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// June 2015

Greetings ,

image dsc

Pont des Arts before it was locked up.

Unlocking Our Heritage

There has been some good news for those people who care for our global heritage sites. The authorities in Paris have finally acted and removed the metal wall of slowly rusting locks that has been polluting the visual beauty and threatening the structural integrity of the heritage Pont des Arts.

It has taken a long time for this positive action to happen but at last those who believe they have a right to deface a historic location with their metal relationship reminders have been given a strong message. Your relationship might survive time, but your padlock won’t.

The people who have this sudden need to leave their mark on some significant place would probably not want to carve their initials into a tree as was the tradition. They would now claim that this is not environmentally acceptable. Unfortunately they haven’t considered the similarities and serious consequence of fastening commercial padlocks to any historic structure they feel like.

The local authorities should also be censured for taking so long to react to this recent phenomenon. Like the proven method of reducing the proliferation of graffiti, they should have removed the first examples when they first appeared and thereby given a strong message that “you lock, we unlock”.

So good for Paris – hopefully many more cities will follow their example.

On another positive note, recently an Our Place photographer joined an IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) monitoring mission to assess the Donana National Park in Spain. A gallery of these images has been posted on the IUCN site to coincide with the 39th World Heritage Committee meeting starting this week in Germany. These images document a group of individuals caring for and looking after an important natural location.

Maybe the “lock it and leave it” generation also will start caring more about the significant places that they visit and just appreciate and enjoy them as they are. Hopefully they won't feel the need to leave behind a selfish selfie.

Geoff Steven,

CEO Our Place

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