Navigating a Sustainable Future: (Re)conceptualizing the Moral and Spiritual Realities of Human Nature

In this article, we argue that the current crisis of civilization and the countless social and environmental problems we face today are the result of a culture of materialism that emerged out of the industrial revolution and has, over the past century and a half, become a kind of universal religion that claims absolute authority and shapes all aspects of human life – social, environmental, economic and cultural. In this article we demonstrate how prevalent but erroneous assumptions about human nature as predominantly individualistic, competitive and selfish contribute to a materialistic culture that is environmentally, economically, socially and culturally unsustainable. We examine, for example, the implications of materialism on technology-adoption, conceptions of beauty and international financial crises. We then argue that these prevalent assumptions are incompatible with what we demonstrate as true human nature informed by biological and social sciences, religious scripture, spirituality and indigenous beliefs. Finally, we suggest how science and religion, as two complementary systems of knowledge, can inform and achieve a sustainable future for humanity. We explore the spiritual roots of sustainability to paint a different picture of human nature, which is essential in building a society founded on the principle of the oneness of humankind and the convictions that underpin it. We also make the case that spirituality, defined here as a practical expression of a deep understanding of the nature of reality, should be more widely considered in the sustainability discourse as it is closely associated with the motivation to implement sustainable structures and practices. In writing this, we hope to set a foundation for further exploration of how spirituality can inform sustainability policy and practice and suggest that its role should be more closely considered.

Designing an Ethical System of Global Sustainability as a Purposeful System: GEBAT, Global Equity of the Burden Added Tax

Global sustainability is defined as a problem in a multi-dimensional state space where it presents as feasible region. The state of the global environment is controlled to stay within this feasible region through a Burden Added Tax (BAT). In a perfect market, BAT will assure most efficient use of environmental resources. However, it will not reduce, but rather exacerbate existing inequities. Analysis as a purposeful system leads to the Global Equitable Burden Added Tax (GEBAT), which assures an ethically sound and fair distribution of rights to issue environmental burdens to all states in proportion to their population. It defines equalization payments for over- and underuse of burdens. Within this framework every sovereign nation is free to manage environmental burdens as they choose. GEBAT can serve as the basis for global sustainability into an indefinite future. Technical details of implementation are discussed. Since GEBAT levels the playing field between developed and developing countries, any need for foreign aid is obviated.

Mass Tourists’ View of Sustainability: A Comparison between Two Destinations

The aim of this article is to examine how tourists value the performance of two mass tourism destinations with regard to sustainability. The study was conducted with a quantitative approach, using a questionnaire given to tourists at tourist offices on the island of Rhodes, Greece, and in Rimini, Italy. The questionnaire had scales measuring the tourists’ satisfaction with the destination and their hotels from a social and environmental sustainability point of view. The mass tourists were prompted to rate the level of importance of those factors. The study concludes that mass tourists view environmental sustainability’s value at the two mass tourism destinations differently. The mass tourists in Rhodes do not see environmental sustainability as an important value. The mass tourists in Rimini indicate improvement in some environmental variables as important to the tourists’ satisfaction. Another conclusion is that the mass tourists do not prioritize sustainability issues when travelling and are mainly travelling to the destination for sun, sea, and sand. Therefore, the challenge is to make them aware of and to value social and environmental sustainability. The theoretical contribution from this study is that there is a fifth paradigm where sustainable tourism and value co-creation is in focus. The practical implication from this study is that destinations must be aware of what tourists’ value as important attribute since mass tourist destinations mainly attract tourist that want sun, sea, and sand.