ISSN 1108-8931


Year 6 - Issue 70

Sponsored by: Zante Feast Discovery Holidays, Purple Valley Yoga Centre, Hana Maui Botanical Gardens, Jorth Consult Limited, Pacuare Lodge, Ecolife 2005 Fair


Sara Graham Mann on Tourism Marketing & the Sustainable Tourism Awards

Club News wins Responsible Tourism Website Award
ECOCLUB to exhibit at ECOLIFE 2005 Fair in Athens, 3-6 June, 2005

Eco Focus
Tourism Potential & Pitfalls in Bituri Forest, Brazil.

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Editorial: Four Hopes.

A mere 60 years ago, on this day, the second world war ended in Europe, with over a hundred times as many deaths as the recent tsunami disaster. The last century could be safely called the Extreme Century, the most depressing about humanity's basic instincts, but peculiarly one during which humanity's hopes of finally breaking free from these very instincts were raised.

Of the great hopes and expectations of the 20th century, I find most relevant four, all of which have to do with understanding, between people, partners, families, classes, nations and groups of nations.

Hope 1: Information. Starting from the most recent history, the Internet: Born in the late 20th century, it allows backward parts of the globe to catch up and bridge the knowledge divide. It allows people to communicate and interact with peers across the world, and learn first hand about their worries, their inner thoughts, their troubles. It levels the playing field and allows dwarfs to compete, outsmart (and finally become) giants (e.g. the student pairs of Yahoo and Google). It helps interpersonal barriers come down. News from all parts of the globe is instantly and independently diffused. Like Gutenberg's invention, and unlike the violent revolutions of 1789 and 1917 and failed revolts such as 1968, the Internet is a global, peaceful, successful revolution and an economic & social experiment, the results of which can not be easily manipulated or distorted, although some will try. Free speech, free thinking no matter how offensive, peculiar or repulsive, everything, everywhere comes to the light, gradually making fear, ignorance and intolerance history.

Hope 2: Cooperation. The United Nations: sometimes dismissed as a talking shop (and all too readily undermined when it ceases to be just that, and chronically under-funded so that it continues to be that), although even talking is so much better than growling, or not talking. Within it, all nations are equal, and whereas some nations are "more equal than others" as in the famous farm, but even that may be beneficial under current circumstances. Many more global institutions, intergovernmental institutions, international ngos, and even a new-breed of multinationals with some social sensitivity, provide valuable fora for cooperation, admittedly with various degrees of accountability and transparency.

Hope 3: Synthesis. Globalisation, Cultural, Economic & Political Fusion. Endless examples: From multicultural world-capitals, to the Chinese fusion of communism and capitalism, to the European welfare state, and earlier on, the innovative New Deal policies across the Atlantic, the collapse of hate-based fascist theories, the collapse of Apartheid, the collapse of South American dictatorships, the collapse of post-war European divisions and the growth of European union, it seems, or at least it seemed at the end of the 20th century, that the world was finally listening to the world. Let's hope that the last four years will be just a temporary setback for humanity.

Hope 4: Ecology. Realising that the Environment also matters. Although not all scientists agree on the specifics, it is evident to even the most manic chain smoker, that we can not continue ignoring our host, the planet or it will be a detriment to, first of all, our health, our happiness, our safety, and the survival of all other species that have bravely put up with us for so many years despite our constant abuses.

ECOCLUB in a way uses elements of all of the above: we operate through the internet, we are an international effort, we use a hybrid, part open access / paid model, and promote ecotourism, change in tourism towards a more environmental and equitable model.

It remains to be seen what the 21st century will do with these important four hopefuls or tools. Bury them or use them? Nations really united, Internet and its successors really bridging the world, all people living healthily and happily, communism & capitalism merging into something new (commutualism?), combining international and social equality with individual liberty? Admittedly it sounds like another planet - and perhaps this may ultimately prove to be the the same fashion that people once left a divided and war-ravaged Europe for the new world. Let's just hope there will not be indigenous inhabitants on that new planet...

But still on this planet, I hope to meet as many as you as possible at the Ecolife 2005 Green fair, in Athens, in early June. More details inside.

Antonis B. Petropoulos


Disclaimer:  Any views expressed in this newspaper belong to their respective authors and are not necessarily those of ECOCLUB S.A. Although we try to check all facts, we accept no liability for inaccuracies - which means you should not take any travel or other decisions based only on what you read here... Use of this newspaper is covered by the Terms & Conditions of the Website and by your uncommon sense and good humour.

Copyright © 1999-2005 ECOCLUB S.A. All rights reserved.


Copyright © 1999-2005 ECOCLUB S.A. All Rights Reserved.