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.
Aldo Leopold was quite simply, the conservationists conservationist. He was a quiet, considered man, a hunter, forester and a pioneering ecologist. The story of his environmental awakening from the 1920s through to the 1940s could teach modern African conservationists, as well as those animal rights advocates who oppose hunting, some important lessons. In my opinion, … Continue reading Aldo Leopold and Lessons for African Conservation
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.
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
Our lives are based on myths. We all have personal myths that we live by and which define who we are. They make us secure in the knowledge that we are living a good life. Adhering to the myths that are more widely shared in society help us gain the approval of our peers and have a strong role in binding … Continue reading The Myth of African Wilderness
I’ve just read a new report by a group of British academics which criticises the economic arguments around trading in wildlife products. The problems with rhino poaching in South Africa form a backdrop to the report. I’m going to dig down into some of the problems with the Leverhulme report, but let me start by … Continue reading Is the trade in Wildlife Products Sustainable?
Epistemology – now there’s a word you don’t encounter in every day conversation! It simply means a set of beliefs about the world which inform our perception of reality. In a formal sense it’s the study of knowledge – the study of epistemology investigates the origin, nature, methods and limits of human knowledge. So what … Continue reading Towards an African Epistemology of Nature