from the protect-the-environment-by-damaging-it dept.
The NYT reports that Peruvian authorities say Greenpeace activists have damaged the fragile, and restricted, landscape near the Nazca lines, ancient man-made designs etched in the Peruvian desert when they placed a large sign that promoted renewable energy near a set of lines that form the shape of a giant hummingbird. The sign was meant to draw the attention of world leaders, reporters and others who were in Lima, the Peruvian capital, for a United Nations summit meeting aimed at reaching an agreement to address climate change. Greenpeace issued a statement apologizing for the stunt at the archaeological site and its international executive director, Kumi Naidoo, flew to Lima to apologize for scarring one of Peru’s most treasured national symbols. “We are not ready to accept apologies from anybody,” says Luis Jaime Castillo, the vice minister for cultural heritage. “Let them apologize after they repair the damage.”
But repair may not be possible. The desert around the lines is made up of white sand capped by a darker rocky layer. By walking through the desert the interlopers disturbed the upper layer, exposing the lighter sand below. Visits to the site are closely supervised - ministers and presidents have to seek special permission and special footwear to tread on the fragile ground where the 1,500 year old lines are cut. “A bad step, a heavy step, what it does is that it marks the ground forever,” says Castillo. “There is no known technique to restore it the way it was.” Castillo says that the group walked in single file through the desert, meaning that they made a deep track in the ground then they spread out in the area where they laid the letters, making many more marks over a wide area. “The hummingbird was in a pristine area, untouched,” Castillo added. “Perhaps it was the best figure.”