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I'll write this document in English, because I am sure that Veit will have no trouble putting these thoughts into German words, and this way it can serve as a basis for volunteers from other countries to develop and expose the relation of HC with the environment.
The presentation will have an introduction and two main parts and then we'll have time for discussion. The first part will analyze what's in a trip and what kind of impact traveling and tourism have on the environment. The second part will introduce the Hospitality Club and go into detail about what changes the Hospitality Club brings about, leading to more environmental problems or helping to solve them. We will introduce a few ways how to turn the Hospitality Club into a strong force for the good of the environment. At last we will open up to a discussion with the audience about any points that are deemed worth raising and discussing. Introduction This introduction will talk about what the topic is and why we think it is relevant or important. But before starting, we'll do something to make this session different from all the other (supposedly) very scientific, but sometimes boring sessions: some (inter)action. Because it is nice to know who you're talking to, I'll ask a few questions to the public, like a little census: who comes from this city (Dresden), meaning born and raised here? Who comes from the province, the country, the continent, another continent? What is the farthest travel everyone has made? Never left the own country? (look how priviledged we are and how it made a difference to stand up back in 1989!) Farthest travel within Europe? Other continents? And to the personal background: Who is a scientist? Who is a student? Who is a practitioner? Who likes to travel? (wow, seems like our topic is really relevant!!) Look, folks, I am not a scientist, but I do work my way through science and try to reap the benefits. So our focus today is on practice: how to make the activity of travelling more environmentally friendly - and also culturally beneficial as we shall see. Of course we will use everything that we can get from science to help us to accomplish that task, but we won't get stuck there. So today science is our tool to make this earth a better place to live, and if only a little bit.
1 - Travelling and the environment So let's start with the challenges we are facing these days in terms of the environment: I'll give you just a brief overview, I am sure most of you know these challenges, but it shall help us to get the right mindframe to see which contribution to the problem each of us can make through travelling. I mean to the aggravation of the problem and to its solution! Our lifestyle in Germany today is unsustainable. Our economy works in a linear way, transforming resources into products and ultimately into waste. Along the way it contaminates and disturbs. Where we need to get is a circular economy, that is part of nature. So by the very fact of living a normal life in Germany in our times, we are destroying the environment.
We are A) depleting the natural resources like soil, water, forests, fishstocks, minerals in Germany and other countries and
B) contaminating the ecosystems of the earth with noise, radiation, light, dangerous chemicals, buildings and &quot;infrastructure&quot;, alien species and all kinds of waste/emissions in solid, liquid and gaseous form. This puts so much stress on the ecosystems that their functioning to a degree that allows humans survival in them is increasingly threatened.
A very worrying development that introduces possible changes of a very violent kind in the near future is the human-caused climate change. Since the climate is one of the big determining factors for any ecosystem and Earth has hardly ever seen a change of its climate as fast as the one we are going through at the moment, the severe disturbance of most of the ecosystems on Earth is something that we will have to face. This whole picture gets even messier if we look at who is going to be affected first and most by the shrinking natural resource base of the planet: the poor people in North and South. The rich always have insurances, reserves, alternatives. The poor don't. If their river runs dry they will die from the lack of water. Before examining the role that tourism and travelling plays in all this, let us look at what the solutions need to be like.
We need ways to exist and live in the ecosystems that we have in a way that is sustainable. This means that every beer that you drink has to be brewed from plants that keep growing only with the help of the sun, produced and transported with renewable energies only and packed and consumed with renewable materials. But it also means that your house needs to be built and heated only from renewable materials and with renewable energies. And your car, school, office, supermarket and so on, all need to be built and run only with renewable materials and by renewable energy sources. Fossil fuels are not renewable. Anything that is made from plastic (a derivate of petrol) or consuming gasoline (another derivate of petrol) or a lot of electricity (mostly produced by burning fossil fuels which are not sustainable) needs to be replaced by a sustainable solution. From a linear, resource &quot;consuming&quot; economy we need to get to a circular, resource utilising economy. Once you have gripped this point, you know that we are a lot farther from a sustainable development in Germany than in most of the countries which people like to call &quot;developing&quot; countries. We need to go through a lot more development in Germany to get to the point where we are living a lifestyle that is sustainable. So the fact that many poorer countries look at us as some kind of role model is very unfortunate and we should propogate a more realistic vision of the direction a really sustainable development needs to take.
