Voluntourism's Obama Effect
For those of us watching television this week, Obama became the face of volunteerism. On MLK’s day (aka day of service), which was the day before his inauguration, Obama helped paint a homeless shelter for teens and visited a military hospital in Washington DC. His message was “we are the change.” He asked Americans to turn that day’s effort “into an ongoing commitment to enriching the lives of others in their communities, their cities, and their country.” He pronounced that “if we’re waiting for somebody else to do something, it never gets done. We’re going to have to take the responsibility, all of us.” His inauguration speech was laced with references to individual responsibilities for the collective good.
Obama is ushering in a whole new era of social responsibility, which we must note has already been brewing with this current generation of young people nicknamed Generation Next. He is calling the nation to action — to turn our passions — travel and exploration in our case — into something positive for other humans, animals, or environment. Referring to our nation in his historic inaugural speech, “And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect.” Now if this is not a big endorsement for voluntourism, volunteer travel or responsible travel!
Obama has an amazing ability to inspire people to act– will he inspire HOW we travel?