Visit HPL'S site of
Outstanding Poems

Asheville, NC, USA
Updated January 18, 2019

Blue Ridge Journal
"A Potpourri of Good Sense"
presented by H.Paul Lillebo

F-8 by Lou Drendel
Salute to the F-8 Crusader

Wikipedia supporter

  Education      International     Language  
  & Media
  Religion      Science &
  Society      U.S. Politics  
New Trix Quartet

All essays by topic

Recent essays:
Democracy and demagoguery
What about marijuana?
Silent Spring arriving?
Elections, parties, and privacy
Campaign against climate change
Football kills the brain
Charlottesville and statuemania
Let's ignore Trump's tweets
We need a third party
Blame game:Who gave us Trump?
The American Revolt of 2016
Cancel the election
Hillary Clinton, war lover
Mindless campaign and media
Presidential Candidates 2016
The Press in elections
The flap over voter ID
The Real population problem
Democrat President'l Candidates?
The Georgia Guidestones
Islamist terror & Islamic culture
Unconstitutional amendments
Nationhood & Multiculturalism
Good Friday
NSA, Snowden, national security
Nebulous cosmology
Another Washington disaster
Bye-bye privacy
U.S. states as power centers
Asteroids, meteors, and us
World peace - regional security
A New Year's wish list
Israel and Palestine
No Emancipation Celebration?
Presidential debates again!
The "Roberts trick"
The sins of The Fathers
NC vote on same-sex marriage
Updating the U.S. Constitution
Reforming a moribund Congress
A Civilization built on hot air
The "Occupy Wall St." protests
Arguing about God
The irrational stock exchange
The danger of belief
Obama's asteroid boondoggle
Presidential MQ's
"Don't ask, don't tell"
The Second Coming
Glob. Warm'g - western guilt?
Rot of campaign finance
Health care debacle
Cities in the sea
On human population
Education for democracy
Are 3 gods better than 1?
Stupid is as stupid does
A new economics
Immediate energy solution
A Public Stock Exchange
The Dawkins delusion
Viceroy of the carpenter?
Charisma and Democracy
US missile shield for Europe
Eve of Eden
A fable of fools
China's cheap labor
Memorial Day: an addition
Congress & representation
On doing stupid things
The Calendar & diplomacy
Science & Religion
The American President
The spark of life
Liberal & Conservative
Real campaign issues
Evolut'n/Creat'n conundrum
The toy kings of Europe
The disease of militarism
The Supreme Court...
Reps, Dems & coup d'état
On going to Heaven
"Creationism" in school
Mars Madness
Global warming
Free public transit
Lotto: a new poor tax
EU: the new imperialism

    Leave a comment

And just for fun:
Some odd tales

For your mental delectation:
(Click the puzzle to solve it)

The world's current top chess players:
(I'm left out again...) for more details and full list


Suggested Related Essays:

The people's war on climate change & Cities in the Sea

Current essay:
The Scourge of Tourism

If you're a tourist, don't be.

Nothing is more needlessly damaging to our fight against catastrophic climate change than the massive number of tourists traveling the world in airplanes, cruise ships, buses, and cars for pure amusement, adding literally billions of tons of extra carbon dioxide releases to the atmosphere. Tourism should be an immediate casualty of our war against climate change. So why is the United Nations still promoting tourism?

Local politicians and the Chamber of Commerce love tourists, who in my town – according to the Chamber – pay thirty percent of the city's property taxes. They love them because tourists transfer money earned in another place to "our town". Tourists bring money but typically don't bring crime. They support cultural events, hotels, and restaurants in the city, but they don't burden the school budget. You can even tax them extra for being tourists (and we do), without them complaining a bit. In general, tourist money seems like free money. But somehow, even free money has its costs, and the costs often impinge on segments of the population quite different from those who benefit from the tourist trade.

