Academic journal article Journal of Travel and Tourism Research (Online)

Ecology and Tourism: A View from South America

Academic journal article Journal of Travel and Tourism Research (Online)

Ecology and Tourism: A View from South America

Article excerpt


Latin America corresponds with a green reservoir for humankind. Its natural resources and landscapes not only received annually thousand of tourists, but also created in last years a great dependency of tourism industry. It is unfortunate, while the first world creates the theory respecting to ecology and sustainably, the third one debates other more serious issues. The economic dependency of Latin American countries from tourism paves the ways for adopting the policies of eco-destinations, and sees in this conceptual framework an alternative to alleviate the poverty. This essays review examines the limitations and contradictions of the theory of sustainability and its connection with capitalism. Ecology and the market are two side of the same coin. Today, the ecology has been commoditized in order for replicating the capital. Therefore, it is important to see that capitalism as an ideology is the reason of "global warming". This explains the paradox of ecology. While the media and TV bombarded the audience with message aimed to develop an eco-conscience, the gasses to atmospheres in last years have been increased. This begs a more than interesting question, tourism is part of the problem or the solution?.

Key Words: Paradox, ecology, capitalism, risk, sustainability, cynicism


The problem of ecology has gained considerable attention in these decades. F. Broswimmer introduces the concept of ecocide to describe why in spite of the concern for ecological issues, the pollution is not reduced. Of course, the question of ecology rests on an evident paradox. Whether the homo-sapiens advanced thanks to the help given by nature (since the technology of medicine developed the drugs thanks to the animals and plants) the principle of ecocide (this means the assassination of other species) creates a quandary where human beings are prisoner of the illusion of sustainability. The mass media has elaborated a spurious diagnosis about the complexity of the ecological fragility on earth which leads scholars and Scientifics not to agree shared-courses of actions to reverse the situation of global warming (Broswimmer, 2005).

Similarly, Cortina acknowledges that consumption works as a form of communication wherein people transmit the own successes to their neighbors. In a material and globalized world, philosophy of ethic should inquiry about the dichotomies as to why whereas many people survive with minimal material resources and under the line of poverty, others live in an outright opulence. Cortina examines how justice, democracy, as well as the senses of freedom and happiness contribute to create a psychological need, which should be immediately met. This tends not only affects the eco-system but also the social bonds among human beings (Cortina, 2003). Under such a context, this review essay explores the connection between ecology, protection, modernity and tourism. At some extent, we strongly believe that the problem of ecology has been commoditized and expanded from the first to third world. Today, in South America many scholars devoted considerable attention to provide tourist projects that works under the paradigm of ecology. However, little attention has been given to how the concept of protection has been articulated to reinforce the logic of market. Paradoxically, these types of studies see in market the axis of evilness, and propose ecosustainability destinations as an alternative solution. It is important not to loose the sight the problem of ecology humankind suffers today seems to be real, but it resulted from the advance of capitalism. Certainly, market is a product of capitalism, a consequence of a turn of mind. Capitalism is based on four cultural values that changed our view about things, a) liberty, b) protection, c) mobility, and d) risk-capital.

Our thesis is that capitalism functions with these factors in combination. At a first glance, the liberty (democracy) paves the pathways for revitalizing the massconsumption creating rights that lead people towards new psychological lack. …

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