major polluting countries. The annual merry-go-round which goes by the strange name of COP is too slow as a process as most powerful participants with their petty national and geopolitical agendas miss the forest for the(ir) tree while powerful fossil-based industry drags its feet. 

There is one great hope: a global political movement and network called the Global Greens that has a coherent and universal political philosophy backed by the science of Ecology and detailed proposals. Its constituent parties make steady electoral progress in many countries including global economy powerhouses such as Germany. However, the green political movement is too vague and diverse when it comes to policies on specific sectors such as health, education, agriculture, energy, transport. It is agnostic/apolitical (i.e. conservative) in terms of who owns the means of production. This vagueness has allowed green parties to co-govern with conservative and neoliberal forces which in turn co-opts the green movement into the status quo.

 
The current crisis is likely to have many effects, one being that the state is back and that misanthropic neoliberalism, which has destroyed public health systems among many others, is finally discredited. The other could be that people (and scientists) finally connect the dots between the climate crisis, forest destruction, wildlife trade. Therefore, this whole event could be a great argument in favour of Eco-socialism! A socialism which respects human rights, individual freedoms and ecological (scientific and political) principles. Individual greens and the global green movement will hopefully note this important climate change (!) and realign themselves with the socialist movement. And vice versa.
 
In terms of Tourism, we should never fall for the elitist/malthusian hostility against mass tourism and the lunacy/misanthropy of the anti-tourist brigade. Travel and tourism is/should be a basic human right, this means a right for all people. The need for a democratic, green, quality, just Tourism is as pressing as ever!

 

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