Traveler Activism


See Nygus’s Garbage World at Flickr

Kristin’s blog.travelistic had a great piece (Jan. 19th) about travelers going beyond the “invisible” pseudo-anthropologist. Kristin reports on her night out at a Nonsense NYC organized event, “Where Have You Been?” at Bluestockings Bookstore on the Lower East Side. Every edition features one adventure story, one activism story, and one wild-card entry. The activist traveler this month was Selena McMahan from Clowns Without Borders. Tales at next month’s installment are slated to include visits to communities living in the shadow of Manila’s trash dumps . This link, from Kristin, gets you into Matthew Power’s vivid journey through the labyrinth of trickle down economics as he goes to see the 50 acre Payatas dump. Powers takes a clear headed look at unexpected consequences as helpers of various stripes try to bring fresh air and health to the seething world of the dump – an organic gardening training program, celebrity activism, government, and NGO interventions. The migration from the countryside to cities all over the world is the largest migration in human history with 1.3 million people abandoning their lives in the countryside every week. We may only hear about garbage dumps on the news when hundreds of people are killed in an avalanche of waste – like at Payatas in July 2000. But, it is clear that the ubiquitous head-in-the-sand and not-in-my-backyard approach to garbage will have to go.