THE GLOBAL ANTI-GOLF MOVEMENT
1. Golf courses and golf tourism are part of a “development” package which includes infrastructure (multi-purpose dams, airports, ports, roads, bridges), mass tourism, expensive housing, entertainment facilities, export-oriented agriculture (flowers, exotic fruits and vegetables), and industrial parks/zones.
2. At the heart of the golf industry is a multi-billion-dollar industry involving transnational corporations, including agribusiness, construction firms, consultancies, golf equipment manufacturers, airlines, hotel chains, real estate companies, advertising and public relations firms as well as financial institutions.
The transformation of golf memberships into a saleable commodity has resulted in widespread speculation and dubious practices. In many countries golf course/resort development (including time- sharing resorts) is in reality often a hit-and-run business. The speculative nature of memberships and associated real property transactions also makes the industry very high risk.
In the wake of the current slowdown in the Japanese economy, many golf course and resort companies have become bankrupt, with investors and banks bearing the losses.
The bulk of the foreign exchange earned from golf courses and golf tourism does not stay in the local economy. The benefits which do remain are reaped by a few business people and their patrons.
3. The green golf package can be compared to the Green Revolution package in agriculture.
Golf courses are in fact another form of monoculture, where exotic soil and grass, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and weedicides, as well as machinery, are all imported to substitute for natural ecosystems.
These landscaped foreign systems create stress on local water supplies and soil, at the same time being highly vulnerable to disease and pest attacks. Just as the Green Revolution is collapsing in country after country, the Golf Green is also fraught with ecological problems.
The environmental impacts include water depletion and toxic contamination of the soil, underground water, surface water and the air. This in turn leads to health problems for local communities, populations downstream and even golfers, caddies and chemical sprayers in golf courses.
The construction of golf courses in scenic natural sites, such as forest areas and coral islands, also results in the destruction of biodiversity.
4. In addition to environmental damage, golf course and resort development often creates skewed land use, displacing local communities or depriving them of water and other resources. In a number of countries, the victims of such projects are subject to police or military intimidation when they protest against the destruction caused by golf courses.
5. The golf industry aggressively promotes an elitist and exclusive resort lifestyle and notion of leisure.
This globalization of lifestyle is also a form of exploitation, the victims being the wealthy urban population who are encouraged to spend their surplus dreams and illusions, at the expense of the environment and other members of society.
Golf course and golf tourism development violate human rights in every sense of the word.
6. In the face of growing criticism of the adverse environmental impacts of golf courses, the industry is promoting the notion of “pesticide-free,” “environmentally-friendly” or “sensitive” golf courses. No such course exists to date, and the creation and maintenance of the “perfect green” comprising exotic grass inevitably requires intensive use of chemicals.
7. Similarly, the increasingly touted Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system as an alternative to the use of pesticides on golf courses is not a solution. In practical terms, application of pest control through IPM is impossible to achieve and should be viewed as nothing more than a hollow attempt to make golf courses appear less toxic than they are.
The danger is that IPM will be taken seriously by officials involved in the approval of golf courses. Under scrutiny, the theory of IPM can be easily discredited.
It should also be stressed that considerable amounts of chemicals are used in the preparation of a golf course and in fertilizing the grass.
These are toxic, too, and thus make golf courses a threat to the environment and health.
GLOBAL ANTIGOLF MOVEMENT
1. An immediate moratorium on all golf course development.
2. An open and public environmental and social review/audit of existing golf courses.
3. Existing golf courses should be converted to public parks, and where they lie in forest areas, wetlands and islands, there should be rehabilitation and regeneration of the land to its natural state.
4. Investigations into illegalities in the golf industry, including illegal occupation of public lands and encroachment into protected forests, diversion of water, violation and evasion of corporate regulations and corruption. We call on governments to prosecute the violators.
5. Laws should be passed to prohibit the advertising and promotion of golf courses and golf tourism.
6. Overseas development assistance , from countries including Japan Australia and European public founds should not be used for the promotion of golf courses and golf tourism or the construction of infrastructure related to such development.
o We appeal to golfers to be fully informed and aware of the adverse environmental, health and social impacts of golf tourism.
o We supported the decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to reject the inclusion of golf as an Olympic sport in the 1996 Atlanta Games.
We call on the IOC not to change this decision, for it would amount to the legitimization and international recognition of a sport which destroys the environment, creates social disruptions and which is financially unsound.
o We reject the myth of “pesticide-free,” “environmentally-friendly” or “sensitive” golf courses.
The adoption of the U.S. Golf Association specifications as the international standard for golf course construction and maintenance inherently requires a total package of exotic grass, toxic chemical fertilizers and pesticides, high water consumption, turf equipment, etc.
This is by its very nature destructive of the environment and the entire ecosystem. Toxic chemicals used at the golf course construction stage, for example, include hydrogen peroxide to harden soil before turfing.
o Even if it were technically and economically feasible, determined by a full cost-benefit analysis, to construct and maintain pesticide-free golf courses, the industry is still unacceptable due to the wide range of social problems and other environmental impacts (e.g. water depletion, inappropriate land use) that are generated.
o We also reject the myth of Integrated Pest Management because it is experimental, the conditions for its application cannot be achieved and it still relies on toxic chemicals.
THE GLOBAL ANTI-GOLF MOVEMENT
was launched on World No-Golf Day (April 29, 1993) (by mr. Gen Morita ), following a three-day conference on Golf Course and Resort Development in the Asia-Pacific Region in Panang, Malaysia from April 26 to 28, 1993.
The three sponsoring organizations are the Japan-based Global Network for Anti-Golf Course Action (GNAGA), the Thailand-based Asian Tourism Network (ANTENNA) and the Malaysia-based Asia-Pacific People and Environmental Network (APPEN). Twenty delegates from Hawaii, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand were also present.
In 2000 the Global Antigolf Movement is particulary present in Europe (Italy, Spain) and in the Usa , but has supporter also in Australia, Asia and Latin-American.