Everyone who lives in a tourist town knows how tourism changes the town. During the tourist season the visitors may far outnumber the residents. The local citizens can't avoid the throngs and jammed traffic, while the tourists wind up crowding together in a place that no longer bears much relation to the original that they came to see. They find themselves standing in long lines, jostling together with a mass of humanity in the little room where the holy man retreated for his meditation, to see his bed of nails and raise their phones to snap a shot of a hundred arms in the air with clicking phones. The lonely road where cloistered monk walked in silence is now a crowded row of souvenir shops hawking plastic trinkets to the hubbub of debasers of the community's cultural treasures. At its worst, tourism profanes the local culture, and turns a community into a kind of theme park for visitors, changing its focus from productive work and cultural development to a servile dependence on the gratuities of strangers.

But for all the questionable effects that tourism can have on a tourist target – where there is, after all, the balancing fact of a boost to the local economy – the great negative effect of world tourism on the climate of our warming Earth carries no balancing benefit beyond the personal pleasure of the tourist. Tourism has accounted for a significant portion of the wasted conversion of fuel to CO2 and its deposition directly in the atmosphere, and tourists now need to recognize their above-average contribution to the climate problem. The time has come for the people and the national leaders of the world to declare a moratorium on travel for pleasure. It's the simplest step we can take to begin to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and attempt to save our civilization.

It may surprise the reader to know that the United Nations has a branch organization which has existed from the early days of the UN: The UN World Tourism Organization. According to its web site, the UNWTO "promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability". Quite apart from the question of the appropriateness of the UN spending time and money to promote particular commercial interests at the expense of others competing for the same dollars (promoted here is clearly the tourist business: hotels, restaurants, airlines, cruise lines, etc), we ought to be astounded that a UN organization is in fact encouraging flying, driving, cruising, and other major uses of fuel and consequent releases of greenhouse gases on activities that in most cases are purely for amusement. (The UNWTO reported with pride late in 2018: "International tourist arrivals ... grew 5% in the first nine months of 2018 over the same period last year...")   Another agency of the UN, the International Panel on Climate Change, has in recent years released report after report documenting that anthropogenic releases of greenhouse gases are precisely the cause of what now threatens to become runaway global warming. The IPCC warns that this situation is now critical, and that humanity needs to reduce its discharges of CO2, methane and other IR-blocking gases immediately and as deeply as possible.

We can ask, how can it be that the UNWTO continues to promote flying and cruising for fun while the UN's IPCC demands the cessation of the same activities? The answer seems to be the straight-forward one: money. The UNWTO is funded by the businesses and interests it serves. Its supposed dedication to "environmental sustainability" is a sham; it is canned verbiage that can safely and hypocritically be ignored and that will not be allowed to interfere with the agency's mission of maximizing profits from tourism for its corporate clients. We can also ask, how did a business interest group manage to get the imprimatur of the United Nations? The answer is surely the same: the dominant influence of big money. The existence of this agency in the UN, with goals irreconcilable with – indeed diametrically opposed to – those identified by the UN itself as necessary to fight against global warming, makes it impossible for the world organization to campaign vigorously to reduce and eliminate needless travel, which it must do if it is to exercise leadership toward a solution to our climate crisis.

Mass tourism is today a curse on the Earth. It pours greenhouse gases into the atmosphere for no purpose greater than having fun. While I'm in favor of having fun, we don't need to destroy our Earth to have it. There's fun closer to home. The UN should dissociate itself from the World Tourism Organization, and so free itself for responsible leadership toward climate solutions. In the meantime, the message should be clear for all of us: When you need a vacation, take it close to home. Don't travel unless it's necessary. Don't fly or drive unless you must. Don't cruise at all. We can't beat the climate monster unless we drop all wasteful uses of fuel.

H. Paul Lillebo

Send a Comment


Previous essay: 
Democracy   aa Populism   aa Demagoguery?

An inescapable progression?

In America as in Europe, our proud democracies built on the democratic ideal of the all-inclusive franchise are falling prey to populistic appeals supported and controlled by dark money. Is there another way forward? Or perhaps a retreat?

Next previous essay: 
What about marijuana?

Just harmless recreation?

Should marijuana be legalized? It's a practical question. Most countries, including the US, have found sufficient social reasons to ban the drug. Its legalization will have consequences, good and bad. We should be able to consider them calmly.

All text © H. Paul Lillebo