It is impossible to live pleasantly without living prudently and honourably and justly, and it is impossible to live prudently and honourably and justly without living pleasantly
Epicurus (341-270 BCE)
Ecoclub is a progressive tourism network established in 1999 with the aim of uniting and supporting all those who share our vision for a Tourism for All! We cover eco (sustainable, responsible, green, ethical, creative, slow, community, volunteer, pro-poor) tourism and hospitality news, events, jobs and opportunities and unite over a thousand active Members worldwide, including leading tourism & hospitality practitioners and academics.
22 years later we still believe that a Tourism for All, can contribute to a World where "All is for All", with genuine liberty, equality and sustainability, without borders, social, gender and race divides, exploitation, oppression and violence. Examples and good practices of this better Tourism pop-up every day, so we try to promote and propagate them - Join us!
The Four Ecoclub Criteria are:
A Progressive, Tourism For All contributing to a World where "All is for All"
by Antonis Petropoulos (Last Edit, 27 October 2021)
The ongoing quintuple crisis (environmental/climate, social, economic/systemic/capitalist, humanitarian/refugee, pandemic) is of no recent historical precedent in terms of endangering our presence, let alone our well-being, on this planet. While technological and medical progress has allowed the human population to grow, despite hundreds of treaties and fanfare, progress is agonisingly slow, as it has generally been in human history, in terms of reducing poverty and improving conservation, social justice and human rights. Our problems (and our solutions) go all the way back to the dawn of the Anthropocene, to the first agricultural societies where accumulation, surplus, debt, money, markets and human-made pollution first emerged and have since been inextricably linked to the basis of human civilization. We, however, cannot go back. It is not realistic for 8 billion people to retreat back to the countryside, the forests and to a nomadic-mode of survival - nor should they, in the first place, as cities can be the most eco-friendly environments, saving space and resources. Pessimism, doom and gloom and guilt, collective or individual, about the current state of Tourism, the Environment and the World does not by itself lead anywhere. The only way forward, is, well, forward! We need to realise that Human technological achievements if properly managed can already guarantee the well-being of everyone and every living thing on the planet. The prevailing globalised, socioeconomic system can be greatly improved if we identify and collectively agree on implementing, on a global and local scale, a number of key changes. These include how money, energy and food are produced, distributed and stored, and, in the light of the Coronavirus crisis, how quality health, education and housing can be accessible for all, and how work can be redefined, re-organised and remunerated. This process, this great transition to a low-carbon, fairer and happier world, is already underway. To speed up the process we need progressive leadership at all levels and in all spheres but, above all, active citizens that help each other. Mutual Aid, as explained by the philosopher, human geographer and zoologist, Peter Kropotkin, has been and remains a key driver of evolution and progress, even if all else fails, during turbulent and chaotic times such as the ones we are experiencing and far worse ones in the million years of human history.
The mutual-aid tendency in man has so remote an origin, and is so deeply interwoven with all the past evolution of the human race, that is has been maintained by mankind up to the present time, notwithstanding all vicissitudes of history.”
