MDGs – Goal 7

March 25, 2007 at 6:20 am | Posted in Irene | 1 Comment

Lent is one of the seasons in the Christian calendar that provides us with the space to search our hearts and confess the things “we have done and the things we have failed to do……” (So we say in the BCP). In this post, I write on Tourism in relation to #Goal 7 of the MGDs (Environmental Sustainability).

Tourism is one of those issues capable of contributing to environmental un-sustainability. Based on well structured policies, tourism can not only sustain the environment as in nature but everything and all that depends on it.

Speaking of Kenya, tourism dates back to pre-independence days, as early as the 1930’s. The industry is a source of employment for over 138,000 segments in direct employment and 360,000 in indirect employment, as well as the largest contributor to Kenya’s economy and a major foreign exchange earner and source. But to the same country (to some communities if not all), tourism is destructive. The Maasai of Kenya knows all about the pros and cons of the industry. Often in the name of tourism development, the host communities suffer, the government looses and natural resources are degraded (More……)

Sustainable tourism leads to sustainable environment. Structures and polices that regards natural resources, wildlife, the host community and their resources, rich culture and future generations, the tourist and all stakeholders in the industry including the government supports sustainable environment. Responsible tourism is only realized when the mentioned persons are able to live harmoniously, in an interrelated way and benefit directly from tourism without injuring any the other.

Theologically, such a system can be supported and based on the principle of Shalom. Tourism raises the question of relationships – between people and people and between people and nature. The concept of shalom embraces the gifts of Justice, Peace and Integrity of creation in their mutual interrelation. It is about preventing, improving, correcting damage, restoring and motivating people be more aware and therefore care for rather than use up resources. Shalom is modelled in the ministry and teaching of Jesus Christ – in the fundamental perspectives of Isaiah 61:1-2/Luke 4:18-19.

Key to the principle is wholeness and unity with the end results of justice. The encounter calls for a new radical response from Gods people all over the world. Tourism then becomes an opportunity to bring humans, people and nature together – to enter the world of another, to welcome our guest with respect and to enhance the participation of the host community. Lack of respect for the other creates a hostile and dominating attitude which is translated into our dealing with nature. Shalom supports work towards justice, reconciliation, empowerment, sustainability and wholeness.

A Prayer (by a Maasai Elder)

“Father-Mother Earth, we pray thee at sunrise and sunset, that you may not abandon your sacred duty of sustaining our lives. The water that quenches our thirst, the air that we breathe, the trees that provide shade, and the animals that give us company, all make life real and creation complete. We the children of the Earth pray for wisdom that we in turn may be good custodians of these precious gifts to us and our unborn generations. For is we fail to safeguard these resources, man’s (sic) moral standing as the most intelligent animal will be questionable. Furthermore, if we fail Nature, we shall have failed ourselves and the generations that come after us. And the judgement will be harsh on us”

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1 Comment »

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  1. I would like to see a continuation of the topic


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