June 1, 2007



Vacation to ‘Warming Island’
by Jim Hightower

As summer approaches, families all across our country are making vacation plans. But some people get bored with the same old trips, whether to the shore or to some exotic tropical island. Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt.

Well, Bucko, don’t get all mopey. Perk-up your vacation life with something entirely different, something guaranteed to cause a buzz back at the office: a cruise! No, not the geezer cruise with shuffleboard and the endless buffet. I'm talking about a cruise with cachet and topical relevancy — a cruise to watch global warming as it’s happening!

Yes, instead of just talking about climate change, you can literally go look at it, thanks to a boom in something called "global warming tourism."

For example, a company called Betchart Expeditions is offering a 12-day excursion up the Greenland Coast to witness the melting of the Greenland ice sheet. After traveling some 400 miles north of the Arctic Circle, you will lay eyes on a brand new landmark aptly named Warming Island. It was totally unknown until discovered in 2005 emerging from beneath the melting ice sheet. Just think your very own Hummer might have contributed to the sudden appearance of this unique chunk of geography!

And you can see it in style aboard Betchart's 50-foot passenger ship. The bare-bones price for a steerage cabin with shared bath is $5,000. But add a $2,000 upgrade and you get a "superior" cabin with a private john. The cruise company notes that you can be among the first humans to see this spectacular island, which it describes as "a compelling indicator of the rapid speed of global warming."

Of course, this is a cruise loaded with irony. As a climate change expert says, "If enough people expend enough fossil fuels to visit Warming Island, they will ensure that there will be many more." So bon voyage — and don't forget to buy the T-shirt.

For more information on Jim Hightower's work — and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown — visit www.jimhightower.com


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