Ethical Tourism: Put Your Travel Money Where Your Mouth Is
Sex slaves. Obliteration of natural resources. Malnutrition. San Franciscans craving an authentic, inexpensive vacation often turn to developing countries, but low costs often mean low standards of living. Join travel experts Jeff Greenwald and Malia Everette for "Ethical Destinations," a panel on how to spend your coveted tourist dollars in meaningful ways.
Every November, Bay Area nonprofit Ethical Traveler releases its top 10 list praising developing countries that promote locally based, sustainable tourist economies.
Costa Rica graced the list in 2011 and 2012, as did Argentina, Chile, Dominica, and Urguay, but countries need not be located in Latin and South America. Nations from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe are contenders, as long as they are working toward a safer and more sustainable world. Five new hydropower plants, a UNESCO biosphere reserve, and a protocol on sustainable forest management won Serbia a place on the list last year.
Dominica was the only country in the Eastern Caribbean to sign a UN statement defending LGBTQ rights, while Belize, Ghana, and Guyana were barred for actively criminalizing homosexuality. Likewise, while Micronesia and Hungary have made progress in many areas, they were disqualified in 2011 for human rights issues, including human trafficking and repressive policies. The list has also proven to be a stopping point along the way: Poland and Lithuania were regulars on the yearly list, but they are now considered developed countries.
"Ethical Destinations" starts at 6 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Commonwealth Club, 595 Market (at Second St.), S.F. Admission is $20.
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