France may have been well-advised to beware the ides of April.
The world watched in horror as the Notre Dame, a symbol of France’s religious history and a UNESCO heritage site, went up in flames on April 15. Although France has pledged to rebuild the iconic landmark, the anguish caused by the incident highlights how integral heritage sites are to our daily lives.
Fire hazard, however, isn’t all that is threatening world heritage sites. A number of activities that go against the sustainability of the planet pose greater risks to the survival of these wonders. To name a few: exploration and extraction of oil, gas and minerals; illegal logging; overfishing; unsustainable use of water and large-scale projects that ignore the environmental impact of building urban infrastructure.