Thursday, February 08, 2007

Environmental News

Lonely Planet

The environment (the non-global-warming-hysteria type) has been in the news lately, and I might have missed some of it if it hadn't been about Lonely Planet.

One year I had one of those little square page-a-day calendars, and it was from Lonely Planet, which prompted me to visit their website to investigate all the obscure countries they talked about. In fact, that's their speicialty: the out-of-the-way places that haven't been trampled by billions of tourist feet yet. I still go there when I need to know where in the world the Seychelles or the Maldives are (off the east coast of Africa and near the southern tip of India respectively, both in the Indian Ocean).

But then on Tuesday, the Independent (UK) published an article about Lonely Planet's founders whining about other travelers.

The founders of Lonely Planet have condemned "frivolous" British travellers who fly to European cities with no real sense of purpose.

Tony and Maureen Wheeler, who started the global guidebook company after a pioneering trip across Asia 35 years ago, were speaking at the annual travel industry event, The Independent Conversation.

"The sheer amount of frivolous travel is a problem," said Tony Wheeler.

"Air travel is huge now, but where it's bad is out of Britain because of all these short-haul flights," said Maureen Wheeler. She cited in particular "people flying to Tallinn, to Prague for a weekend. They're not interested in the history, the background. They want to know where's the hip hotel? There's no curiosity there. It's just, 'Let's go somewhere new because we can.' The environment can't cope with that."

Let me get this straight: The environment is only harmed when people lack curiosity. But when tourists are more interested in visiting a museum than a nightclub, then the environment is not harmed.

Sometimes, smart people are just plain stupid.

Environmental Crime

Financial Times (UK) reported yesterday on a recent decision by the European Union's European Commision.

For eurosceptics, the European Court of Justice ruling in September 2005 [essentially declaring sovereignty] was like giving a child a loaded gun. It opened the way for the European Union to designate a new class of pan-European crimes, and how they should be punished.

In Britain there was an outcry. In future decisions taken in Brussels could be applied to the British courts, denying parliament the right to determine what constituted a crime and levels of sentencing.

The [European] Commission's decision this week to create common criminal rules for environmental crimes is seen by some as a sign that Brussels will take full advantage of the court ruling to stealthily advance EU powers.

The EU bureaucracy has the same ambitions for Europe that the UN has for the world. And they will use the environment (or anything else they think might work) as a wedge to grab control--sovereignty--over every country they can. Especially the US.

1 comment:

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