Posts Tagged ‘ecotourism’
An ecotourism hero Iâ€™m proud to have crossed paths with is Martha Honey. Martha started her professional life as an investigative journalist based in Central America and East Africa. As a freelance journalist, Honey reported for such esteemed clients as The Times of London, The Nation, ABC TV and National Public Radio.
Along with her husband Tony Avirgan, Honey had a ground floor, up-close window on some of the most volatile but little understood wars of those regions. She chronicled the CIAâ€™s War in Costa Rica including eyewitness accounts of a botched assassination attempt. Her experiences in Africa led to the essay â€œRacism, Exploitation and Neglect: Bush and Africa,â€ which was included in the book â€œPower Trip: US Unilateralism and Global Strategy After September 11.â€ She and Avirgan also published a book â€œWar in Uganda: The legacy of Idi Amin.â€
Advocacy and investigate journalism seem to go hand in and the travel industry should count its lucky stars that Martha decided to take up the banner of ecotourism. I met Martha just shortly after she had become executive director of The International Ecotourism Society.
During her tenure from 2003 through 2006, TIES took many noteworthy steps including the following:
â€¢ Moved its offices to Washington DC
â€¢ Conducted the first worldwide study on the social and environmental footprint of nature-based lodges
â€¢ Supported relief efforts and advocated for sustainable tourism in Indian Ocean countries devastated by tsunami
â€¢ Sponsored the first conference on Ecotourism in the US
â€¢ Launched distance learning courses and Sustainable Tourism Certification with George Washington University.
Martha left TIES to form her own ecotourism-focused non-profit called the Center on Ecotourism and Sustainable Development.
In conjunction with Stanford University and the Institute for Policy Studies, the mission of the non-profit CESD is to design, monitor, evaluate, and improve ecotourism and sustainable tourism practices and principles. Its policy-oriented research focuses on ecotourism as a tool for poverty alleviation and biodiversity conservation, as well as socially and environmentally responsible tourism practices.
Martha has written and lectured widely on ecotourism, Travelers’ Philanthropy, and certification issues. Her best-known book is the seminal â€œEcotourism and Sustainable Development: Who Owns Paradise?â€ recently updated and re-released by Island Press.
You canâ€™t go to any tourism conference, especially ecotourism conference in Mexico – or, for that matter, anywhere else in the world where they’re talking about ecotourism, without bumping into Ron Mader.
Ronâ€™s been promoting ecotourism since at least 1994 when he started his website Planeta.com
Ronâ€™s spoken at innumerable conferences, hosts online e-conferences and hosts an award for indigenous tourism websites.
Ronâ€™s latest website contest can be found here http://planeta.wikispaces.com/itbw
Anyone can vote for their favorite nominee for this yearâ€™s Indigenous Tourism and Biodiversity Website Award. The winning website gets little more than bragging rights but thanks to the competition, more folks will know about 15 indigenous tour operators and destinations than they might not have otherwise discovered.
I canâ€™t remember if I met Ron in Mexico or Venezuela or both. As I alluded to above, heâ€™s ubiquitous. The great thing about Ron is his consistency and unwavering passion for promoting ecotourism.
Author or co-author of travel guides for Mexico and Honduras as well as well as a guide to traveling, studying and living overseas, Ronâ€™s website says heâ€™s currently editing a seminal essay titled â€œToward Effective Communication in Responsible Travel and Ecotourism.â€
I look forward to crossing paths again with Ron in some sweet little village in Mexico. Until that day, Iâ€™ll have to settle for following him on Twitter, @RonMader.