January 12, 2015

"Back in London, enjoying my photos of ethereal icescapes and brilliantly comic penguins, I wonder again whether I should feel guilty for having been in Antarctica?"

Asks Juliet Rix at the end of a BBC.com piece titled with another question: "Should tourists be banned from Antarctica?" The article is peppered with similar questions: "Should I be here? Am I, just by setting foot on this extraordinary continent, disturbing a pristine environment and polluting the last great wilderness on earth?

She supplies the answer from a "polar expert" named Jane Rumble: "No, just do what you can to preserve it." Well, that's ambiguous! It's apparently the answer to the "should I feel guilty?" question, and the answer to that could be: No, because that's just self-absorbed obsessing within your own mind. It's not doing a damned thing to preserve Antarctica. But should you stay away and guilt-trip others into not going? That would be something you could do to preserve it.

I'm just trying to understand the wit and wisdom of polar expert Jane Rumble.

39 comments:

Big Mike said...

Now that she's gone and come back, she wants to prevent any else from going as a tourist.

Not unusual.

Sam L. said...

Not seeing wit nor wisdom.

Tank said...

It's OK to go as along as you feel guilty about it and don't "intend" to do harm.

EDH said...

We anchor and go ashore by biosecured dinghy.

What good will wearing a condom do?

David said...

If the guilt were to lead to self destruction, she could die with a cleaner conscience. Poor thing.

But Mike's analysis seems quite right to me, so I don't think she's really very guilty.

CJinPA said...

As is always the case in these situations, the purpose of the question is to be heard asking it, not in the answer.

From Inwood said...
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From Inwood said...
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BarrySanders20 said...

I asked and Antarctica said it doesn't give two frozen shits who comes to visit.

Antarctica is a cold and unforgiving continent.

lgv said...

I don't understand the guilt trip thing. Unless maybe you tossed some styrofoam cups on the frozen tundra before you left on your dinghy.

While Jane Rumble may seem ambiguous, she's not. I've traveled to some pristine environments. I think most "experts" are fine with other visitors and the realization that some of the pristininess will be lost. At the same time you do what you can not to destroy what is there. E.g. it is OK to explore some pristine caves while disturbing a few rocks and stones along the way without spray painting graffiti all over the walls.

From Inwood said...

Sounds like Howard Zinn or a US Textbook writer writing about what Chris Columbus or some early guy must have said when he reflected later about having landed in AmeriKKKa. (OK Chris landed in San Salvador.)

(My wife edited textbooks for years up to the turn of the century.)

From Inwood said...

Did she take a selfie of herself there?

Hagar said...

I tink there must be some kind of psychological problem behind the left's insistence on "natural conditions" being permanent and never changing, except by the actions of evil humans, such as Republicans, f. ex., despite all evidence to the contrary.

mccullough said...

She will already burn in Compost for the carbon footprint of the round trip flight to Antarctica. If you're willing to heat the globe for the flight, why worry about the footprints left on an icy continent.

Hagar said...

Antarctica is a cold and unforgiving continent at the present time, but will continue to drift northwards and eventyally again be home to palm trees and coral reefs.

lgv said...

Generally speaking, eco-tourism actually does more good than harm in terms of protecting the environment.

I have had the discussion with John Weller, who is all about protecting the Antarctic environment. He sees no harm in such tourism. He has no problem with aquariums and zoos, either.

If you want to see some great Antarctic images taken over 5 years:

http://www.johnbweller.com/

I wonder if the guilt ridden interlopers are upset with the penguin interlopers. I'm sure the penguins don't feel guilty about pooping all over the landscape.

Alex said...

Do you think Antarctica cares if it's in a "pristine" state or has some garbage strewn about?

Alex said...

I wonder if the guilt ridden interlopers are upset with the penguin interlopers. I'm sure the penguins don't feel guilty about pooping all over the landscape.

Penguin poop is holy and sacred compared to human poop.

Hagar said...

Perhaps it is the thought that they will not be around to see the world change that disturbs the liberals?
Or that it will change without regard to what they do, or do not, wish?


How about arctic tern poop?

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Antarctica has 5.4 million square miles so it will take a while for 37,000 tourists a year to significantly pollute the continent.

The pollution of getting there and back would likely be more significant, so that would be reason enough for Juliet to stay home, if she were concerned about such things.

buwaya said...

There is such a huge AMOUNT of Antarctica, and its so difficult, expensive, and inconvenient to get there and exist there, that any degradation from any foreseeable amount of tourism would be trivial.
This concern is more about ritual taboos than realism.

carrie said...

My brother went to Antarctica as a tourist. I think that most tourists get there by via research ships, so the tourists are helping to fund the researchers which means that you can't expect the researchers to give an honest answer about the impact of tourists.

EMD said...

Occupy Antarctica.

Not a bad idea, actually.

Mary Martha said...

I went to Antarctica this time last year. It was stunningly beautiful and I got some amazing photographs.

One of the expert guides tried to guilt my group. I nipped it in the bud by pointing out that he was being handsomely paid by us... and I would happily take a refund if all he was going to do was try and make us guilty.

Two other people in the group came over to thank me later. Nobody wants to spend that time and money in order to be told you just shouldn't be there.

Larry J said...

The old adage of "Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints" applies here. All that "save the planet" stuff is bullshit for the rubes.

Ann Althouse said...

I'm mostly concerned about the carbon footprint, chugging all the way down there to see some ice and some birds.

When did people go coo-coo for penguins? Leave them alone. Confine yourself to the zoo penguins. Isn't it enough to know they are there? As for ice and cold... do a northern Wisconsin vacation. I wonder what's up with the ice caves this year? Skitter up there before everyone else notices.

Ann Althouse said...

Here's the number to check whether the ice caves can be reached: (715) 779-3397

As of today, it's still too early. Late January or early February is the prediction.

Unknown said...

"I'm mostly concerned about the carbon footprint,..."

Hope that is satirical.

Ann Althouse said...

"Hope that is satirical."

It's relevant to anyone who thinks carbon footprints are to be monitored, which I bet includes Rix and Rumble.

I'm keeping track of hypocrisy.

I do think we should all try to conserve and not waste our energy resources and that there is some connection to global warming. It's worth at least refraining from indulging in unnecessary extravagances.

buwaya said...

Technology advances because of unnecessary extravagances. If it becomes fashionable to travel to the Antarctic there will probably be a few interesting developments to make it easier/cheaper/cooler (so to speak).
The luxuries of today are the necessities of tomorrow.

jaed said...

This topic needs a Puritanical Althouse tag.

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, yes, one can see plenty of ice and snow right here in the US this winter.

How cold has it been? The Pittsburg zoo had to bring their penguins indoors to keep warm. (true!)

How cold has it been? In Chicago the politicians have their hands in their own pockets. (not true, alas)

Anonymous said...

The Audi TT has had its last look at the Rockies, sounds like.

JAORE said...

"It's worth at least refraining from indulging in unnecessary extravagances."

And it the efforts ended there, we would be in complete harmony. Shall I tell Gore, Dicaprio and Madonna? Or would you like to cover that?

Tarrou said...

She should feel guilty, her presence has sullied nature. I suggest suicide.

furious_a said...

Talk about First World Problems.

SGT Ted said...

Juliet is a twit of the 1st water.

ken in tx said...

It sounds like a case of "All the cool kids are already in the tree house. Pull up the rope ladder, or someone with cooties might come up."

Rusty said...

After having read her article I now wish there were polar bears in Antarctica.