This is a slightly longer account of the assumptions underpinning the Conscious Travel model. Each forms a chapter of the forthcoming book on the subject. You’ll only see the links to thee if you’ve read my post of Feb 3rd. I’d love to find out which of any you agree with. Please leave a comment.
- A New model is required. The current industrial model – as applied to international tourism – still has, as its universal goal, to continue to grow the numbers of visitors. Since tourism uses resources of prime land and water, generates both waste and greenhouse gases, while delivering on average less than 5 cents to the host community for every international dollar spent, such a pathway is, to quote an eminent economist, Kenneth Boulding, simply mad – unless that growth can be de-coupled from resource consumption or waste production. While many reports have been written about green tourism, neither the financial resources nor political will have yet been committed that would assure achievement of that aspiration. A new model is needed that encourages and enables destination communities to pursue a more realistic and prudent path. The focus must shift from growth to yield, quantity to quality, from more to better, from returns to shareholders to net benefit for host communities..
- Need to get to root cause. While many and various forces necessitating change have been well documented – be they environmental, social, political, or economic – they are confused with symptoms of a problem. Insufficient attention has been paid to root causes. So long as we fail to appreciate that our error is systemic and, to quote Gregory Bateson, epistemological, we will continue to be ineffective in changing fast or far enough (1). We are simply “seeing” the problem incorrectly. Our solutions are based on an understanding of how the world works that is no longer accurate. We think of the universe in terms of machines, boxes, lines and linear relationships when in fact it comprises a nested series of dynamic systems in a constant state of flux whose emergent nature can never be understood by reducing them to their parts.
- The shift is happening. Fortunately, the process of shifting perspective has started spontaneously as growing numbers of people wake up i.e. shift their consciousness to see humanity, together with its various economies and societies, as an important but interdependent part of a larger living system that supports life and demands our ability to live in accordance with its laws. Despite being young sciences, our understanding of systems and ecology has matured very quickly and must be applied to many disciplines.
- Evolution continues. The process whereby life forms have evolved from one state of being to another is a recurring pattern in the history of life on earth – it is called evolution. The new is not necessarily better than the old. It is just different and better suited to current conditions. What is really new, as far as we know, is that human beings are aware of the process and can take an active part in determining the outcome. Tourism, along with all economies, societies, institutions, and spheres of human endeavour can also play an active role in accelerating or resisting the evolutionary leap.
- It’s about shifting from an extractive to a regenerative economy. We currently operate an extractive economy that, over time, generates wealth for a decreasing number of beneficiaries while eroding the capacity of the life support system. We can and we must transform that into a regenerative economy that supports the flourishing and qualitative development of all life forms – people, companies, communities and the biosphere and cultures in which they are embedded.
- We each have to work on ourselves first but then proceed in community. Whether we as individuals play the role of leader or follower, we will be asked to participate by first examining and refreshing our own personal awareness and then taking responsibility for the health and vitality of the communities in which we live, work and play. New forms of leadership and organisation will be required and are slowly emerging now. The B team’s report New Ways of Working provides an excellent introduction to the changes occurring within the corporate world.There are no “silver bullets” and “one-size-fits-all” fixes.Success will be achieved through experimentation, commitment and collaboration by a multitude of communities seeking and adapting a variety of solutions to their circumstancesLone rangers and heroes seeking glory should go home.In this emerging future and to quote Otto Sharmer, Eco consciousness is replacing Ego consciousness – try replacing the “g” for greed in one word for the “c” for caring in the other.