Category Archives: Lifestyle

The Human Wildlife Conflict 

Humans are the number 1 negative impact affecting the environment and the natural world.

We have the capacity and capability to also be the number 1 positive impact but as a species we have as yet failed to show that.

Elephants and baboons are possibly the next ones in the queue for their influence on the environment around them being the gardeners of Africa, changing the landscape, spreading seeds and creating/destroying habitats and feedfor different animals.

This article explains how we as humans are continuing the negative impact even as NGOs trying to do our bit to alleviate the pressure on local communities to turn to poaching or trying to uplift the levels of poverty.

‘If we stopped poaching tomorrow, elephants would still be in big trouble’

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/14/if-we-stopped-poaching-tomorrow-elephants-would-still-be-in-big-trouble?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Copy_to_clipboard

Conservation: Noah’s Ark and trophy hunting

Conservation is a complex business. Life, real natural life, is full of interactions, butterfly effects and things we are yet to understand. 

There’s a great project to relocate animals from one park in Zimbabwe to another in Mozambique. It’s going to cost a lot and allegedly a significant portion has been provided from hunting.

What do you think of this?

Mozambique: 6,000 animals to rewild park is part-funded by trophy hunting


https://www.theguardian.com/environment/radical-conservation/2017/jun/19/rewilding-mozambique-trophy-hunting-elephants-giraffe-poaching-zimbabwe-sango-save-zinave?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Copy_to_clipboard

Focus on elephants

This month I have started a new life in unchartered territory! I’ve started work at a new NGO focused on African elephant conservation.


I’m very excited to be able to work in this space as elephants are magnificent creatures and have such an impact on the environment for other little creatures and plant life. They are are the gardeners of Africa. 

As part of my role I am looking into other NGO’S and the work that is already being done and seeing how we can support those activities, whether it is to connect with other NGO’S who can provide complementary functions, finding more efficient solutions to save them costs, bringing across donors to make them aware or supporting local communities in order to prevent them from becoming part of the problem.

The NGO’S I’m most looking forward to meet are those who’ve done so much work in expanding wildlife protected areas and opening up corridors and migratory pathways. Years of dedication, advocacy and strong conservation understanding is needed for this to happen. I would love to see how we can open up more of Africa for these animals who used to roam all over Africa and are now only 1.25% of theirestimated original population!

Drones and Anti-poaching

Earlier this week I gave a talk at a conference on drones spelling out our lessons learnt on using UAV’s for anti-poaching and security in the commercial environment. 

Thankfully it was a well received talk and we got some good enquiries for future projects. It may have had something with us being one of few companies globally to have aviation authority BVLOS licences which means only we can the distances we fly! 

Working in Zimbabwe 

Some of my talk covered parts of the study UDS did with CSIR which outlined the versatility of RPAS as a tool for conservation and counter poaching activities. 

http://itweb.co.za/mobilesite/defenceweb/home/item_id-45909/

Together with the on the ground patrol teams we can achieve great things

A new era of conservation 

It’s been 10 months since we left our urban lives and I’ve been researching a lot these last weeks to work out how to use my skill sets and do work that is ethical or sustainable and helping create a better world.

I’ve been looking at career advice websites, self-help youtube videos and reading articles on technology, engineering, sustainability, conservation and wildlife. It’s been difficult to find something that excited me or looked like it fit. I even went hunting through think tanks which looks like a lot of research academics and politics, which are important parts to achieve the goals I want to achieve, but I’m realistic… working on that really isn’t my forte nor will I last long.
My next steps have been on doing those online free courses to see what strikes my fancy. I tried to download one on psychology but it ended up in Chinese or fully online and as much as I love the Internet,  I really despise programmes that mean I have to have a reliable internet connection. It’s so presumptuous!

So I found a few on mobile apps, digital marketing and bbusiness analysis which are exciting new aspects for me to learn and complement my business development understanding as it is.

Just now I have found a great article and it’s exactly along the lines of what I’ve been thinking and inspired me in the right way!

What the conservation industry needs right now is innovation and Gautam Shah’s article hits the nail on the head.

Stay tuned and I’m going to ponder this one a little longer!

Cultural understanding 

Having spent a good portion of my time in Zululand of South Africa, I’ve tried to learn a bit about these beautiful people.

Firstly I’ve been trying to learn the language. I’ve a long way to go before I get more culturally aware but the following phrases are the first steps:

  • Sawabona – hello
  • Yeah Bo! (That’s what it sounds like, I’m not so sure about the spelling) – an emphatic greeting
  • Siyabonga – thank you

    We went to a zulu dancing and cultural centre in Natal where we learnt about how marriage takes place in zulu culture. It costs a man at least 11 cows to win a wife from her family. And they can have multiple wives… If they have sufficient cows!

    The zulu traditional dress includes using animal skins and fur, making colourful beadwork and assagai shields made from animal hide.

    Their music and dancing is joyous and energetic filled with rhythm and drums.

    Shamans from the zulu culture throw animals bones to see into the future and determine whether a woman is suitable as a wife.

    Vegetarian Recipe – Harissa Falafel Salad

    Over 6 months ago I became a vegetarian to align more of my lifestyle to the sustainable ideals I believe are better for the world at large.

    Here is my first post of one of my tasty and colourful vegetarian recipes.

    Harissa Falafel Salad
    Serves 4

    Ingredients

    FALAFEL

    • 200g of butternut pumpkin, chopped into 1cm cubes
    •  olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon of paprika
    • 200g of mushrooms, chopped
    • 1 x 400g tin of chickpeas
    • 1 lemon
    • 1 tablespoon of harissa
    • 1 teaspoon of allspice
    • 1 tablespoon of plain flour
    • 1 bunch of fresh coriander, separating stalks & leaves (aka cilantro or dhania)

    SALAD

    • 200g of mixed leaves (e.g. rocket, baby spinach, beetroot leaves, lettuce)
    • 1 red onion, sliced
    • 2 baby beetroot, sliced
    • 2 tomatoes, halved and quartered
    • half a lebanese cucumber, sliced
    • 1 yellow capsicum, sliced

    SALAD DRESSING

    • 3 tbsp olive oil
    • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
    • 1/2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
    • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
    • 1/2 tbsp honey
    • salt & pepper to taste

    Method

    1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
    2. In a bowl toss the chopped butternut pieces with a tablespoon of olive oil and the paprika.
    3. Lay out on a baking tray and put in the oven for 30 minutes or until soft and slightly golden.
    4. With a dash of olive oil on a fry pan, lightly fry the chopped mushrooms till soft.
    5. Drain the chickpeas and put in a large bowl.
    6. Add the butternut and mushrooms.
    7. Mash with a fork or potato masher.
    8. Finely grate in the lemon zest, add a pinch of salt and pepper, the harissa, allspice, flour and coriander stalks.
    9. Mix together and use clean, wet hands to divide and shape the mixture into 8 patties.
    10. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a fry pan, and when hot, add the falafels, turning when golden and crisp.
    11. To make the salad dressing, mix all the ingredients in a small bowl.
    12. To serve, arrange the leaves on each serving plate, add the salad vegetables, top with the falafels and pour the dressing to taste.

    Voila!