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ENVIRONMENT & TRAVEL February 2006
On the cost of refusing to go green in Australia, biopiracy in Pakistan, winter holidays in Newfoundland for men & in Alaska for women.
by Pauline LAVAGNE d'ORTIGUE


The cost of refusing to go green in Australia
The Australian National Audit Office claims the Federal Government could save $10 million a year if its agencies were more environmentally conscious. Saving energy, introducing water-saving measures, managing motor vehicle emissions, and cutting or recycling general office waste are all ways to implement green office practice and reduce costs.
The Australian Taxation Office was the only department that met Government targets for cutting pollution for last year.
Source: "Refusal to go green wastes $10m a year," Sidney Morning Herald 2 January 2006.


Biopiracy in Pakistan
The northern provinces of Pakistan are a major reservoir for the biological riches and indigenous knowledge longed for by pharmaceutical corporations and biotechnology companies.
It is believed that some of the NGOs working for "conservation of medicinal plants" in these areas might sometimes act as intermediaries for big firms. Recently local people were spotted selling a plant found in the Kaghan valley at Rs6,000 per kilogramme for export. Both biodiversity and indigenous cultures are under threat as natural habitat and social interaction patterns are disrupted by this lucrative but often illicit trade.
Source: « Resources : a threat to our ‘green gold' » Dawn 28 January 2006.


Winter holidays: Newfoundland for men, Alaska for women

Newfoudland and Alaskan winters are often equated (in the public mind) with freezing temperatures, icy winds and gloomy darkness. But both could become attractive holiday destinations for adventurous singles : while there are too many women as a percentage of Newfoundland's population, in Alaska, there are far too many men. The two states each have a little over half a million inhabitants. Alaska is five times the size of Germany ; Newfoundland, aka "The Rock", is half the size of Britain.
Both offer decent skiing, as well as warm post-ski conversation.
Sources: "Alaska much more than cold and dark," The Mail & Guardian 31 December 2005; "A ski trip like narn other," The Guardian 4 January 2006.

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