That a president of a developing country that has to depend on donor funds to meet their yearly budget, personally sets natures resources worth billions ablaze is very ironic. I can even call it sad. A resource that has a readily available market, that caused the death of thousands of our wildlife, should never be wasted that way again.
President Kibaki sets ivory on fire
Does it not matter at all that an elephant, or a rhino was murdered somewhere in cold blood, for one to have mercilessly cut off their tusks with the intention of enriching themselves by selling them in the Asian black market? According to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, about 36,500 elephants are killed in Africa alone every year by a set of serial killers we have christened poachers. A little of the ivory acquired by this heinous act is intercepted at the airports, and is ‘confiscated’. Part of it kept as exhibit for the prosecution of the persons found with it. What we see later in our country is a huge stack of ivory worth billions of shillings ceremoniously being burned by the president, in the presence of other very influential learned people of excellent economic and environmental knowledge.
Billions up in flames
How I sincerely wish that things were a little different. I wish that once such cargo is intercepted, it is not confiscated but stored. That the offender be not remanded for months on end before prosecution and trial, but to be convicted within shortest time possible. Let it be known that such cases shall not be amongst those that will drag in the courts forever. There should be no freeing poachers or illegal ivory traders on bond, unless under very special circumstances that will require very convincing backup. Punishment for such offenders should not be less than ten years behind bars.
Most important though is the stored ivory. It doesn’t change anything by burning them, does it? Bad cannot be paid by worse if our aim is to see positive progress. By burning, the dead elephants and rhinos from which these tusks were removed will have died in vain. If we really care to reduce, and even stop poaching, it would be of better sense to honor their deaths by protecting their surviving kin. We could go ahead and legally sell the ivory by a process of international bidding and selling them to the buyer attaching highest value to them. The sums acquired from the sale can then be used to improve measures being put to protect wildlife, like research, securing park perimeters, hiring more rangers and equipping them to effectively deal with poachers. This way, there truly will be progress in curbing poaching, and the shame of burning billions when we desperately need them will be no more.
Burning will not stop poaching, I dare say. There should be no pride in burning ivory.
Seven year Old Olivia Binfield stands before thousands to send a message with Lucy, her snake coiled around her little neck. She thinks she wants to become a zoologist when she grows up; but she doesn’t have to wait that long; she is one of the best zoologists already, and the best poet too.
Olivia and her Lucy on the stage
Watch her as she tells you why she thinks "man's such a fool." Olivia asks that you may listen to her "passion, although it may not be in fashion." She is the voice of all the endangered animal species.
Soil erosion, environmental degradation, desertification, climate change all sound synonymous. But are they? Not really, but they are all parasites that feed almost the same way.
Exposed roots due to extensive erosion
I’ll let pictures speak for Baringo and Elgeyo Marakwet counties. Degradation there, and particularly soil erosion, is at massive scales. The rills have turned into death traps for livestock and the larger gullies highways for the nutrient rich top soil that ends up in the Kerio River and the Lake Kamnarok. Poverty level continues to rise in Kerio Valley.
Deep gullies are highways to the Rivers and Lakes
The results? Siltation and the subsequent effects. As we speak the lake is becoming smaller, and a less favorite spot for the wildlife (elephants especially) that loved to quench their thirst there for fear of getting stuck in the muddy shores.
High siltation in Kerio River
Is hope really lost here? Is this place damaged beyond repair? Really? The degradation has been going on for years, but no one seems to notice. I see people run to rehabilitate other places that aren’t really bad and I’m left wondering why they keep neglecting this. UNCCD has it’s focus on prevention of land degradation and desertification. World Agroforestry Center is a close partner. We have the Vetiver Network in our midst. The UNEP headquarters is in our city? Let us pool resources and convert this place into one breathtaking sight of nature.
WHAT’S THE CHALLENGE ABOUT?
The goal of this DO School Challenge is for the selected Fellows to create a Green Store prototype in ten weeks.
This prototype must be sustainable in terms of materials, construction, energy, operation and other aspects and will be realized in Germany. It should be scalable to H&M stores worldwide, be economically beneficial and make the idea of sustainability tangible for customers and employees.
By answering to the Challenge, you will have learned hands-on how to turn an idea into action during the ten-week Incubation Phase. This process is supported by participation in Challenge Lab, a course which offers the knowledge, skills, and tools necessary to successfully solve the Challenge.
Successful candidates may come from, but are not restricted to the fields of engineering, architecture, fashion and design, as well as environmental activism, retail and human resource management.
While solving the Challenge, you work on turning your own venture idea into a viable social venture plan which will be ready for implementation during the following ten-month Implementation Phase.
WHAT’S THE PROGRAM ABOUT?
The DO School offers offers a unique one-year fellowship program for emerging social entrepreneurs who look for training, mentoring and empowerment to start their own ventures. Selected Fellows receive a full scholarship covering the tuition fee for the year.
From September 2013 to January 2014 the DO School invites applications from motivated individuals aged 18 to 28 from around the world to participate in the DO School Green Store Challenge. Successful applicants will show exceptional motivation to contribute to solving the Challenge and developing and starting their own social venture.
Selected Fellows will spend the first ten weeks of their one-year program on the DO School campus in Hamburg from April to June 2014, and the following ten months in their home countries implementing their own ventures.
THE DO SCHOOL
The DO School is an innovative educational institution. We offer a unique one-year program enabling talented emerging social entrepreneurs to launch their own innovative and sustainable ventures. The program allows its participants – our Fellows – to learn from passionate peers, engage with current leaders and experts, and create change by implementing their social start-ups in their home countries.
Learn more about the DO School here.
Please click here to find out more about the Green Store Challenge on our website and to apply!
Stoves, water purifiers, off-grid power, nutritious foods – so many innovative products and services are being developed for Base of Pyramid markets. But companies developing these products have to be innovative and creative in the face of several challenges: low purchasing power, traditional consumer preferences and logistical problems, such as inadequate infrastructure that hamper market growth.
So what are companies doing? How are they innovating? Business Innovation Facility and Business Fights Poverty are hosting a panel discussion in the evening on 19th June 2013 in London. This discussion event will bring news and analysis from the ground. The speakers will be
- Nisha Dutt, Country Manager, India, Business Innovation Facility and VP, Intellecap Consulting
- Soji Apampa, Country Manager, Nigeria, Business Innovation Facility, Founder and Director of the Convention on Business Integrity in Nigeria
and the session will be chaired by Simon Maxwell, Senior Research Associate, Overseas Development Institute. To attend, visit Business Fights Poverty for further information.