WE HELPED RUIN THE PLANET

By Patrick Barkham

The Guardian

Saturday March 4, 2006

They are the gurus of globetrotting, the men who built publishing empires from their adventures and wrote guidebooks encouraging millions to venture further afield than ever before. Now the founders of the Rough Guides and Lonely Planet books, troubled that they have helped spread a casual attitude towards air travel that could trigger devastating climate change, are uniting to urge tourists to fly less.

Mark Ellingham, the founder of Rough Guides, and Tony Wheeler, who created Lonely Planet after taking the hippie trail across Asia, want fellow travellers to "fly less and stay longer" and donate money to carbon offsetting schemes. From next month, warnings will appear in all new editions of their guides about the impact of flying on global warming alongside alternative ways of reaching certain destinations.

But the founders of the UK's two biggest travel publishers are refusing to give up flying and admit they are not paragons of environmental virtue. Asked if he felt guilty about the hundreds of flights he has undertaken, Mr Wheeler -- visiting London on a business trip from Australia -- said: "Absolutely. I'm the worst example of it. I'm not going to stop but every time I jump on a plane I think, 'oh no, I'm doing it again.'"

Read further under: //www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1723120,00.html


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