Pie In The Sky: Conservation and REDD+

The readers of this blog will know that I am critical of current approaches to conservation. This because most current approaches don’t work. Conservationists never seem to be able to conserve anything. There are a few local success stories, but conservation needs to succeed on a much grander scale than is currently the case. My … Continue reading Pie In The Sky: Conservation and REDD+

Burnings, Bannings and the Bereft – The Churches of Modern Conservation

It’s been a sad week for African wildlife. One branch of the The Church of Modern Conservation has been very busy with burning and banning. They continue to believe in the same failed strategies informed by their doctrine and dogma. They persuaded the South African government to reverse a 2013 decision to introduce a legal, regulated trade … Continue reading Burnings, Bannings and the Bereft – The Churches of Modern Conservation

South Africa is Battered and Bruised but the Heart still Beats.

Negative news from South Africa dominated the headlines last week, as President Jacob Zuma revealed that he is an uneducated oaf, completely lacking in the skills required of a President and contemptuous of the institutions of state. He also managed to wipe ZAR200 billion (about US$1.5 billion) off the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. That’s the same … Continue reading South Africa is Battered and Bruised but the Heart still Beats.

Pay African Leaders to Conserve Wildlife. Not Conservationists.

Conservation in Africa isn’t working. Elephant, rhinoceros, lion and many other species are declining. The overwhelming outcome of the campaign minded, single species, animal rights centred conservation organisations is the failure to conserve wildlife. The outcome of banning the trade in ivory, rhino horn or other wildlife products has been failure. It’s harsh criticism but … Continue reading Pay African Leaders to Conserve Wildlife. Not Conservationists.

There’s a Perfect Storm Brewing over South Central Africa.

Amidst the controversy around Cecil the Lion, people who are concerned about Africa, and especially the area where Cecil comes from, are missing the point. There is potential for far bigger problems in the region than the illegal killing of an old, if iconic lion. To be sure, Cecil is symptomatic of one of these … Continue reading There’s a Perfect Storm Brewing over South Central Africa.

In Africa – Chiefs rule. Sort of.

For someone who is a strong supporter of freedom and individual rights it might be surprising to hear that I strongly support a role for traditional Chiefs in the daily governance of rural African life. Why? Chiefs are unelected, they are a relict of the past and the customary law they enforce is oppressive and … Continue reading In Africa – Chiefs rule. Sort of.

Build it and they will – not necessarily – come.

It has been said that the crisis of Africa is a crisis of governance. While this is true, I sometimes wonder at the astounding naivety of African governments when it comes to encouraging investment and industry. The partnership with China in Africa has exposed this naivety to a degree greater that I have seen for … Continue reading Build it and they will – not necessarily – come.

One man’s Ebola is another man’s Swine Flu. ‘Bushmeat’ vs Venison.

The Ebola virus has killed over 5000 people in a small part of West Africa and now needs the maximum response from local and international health care organisations to slow the transmission rate and save lives. Recently there has been some discussion on how Ebola was transmitted to humans with speculation that the trade in venison or game … Continue reading One man’s Ebola is another man’s Swine Flu. ‘Bushmeat’ vs Venison.

Africa is not Rising. It’s Dying the Death of a Thousand Interventions.

I’m sorry I have to be so negative about Africa. However, I feel it’s important to keep a reality check on the claim that Africa is undergoing a new wave of economic development, because although there some good stories to tell, on the whole, it’s not happening.  If we pretend that it is, we run the risk … Continue reading Africa is not Rising. It’s Dying the Death of a Thousand Interventions.

In Africa, the Past is Not a Foreign Country

In L.P. Hartley’s novel The Go-Between he writes, “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” In dealing with conservation and sustainable development I frequently encounter the opposite – the past echoes through to the present continuously and a consideration of history is essential for understanding the present. The problem with sustainable … Continue reading In Africa, the Past is Not a Foreign Country