Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Coexisting with the Wild Things

Botswana is home to the cheetah, herds of gemsbok, prides of lions, giraffes and all manner of wildlife on its expansive plains. This wildlife is now under conservation as part of an evolving approach to resource management.

It's also part of a new emerging Africa, which is slowly evolving reform in governance, to counteract the corruption in government and society which keeps it from moving forward. New entrepreneurial alliances emerging from this country and others on this continent are bringing many people out of poverty at the same time that resources are being directed towards constructive business and infrastructure improvements. These things ease the poverty which degrades the environment of the African bush and the cities and townships which are a legacy of colonial imperialism. A reflective article by Bono expresses some of the cultural and innovative fusion that is taking place.

Africa has a unique position in history as the birthplace of the human race, as well as being a continent with tremendous ecological biodiversity. But this is being threatened by the poaching and decimation of remaining wildlife. What this makes startlingly clear, per an article in The Atlantic, is that destruction of wildlife disrupts the entire cycle of life on this continent, which still heavily relies on natural processes, local farming and tribal migration to balance the ecosystem. Drought is forcing the nomadic tribes to abandon the range and camp out near the roads, as subsistence in this environment is no longer possible, and the stress is seen in the declining wildlife as well.

Addressing the consequences of climate change, as well as preserving and restoring the African bush heritage, are critical components of the emerging Africa and its new self-identity that moves beyond the tribal divisions and becomes self-reliant.