Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cool Sands Heat Up Environmentalists

A new "cool" sand project in Dubai has stirred up a bit of controversy. According to The Sunday Times, Versace, the developer of the new Palazzo Versace hotel in Dubai, is planning to refrigerate the beach. Yes, that's right. In a place where the temperature can reach up to 122 degrees in the summer, the developer wants to protect the bottoms of its guests' feet. How thoughtful of them! Buried in the beach next to the hotel, a network of pipes beneath the sand will carry a coolant that will absorb and carry away heat from the beach's surface. Can you imagine the look on the contractor's face who was asked to do this? ("You want to do what?")

Unfortunately, this is not a repeat of a Three Stooges bit; it is for real. The developers also plan to refrigerate the swimming pool and there are also apparently proposals to install giant blowers to waft a gentle breeze over the beach. Again: How thoughtful!

All of these plans are not making environmentalists happy. “Dubai is like a bubble world where the things that are worrying the rest of the world, like climate change, are simply ignored so that people can continue their destructive lifestyles,” said Rachel Noble, the campaigns officer at Tourism Concern, which promotes sustainable tourism.

One more nugget from the article: "About 60 percent of Dubai’s huge power bill is for air-conditioning; each person living there has a carbon footprint of more than 44 tons of CO2 a year."

Well, at least some of the carbon footprints in the future will be on cool sand.

1 comment:

Josh Steinitz said...

This is so absurd. I've made sure to insist that one of my friends cancel his trip to Dubai.

In addition to thinking about the green practices of your hotel, and considering how your travel to a destination impacts the environment, it's also important to think about your travel WHILE IN YOUR TRAVEL DESTINATION. We just posted on our blog about it at

Spend a little time prior to your trip using some proximity-enabled planning tools like those found on NileGuide ( to logically group nearby points of interest together in your trip itinerary. This was, you'll save money and reduce your carbon footprint. For example, why take a taxi to a restaurant across town from your hotel when you can find a great place within walking distance?