ISSN 1108-8931


Year 5-Issue 57, Feb. 2004


Cathy Parsons, CEO, Green Globe 21

Members News

Eco Focus
Taman Negara, Malaysia

Eco Crossword

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The return of the Monthly Live Chat !
This Thursday 26th of February, 15:00 UTC
Details at


with a pinch of salt)

"Raise your hand"

"In early February, at the start of an American Airlines cross-country flight, from Los Angeles to New York, the pilot asked Christian passengers to identify themselves by raising their hands. He then suggested that those did not raise their hands use the flight time to query those who did. Some of the passengers were so shocked by the pilot's comments they reached for their mobile phones or on-flight phone. Gerard J. Arpey, president and CEO of American's parent company, AMR Corp., later apologised for the pilot's actions in a letter to the Anti-Defamation League.
Source: CNN



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EDITORIAL: finding the balance

As I write these lines it is the last day of Carnival, and I would rather be out, or even better in Rio, Salvador de Bahia, New Orleans, Goa or Trinidad. Still, the Athenian cold office afternoon, focuses the mind and while trying to wrap up the content for this issue, I realised some interesting parallels between Ecotourism, the Carnival and Certification. How? On a first reading, Carnival involves recreation, but is also a break with convention, it is emancipating, egalitarian, subversive. On the other hand it requires some conformity, organising committees, hierarchies, competing groups, the observance of precise codes of behaviour, dress, place and time, as most revellers can not sustain a constant carnival mode, much as urban types could not spend a second week in some of Ecotourism's most rudimentary destinations. 

Throughout history Carnival has been a revolutionary and moderating influence at the same time, a revolution, a pilot / a social experiment / a communion within bounds. Many (from the Inquisition to Hitler) tried, unsuccessfully to ban it, or to alter its meaning and appearance - to sanitise it (in the same way that the destinations become "resorts", and nature becomes a park). Few revellers (or ecotourists) realise the deep implications of their recreation, contrary to theorists, like Mikhail Bakthin, whose famous theory of Carnival eventually led him to a Siberian "resort". According to Bakhtin, the aspiration of Carnival is to mock the hegemony of any ideology that seeks to have the final word about the world. Telling then, that Carnival, has still survived in many places, in equal rowdy and pagan form as it once was in mother Africa, travelling as some interesting if afrocentric theory has it, via ancient Egypt (Osiris) to Ancient Greece (Dionysus), then over to Imperial Rome, then Christian Rome and then through the Spanish & French to the new world, where it fused back with the enslaved African's tradition. Whatever the case, most societies have carnivals or similar, either to celebrate the harvest, or the beginning of a new season, an important date, the defeat of an enemy, a heroes / saint's sacrifice. In perpetual rebirth / recycling, pagan feasts and deities, were masked and revamped in new religions, Saturnalia became Christmas, Isis became Madonna, Apollo Helios became Prophet Elias, "Carne levare" (meat avoidance) became vegetarianism and so on. And who knows how todays' meta-religions such as Ecology (where re-birth has become re-cycling) will be called in 200 years.

Certification, too, its proponents argue, derives from "Freedom", freedom to excel, freedom from the tyranny of state law, of micromanagement of business by bureaucrats, it represents an alternative avenue through voluntary compliance, it removes pressure from the law-makers. On the other hand it also requires codes of behaviour, conduct, verification, allegiances, and strong visible symbols. If it goes wrong, if there are few competing teams, it may also lead to micromanagement, and macromanagement, concentration of power and economic influence, which can ultimately require the intervention of government, in much the same way as a carnival which fails to control itself will ultimately be controlled by the police, dressed for the occasion too!. But then again who would go to a boring, sanitised Carnival.

Beyond theoretical speculation however, in this issue we have the great pleasure of hearing how it really is, first hand, from arguably the world-leaders in Sustainable Tourism Certification, Green Globe, in an interview with Green Globe 21 CEO, Ms. Cathy Parsons

Antonis B. Petropoulos, ECOCLUB Editor


Members News

Starting with Thursday the 26th of February, we will be organising a monthly open Live Chat, for all Members & Friends. Monthly chats can be preceded by presentations on ecotourism topics, so any Member interested in making such a presentation please email . This month the featured speaker is Mr. Ron Mader who will be presenting " Rural Tourism: an Innovative Approach from Oaxaca" .The time is Thursday 26 February, at 15:00 UTC.

