what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Monday, October 19, 2009

measuring one's eco footprint

An Italian woman offering “eco-holidays” in Sicily – in a neglected village on the edge of a town (Cefalu) which has been able to exploit mass tourism. It sounds a dream – with the amazing properties she owns having her personal touch not just in their design but in the way she has tried to attach the (declining) village skills and economy to the project. Visitors are taken to see (and taste!) the making of the goat-cheese, wine and bread; to use scooters and horses rather than cars. She personally has led the drive to waste recycling etc But there is a eco-downside which the article doesn’t mention – the fact that all the (highly satisfied) visitors are zoomed in and out by plane! Add the plus and minus eco columns – and out comes a negative.
I suppose she could argue that her visitors would have flown anyway and that her contribution is therefore positive. She has not only created a more sustainable environment in the village – she is also trying to demonstrate to its younger people that they don’t necessarily have to leave the village to get jobs since the old skills do, with suitable marketing, offer a sustainable life. Perhaps also she can “sell” a different vision of life to some of her visitors. But, at least for the visitors, the eco-footprint is negative – and they are being dishonest in buying their holiday as an eco-venture! Interesting issues....check it out at http://www.sicilianexperience.com/

In a small way, the issue relates to another website I came across yesterday “Front Porch Republic” which is a celebration not only of the pleasant North American architectural feature I first came across in Pittsburgh but of the social and political benefits of small towns and “smallness” generally.
http://www.frontporchrepublic.com/?p=707. I want to explore this theme of smallness – but in my next post.

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