304: How ecotourism can work

March 12, 2020 by Joshua
in Podcast

I view ecotourism skeptically at best. While I imagine someone could create tourism that increased the world’s ability to sustain life and human society, every case I’ve seen at least doubly does the opposite. For one thing I’ve only seen ecotourism involving flying, which destroys what they pretend to help, perhaps dreaming that carbon offsets lower greenhouse concentrations while they more likely raise them. For another, they turn places into tourist traps that depend on outside money.

Today’s episode presents an opportunity for people to get most of what they look for in travel—adventure, different culture, cuisine, etc—without lowering the environment’s ability to sustain life and human society. Visit decaying parts of the US or wherever you live.

In the US, you could visit Flint, Camden, and so on. I bet visiting those places would check most or all the boxes of what most people claim they want from travel. They’d cost less, connect people to people and cultures they wouldn’t otherwise. They’d bring money into depressed economies.

It would develop some empathy and compassion from people claiming they want to help with those they pretend to help. Or it would expose the lie that most people claiming what they want from ecotourism really want other things, like to indulge, but to look good for it—what many people call greenwashing.

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