The world was termed a “Global Village” as early as in the 1960s, when Marshall McLuhan coined the concept. The idea underlying it was a shrunken world wrought by a gastronomic rise in transport and communication facilities. Its effects, however, are most pronounced today.
The availability of a motorable transport to nooks of the globe, Communication facilities that follow like a loyal dog and a rise in purchasing power- a perfect recipe for the world to travel like never before.
And why not? After all, a person who has not travelled has just read one page of the book. Travelling is much more than just recreational. It is experiential, spiritual and most of all- Holistic. Sadly, this journey of self-discovery has now become another means of consumption. Sample the ways every state, country, hamstring each other out in soliciting tourists with catchy phrases. Corporates in the chain of the industry are not far behind. Crossing seven seas is no more arduous.
But should travel essentially work at cross-purpose with the larger ideal of sustainability? Definitely not. Avarice for exploration has increased manifold, so have the by-products of the avarice. The footprints of consumption adorn even the darkest of the jungles and deepest of the oceans. You may fail to spot a wild animal in a jungle safari. But you are most sure to spot a dishevelled plastic bottle. A sunset on a sea beach may elude you. But, heaps of trash coughed up by each successive wave won’t.
Is it not insensitivity towards those inhabitants of that hill-station or that coastal hamlet, that they are left to deal with all the trash dumped on them? It is unreasonable to wait for the civic authorities to salvage the situation. A lot can be and should be done by the civic society.
“Travel, but sensitively” should serve as the mantra for any globe trotter. Travel ethics need to be inculcated in childhood. Individuals and family should internalise responsible travelling. Eco-friendly packaging and disposal practices should be internalised.
‘Ecotourism’ is itself dubbed as an oxymoron, because tourism essentially involves using non-renewable energy for travel, changes in land-use (converting lands into resorts and roads) and an intrusion into fragile chain of complex and inter-dependant food chain.
It is therefore, desirable that world-over, certain zones be precluded from tourism. But in those areas that are harnessed as tourist destination, there is a serious and urgent need for the communities to inculcate a travel sensitivity, lest the journey leads to the destination called destruction.
– By Rohini Divakar, IRS. Currently posted as the Additional commissioner of Income Tax, (Investigation) Chennai, Rohini is the ex-officio secretary of the Regional Economic Intelligence Council (REIC)