VIEW FROM THE FIELD
The following seven anecdotes provide a glimpse into how the
Web is being used by those interested in environmental conservation
1) Ten years ago in Ecuador as I was researching environmental
policy, I was surprised to find that many of the environmental
groups were using email. However, as a general rule, the contact
was made between local groups and international funders. There
was less communication among the groups in the country. Did
email and the Web contribute to isolationism within the country?.
2) A few years ago when I was covering the United States/Mexico
Borderlands, there was criticism made from NGOs and universities
of how the government agencies would not share information in
a timely manner. Yet the very same NGOs and universities had
a poor record. When I asked one group if they could provide
more timely information, they responded: "We don't have to."
3) In Mexico I was delighted to find an international tourism
consultancy conducting workshops in the Yucatan and Baja. But
when I asked the NGO for details about the guides they had trained,
the response was negative. "We were contracted for training,
not for promoting guides."
4) A few months ago another group organized a private workshop
on ecotourism certification. Held by "invitation only" the organizers
made no prior announcements in public nor have they even put
their draft online the institutional website. While their official
document calls for transparency in the certification process,
isn't it odd that they provided none themselves during the creation
of the guidelines?
6) Yesterday we heard about an ambitious program to develop
marinas in the Sea of Cortez called "Escalera Nautica." An official
government project, curiously there is no news about the development
project online the SECTUR or Fonatur websites. Fonatur does
not even have its press releases online.
7) During the recent Ecotourism
Certification Workshop, author Beatrice Blake suggested
that guidebook writers could unite in evaluating the nature
tourism lodges. If we want to integrate tourism and environmental
conservation, more needs to be done with journalists and authors
who regularly cover this beat.