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英语短文:拥抱生态旅游

2006-08-11 16:30海词网

   Aremote Patagonian town that's just beginning to prosper by guiding tourists through the virgin forests nearby is being shaken by the realization that it's sitting on a gold mine. Literally. More than 3,000 worried Esquel residents recently took to the streets in protests aimed at assuring that their neat community of 28,000 beco mes an ecotourism center, not a gold-rush town.

  Esquel's plight is winning attention from international conservation and environmental groups such as Greenpeace. In Argentina, the town has become a national symbol in the debate over exploitation vs. preservation of the country's vast natural resources.

  About 3.2 million acres already are under contract for mineral exploration in poor and sparsely settled Chubut Province, where Esquel is, near the southern tip of South America. Whether Meridian Gold Corp. gets its open-pit gold mine outside Esquel could determine the fate of mining in Patagonia, a pristine region spanning southern Argentina and Chile.

  Meridian's project, about 5 miles outside Esquel at a higher elevation, is about 20 miles from a national park that preserves rate trees known as alerces, a southern relative of California's giant sequoia. Some of them have been growing serenely in the temperate rain forest for more than 3,000 years.

  The greatest fear is that cyanide, which is used to leach gold from ore, will drain downhill and poison Esquel's and possibly the park's water supplies. The mine will use 180 tons of the deadly chemical each month. Although many townspeople and some geologists disagree, the company says any excess cyanide would drain away from Esquel.

  "We won't allow them to tear things up and leave us with the toxic aftermath," said Felix Aguilar, 28, as he piloted a boatload of tourists through a lake in the Alerces National Park. "We take care of things here, so that the entire world can hear and see nature in its pure state. The world must help us prevent this."

  American Douglas Tomkins, the founder of the Esprit clothing line and a prominent global conservationist, has bought more than 800,000 wilderness acres in Chile to preserve alerces and protect what's left of the temperate rain forest. Ted Turner, the communications magnate, also has bought land in Argentine Patagonia with an eye to conservation.

  A young English botanist named Charles Darwin, the author of the theory of evolution, was the first European to see alerces, with trunks that had a circumference of 130 feet. He gave the tree its generic name, Fitzroya cupressoides, for the captain of his ship, Robert Fitzroy.

  Argentina, pressed by the United States, Canada, the World Bank and other global lenders, rewrote its mining laws in the 1990s to encourage foreign investment. Mining companies received incentives such as 30 years without new taxes and duty-free imports of earth-moving equipment.

  Argentina took in more than $1 billion over the past decade by granting exploration contracts for precious metals to more than 70 foreign and domestic companies. If the country were to turn away a major investor, the message to its mining sector would be chilling.

  Residents also complain that Argentina hasn't given nature-based tourism a chance."If the government invested in us a tenth of the effort they put into mining, things would be a lot different here," grumbled Randal Williams, 73, who rents tourist cabins in Esquel.

  Forest ecologist Paul Alaback, a University of Montana professor who studies the alerces, said Argentine authorities could gain from Alaska's successful nature-based tourism. "Nature-based tourism would mean less jobs immediately but would be sustainable. You'd be building on something that is going to grow, not going to go away," he said.

  拥抱生态旅游

  巴塔哥尼亚一处偏远的小镇因为发展附近一处原始林的观光业正渐趋繁荣,在这个节骨眼,却如晴天霹雳般得知,当地原来蕴含金矿。没错。三千多位忧心如焚的艾斯圭尔居民最近走上街头抗议,要求将这处拥有两万八千居民的净地作为生态旅游中心,不要沦为淘金城。

  艾斯圭尔的窘境正获得“绿色和平”等国际保育及环保团体的高度关切。在争论阿根廷丰富的自然资源究竟该开发或保育的议题上,该镇俨然成为全国的象征。

  艾斯圭尔位于接近南美洲大陆极南点、贫穷而人烟稀少的丘布省内,矿物探勘合约涵盖了该省近三百二十万亩的土地。巴塔哥尼亚高原是横跨阿根廷与智利两国南部的化外之地,而该地采矿业的命运,将取决于MDG公司能否取得艾斯圭尔外围露天金矿的开采权。

