This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm
October 30th, 2006


I received a Press Release by email a few days ago. It was regarding a resort in Belize pledging to protect the Barrier Reef there. Leaving out the name of the resort, it read:

"Eco-Concious [ibid] Resort Pledges To Protect
Belize's Barrier Reef
Aligns Itself with Carbon Offset Program"

"The Carbon Offset Program is based on the knowledge that air travel and the emission of carbon dioxide is harmful to the environment. For the 2006-2007 season 'the lodge' is pledging to donate to Green Reef NGO, a nonprofit organization located in Belize that is dedicated to the conservation and sustainable use of Belize's vast Environmental Educational and Coastal Research Institute, thus lessening the impact of travel.

(Name redacted), owner of 'the lodge' says, "The disastrous effect of green house gas produced by aircraft has become of focal point of 'the lodge's' concern. Upon learning that each aircraft traveling round-trip from the U.S. to Belize emits approximately half a ton of carbon dioxide, the 'family' felt compelled to make a donation, based on the pro-rated, passenger cost of these emissions."


I don't know if global warming is real. I don't think anyone really knows. Yes, there are a ton of opinions, and lots of science - on both sides. I'm not going there now.

Read the Press Release again, and explain to me how donating to the Green Reef NGO is lessening the impact of the aircraft emissions (if the numbers are correct)? Wouldn't the better solution be to stop air travel to Belize? Book only guests into the lodge who do not come by air? Stop all commercial and recreational boating and fishing which may impact the reef? I guess that should include snorkeling, diving and all other water activities. If indeed air travel has that much impact, all planes everywhere in the world should be grounded immediately or we are doomed! (Including the politicians and Hollywood private planes.) Since the politicians and jet-set are still jetting I guess the threat can't be very serious.

I rather suspect that the 'donation,' "pro-rated, passenger cost" is not going to come out of the pockets of the lodge owners, but an 'add-on' to the visitors bill.

Being of a suspicious nature, I 'googled' Green Reef NGO. It is a private organization, and there are several links on the page, each brings up "Sorry, there is no file by that name on this site. Please choose from our other offerings..." The other offerings include: Home Page | History | Who We Are | Programmes | Alliances & Partners | World Heritage Sites |Legal & Legislation | Reef Briefs | Notice Board | Membership | Gift Shop | Links |Funders and Sponsors | Volunteer | News|.

Interesting right?

It seems to me, that in the rush to proclaim global warming and the opportunity to cash in on people's fears - or people's good will in wanting to preserve our universe, there are those who will take advantage. If and when I make a donation to any organization, be it Boy Scouts or Save the Seals it will be because I chose to do so. Not because a place I chose to visit is 'taxing' me so they can get publicity for being eco-friendly. Not nice.

What is happening all too often is a cause, any cause, can knock on doors, try and get donations and then green-mail (black mail except legal) all other companies, concerns, individuals to donate because their competition, neighbors, other businesses already have and you don't want to be the bad guy and not donate do you? What will your neighbors think? Your business associates? On and on. Another scam.

I'm sorry to see this. Really. ~ LadyFisher

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