Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sri Lanka, Hawaii: World Heritage Sites and People

"Sri Lanka, Hawaii sites get world heritage status"
Reuters (July 31, 2010)

"Sri Lanka's central highlands and a protected marine area in Hawaii, the only habitats of several endangered plant and animal species, have been added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage sites, the U.N. body said on Saturday.

"Sri Lanka's central highlands were deemed of prime importance because of the pristine forests that are home to the Sri Lanka leopard and other rare animal and plant life...."

Sounds like a nice idea. Folks living in Hawaii can probably afford to get about 140,000 square miles of the Pacific Ocean declared 'off limits.' I sincerely hope that the same can be said for their counterparts in Sri Lanka.

Don't get me wrong: I think it's a good idea to set aside tracts of land that are of particular interest.

For example, there's a patch of prairie a dozen or so miles east of Fargo, North Dakota, that's never been tilled. It's a protected area, which is a good thing. Several decades back, some twit wanted to dig it up to get at the sand underneath: which was silly, since sand is as common as dirt in that part of the world.

We still have the Bluestem Prairie, and nobody in northwestern Minnesota went hungry because they couldn't mine sand there.

Like I said, I hope that folks in Sri Lanka can afford having some of their land set aside.

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