So what's the role of tourism and travelling in this whole plight? In fact, it can act in both directions: A) increase the consumption and waste of natural resources or B) give incentives to apply environmentally friendly solutions, e.g. resource-economizing technologies
A) destroy local ecosystems or B) give incentives to protect the integrity of ecosystems and create alternatives to resource-depleting economic activity
A) introduce resource-intensive lifestyles to people living sustainably so far or B) show its participants environmentally friendly lifestyles and educate them about sustainable development These possible effects shall guide us through the further course of this prestentation. I will give background information and examples for each of these effects. We will also use this classification of effects in the second part of today's presentation, where we analyse the Hospitality Club and how it contributes.
But let´s take a look at the global picture of tourism first. The tourism industry is already making up for a considerable percentage of world economy. And as we have just seen, our current kind of economy has very profound impacts on the environment. So, if the World Travel and Tourism Organization estimates that travel and toursim accounts for 11.7% of world GDP and nearly 200 million jobs, that is no peanuts.
Increasing consumption Ecological backpack of a journey - What's in a trip? So how does this come about? What causes the ecological impact of a trip? Let us take a look into the ecological backpack of a random trip. (A few words about what an ecological backpack is may be appropriate: everything that needs to be done and moved to bring about a certain product or service is in the eco-backpack of that service - resources, energy, transport, labour, maintenance, disposal etc. with all its impacts on the environment) We have a person who needs to get from A to B, needs a place to stay, eat some food, take some fotos, do some sightseeing or other activities, buy some souvenirs. So the ecological backpack contains the ecological backpacks of all those things. Let us take a closer look at one of these effects that accounts for a big part of the eco-backpack and is going through dynamic changes at the moment: transport. For your trip you can choose among a variety of means of transport to get to your destination and to move about at your destination. By foot, bike, car, bus, boat, train and airplane. Each of these means has its own and typical ecological backpack. Unfortunately the one that is currently growing at the fastest speed is the one with the biggest backpack: airplane travel.
It is growing so fast, it is eating up the savings of the biggest step towards cranking down the greenhouse gas emissions so far, the Kyoto Protocol! This is made possible by a paradox situation: while even bikers have to pay the added-value tax (Mehrwertsteuer) on everything they need to buy for getting from A to B, planes in international flights (e.g. Frankfurt-Paris) are exempt from that tax. Planes - even though the ecologically speaking worst way to travel, are exempt from the so called eco-tax because their fuel kerosene is not included. This has to be changed fast, if we don't want to witness a further expansion of infrastructure and habits of super-cheap and super-contaminating ways of travel. (I guess you know the examples.) There are initiatives at the European level and at a world wide scale (notably the initiative for a Global Marshall Plan) to introduce a tax on kerosene. Another way to counter that development are climate tickets - we will talk about them a little later. Planes have such a bad record, because they produce most of their emissions high up in the atmosphere, where the same amount of greenhouse gases has a considerably higher impact. And even the water that they emit (the condense strips you can see on the sky) contrtibutes to global warming. The concrete effects of air travel and other human activities on the climate will probably be addressed in other occasions of this lecture series. And Dresden being one of the first cities to suffer from what has been perceived by our society (has it actually?) as the first occasion of extreme wheather events due to human-induced climate change, it seems I don't need to say much about why we need to turn that trend around.
