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1 Mar, 2012

The Tourism Industry’s “Last Chance To Do The Right Thing”

Max Haberstroh, International Consultant on Sustainable Tourism, www.maxhaberstroh.de

Ever since the 90s of the past century, we have missed two outstanding opportunities to make a better world: first, during 1989-91, as the Iron Curtain fell, the Soviet Union broke up and communism lost its ground and myth; second, after Nine-Eleven 2001, when terrorists attacked New York and Washington.

What we did ?

– We glorified capitalism.

– We went to war against terrorism — not against a country, but against a ‘method’ of waging war; we even sent ground troups to Afghanistan, having learnt only a little from the British and Russian experiences;

– We forgot about human dignity.

– We adored democracy like almost a substitute of religion.

What could we have done?

– Instead of showing an arrogant complacency to everything else but capitalism and democracy — our way! — we could have freely and courageously shared power — and burden — with Russia to win her as an ally rather than a rival.

– We could have boldly started forging a global partnership of good-willing and proactive countries, spearheaded by the most influential ones, to combat earth’s social, ecological and economic evils and fight for better living conditions for everybody.

– Instead of retaliating against the 9/11  attacks, we could have remembered world religions’ basic message of reconciliation — as religions in turn could have reminded us more fervently of what really counts to improve peoples’ lives, following up to what the late Pope John Paul II had begun: gathering world religions’ representatives in the little Italian town of Assisi.

– We could have become aware that ‘democracy’ is not a substitute of religion, but rather, as Churchill said, “the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time”.

What should we do now, maybe given a last chance to do the right thing?

– Though ethics are conducive to good behaviour, preaching them won’t do it alone: If questions like war or peace are at stake, we need to light the fire of solidarity and peace, rather than warm up ourselves in our comfort-corners.

– We should embark on concerted efforts to finally do what we so wholeheartedly promised after the horrors of World Wars I and II: to inspire politicians, officials and stakeholders of all levels doing everything to find means and ways other than violence and war to settle their differences.

– We should stay vigilant toward all intended or unintended misdeeds about to be done by criminal or just stupid stakeholders. Politicians and all public officials, and the public media, are at the forefront of responsibility.

– We should strengthen peacemaking development through cross-promoting Sustainable Tourism and Renewable Energy. Both of them position themselves as the world’s paramount peace industries. Renewable Energy is — decentralized, ecological, autonomous and limitless; there is no need to wage for for it.

Both Tourism and Renewable Energy share the same ideal; both industries supplement and complement each other. Using their catalyst impact equals ‘doping’ for Peace, in a very positive sense. — Will Renewable Energy become the ‘DNA’ of Sustainable Tourism? This year’s World Tourism Day will bear the motto: ‘Tourism and Sustainable Energy; Powering Sustainable Development’.

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