Can tourism develop sustainably?


There are few things that move me more than a night sky. When the air is clean, and when I’m far from noisy, bright cities, the stars speak to me. They are a powerful reminder of how I, a measly collection of atoms, can be so big yet so small at exactly the same time.

In India, it’s hard to find this sky. The cities are plagued with smog, and the lights and noise of 1.2 billion people permeate nearly every inch of the subcontinent.

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A Keralan State of Mind

While it might be hotter than hell, I think I may have found some version of Heaven on Earth. The relentless drone of traffic and car horns is long gone, despite it featuring prominently in my scene just 24 hours before. Instead, I hear nothing but the rustle of palm trees and a symphony of cacaws coming from the crows perched in the branches above.

Sweat drips down and off my face, but the steady breeze quickly rushes it away. The sun is deadly, but refuge can be found under the awning that stretches across the rooftop terrace.

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Apple has a vision. Are we a part of it?

When I think of futuristic technology, I don’t think I am alone in looking to Apple as one of the drivers. I am sure techies would roll their eyes at this, but Apple’s marketing prowess helps bring new technologies into the hands of users.

This ability cannot be overlooked. But who is really driving this push forward? Is it the big companies with multi-million dollar R&D budgets? Or is it us, the lowly consumer, casting a vote with our hard earned money?

Let’s take a look.

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An uncommon source for common ground

By now, we should all be more than aware  money doesn’t by happiness. Whether it’s Paul McCartney and the Beatles singing “Can’t Buy Me Love” or Benjamin Franklin eloquently professing the nature of work, the message has been heard loud and clear.

So here’s my question: Why don’t we act on it?

Why do we continue to place the blame for our current woes not on our misunderstanding of the human condition and all its complexities, but rather on economics, or a lack of growth and prosperity.

There is all this talk about money not leading to happiness, yet I see no evidence of this being put into action. There are plenty of individuals sharing this message with the world, from writers and artists to Buddhist monks and politicians. But the message isn’t downloading. It isn’t reaching our core. Rather, it remains floating on the surface of our consciousness as an accepted fact but unachievable reality. We theoretically accept happiness is more than money and that money is simply a means to an end, yet “money as an instrument” remains at the center of our actions to achieve happiness. Isn’t that just the same thing as saying we need money to be happy? When I get to this point of reflection, a simple yet jam-packed question crawls to the tip of my tongue: why?

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Why Fruits and Vegetables are Going to Save the World

As an avid reader of the news, I cannot help but worry about the world. I’ve fallen into this weird trap of self-torture. I hate it, and I know I hate it. Yet every day, there I am, reading away about the misery of the world and deeply fearing the future to come.

However, unlike many who fall into this same trap, I do not subscribe to the idea that things used to be better and now they’re getting worse. It’s easy to romanticize about the past. With hindsight, we can artfully shape our understanding of the past and use this to lament things that may have never been. But people, at our core, have not changed throughout time. We have always loved, always hated, always sought revenge, and always mourned loss. Our emotions, or our states of being, have not changed, although the surroundings in which we experience them certainly have. We ignore this, though, and continue to think the world is slowly deteriorating, just waiting for someone to save it (sound familiar?). Well, the world does need saving. But not from terrorists, climate change, and inflation, it needs saving from ourselves.

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Are we just playing with blocks?

“If what we change doesn’t change us, we are just playing with blocks”—Marge Piercey.

I have been plagued with this quote for a little over a week now. It came to my attention through my freelance work with a service organization dedicated to approaching social change by rethinking it and developing individual connections with the problems we are trying to solve. The relevance of these words in life, though, have left them ringing in my head since I read them.

We speak so much of change. Whether listening to the news, talking about our jobs, or reflecting on our lives. Quite understandably, we sense something is not right, so we set out to correct where we have gone wrong. But I often wonder if we are focusing our efforts in the right place.

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