Zan Boag interviews Peter Singer on the ethical issues that arise from travelling. Peter Singer AC is Professor of Bioethics…
Issue #8: travel
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With every corner of the world mapped, photographed, recorded, described, reviewed, scored, marked and homogenised by our kind – the overdressed, uninvited human in search of ‘experience’ – there is little new left for us to discover. Our travelling role has been relegated to that of tourist. And a tourist with prior knowledge too: more often than not we’ve seen, or heard about, the place to which we’re about to visit before we’ve even booked our ticket. We’ve formed views of the place, the people, what our ‘tour’ will look like in advance, what experiences we’ll have along the way. What’s heartening is that this type of touring is now possible for many, with the promise of something exotic and perhaps a hint of adventure on the side. You can leave yourself at home, if only for a moment, and come back with a fresh perspective, new ideas, perhaps even a trinket or two and a tale to share. But we musn’t forget that membership to this ‘club’ is by birthright, with the remainder stuck at home. Those with the opportunity to travel can thank fortune, not skill. With privilege comes responsibility. That responsibility is to ask ourselves: How should we travel?