By this point, you are no doubt weeping at the injustice that will be done to the world if the International Maritime Organization (IMO) succeeds in formalizing the heavy fuel oil ban, thereby forcing Crystal Cruises to end this delightful trip. Am I really supposed to care that rich people won't be able to enjoy giant toy soldiers with icebergs as a backdrop? After all, it is somewhat reassuring that for once the needs of nature are put before the needs of people trying to make money the easy way. Especially as the toothfish fishery expands in the Ross Sea, I find it remarkably progressive of the IMO to proceed with the ban. The similarities are thus: both Antarctic trips and toothfish are products that are aimed at the relatively well off - even more downscale tours are quite expensive, and toothfish sell for $20 per pound - yet efforts to protect either the Antarctic environment or Antarctic fauna are presented as unfair infringements on freedom by hysterical environmentalists. Now if Antarctica were the only environment in which people could recover from a certain disease, or if toothfish were feeding the world's poor, there might be a legitimate debate here.
But that is certainly not the case. Many of us would love to visit Antarctica, and many of us (even in the ocean conservation community) enjoy seafood, yet neither toothfish fillets nor cruises are required for human life. Most of the time, despite what businesses may argue, environmental protections ultimately benefit humans just as much as they benefit the environment. Humans need healthy oceans with healthy ocean ecosystems more than we need luxury goods. Good for the IMO for doing the right thing, and shame on Crystal Cruises for pretending that the ban is anything other than a move to protect the environment.