Incentivize environmentally friendly solutions But travel and tourism doesn't have to be destructive. If we look at the big dynamics of air travel or the whole tourism industry, it is still made up of many little individuals taking many small decisions. So each and every one of us plays a role in the big developments. And each and every one of us picks the role he or she wants to play. Imagine a swarm of birds. How do they change directions? Some individual bird makes a turn, some others follow, somehow the movement spreads and the whole group suddenly turns into a new direction. Why? Don't ask me! I am not a bird and much less a swarm of birds. I can only tell you what I guess: somehow the individual decision of the bird met with favorable circumstances, so its &quot;idea&quot; spread fast. What would have happened if conditions had not been so favorable? Well, the bird would have changed its position within the swarm, maybe changing from one extreme to the other or even leaving outside the swarm for a little while. In terms of statistics the swarm would still have taken a new direction, but since only this one individual bird has changed, the effect measured at the swarm level would be minimal (but not absent!). Now consider a herd of sheep. How do they change directions? Well, there is one special sheep, called the leader ram. (Leithammel) If he makes up his mind to change directions all the rest of the sheep will follow. Why? Do I look like a sheep, or what? Well, I'll tell you my guess anyway: the leader ram is quite old and experienced, so the other sheep trust that he has good reasons to take a turn. - I think we humans are somewhere in the middle between sheep and birds. :) The point I am trying to make is: even though it seems to make a small difference in statistical terms if you choose a more ecological way of travelling (or in any other field of life for that matter), the dynamics that take place in our society shouldn't be underestimated! You have an influence on the people around you, on the market, on politics. It is in fact a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you say &quot;I am just a drop in the ocean, I can't change anything.&quot;, you will definitely not be able to change anything. If you say &quot;I can make a change and I will invest my time, energy and money in an intelligent way.&quot;, you will very probably invest your time, energy and money in a meaningful way. That is what I believe, and being relatively young and having pulled off projects like HC I have good reasons to believe it. So if I present you with two scenarios today of what travelling and tourism can be like, I invite you to think about it and pick the environmentally friendly options that appeal/sound interesting to you and DO make a difference in the next days, weeks and years.
For making a holiday trip there are wonderful options that involve mostly environmentally friendly ways to travel. Walk through a part of Germany, or the famous Camino de Santiago de Compostela, bike through the Netherlands or if you are more sportive over the Alps, travel on the back of a horse, etc. etc. I bet most of you have forgotten half the places you have visited by motorised transport. But if you travel at a speed that is closer to the basic human condition, you will get to enjoy a very rich experience. As for getting to far away destinations, there are also eco-friendly options. For example you can travel to China by train with the Transsiberian Railway. It takes about a week to get there from Germany. But if you imagine how much time it took Marco Polo, it doesn't seem so long any more. The time helps you to adapt to the different culture. And then there is of course the option of ride share (Mitfahrzentrale) or hitchhiking. Hitching used to be very popular with young people a few decades back. In our days those young people have the money to travel by other means. But hitching will see its comeback. Actually the current increase in ridesharing is partly soaking up the people who would be hitching otherwise (though obviously the ones who can pay). Two developments will increase the number of hitchhikers in the future: 1) The heavy impact of cars on the environment will not be free much longer. You will have to pay for contaminating, so driving your car will become more expensive. 2) The reduction of social security will increase the number of people who can not afford any other way to travel. As an example for my trip from Freiburg to Dresden, I could use the calculator that the German Rail provides on their homepage to calculate CO2 emissions. (http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/dn?application=ECOLOGYINFO&start=1) My trip is generating 66 kg of CO2, which is already more than the emissions of one whole year of life of a person in Ethiopia. If I had come by car instead, I would have emitted almost five times as much (302kg CO2), the yearly greenhouse gas budget of six Ethiopians. And I am not saying this as a joke: with the Kyoto Protocol the process of turning CO2 emissions into a tradable commodity has been started and it won't be long until you will see Ethiopia actually selling its emission allowances to countries like Germany! The numbers in the slide are approximations and estimations searched together from various sources. It is an indicator for how unncommon it is today to consider the whole environmental impact of a service or product. We need to get a lot better at that. The suggestion to put the amount of CO2 produced on your electricity bill is one step into that direction. The same has been suggested for plane tickets and it makes indeed a lot of sense to help people understand the impact that they have by choosing one means of transportation over another. In case you really HAVE to fly, there are ways for environmentally aware people to assume the responsibility for the negative impact. In the end the one who´s flying will probably not be among the first to suffer the ill effects of climate change. One way is a climate ticket. This ticket is an addition to your normal ticket. It will be a guarantee for the compensation of the amount of greenhouse gases emitted during your flight in a development project. In the best schemes (I recommend www.atmosfair.de and www.myclimate.org) the development projects have to adhere to very tight criteria - the so called Gold Standard - that can be seen as a summary of all the lessons of the sustainable development communtiy of the past decades (gender-sensitive, consider indigenous people, participation of locals, biodiversity, etc. etc.). And this in addition to giving a clearly measurable account of the amount of greenhouse gases saved by the project. This account becomes the basis of the climate tickets. When all the accounted tons have been sold, a new project can be financed. At the moment, this scheme is growing all the time. The more people and organisations pledge to travel climate-neutral, the more sustainable development projects will get started. So even though we recommend not flying at all, the second best choice is to compensate your flight.
