Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Lorax Hall of Shame #2

The Lorax Hall of Shame could be subtitled "Killing the goose that laid the golden eggs."

My first award of the day, courtesy of, goes to the road crews in Ningxia who in midnight raids regularly demolish long sections of the Great Wall of China; they "recycle," shall we say, the ensuing rubble into their own road paving projects. Recently, a 100 meter section was flattened. Last year, a 400 meter section disappeared; the culprits were never found. Several years ago a man who plundered the wall received an 80,000 yuan ($12,553) fine. The fine was less than the price of comparable legal construction materials. More.

The recently bulldozed section had been built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Not quite 2500km remain of the 6300km long wall begun in the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC). This road, a World Heritage Site, is critical to China's tourist industry. They probably need to build the road to bring people to see the Wall which they are dismantling to build the road.

A second related Award goes to the people who have been using Hadrian's Wall as a source of construction materials for centuries. Hadrian's Wall was built across Scotland in the second century C.E. by Romans. Their goal: to keep the photogenic but nutty warriors with blue faces (I am doing a pop culture reference here, did you notice?) in the north, where they belonged. It's situated in gorgeous countryside; we walked the wall like gazillions of other tourists.

Chamber of commerce type websites cheerily admit: "Over the years since the Roman military left our shores (around AD 410), the wall has been a convenient stone quarry for generations for Northcountrymen".

My ex and I particularly marvelled at the concept of "Hadrian Hotel" which we saw there. Its sign boasts that it is built out of the very rocks of Hadrian's Wall. Hey - they could build a chain!

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At 11:02 AM, Blogger Ole Blue The Heretic said...

Their goal: to keep the photogenic but nutty warriors with blue faces (I am doing a pop culture reference here, did you notice?)

Good pop culture reference, made me laugh. Most people do not see the historical significance of such sites, as Hadrian’s Wall and the Great Wall of China. Many times, historical sites are regarded as a nuisance and people would rather they not have existed at all. The Ketchum home of Ernest Hemingway is at the center of a controversy. The neighbors do not want the house opened up as a literary conservatory, because it will bring in unwanted tourist, and would like to have the house moved.


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