Sunday, 26 October 2008

500 places to see before they disappear

There's a new book out that lists 500 places to see before they disappear because of climate change or aggressive developers. According to Holly Hughes, co-author, "this book is a carefully chosen list of last-chance destinations that eco-conscious travellers can enjoy - if they move sharpish". Eco-conscious?! How best to move sharpish? By plane I'd wager.

Travelling to see somewhere before it disappears because of climate change simply hastens its departure date. You get to see it, admittedly, but you reduce the number of other people that will be able to enjoy it. You'd have to be pretty selfish to say, "I think I'm important enough to fly to the Everglades/the Dead Sea/Peru/The Falklands/New York before they disappear/change forever. Other people might not get to see them but I should because I'm me."

There are some British entries that you might be able to get to in a relatively sustainable way such as the Jurassic Coast in Dorset and Roundstone Bog in County Galway but here the authors remain oblivious to the idiocy inherent in their work. Also included are Hadrian's Wall, whose biggest threat is identified by The Guardian as being the "tourists who walk [its footpath]", and The Burren, County Clare, where "more hikers are trampling over it to marvel at the stone relics of its ancient inhabitants."

Hughes's co-author Larry West states that "The planet is poorer every time we allow something beautiful to die." The planet is also poorer every time some idiots bring out a book urging us to be selfish.

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