Destroy ecosystems Do you know the feeling of &quot;Wow, this place is so pristine, I hope it doesn´t get spoilt by loads of tourists!&quot;? Touristic &quot;development&quot; often has a profound impact not only on the local scenery, but also on the whole ecosystem. Human populations usually occupy good places to a maximum degree. So when tourists arrive, there is a surplus of people. And sometimes another influx of local people to find jobs in the tourism industry results. So there is a big additional need of food, living space, water and capacity of the surrounding ecosystem to absorb waste from human activities. In case those resources were not scarce before, they become scarce now. You´ll have to pay for them. Who can pay? The tourists and locals with dollars. Who cannot? Poor locals without involvement in the tourism business or any other source of good money. Of course the co-existence with lots of poor people is not what we wish for our holidays. We see enough nasty things on TV everyday. So the quality of the destination deteriorates and if you want the real stuff, you need to go a little farther into the &quot;wild&quot; and still &quot;native&quot;. This way tourism devours its very basis of existence - it shows clear signs of being a child of our resource-devouring economy. And while we are talking here mostly about ecosystems and the environment this doesn´t mean that there is no impact on people. People live within an ecosystem and with their environment in every place. Only recently have we started to isolate ourselves and standardise the environment in which we live so much that were you placed in a random city you would have a hard time identifying the country if it wasn´t for the language the people are speaking. So human culture and the environment are tightly connected and as tourism devours places it leaves behind a quite standardised new culture that is part of the world economy that functions after the ecologically destructive principles mentioned earlier. But we will get to that point later when we talk about lifestyles. I will just briefly mention sports like golf, waterski, scubadiving etc. If I say that they are among the activities that have the potential to destroy ecosystems at the fastest speed, it sounds like I want to kill all the fun, hm? No, but we have to find ways to be conscious of the ecological impact of what we do and accordingly put everything in its proper place. And a golf course in a region where children don´t have access to enough water for their healthy development is definitely not in the right place. Introduce resource-intensive lifestyles: How do tourists want to pass their time? In descending order of importance: A) comfortably, B) just like at home, C) very different from home, in an exotic way, D) cheap So the first thing you´ll have to worry about if you want to enter the tourism business is to get your services to a high standard, in terms of comfort and choice, approaching the European level (or other depending where most of your tourists come from). Of course this means a lot of waste of resources. Remember what we said about our lifestyle in Germany earlier? And we claim to be one of the eco-champions among the industrialized countries! So we are already fueling a demand for hitherto unknown things like fast food, cars, air condition, TV sets, night clubs, cameras etc. for satisfying the requests (I dare not say needs, after all, who really &quot;needs&quot; McDonalds?) of the tourists. And it is not pure coincidence and clever marketing that all of those things are part of our days mainstream world culture. They somehow also connect well with (this time I dare say it) human needs. So the locals who can afford them try out those new things. And they start to like them. And they start to believe that they need them to feel good. So guess what those 200 million employees in the tourism industry spend their wages on! They try as hard as they can to join the global resource-depleting economy. They appear to be even bigger environment-hogs (&quot;Umweltschweine&quot;) than we are. That´s because they have very wasteful rolemodels and have not yet developped the hypocrisy that leads ourselves to believe that we are treating the environment well because we separate our waste! (This point probably needs some discussion. The conviction that countries like Germany are actually very advanced in the field of environmental protection is quite deep with many people. While it is true that Germany is actually very advanced in some technological aspects like waste separation, wind energy and emission norms, this turns into peanuts if we look at the global picture of our lifestyle which is very CO2-intensive and destructive of the world´s ecosystems - it is just not as obvious as it used to be.)
