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Saliem Fakir

Decolonise science at your peril

Students who want to throw Western science out of universities need to rethink their ideas

Favouring the soft option

<b>Saliem Fakir</b> looks at the different approaches business and government have when it comes to taking action towards a low-carbon future.

Tackling the elephant

What do ordinary South Africans think of government's plans to combat climate change? Oops, nobody's bothered to ask

Striking a balance for parks and people

South Africa has a new Protected Areas Bill. What does it mean for conservation – and for the World Parks Congress in September? Saliem Fakir, South Africa's director of IUCN-The World Conservation Union, takes a look.

Economy versus ecology

The findings of the South Africa Environment Outlook report were predictable. It talks of a dismal future amid the withering of natural resources as a result of rapid growth and consumption. You can bet that in four or five years' time if a similar report is done, the grim prognosis will not be any different. In fact, the situation might well be worse, given the projected growth in the economy of about 6%.

Planning for a future without oil

Peak oil predictions vary depending on who one speaks too and which type of modelling is used. According to some experts, we are in a peak oil period already, meaning that we have reached the crest of the ­supply curve and are consuming the remaining reserves of oil. Some have mooted the idea of the oil economy being replaced by the hydrogen economy because it is least likely to disrupt our ­current way of life.

Blame the rich, not the poor

The political economist Thomas Malthus caused a stir in 1798 when he published his controversial work, An Essay on the Principle of Population. Malthus postulated that unrestrained population growth will result in the increased production of food beyond the capacity of the Earth's resources to sustain and this, in time, will lead to scarcity. Saliem Fakir agrees: the lifestyles of the fat and famous could spell the failure of civilisation.

Not-for-profit can still be a business

There are different types of social entrepreneurs: grassroots activists mobilising for social change; relief workers; grantmakers; and even corporate teams who work on social responsibility issues. The value of their work, however, is often undermined because of a number of reasons. They could learn from business about effective accountability and governance, writes Saliem Fakir.

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