- Pyotr Kropotkin, Mutual Aid, A Factor of Evolution
In the 21st century we need synthesis and practical, progressive, innovative solutions. We need economic democracy, more worker-controlled businesses, cooperatives but also public institutions and infrastructure. Essentially, a free and fair and happier society for all would imply that there is no private concentration of power or wealth, there are checks and balances at all levels, there is a free speech culture, genuinely free markets, democratically-run businesses, a social welfare system, equal, quality work and leisure opportunities for all, free and vibrant workers unions and professional associations, a genuine respect for all types of minorities, and, particularly relevant for Tourism & Hospitality, a genuinely welcoming culture towards foreigners, known in ancient Greece as Xenia. Among destinations, Kerala and Costa Rica are promising models, but generally, the Hospitality industry, by becoming a huge global industry, has moved far away from the meaningful, genuine, peer-to-peer, home-based hospitality of ancient times. Today multinational, corporate-dominated hospitality and tourism give the impression that there is something inherently imperialist, hierarchical, capitalist and socially conservative about this industry. The Hospitality sector in particular is permeated by racism and social racism, with the hardest, low-paid jobs given to immigrants, sometimes without papers, and ethnic minorities while exclusive "all-inclusive" resorts (Orwell would love this), well, exclude those they think they must. Couch-surfing, and to an extent, host-owned and run short-term-rentals, and community or cooperatively-owned/worker-run hotels and guesthouses, are attempts, sometimes romantic and impractical, other times co-opted, to revive the ancient spirit. Unfortunately there are very few worker-owned (and recuperated) hotels like Argentina's famous Hotel Bauen, a victim of the pandemic, and we need to research deeply if something is preventing similar experiments. But above all we need to find practical ways, such as a great expansion of social tourism programmes (their usefulness was highlighted by the pandemic), within the current socio-economic constraints and tourism infrastructure, to offer genuine, quality, affordable hospitality to all, not just to an enlightened, affluent elite, and at the same time offer quality, well-paid jobs to all tourism workers. This contradiction - a tourism affordable for all where tourism workers are paid well - will remain as long as middlemen, monopolies, big bosses and exploiters of all sorts dominate the tourism ecosystem preventing tourism workers from enjoying the full product of their labour!
To paraphrase Marx's famous quote on philosophers, many academic and other experts have interpreted Tourism and how it has evolved "....the point, however, is to change it". Can it be changed? Can it be changed independently of other sectors, within the context of (and before the general replacement of) the dominant socio-economic system, Capitalism? Possibly, we do not know for sure, but there is only one way to find out! Tourism certainly keeps evolving, and the point is to steer this evolution to a direction that is beneficial to all. This steering is primarily the responsibility of tourism workers and progressive practitioners and academics! We have nothing good to from political parties and intergovernmental organizations that, along with big media, are co-opted by big corporations. History has also shown that a free, happy, egalitarian society cannot be imposed from the above or by some vanguard revolutionary organization against the will of the majority. A dictator is a dictator. We do not wish to replace the dictatorship of capital, or of a class with any other. A non-violent, grassroots path towards real change, that does not sacrifice us (tourism) workers in the short term, can only be gradual, voluntary and based on scientific facts and technological progress. We need to be inspired by and fuse all progressive movements without forgetting the just demands of the Indigenous, Women's rights, LGBT+ and other social movements, if we are to create something really new, civilised, potent, coherent, practical and relevant for the 21st century. We should welcome civilized discussion and always try to back our proposals with the latest scientific facts and to be ready to change position if proven wrong or dated. It is useful to be aware of how the world engine works, every nook and cranny, so as to be able to make real changes, improvements and replacements.
We are convinced that liberty without socialism is privilege, injustice; and that socialism without liberty is slavery and brutality. - Mikhail Bakunin "Federalism, Socialism, Anti-Theologism", 1867
Updating Bakunin's famous quote above for the 21st century, a libertarian socialism without ecological grounding would not be able to meet the multi-faceted challenges presented by the Climate Crisis and would thus fail.
Scientific knowledge and Technology, including environmental technology are our allies against the quintuple crisis. We, tourism workers, employees and self-employed, should not be afraid of what neo-luddites dismiss as "technofixes" but on the contrary endorse and improve green technology and the new green means of (tourism) production, ensure that they are controlled by society rather than powerful monopolies, and try to reduce their environmental impacts (yes, they do have such). For example, we should effectively encourage green aviation (and trains) rather than just protesting about air transport emissions, or, undemocratically, advocate less travel and staycations for the masses, or exclude them through pricing. At the same time we should focus on retaining or acquiring social/community/worker control of these means of transport, by supporting public and worker-owned transport companies. We should improve and adjust tourism planning, management and marketing so that Tourism benefits the many, rather than simply blasting ghosts such as "Overtourism" and 'irresponsible' tourists. We need, on the one hand, to constantly identify and oppose capitalism's fake solutions and ecocidal and anti-social aspects and actors of the global system, and on the other hand, to recognise and encourage progressive trends and best practices. We aspire for a genuine democracy, with vibrant democratic workers unions and genuine freedom for all. We welcome genuinely free markets, where the self-employed, small family companies, voluntary associations and cooperatives may prosper, but oppose "free" markets monopolised by hierarchical, opaque, tax-evading, mega-corporations and one-sided, neoliberal international agreements. A Tourism for All means a tourism that is affordable for all and is controlled by its workers and host communities, not by insatiable, powerful corporations perpetually looking for new destinations and communities to exploit for profit! We are also against the privatisation and commodification of essential public goods/basic needs such as water and electricity, health, education and housing.