Protect ecosystems/Alternatives to destruction A reaction to these destructive aspects of tourism is the coming up of &quot;ecotourism&quot;. This tourism tries to minimize its own impact on the ecosystem as much as possible. The slogan &quot;Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but photos.&quot; shows this aim very well. Two definitions to illustrate (not to reproduce before the audience!): UNEP : According to the Quebec Declaration on Ecotourism, ecotourism &quot;embraces the principles of sustainable tourism... and the following principles which distinguish it from the wider concept of sustainable tourism: * Contributes actively to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage, * Includes local and indigenous communities in its planning, development and operation, contributing to their well-being, * Interprets the natural and cultural heritage of the destination to visitor, * Lends itself better to independent travellers, as well as to organized tours for small size groups&quot;. indigenous rights and participation is very important and must not be downgraded. The International Ecotourism Society : TIES defines ecotourism as &quot;responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.&quot; This means that those who implement and participate in ecotourism activities should follow the following principles: * Minimize impact * Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect * Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts * Provide direct financial benefits for conservation * Provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people * Raise sensitivity to host countries' political, environmental, and social climate * Support international human rights and labor agreements&quot; Local architecture, eco-toilets, local organic food, non-intrusive ways to observe and appreciate nature, walking, biking, riding, canoeing, traditional crafts, a contribution to the local economy, all these things strengthen the local economy and promote a sound development of the place. There are examples of people who used to over-exploit the local ecosystem for sale on some market. After recognising the potential of the rare species for attracting tourists, local communities have made a sharp turn and now protect their gorillas, whales (or whatever it is). So tourism can be a big incentive to protect nature, especially endangered species that have the potential to draw the attention of tourists.
Introduce sustainable lifestyles Another way to turn tourism into an incentive for environmentally friendly solutions is to go around trying local foods wherever you go. Local foods don´t have to be transported far and tend to be adapted to the local climate and soil, so they don´t have to be fed with chemical fertilizers and pesticides. So all in all local specialties tend to have a very small ecological backpack. So tourism can make a contribution to sustainable development by adhering to ecotourism principles and by including instructive examples of how A) traditional and sustainable systems of subsistence function B) our current economy destroys the environment and C) our current economy exploits people, animals and plants When that happens, travellers go home with a new horizon, with a new understanding of what things back home should be like. And they go home with a willingness to start the process of change that is so badly needed in all of our industrialized societies. Thank you, folks! Applause.............Until someone gets up and says &quot;But what about the Hospitality Club?&quot; - Thank you! I was waiting for someone to mention it. You are the hero of the evening! I wasn´t gonna talk about it unless someone actually requested it.
The Hospitality Club and the environment - What is HC? - Well, you tell the story as you see fit with your person and with the public you are facing. The way HC changes travelling and tourism does definitely have an impact on many of the effects we went through in the first part of this presentation. Let´s look at them one by one. Increasing consumption Okay the first thing we can say is that HC definitely means a loss to the hotel industry. If you´re sleeping in the house of friends (new friends as it mostly comes), you´re definitely not going to the hotel any more. So if you like to do the statistics game, let´s play it a little bit. HC has 100.000 members. The average user would stay at someone´s place for let´s say three nights a year. A very low figure for anyone who has caught fire, but we also have members in places like Vanuatu or North Korea who don´t get so many chances to travel and visit others. So 300.000 hotel nights per year are lost to the hotel industry. The rules of the statistics game are such, that you can simply add up the effects and once you get to the magnitude of one hotel, you close it or build it if it were the other way round. (The logic is that one person staying or not staying is very unlikely to make the difference to shut the hotel or open a new one. But if you keep playing long enough, say 30.000 times, in one of those occasions, that one person will actually make the difference, so the logic goes through.) So if we take a hotel with a hundred beds that is 82,2% full on average, we get 30.000 hotel nights in one year. I am not a hotel manager but I can imagine that that would be a pretty big business with a huge ecological backpack. Okay, so as an effect of HC ten of those hotels close down worldwide. That´s a big relief for the environment. But we can´t lie money into our own pocket (&quot;sich in die eigene Tasche lügen&quot;). So instead of the water, energy, food that makes up the ecological backpack of the hotel, we will find many smaller eco-backpacks which contain what we eat and consume at our hosts places. If we are picked up by our host by car instead of taking the hotel´s shuttle, we haven´t made a big difference. But if we eat an