Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Wednesday 14th November 07 World Responsible Tourism Day

Today I went to Leeds to take part in the first 'World Responsible Tourism Day', which was happening in Leeds Metropolitan University, School of Tourism, Hospitality and Events. I had been invited by them as I had previously presented talks on the downside of tourism with first-year tourism students visiting York on a day's fieldtrip. Students often hear the good things about tourism, so I was invited to talk about pollution from planes, the transmission of disease organisms, the overuse of finite resources in developing countries by rich tourists, and other issues.

I cycled to the station and got a train soon after 10am, and then got a taxi from Leeds station to the Civic Quarter Campus. After getting changed into Professor Fiddlesticks costume, my first job was to look at the posters that had been made by some primary school children about responsible tourism. I chatted to the children about the posters and some of the issues they raised. I decided which were my favourite, as I was one of the judging panel of 3. They were one about Bridlington, which mentioned that it was easy o get to by bus and train and didn't need a plane to get there, one about tourism in Britain, and one on wildlife! Then we went for lunch, and soon after that the other two judges came with me to view the posters and decide which were the three winners. We all had different ones, so I suggested we had one which promoted local tourism, one which was a really good poster and one which said something about an issue. The winners were The Yorkshire Dales, a beautifully designed poster of Jamaica, and one about recycling litter, which I really liked too.

I then did my show, a shortened version condensed into 30 minutes, not easy but got most of the skills in. Then was the prize giving ceremony. The children had made mortar-board hats and underwent a sort of 'graduation', followed by the 3 winners. Ronnie the Rhino came, the mascot of the Leeds Rhinos Rugby team, and there were lots of photos taken.

I got changed again and walked down to the station, getting back to York at 3pm. Cycled home via Martin's Country Fresh and got in before the children and Gill got back from school.

A fairly quiet evening, tried to ignore the loud behaviour from the boys and not get involved.

Researched responsible tourism on the web, found an interesting 'irresponsible tourism' site, and will write a paid blog over the weekend about this subject.


Anonymous said...

I have been reading your Blog today and just wondered what formal qualifications you have to speak on environmental and ethical issues?

Compost John said...

Hi Annabel, I tried to reply to you today with a pretty full account of my experience and qualifications, but when i sent it, it bounced back from blogger as a 'not able to reply directly to you' address. So if you send me your email address I'll resend my reply to you. Or alternatively I could retype it all in here... but it took ages and I have it already typed and in my sent items box!

Compost John said...

My message to Annabel:

(my very first copy and paste!!!)

Firstly, to write a blog needs no qualifications or experience, and it is very easy for anybody to construct a blog on any subject whatsoever, even if they know very little. Reading the blog will hopefully inform you about their level of knowledge, and if you read mine, the info bar on the right hand side gives a few clues as to my interest and experience in these areas. The lowcarbonlifestyle blog is really just my day to day diary. I write a weekly blog and column every 3 weeks (paid) in Community Care magazine. This is easy to find with a bit of googling and is supposed to help social workers 'become greener' and live more ethically. You may enjoy reading these more than my diary? Do let me know any feedback at this email address, thanks.

Firstly I became a 'green' in the late 80's after one of my friends suffered an attack and I started to study 'gender politics' and declared myself a feminist. I soon realised that green politics included feminism, as it was obviously about equality and fairness and rejected the patriarchial capitalist nightmare which is destroying this beautiful planet and makes women second-class citizens, and is doing a dis-service to many of the people around the world, and those not yet born. I joined the Green Party of England and Wales in 1989, and have stood in several local elections, participated in conferences and am a novice 'internal conflict' resolver, helping the party deal with some of the difficult personalities and issues which we work with.

I appreciate that these experiences are not formal qualifications, however in 1991 I started an Environmental Health Degree (BSc Hons) and this involved the study of a wide range of subjects including: health and safety, food hygiene, food production, epidemiology (patterns in health, illness and death) pollution (air, water, noise, soil), weather, carbon cycles, nitrogen cycles, waste and recycling, housing including construction and unfitness, energy generation, distribution and use, and of course law. My dissertation was on local authority composting activities and promotions. I got a 2.2 in 1995. However I started working as a children's entertainer as soon as I qualified, as I prefer being my own boss and have an idiosyncratic way of conducting myself!

During this time of my life I was going through a difficult relationship and I put myself into a programme of 'self development' called AVP, Alternatives to Violence Project, and am a graduate of a basic level workshop and 3 'level two's'. These experiences have helped me understand how people communicate, how to resolve conflicts non-violently, and through helping to run the group (which I continue to do, more than 15 years later) I have done various psychological studies such as 'Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicators' and Transactional Analysis, amongst others.

More recently, because of my ethical lifestyle, I have become a paid blogger and columnist for Community Care magazine (John's Weird World blog and The Ethicist column), been on TV (BBC's Newsnight and Panorama with Justin Rowlatt 'Ethical Man', plus BBC's Inside Out and ITV's Wood You Believe It?) and started getting paid work as a sustainability educator in schools.

I do a lot of voluntary work with local, regional and national organisations, including York Rotters (teaching home composting) York Local Exchange Trading System, York Local Agenda 21, the Community Composting Network, Critical Mass, Climate Camp, Reclaim the Streets, York Carbon Rationing Action Group, York Credit Union, St Nicholas Fields Environment Centre and I could go on. I am a member of dozens of organizations... means lots of magazines needing to be recycled!

Finally, I have been with Gill for 14 years, have two boys aged 8 and 10, and have been married for 8 years, although we have an unconventional approach to our marriage.

I hope this list gives you some idea of my wealth of experience. I do not claim to be especially qualified in all ethical issues, however my understanding of sustainable development and how to live a low impact lifestyle is pretty broad.

Please feel free to email me about any of the above or any questions or ideas... I love the ability to communicate with lots of people using this medium. Perhaps you'd care to tell me your own take on green living and ethical issues? Do you have a qualification?

All the best, thank you for contacting me.