Green Weenie of the Week: Eco-Firestarter

There are times when the gods of the copybook headings really smile on our enterprise. Such as this story from the Financial Times last week:

The timing was terrible. Six weeks before the greenest and prettiest — but one of the least known — of the Canary Islands was due to get its chance to shine, with new direct flights from the UK, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark, it was lit up in a completely unwanted way. Over six days in August, its face was disfigured by a massive fire. When the last flame was finally extinguished, 40 per cent of the prized forest of “Isla Bonita”, as the locals like to call La Palma, had been destroyed, and a ranger had lost his life.

Part of that tragedy is the fire-starter’s own story. Alternative living thrives on La Palma — hippies tend to gravitate towards the most pristine locations — and one such is a 27-year-old German called Scott Verdine Stumpf, who was living in a cave in the island’s south-west flank. Stumpf was keen to minimise his ecological footprint by burning his toilet paper, as any good eco-warrior would, but burning anything at the tinder-dry end of summer is a hostage to fortune. . .

Here’s an idea. Let’s ban eco-weenies from eco-tourism. Not sure whether we’ll actually send Mr. Stumpf his Green Weenie Award, because I’m afraid he’ll burn down the rest of the Canary Islands when he tries to roast it.