apple from his gardenas a dessert instead of an imported icecream, we have. So the tendency is from the choice of hotel managers who anticipate the guests to like imported and standardized solutions towards the choice of the normal local people. An HC guest will typically share the meal of his hosts, he will eat what they eat. The same applies to other activities. HC guests tend to be interested in the everyday life of their hosts and adapt to the activities that locals do for fun, thrill or relaxation. So, if we still adhere to the rules of the statistics game, with 300.000 HC guests going to local´s favourite places we do have to open a few favourite local restaurants and night clubs which isn´t such a bad thing, if you ask me. But we definitely avoid the construction of infrastructures that are tourism-specific and the nasty effect on the local culture. A very interesting effect of HC is that its currency is not money, but social capital. In the normal tourism business the following economic &quot;development&quot; takes place: money gets invested, the business starts to roll, money flows in, locals make money, locals join the consumerist mainstream culture. Within HC the only monetary investment is the little extra that hosts spend to entertain their guests. But it tends to be rather insignificant compared to the investment of time and energy which so impresses the HC guests that they feel almost obliged to pay something back - usually to someone else! What gets built up is social capital. The willingness to help other people. The values of solidarity and friendship. So when we invest time and energy in strangers we reap the benefits in the form of individuals who believe in humankind as one big family. If I think about the way today´s politicians look at everything from an economic point of view, I am quite glad, that we have erected our global village of the Hospitality Club almost purely outside of that money economy, trading only in trust and goodwill. But not even trading. It is about making gifts. One thing that we have to face is that the Hospitality Club is actually increasing the number of travels. We help to create friendships between people of different countries and friends oftenhave some strange inclination to want to see each other as much as possible. ;) So we are putting an additional burden on the environment. We could just say, &quot;That´s not our business, as the founders and volunteers of the Club we are not responsible for the individual´s ecological sins or good deeds.&quot; But this is not our understanding. We have created the Club and are maintaining it because we are convinced that it is an important contribution to the wellbeing of all peoples and even the development of the human race. After all it is one of the places where you can touch and feel the existence of the global village and mobilize your hope and energy to work for world peace, the environment, human rights and other good things. So we have to take up the challenge of the ecological impact of the increased travelling activity due to HC. The least we can do is to inform our members to the biggest degree possible about the negative impacts of air travel. When a HC camp gets popular people are coming from many countries and some come by plane. So far we have no coherent strategy to counter this development. But as you´ll see in the following we have a little patchwork of initiatives that try to educate our members about the environment.
Incentivize environmentally friendly solutions We have prepared a checklist for the eco-traveller which tells everyone interested about where to look for ways of travelling in an ecological way. Buy local specialties as gifts to take along, eat local foods, hitchhike, take as little luggage as possible etc. (summarize, make curious) We are also growing a community of ecologically-minded people - the HC Ecology Group. Within this group it is good for you if you are very advanced in integrating your lifestyle with the environment. You become a role model and others learn from you. So the more you use environmentally friendly solutions, the more you raise your status within that group. Of course I am talking about this as if it was a cold reasoning that some individual goes through. That´s not what happens. Rather I am describing the social dynamics of what is happening in the HC ecology group and its result. In any case the group acts as an incentive for its members to use environmentally friendly solutions and it acts to spread the word about those solutions in the first place. Destroy ecosystems Obviously HC guests will go where HC hosts are, so no new touristic explorations happen. No new touristic infrastructure will be built. Since the world´s indigenous cultures tend to be more sustainable than the mainstream resource-depleting culture, the destructive effect diminishes when people &quot;live&quot; like locals on their travels. The nature of HC also draws travellers awayfrom &quot;big&quot; destinations to smaller places that don´t see so many foreigners. We could call this a more equal distribution of tourists, which also serves to alleviate the impact by spreading it out more. HC guests tend to spend more time on getting to know their hosts and their routines than doing any of the before mentioned activities that have a strong negative impact on local ecosystems. Protect ecosystems/Alternatives to destruction One of the future challenges for HC will be to channel our members towards environmentally friendly ways of travelling, for example eco-tourism. While we are not in a position to impose any way of travelling on anyone, we are in a position to give higher visibility to things and services that we consider worthy of support. So there could be some cooperation with providers of eco-tourism services or other projects that try to make a positive impact. In any case we are very open to such possibilities.