Ecology without class struggle is gardening! - Chico Mendes
During a quintuple crisis we do not have the luxury of lurking in the margins for the perfect conditions or for the stars to align - some compromises are inevitable. Even a relatively equitable, democratic Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure, can quickly create quality, meaningful & pleasant jobs where no other options exist and, as importantly, open hearts and minds, increase mobility between nations and within societies, re-distribute wealth peacefully, effectively and equitably between and within countries without further harming the planet. This is why we do not advocate less travel or more expensive travel for the privileged few! We also reject fringe, anti-social and agoraphobic Tourism haters. At the same time we have to see through the massive corporate greenwash that is currently taking place in the Tourism sector on the occasion of the Climate Crisis and the post-pandemic 'building-back-better'. Tourism Multinationals are hiding between token, innocuous acts of environmental compliance while carrying on exploiting people and destinations as usual.
We consider Mobility, Leisure, Travel and Tourism as basic Human Rights and thus advocate a better, Tourism for All, as an indispensable tool and element of the transition to a better World where "All belongs to All"! It's a dynamic process with an uncertain outcome. There is a clear need to form and support progressive and powerful tourism worker/employee unions and networks at the local, national and international level that can resist mega-tourism corporations and decision-makers on their payroll. This is the "We" that we need to build and maintain, in an era where fake individualism (in effect consumerism) is deified.
We have no time to waste, yet this will probably be an Ultramarathon. The transition to a fully-civilised, peaceful, global socio-economic system - where Hospitality will once more be genuine, will not involve a monetary transaction will be gradual and will take time. The full humanization of Humanity (if it is ever to arrive - it could be that some cosmic accident or human-induced blunder puts an abrupt end) could take another 10,000 years (since the first agrarian societies emerged) or even another 4 million years (since Australopithecus afarensis walked upright!). However, we should remember (Lao-Tzu) that "a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" and (Cavafis) that "when you set out for Ithaca ask that your way be long...". The simple truth is that, apart from inertia, nothing really prevents us from taking the important first step by helping each other today and every day, from "living prudently and honourably and justly" and thus "living pleasantly", every single day. As there is no evidence of supernatural beings, deities and extraterrestrials that could come to our 'rescue', the survival and future progress of our species is up to each one of us. Ecoclub, as a latter-day, virtual Garden of Epicurus, aims to unite the progressive, open-minded citizens of the world who broadly share the above ideas and work or would like to work in Hospitality/Tourism or related sectors.
Our Logo: The colour (teal) is one of a few colours named after an animal (a duck, the common teal, whose eyes are surrounded by this colour). The smiling sun symbolizes a pragmatic, positive, non-violent, non-sectarian, non-dogmatic, philosophical attitude to life which combines the Epicurean "LATHE VIOSAS" ("ΛΑΘΕ ΒΙΩΣΑΣ" = get through life without drawing unwarranted attention), "ATARAXIA" (ΑΤΑΡΑΞΙΑ = tranquillity) with MUTUAL AID, the will to assist each other, solve real problems, "to get up again and start over", rise up every day, in a peaceful, daily revolution in all our individual and collective dealings; it also symbolizes solar power - renewable energy in literal and figurative terms and light - the light of science, enlightenment.
