ECOCLUB

ISSN 1108-8931

INTERNATIONAL ECOTOURISM MONTHLY

Year 6 - Issue 69

Sponsored by: Zante Feast Discovery Holidays, Purple Valley Yoga Centre, Hana Maui Botanical Gardens, Jorth Consult Limited, Pacuare Lodge

ISSUE HIGHLIGHTS

Interview
Sami Grover & the Journal of Ecotourism

Eco Focus
Aposelemis, A Cretan Dam(n)

Member News
North Andaman Tsunami Relief Update
SIMUSOL, home-made solar gadget
Black Sheep Inn finalists in global awards
Assisting Argentina's Guaranis
Dominica's Sustainable Living Initiative Update

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KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD, UNITE !

Knowledge is the self-perception of an increased reasoning ability, which through the course of civilisation, beyond personal first-hand experience, came to also depend on the process of absorbing the experiences of others, long gone. These 3rd party experiences, in the form of processed and re-processed theories but also of raw facts, need first to be recorded and diffused. Without recording or diffusion, knowledge evaporates. Until relatively recently academic journals served both roles well for scientific knowledge, and in a near monopolistic fashion, as they were in turn the product of centres that also monopolised and united scientific knowledge and intelligence, the universities, themselves heirs of monasteries, philosophical schools and oracles. Other media such as mass-circulation newspapers, popular magazines, or even television, never threatened the Journals enviable position, and it was not until the advent of the Internet, that a serious challenger appeared. This appearance is one of the facets of the Information Revolution which - as all revolutions, needed to liberate someone, in this case knowledge and to have some victims. The next stage in this revolution, perhaps the Jacobin one, is the nascent Open Access (and Open Source) movement, under which Journals (and Software) are made freely available online. Journals and Universities, along with newspapers, initially maintained a hostile or at best ambivalent / wait-and-see attitude towards the Internet with the exception of a few daring who wholeheartedly embraced it, and it will be interesting to see how they react to Open Access. In this issue, we hear the expert opinion on all these matters, of Sami Grover, Commissioning Editor of Channel View, publishers of a series of acclaimed tourism journals including the Journal of Sustainable Tourism and the young Journal of Ecotourism. As a sign of the times, Channel View Publications recently offered a limited-time-only, open access to its Journal contents!

The information revolution notwithstanding, it appears environmental thinking still evolves in a slow fashion and environmental action in an even slower one. Dams may be increasingly "damned" the world over as harmful dinosaur projects, but rivers are still being dammed, as they still receive and generate funding, the latest case being the controversial $1.25 billion, World Bank-funded, Nam Theun 2 hydroelectric dam in Laos. And in Greece: in a recent tourism round table in Athens, I had the honour of talking with Spyros Danellis, former MP for Crete, now mercurial mayor of the touristy Hersonnisos area, one of the most popular resorts throughout Greece. The mayor is trying to fight the construction of a large dam in his area, and we make our small corner of the information revolution available to him, to publicise his and his constituents' campaign. Mr Danellis argues that far from providing water, this dam will actually take it away, along with the prospects for a better tourism future for this part of Crete.

Finally, and always making full use of the Internet revolution, at the end of April, we invite you to the on-line Rural Tourism Conference, organised and hosted by Planeta.com and co-sponsored by ECOCLUB.com (25 April -May 6, Details: http://www.planeta.com/ecotravel/tour/rural.html ) We will also be co-hosting two related live meetings at our Chat Centre, and it will be great to have people from all over the world join in this knowledge exchange. At its best, Rural tourism combines the cultural wealth of urban areas with the wilderness wealth of natural ones. However, very often the story is one of decay, poverty, knowledge backwardness, environmental problems, failed small businesses and avoidance by all but the most cultivated tourists and dedicated travellers, in favour of hip coastal or glitzy mountain resorts. So join us on April 26 for a discussion of what role the ecotourism movement and indeed the Information revolution can play in changing rural tourism.

Antonis B. Petropoulos
ECOCLUB Editor

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