The Black Sea
Common Responsibility
Common Ground
Action Plan

Professor Dr Erdal Özhan

Coastal landscapes are the mirrors which reflect the health
of the rich coastal ecosystems and the way human beings deal
with them. Many natural features and a great variety of habitats
are presented by coastal landscapes. Man-made additions to
coastal landscapes indicate the cultural vigour of the maritime
nations which have historically lived, or are presently living
along the coast and the beauty of coastal landscapes has been
an effective factor in the boom of coastal recreation and
tourism. This theme dealt with the value of the Black Sea
coastal landscapes, the perception of order and beauty in
nature in general and of the landscape in particular, and
tourism, an ever-growing industry which is much interrelated
with coastal landscapes.

The connection of human beings to land and landscape was
addressed by Neal Ascherson who pointed out that 'the
relationship is not of master and slave but nearer to the
traditional imagery which used to describe the relationship
between men and women', and quotes a story of a traveller
who asks the striking question 'How can a mountain belong
to anyone?' Ascherson also drew attention to much religious
tradition which presents the natural world, biotic or abiotic,
as 'an estate to be managed by Man', and to be exploited 'either
carefully or reverently, or recklessly and selfishly'. Ascherson
posed the question: 'Has religious thought moved forward to
a point at which it fully acknowledges the integrity of creation
in all its forms?' He rightly argued that the old perspective
of 'an enlightened human stewardship' of nature should be
modified, but the new approach should not 'demolish the imperative
to care for life-forms and landscapes'. While acknowledging
the beauty of Crimea and its landscapes, he emphasised the
importance of the Black Sea shores to many nations both historically
and today, and urged that the Black Sea and its coast 'deserve

Bishop Basil of Sergievo pointed out a parallelism
between the thinking of Dionysius, the sixth century theologian,
and the work of David Bohm, a contemporary quantum physicist,
in the sense that both conceive of a 'layered' world. The
universe is made up of an 'order of ever increasing orders
of subtlety in the implicate order'. He refered to two important
attributes: comprehensiveness and 'non-locality'. These are
expressed by the statements that: 'In any understanding of
any level, everything must be taken into account,' and 'What
happens to one affects what happens to the other even though
they appear to be unconnected'.

Bishop Basil pointed to the need to find 'a contemporary language
with which to speak about the world as we know it through
science and then relate this to our spiritual concerns and
to God'. He further proposed that the language about the material
world would be 'something like that of David Bohm, a language
that opens out easily into the world of mind and spirit'.
The beauty of the Black Sea coastal landscape 'is an objective
property of nature' which is 'accessible and perceptible by
every human being' and the 'ultimate source of this beauty
is God - the source of all that is'. Bishop Basil concluded
that 'our ecological task is to find ourselves in the universe
- and to find the intellectual universe in us', and that 'our
understanding will never reach the depths that are in us'.

Nicoloz Beroutchachvili outlined the advances that
have been made in researching the landscape of the Black Sea
countries and highlights the remarkable physical and ethno-linguistic
diversity of the region. He too emphasised the connection
between the landscape and those who inhabit it, describing
how, 'just as man or an ethnic group can affect the shape
of the landscape so ?the landscape itself affects the human
being'. He explained how the history of the development of
the Black Sea region reflects cultural perceptions that have
altered over the centuries and how human activities, such
as tourism and agriculture, have impacted on the landscape.

Terry De Lacy provided statistics about world tourism,
the world's largest industry. He pointed out that environmental
degradation results from the inability of the present market
economy to value the environment properly, and that tourism
has great potential for doing this. Tourism is described as
being a relatively less consumptive form of land use compared
with other industries. He provided guidelines for achieving
'ecologically sustainable' tourism, describes the policy instruments
that can be used, and provided an example of best management
practice for tourism development. He noted that according
to a survey, about half of travellers appear to pay attention
to the environmental awareness of travel companies, and that
the same percentage would agree to pay more for environmental
protection. He concluded that 'the environment has become
mainstream - it is being internalised in all our professions,
disciplines and industries'.

Land, sea and belonging (Mr Neal Ascherson)
Beauty and the divine in nature (Bishop Basil of Sergievo)
Place, culture and history as expressed in landscape (Professor Nicoloz Beroutchachvili)
Tourism: enjoying without destroying (Professor Terry De Lacy)