Recommended Reading, Influences & Other Dangerous (to the status quo) Ideas:
- Nicomachean Ethics - Aristotle (350 BCE)
- Principal Doctrines - Epicurus (341-270 BCE)
- Life of Diogenes - Diogenes Laertius (c. 3rd century CE)
- Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch - Imannuel Kant (1795)
- What is Property? - Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1840)
- The Principles of Communism - Friedrich Engels (1847)
- The Communist Manifesto - Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels (1848)
- The Immorality of the State - Mikhail Bakunin (c. 1870)
- God and the State - Mikhail Bakunin (1871)
- The Right to be Lazy - Paul Lafargue (1883)
- The Conquest of Bread - Peter Kropotkin (1892)
- Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution - Peter Kropotkin (1902)
- Ithaca - C.P. Cavafy (1911)
- What is Mutualism? - Clarence Lee Swartz (1927)
- Charlie Chaplin's Final Speech in "The Great Dictator" (1940)
- Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, Joseph Schumpeter (1942)
- The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1943)
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights - UN (1948)
- Why Socialism? - Albert Einstein (1949)
- European Convention on Human Rights (1950)
- The Rebel - Albert Camus (1951)
- The Motorcycle Diaries - Ernesto 'Che' Guevara (1952)
- Harrison Bergeron - Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (1961)
- The Revolution of Everyday Life - Raoul Vaneigem (1967)
- Imagine - John Lennon (1971) - Lyrics - Video - Original Demo
- Adhere to the Principle “To Each According To His Work” - Deng Xiaoping (1978)
- We Can Develop A Market Economy Under Socialism - Deng Xiaoping (1979)
- Ecology and the Critique of Modern Society - Herbert Marcuse (1979)
- The Rising Tide of Insignificancy - Cornelius Castoriadis (1979-1996)
- The Magnificent Seven - The Clash (1981) - Lyrics - Video
- Critique of Economic Reason - Andre Gorz (1983)
- The Abolition of Work and Other Essays - Bob Black (1986)
- What is Social Ecology? - Murray Bookchin (1986)
- Social Ecology versus Deep Ecology - Murray Bookchin (1987)
- The Democratic Worker-Owned Firm - David Ellerman (1990)
- Violence and Human Nature - Howard Zinn (1990)
- Direct Action Manual - Uncompromising Nonviolent Resistance in Defense of Mother Earth - Earth First! (1997)
- Marx's Ecology: Materialism and Nature - John Bellamy Foster (2000)
- Global Greens Charter (2001)
- An Ecosocialist Manifesto - Joel Kovel and Michael Löwy (2001)
- Change the World Without Taking Power - John Holloway (2002)
- Bali Principles of Climate Justice - International Climate Justice Network (2002)
- Creating a Life Together, Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities - Diana Leafe Christian (2003)
- Economic Democracy: A Grand Strategy for World Peace and Prosperity - J.W.Smith (2006)
- Ecoclub Interview with Arq. Hector Ceballos Lascurain, the 'Architect of Ecotourism' (2006)
- Studies in Mutualist Political Economy - Kevin Carson (2007)
- For All The People: Uncovering the Hidden History of Cooperation, Cooperative Movements, and Communalism in America - John Curl (2009)
- Ecoclub Interview with Brian Tokar (2009)
- Ecoclub Interview with Kevin Carson (2010)
- The Distortion of Hospitality, from Philoxenia to Philochrematia and back - Antonis Petropoulos (2010)
- From Resistance to Revolution - Manifesto for a Fifth International (2010)
- Why Marx Was Right - Terry Eagleton (2011)
- Human Happiness & the Environment - Speech by José Mujica at the RIO +20 Summit (2012)
- Ecoclub Interview with Freya Higgins-Desbiolles (2012)
- The Cambridge Declaration on [Animal] Consciousness - Philip Low (2012)
- How Democracy Works in Nature - Jason G Goldman / BBC Future (2012)
- The Hotel Bauen’s challenge to cannibalizing capitalism - Freya Higgins-Desbiolles (2012)
- Tourism as a Green Fix to the Capitalism Crisis - Macia Blazquez Salom (2013)
