In several posts from Africa, we get a glimpse of conservation efforts in the different countries, hindrances faced in some countries and success in at least one. The countries we read from are South Africa, Zambia and D.R Congo in regards to conservation, and from Kenya and Uganda regarding carbon footprints and land rights respectively.
Roydon posts in the Environment.co.za forum about conservation efforts in a nature reserve located in the eastern cape of South Africa, and the recurring problem of a mining company reapplying for a mining rights in the Dolerite rich area. Dolerite is commercial rock often known as ‘Black Granite‘.
The problem is that
a) the government owns the Minerals & Energy Rights
b) we as the landowners does not have the final say, we may only object to such applications
c) Should the government find your ,objection not strong enough or valid for any reason they might award such rights to any mining company applying for it even though it might not be part of your future strategy
In our case the specific applicant has applied a number of times and has been denied a number of times but continuous to apply over and over again despite the fact that we show no interest.
We have offered the applicant many other alternatives on other farms where the farmers are willing to discuss mining opportunities with the applicant
Each time an application is made the process has to take its course and it is timeous, stressfull and very frustrating.
The post also mentions that this detracts from the conservation and education efforts of the nature reserve. The dilemma faced is illustrated by the observation
We feel that there should always be a willing buyer and willing seller in order to make such an application work.Our objection is only considered on the potential impact a quarry can have on the environment and not our business strategy which is just as important.If we cannot motivate strongly enough what negative impact such a quarry can and will have on the environment the application to mine might be granted.This is quite a dilemma we face and I am sure we are not alone. This like a hostile takeover of your land over which you as the landowner have no control. It has already cost us thousands to fight this application, money that we could have spend on the environment now have to be spend on legal battles.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, war continues to affect the animal conservation efforts of wildlife Direct. The rangers Innocent and Diddy write of their frustrations at not being able to protect the mountain gorilla.
Last time we were prevented from doing our job was in mid-December 2006, for about a month. It was the same problem as now: fighting between rebels and the army. The same rebels as now. But the fighting was at Bikenge and Jomba, so we could still do some patrolling at Bukima, albeit limited.
Today is worse because all of the Mikeno Sector is overrun. In fact today feels worse than all the other security situations we have ever known.
They also reminisce on a Gorilla family called ‘Rugendo’ which was almost decimated in July.
In Zambia, there is good news from the blog Zambian Forests on the cancellation of a 99 year lease that covered a section of the West Mvunye forest.
The Luembe Conservancy Trust and the Trust soon to be formed in Mwape, will now be able to resume their attempts to manage the area for the benefit of the community and the forest itself. And we will continue to resist any attempts to de-gazette the forest.
The background on the land saga can be found in a post from August, also on the same blog, showing that the land in question was being hived off from protected forest land.
In Kenya, Phil of Kenya Environment News posts a two part article that sums up Kenya's stand on carbon footprints, as delineated by the National Taskforce on Horticulture of Kenya. The articles shed some light on the ongoing debate whereby Kenyan organic food exports faced the threat of a ban (now rescinded) from the UK. At issue is Carbon miles/ greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the Air freight of organic produce to the UK, which is the only way to transport the perishable food. Part I of the article includes background information on the debate, some statistics of the UK market and the status of organic agriculture in Kenya. Part II includes more information and an appeal that reads in part…
Our appeal, Trade not Aid
In Kenya, production and export of horticultural produce is labour intensive and creates a lot of employment of skilled and non-skilled labour, both at the rural production areas and at the pack-houses. Small-scale farmers and out-growers depend on money they earn from horticultural crop business to manage and afford the up-keep of their families, afford good food for their health, education of their children and to meet other domestic and household needs towards reduction of poverty in the country.
In Uganda, the lawyer and Journalist Moses Sserwanga looks at the legalities and politics surrounding the land act in Uganda.
For starters, its not true that Uganda’s decades long land problem is a creation of the judiciary or judicial officers as president Museveni and his government purport it to be. Rather the Land problem is a creation of the political elite in the successive governments the country has had since independence.
The political bourgeoisie have continued to play the populists card to hoodwink the peasantry (the majority of whom are landless) by deliberately sidestepping the legal parameters that recognize the lawful registration of land as the only means through which both citizens and non citizens can lay a claim of right to land.
He goes on to examine the importance of the Judiciary in arbitrating land issues, and other factors important to land ownership in Uganda.
From the South African blog The Empire collective, we end with an interesting billboard.
charge less who use less with incentives.small houses.stop toilet huge flushes. these measures for saving water and energy.
Ecofasa turns waste to biodiesel using bacteria
A group of Spanish developers working for a company called Ecofasa just announced a new biofuel made up from trash. This isn’t a biodiesel made from used frying oil; instead, it’s made from general urban waste which is treated by bacteria. The result of that bacteria? Fatty acids that can be used to produce standard biodiesel. According to the company’s CEO, the process is fully biologic, competes with no feedstock and is really sustainable. However, the process doesn’t yield that much actual fuel: just one liter of biodiesel from 10 kg of trash. The project is now in a development phase, but Ecofasa said that a commercially viable model could be ready in three to four years.