Does sustainable travel really exist ?

Sustainable travel and/or tourism, solidarity-based, fair trade… the names are numerous and free consciences torn between the Eros of discovery and the Thanatos of global warming and greenhouse gas emissions. Today, moreover, it is clear that even virtual travel pollutes. The Internet is now a major producer of greenhouse gases. The Covid19 interlude momentarily allowed nature to reclaim its rights. The waters of the Venice lagoon became clear again, and wildlife regained its right to live on the outskirts of cities and even in the heart of our cities. More than ever, however, the question of the relevance of travel, domestic and/or international, arises. What is the social, economic and environmental cost of travel, and in particular of mass travel? Can it be a positive element in the globalization process? Naturally, the Tiradentes-geography team militates for the exchange between countries, between « civilizations » understood here in its inclusive sense, between social classes, between neighborhoods, between neighbors, but we must admit that mass travel degrades the environment, in all its meanings. Through the Internet, or through physical immersion, exchange has often been synonymous with progress, provided it has been established on a principle of « sharing. »
Tourism is a key economic activity for many regions in the South and North. In addition to generating employment and income, the sector’s activities improve and strengthen local entrepreneurship and enhance the culture and traditions of the community.
However, in Brazil, Morocco and the French coast, tourism has a strong impact on the environment. Garbage litters beaches and oceans, contaminating the soil for years and poisoning local marine and land life. Facilities built in natural areas contribute to deforestation, soil sealing, habitat degradation, and water quality degradation due to poorly treated wastewater. The passage of mountain bikes, mules, and even hiking trails generate erosion phenomena that, in the long run, can weaken fragile soils that cannot regenerate. In its social dimension, tourism can create violent inequalities by creating wealth for the few and destroying social structures and bonds.
Should we then create a carbon credit to ensure a redistribution of income by creating services or helping to manage resources sustainably? This is a path to consider if an enlightened partnership is established with communities, in the North or the South, and if they are ultimately responsible for making decisions about how to use this compensatory amount. In any case, a systemic multi-tax approach seems necessary to provide solutions that are not worse than the problems

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