For three days/four nights, I stayed at Binna Burra Lodge at Lamington National Park– 2ish hrs south of Brizzy. Here, Barry Davies, an eco-guide with a background in science, discussed the park’s history/wildlife, guided us on a few hikes (one of which was 6ish hrs) and even taught us a few bush dances.
After leaving Lamington, my program stopped in Gold Coast & Surfer’s Paradise (both names of cities, not beaches) for a lecture & lunch, respectively. Prof. Rob Nash discussed eco tourism – responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people, at his workplace, Bond University.
Nash’s lecture took me for a spin as he claimed the ultimate solution for preventing problems related to tourism (mass tourism [overcrowding], destruction of natural environment, demise of local businesses, etc.) is to stay at home – He chuckled right after saying this, but obviously instilled truth in this message.
Although much more in favor of eco tourism, he wasn’t hesitant in pointing out similarities between it and bad tourism– Most of which include westernization in primitive/undeveloped areas. This pertains to the introduction of modern/harmful technology (air conditioning, toilets, etc.) & ideology in primitive areas.
Three eco accommodations I will have stayed at by the end of my trip:
Western ideology comes into play when people from developed nations tell those from the undeveloped world what they should/shouldn’t do – hunt manta rays, work in eco tourism, etc.).
Do we really have a right to change the way foreign natives have been using their land for centuries?
I felt a bit unsettled by the lecture as it pointed a large, condescending finger at my program, which falls under the veil of eco-friendliness – especially as an environmental journalism course.
I genuinely believe Nash’s viewpoint should be taken seriously. Even before his lecture, I felt this program & my travels in NZ beforehand, enlarged my green thumb & drew me closer (physically, mentally, spiritually) to nature/the environment.
Nevertheless, staying at home isn’t a viable option Prof. Nash.
Speaking for myself, I want/need to go out and explore more of the world. I hope to do my best being as eco-friendly as I can on the way. Many people share this same desire.
I understand the true backbone of tourism is money – not exposure to different cultural experiences. Sure, culture may expose itself to you (LOL) during travel, but usually at a cost – inauthentic.
These days though, everything’s backbone is money related. Marriages for example are part of an enormous moneymaking industry. That being said, just like traveling, money isn’t the first value people generally take away from weddings.
Just because marriage is part of moneymaking industry, should people not get married?
From my current travels & Nash’s lecture, I gather the best traveling tip is to be knowledgeable of your impact. With this in mind, hopefully you’ll make conscious decisions on where you lodge, what you eat and how you spend your money.
Even when not traveling, I enjoy myself more at authentic, locally-based establishments. Hopefully you can too.
Safe travels everyone…