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Jan/Feb/March Village Green Corner

This article has been written by two members of CEL (RJ and JA) and printed on CEL's website for use by people who would like to use it in their church magazines. 18 Dec 01

In the cold months of winter we plan our summer holidays. Where are you going and have you considered what impact you might have on the world by going there? It is good to see for ourselves the wonders of Creation, to learn how others live and break down cultural barriers, but there are also environmental and social costs to tourism.

If you holiday abroad then probably the biggest environmental damage will be caused by the flight you take to get there. There is no fuel tax on aircraft fuel or VAT on tickets so the cost of flying does not begin to reflect the cost to the earth of this, the fastest growing cause of Climate Change. I must admit that this is the area where some of us have the most personal conflict to deal with. One concerned "green" Christian writes:

"We have friends all over the world and love travelling. But in flying to Australia last Christmas we contributed more to the greenhouse effect than we have saved through a year of "green living" with our renewable electricity, solar water heating and careful car use! Shocked by this calculation, we're sticking to Devon and Brittany this year!"

So if you are holidaying close to home this summer, feel good about it! While braving the British weather you will be doing your bit to preserve the world's weather system!

And don't let's forget that the word "holiday" comes from "holy day", a time for worship, celebration and refreshment. Let's try to make our holidays "holy days" of joy, wonder, simplicity and relationship rather than consumption, ostentatious luxury and isolation.

Tearfund is organising a Right to Know Day of Action on 26 January for Tearfund tourism campaign. On or near this day, contact a travel agent and ask if they have any information on how tourism impacts upon people living in poor countries and on the environment and wildlife: do they know if the effects are good or bad, and if not, can they enquire? Free action sheet from 0845 355 83355. Send for a copy of Christian Ecology Link's Tourism (Holidays and Travel) leaflet (01524 36241 or email to find out many more ways the environment can be affected

Did you know that 2002 has been designated the Year of Eco-Tourism?

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