- Talking to My Daughter About the Economy - Yanis Varoufakis (2014)
- Hope for Humanity - Speech by José Mujica at UNASUR (2014) Text - Video
- Some thoughts on the question of Community-owned Tourism - Antonis Petropoulos (2014)
- Interview: José Mujica, The Philosopher President of Uruguay - Martin McQuillan (2015)
- Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development - UN (2015)
- An Ecomodernist Manifesto - Various Authors (2015)
- What kind of creatures are we? - Noam Chomsky (2015)
- Marxism and Ecology: Common Fonts of a Great Transition - John Bellamy Foster (2015)
- The Great Transition: Shifting from Fossil Fuels to Solar and Wind Energy - Lester Brown (2015)
- How Animals Vote to Make Group Decisions - Jan Hoole (2017)
- Tourism, Nationalism, Internationalism - Antonis Petropoulos (2017)
- Prosperity without Growth: Foundations for the Economy of Tomorrow - Tim Jackson (2017)
- Xenos: Jacques Derrida on Hospitality - Peter Benson (2017)
- Ears have walls, Walls have ears - Antonis Petropoulos (2017)
- Tourism and Anarchism - Dennis Tolkach (2017)
- Post-work: the radical idea of a world without jobs - Andy Beckett (2018)
- Why Ecosocialism? For A Red-Green Future - Michael Löwy (2018)
- Pandemic! COVID-19 Shakes the World - Slavoj Žižek (2020)
- A Left that Dares to Speak Its Name - 34 Untimely Interventions - Slavoj Žižek (2020)
- Socialising tourism for social and ecological justice after COVID-19 - Freya Higgins-Desbiolles (2020)
- The “war over tourism”: challenges to sustainable tourism in the tourism academy after COVID-19 - Freya Higgins-Desbiolles (2020)
- Ecoclub Interview with Bob Hale, Co-Convenor, Global Greens (2020)
- Quintuple Crisis? Five more reasons to act and green our act! - Antonis Petropoulos (2020)
- Bread, Education, Liberty and Health! - Antonis Petropoulos (2020)
- Utopia through Tragedy? - Antonis Petropoulos (2020)
- Moving towards an ecological Leninism - Gus Woody (2020)
- Corona, climate, chronic emergency: War communism in the twenty-first century - Andreas Malm (2020)
- Germany: Towards a Socio-Ecological Market Society - Reinhard Olschanski (2021)
- The New Cold War on China - John Bellamy Foster (2021)
- Utopia Inc - Alexa Clay (2021)
- Agroecology is the Solution to World Hunger - Raj Patel (2021)
- We need a shorter week to free us from the tyranny of Work - Kyle Lewis & Will Stronge (2021)
- The importance of revolutionary optimism - JT Chapman (2021)
Under pain of death, human societies are forced to return to first principles: the means of production being the collective work of humanity, the product should be the collective property of the race. Individual appropriation is neither just nor serviceable. All belongs to all. All things are for all men, since all men have need of them, since all men have worked in the measure of their strength to produce them, and since it is not possible to evaluate every one's part in the production of the world's wealth.
All things are for all. Here is an immense stock of tools and implements; here are all those iron slaves which we call machines, which saw and plane, spin and weave for us, unmaking and remaking, working up raw matter to produce the marvels of our time. But nobody has the right to seize a single one of these machines and say, "This is mine; if you want to use it you must pay me a tax on each of your products," any more than the feudal lord of medieval times had the right to say to the peasant, "This hill, this meadow belong to me, and you must pay me a tax on every sheaf of corn you reap, on every rick you build."
All is for all! If the man and the woman bear their fair share of work, they have a right to their fair share of all that is produced by all, and that share is enough to secure them well-being. No more of such vague formulas as "The Right to work," or "To each the whole result of his labour." What we proclaim is THE RIGHT TO WELL-BEING: WELL-BEING FOR ALL! - Pyotr Kropotkin - The Conquest of Bread, 1892