  MDG公司计划开采的地点约在艾斯圭尔五里外海拔高一点的地方,跟一座国家公园约二十里,这座国家公园保育着稀有的落叶柏科树木,一种美国加州红木的南方品种。有些柏树已在这片温带雨林安然度过三千多年了。

  最严重的威胁是,在矿砂滤取黄金的过程中使用的氰化物将会向下排放,污染艾斯圭尔、甚至国家公园的水源。开矿过程每个月会使用一百八十吨的这种致命化学物质。尽管许多镇民和部分地质学家不同意,该公司表示,所有过量的氰化物将全数排出艾斯尔圭。

  二十八岁的菲力克司亚奇拉在带领一船旅客浏览落叶林国家公园一座湖泊时说:“我们不会允许他们把事情搞砸,把毒害留给我们。有我们悉心呵护这里的一切,全世界才得以欣赏饱览此地纯朴的自然之美。世界应该和我们一起守护这里。”

  美国服饰品牌Esprit的创始人,也是国际知名自然保育人士的杜格拉斯,汤姆金斯,为保育落叶林及温带雨林内仅存的生物,买下智利八十多万亩的土地。媒体巨子泰德·透纳着眼于环境保育,也买下阿根廷巴塔哥尼亚土地。

  进化论的发表人—年轻的英国植物学家查尔斯·达尔文,是第一位见识落叶柏树干圆周长达一百三十尺的欧洲人。他似他船长的名字罗伯费兹·洛伊,为这种树取了学名“费兹洛柏”(即:智利柏)。

  受到美国、加拿大、世界银行及全球其他债权者频频施压的阿根廷,为了促进外商投资,在九○年代修订了矿业法令。给予矿采业的奖励措施包括三十年免征新税与免税进口矿业开采设备等等。

  阿根廷过去十年内与国内外七十多家业者签订贵重矿物开采合约,获得十亿美元以上的利润。如果拒绝主要投资客户,阿根廷的采矿业将面临萧条的景况。

  当地居民也抱怨阿根廷政府不肯给自然观光业机会。在艾斯圭尔经营观光小屋出租,现年七十三岁的蓝道·威廉斯抱怨:“当初如果政府肯花他们投资采矿业资金的十分之一在我们身上的话,事情就会改观了。”

  蒙大拿大学教授,也是研究落叶植物的森林生态学者保罗,雅勒贝克表示,阿根廷当局可以仿效阿拉斯加自然旅游业的成功之道。“在当下,发展自然旅游业的确意味着工作机会立即减少,但它却能永续经营。你应该要去建设会茁壮成长的东西,而非日渐消逝的事物。”

  关 键 词

  ecotourism // n. 生态旅行

  We should protect our natural environment and support ecotourism.

  我们应该保护自然环境,支持生态旅游。

  pristine // adj. 原始的

  The forests on the Alps are still in pristine region, unspoiled by industrialization.

  阿尔卑斯山的森林仍是原始林区,未遭工业破坏。

  span // v. 横跨,跨越

  The government spent two years building a red bridge spanning the gorge.

  政府花了两年的时间建造一座横跨那座峡谷的红桥。

  elevation // n. 海拔

  The lake on the mountain at an elevation of about 350 meters is our first stop.

  山里那座海拔三百五十公尺左右的湖泊是我们的第一站。

  leach // v. 过滤

  Nitrogen is easily leached from soil because it is more easily dissolved.

  氮因为较容易溶解,所以很容易就可以从土壤中过滤出来。

  toxic // adj. 有毒的

  People in Nazi concentration camps were slaughtered using toxic gas.

  纳粹集中营里的人们惨遭毒气杀害。

  prominent // adj. 著名的,重要的

  Lili played a prominent part in the case.

  莉莉在这件案子里扮演举足轻重的角色。

  magnate // n.(实业界)巨头,巨子

  The press magnate decided on a merger with another company to expand his empire.

  那位报巨子决定与另一家公司合并,以扩展他的企业王国。

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