Introduce resource-intensive lifestyles If you look at the typical HC guest it is a friendly individual, flexible to adapt to new circumstances and curious about the things he could learn and discover at other members´ places. If you look at the typical HC host, it is also a friendly individual with a big trust in people and a lot of pride in his city/region/country. This local pride is a very important thing. It is a very noble feeling that drives those hosts to receive guests, show them around and help them to experience the best of Dresden, for example. This local pride leads to a big visibility for local things, be it foods, traditions, crafts, etc. This pride in local stuff has a very clear tendency towards strengthening local economies against multinational competitors. We won´t play the statistics game on this one, because you will realize that the effect, even with a hundred thousand members is quite small. But what is important is that we are achieving a U-turn from the globalisation of standardised things towards the globalisation of pride in local stuff. This contradicts those voices that believe we will be left with one global culture soon. We help people strengthen their local identities and at the same time resist the pull towards resource-intensive lifestyles. Introduce sustainable lifestyles But we don´t stop at that. We even help people who are already caught in the mainstream resource-depleting culture to get out of there. Within the HC Ecology Group we actively exchange &quot;sustainable solutions&quot; for our every day life. We hold workshops to discuss environmental topics to enhance our knowledge and our action. We organize visits to eco-villages. We visit conferences to learn about successful approaches. And we exchange information about events that further our understanding and help us to create networks. So if we were talking about what one person alone can do - and concluded that one person can initiate an important change of directions, within the HC Ecology Group we are finishing off the very feeling that one is alone. Actually there are many eco-guys all over the planet, thousands or even millions of them. What was lacking was the connection between them to feel like a strong movement. We are helping to establish those connections and strengthen the worldwide environmental movement. Connecting ecologically-minded people and helping them to develop their ambitions is one thing. Another thing is to help &quot;normal&quot; people to understand the ecological challenges lying ahead and their solutions. Fortunately with an ever growing presence of eco-guys in the HC we are in a very good position to provide great informal learning opportunities for all those people who never really cared much about the environment. Imagine you are staying with a HC host in France and he tells you: look our meal tonight is all organic. So you start asking about why that could be a good thing, what brought him to prefer this kind of food, where to get it etc. Do you believe that this experience would have a higher impact on your liking or rejecting of organic food than some government campaign? I bet so! And the government hasn´t spent one penny on this one. We are trying to promote HC membership especially in progressive circles like environmental NGOs, so we can raise the percentage of green people in our Club. That way the green thinking will spread by itself. By having many eco models in the Club, we are setting a trend in the Club first, and at the same time in the society as a whole. I wouldn´t go so far as to say that we are pulling the strings, but I do hold the conviction that the most progressive and influential people in a community are often among the first to join HC, so we have a high proportion of natural trendsetters within our network. A similar case are indigenous people. We try to invite as many indigenous people as possible to join our Club, because we believe that their lifestyles are often much more sustainable than those of the people who are already more integrated into the main global culture and economy. So their example can help members from industrialized countries understand better what is going wrong in their own countries. And the local pride mechanism I described earlier is very necessary for many indigenous people who are marginalised or even repressed in most countries. So we can even look at the HC experience from the point of view of Global Learning and find it very beneficial. We wish to work more on this perspective in the future, because we view the Hospitality Club as a seedbed for many initiatives to promote intercultural understanding, cooperation, peace, human rights, ecology and any other common cause of humankind. So we will look for ways to create further learning opportunities for our members to get a deeper understanding of the challenges of globalisation, ecology, conflicts, tolerance and so on. Learning through travelling seems to be like a big open field that has not yet been taken into account too much. We have a forum category where our members share information about &quot;projects for a better world&quot;. What we are already doing is to cooperate with festivals, conferences and other events that have a direction towards similar goals. We offer them to support their event with free accommodation with our members and they support us by informing their participants about the HC and its possibilities. This way we become firmly established in the progressive sectors of society.
Discussion - Your turn! A few questions to inspire you: Did you personally learn anything on a trip that causes you to care for the environment more today? Any measurable outcome? What constructive/positive suggestions do you have for HC or for everyone to protect the environment better? Remarks: You can be open about the fact that this presentation has been elaborated in cooperation with Kjell in Cuba. I have gone into more detail in the first part (travelling and environment) assuming that it will be easier for you to talk about HC, since that is your topic of expertise. ;) Please prepare your own mindmap to guide you through the presentation. You could later scan it and make it available to us. If you produce it on the computer you could even import it into powerpoint and use it as an introduction to show the public the structure of the presentation. Please feel free to change the powerpoint presentation according to your needs and thoughts. Any questions, just ask me: firstname.lastname@example.org Internet to-do: lifetime mobility www.climatecare.org www.chooseclimate.org Studienkreis für Tourismus und Entwicklung (www.studienkreis.org) Tourism Watch (www.tourism-watch.org) kerosene tax