Time for a wildly new ap­proach

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - OPINION -

EDNA Molewa earned Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa’s praise as a woman of courage and prin­ci­ple, recog­nised for her sup­port of ef­forts to com­bat cli­mate change. Her un­timely death of­fers the pres­i­dent an op­por­tu­nity to ap­point a Min­is­ter of En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs who, while sup­port­ing global causes, is first and fore­most a guardian of con­ser­va­tion at home.

Molewa faced crit­i­cism from con­ser­va­tion­ists for pro­tect­ing vested in­ter­ests. This was ar­tic­u­lated by Chris Mercer in a re­cently pub­lished piece, which high­lighted the breed­ing of lions in cap­tiv­ity for the canned lion in­dus­try.

He ar­gued that un­der Molewa’s watch “the wild was be­ing taken out of wildlife” and the time was ripe for a new ap­proach to the con­ser­va­tion of bi­o­log­i­cal di­ver­sity.

In par­tic­u­lar, how do we achieve sus­tain­able use and shared ben­e­fits of our won­der­ful bio­di­ver­sity with­out sac­ri­fic­ing the pro­tec­tion of this very bio­di­ver­sity?

Tourism Min­is­ter Derek Hanekom is serv­ing En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs in an act­ing ca­pac­ity.

Among the is­sues to be re­viewed should be how, as a sig­na­tory to the Bio­di­ver­sity Con­ven­tion, we pro­mote poli­cies that are cen­tred on the pro­tec­tion and preser­va­tion of our wildlife.

We must ex­tend marine con­ser­va­tion ar­eas and pro­tect our oceans from fur­ther degra­da­tion, pro­tect our wet­lands from min­ing, our moun­tains from de­vel­op­ment, and our wildlife from poach­ing and ex­tinc­tion, al­ways putting the ben­e­fits of the en­vi­ron­ment above com­mer­cial ones and us­ing our en­vi­ron­ment in a sus­tain­able way to pro­mote tourism and leave a legacy for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

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