Zakynthos, GREECE: Zante Feast Discovery Holidays (Greece) has become a new Sponsor Member of Zante Feast organise week-long programmes aimed at introducing visitors to the Greek island of Zakynthos Island, its traditional foods and cooking, sustainable agriculture, wine making, and to the sanctuary of the Caretta, the globally-endangered leatherback turtle. Zante Feast offer their guests direct contact with local cooks, bakers, wine makers, olive producers and currant farmers. Visitors are lodged in a cluster of stone houses situated in centuries old olive groves. The first programmes of the season organised by Zante Feast take place June 6 and 13, 2004 on Zakynthos. The focus is on traditional cooking with wild greens & the return of the Caretta sea turtle to its mating grounds.

HAWAII, US: Ms JoLoyce Kaia, of Ecolodge Members Hana Maui Botanical Gardens & A'alani Volcano Heart reports for ECOCLUB: "As Chair for Hana, and V.P. for Maui, I attended the National Association of Conservation Districts meeting held at the Hilton Waikaloa Resort on the Big Island, Feb. 1 to Feb. 4th. joining 1,500 people from all over the United States involved in Soil and Water Conservation Districts. Also, people who are involved with the (Federal) National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) under which our districts are connected. The Hawaii Association of Conservation Districts was the host and Maui Island hosted a Conservation tour held on Feb. 5th. The convention examined different ways and means and partnerships to keep up with environmental needs. They delegates also got to tour a pineapple plantation in Lahaina and taste the sweet, new specially grown pineapples."

SABA, Netherlands Antilles: Angelika & Oliver Hartleib of Ecolodge Members El Momo, are pleased to report new improvements at El Momo Cottages: Two Cottages got spiced up with eco-funky bathroom buildings. Both provide views to Mount Scenery and blue ocean during showering. They are hand made of wood, painted in Saban traditional colours and tiled with Saban Stone floors. Both have a composting toilet and solar showers. The Turtle Cottage also received a cosy kitchen and now has the standard of the popular Eco Cottage "in the sky".

Cape Coast, GHANA: Mr Emil Fiasorgbor , a Sustainable Tourism specialist, has joined as a new Expert Member. Mr. Fiasorgbor, among other things, has assisted in the establishment of over 200 tourism and related businesses in 10 rural communities in the central region of Ghana. Emil also provided leadership in the establishment of the world-class KAKUM NATIONAL PARK in the Central Region of Ghana (a USAID ecotourism development project) which has won several international awards including the British Airways Tourism for Tomorrow Award,1999.

SANTA FE, NM, USA: Mr. Douglas Trent (Expert Member, US / Brazil) and founder of Focus Conservation Fund (FCF), a US-registered nonprofit organisation, announces the launch of the International Community Ecotourism NGO Network (ICENN). The ICENN has as its goals biodiversity preservation and to support community-based ecotourism. ICENN aims to find nonprofits in both destination countries as well as the countries where travellers come from. Tour operators that are concerned with conservation and aware of community-based ecotourism projects can join the network. They can then tell their clients who wish to make a donation to a project to donate through a nonprofit ICENN member in their home country. ICENN nonprofits must agree to take a maximum of 10% and a minimum of US$10 of each donation, to process the funds, and then send them either to the destination country project, an ICENN destination country member, or the tour operator. The ICENN already has four nonprofit members in Tanzania. The Focus Conservation Fund administers the ICENN, and works to find members in tourist's home countries.

Letters (& photos!) to the Editor

Our good friends and Members Ms Elena Pappas and Mr. Ron Mader met in Oaxaca, Mexico for the local tourism fair that Ron organised. The picture is from Teotitlan del Valle, or "place of the Gods", a Zapotec community famous for the production of colourful wood rugs, made by some 150 families. Teotitlan's weaving tradition is at least 2,500 years old!




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