Technology, the most sophisticated tool yet. A tool so complex it behaves as though it is alive, as it evolves in unpredictable yet selectable ways.
Technology has enabled information-sharing to be easy, socially promoted and enjoyable. We are able to peek into the lives of our closest friends just as easily as the lives of strangers and celebrities. Boundaries between people can be overcome by a series of clicks. This characteristic of the internet redefines who our neighbors are because we can choose who we want to keep close or "follow".
An individual's sense of community can be dispersed throughout the globe while concentrated through news and images that fit into the palm of a hand. In this way, we are able to experience a more unified world, where we are global citizens. This has far reaching implications as it relates to empowering communities and justice.
For instance, if my newsfeed promotes a war-story, and I see a video of people suffering, I will be compelled to act. I can donate a sum as small as $30 USD, which can go a long way in the local currency. Of course, money isn't an ointment that can be applied to cure world problems, but it can catalyze action. Yet the internet offers diverse ways to enable action.
One of the most interesting ways to empower a community--popularized by millennials--is ecotourism. Millennials want the social experience provided by being submersed into new cultures, and since ecotourism is often a form of community development, the experience cultivates relationships among individuals to promote cultural and human growth, effective global citizenship, and political will. Ecotourism often times enables communities to have political visibility so that they can support causes pertinent to their way of life, usually involving the conservation of biodiverse environments.
Ecotourism is a form of community development that enables communities to thrive instead of survive. This is largely due to the fact that ecotourism projects are initiated by locals who have a deep understanding of the community's plights (including environmental degradation) and ways that a business model can resolve these problems.
Living in coexistence with the environment is an art, and learning this art from diverse cultures and their traditions is essential for global harmony.
Traveling via ecotourism is also a very economical way to experience new countries, support local families, and support local economies that democratically allocate resources.