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ABOUT FOCUS ON PLANET EARTH

ZULU WARRIOR WITH DAVID
David Anderson

David Anderson, Chairman of Focus on Planet Earth, has spent the past twenty years marketing safaris. In the beginning it was promoting his safari company, David Anderson Safaris, which was formed in 1985. It was after the Persian Golf war in 1991 that his attention turned to the promotion of tourism for the industry.

Seeing a decline in tourism, he organized the first Focus on Africa project and in 1993, 136 photographers travel to Africa to capture the magic of Africa on film. His first book, Focus on Africa: Wildlife, Conservation, and Man featured 554 images from the project and addressed the role that tourism plays in conservation and community development.

Other projects have included, creating and conducting Wings of Africa, a multi-media presentation for South African Airways, developing one of the first web sites on African safaris and the On Safari CD-ROM. Last year, he recruited 142 photographers to travel to Africa to capture more images to be used to promote responsible and sustainable ecotourism to East and Southern Africa. The first use for these images was to create a new kind of travel guidebook, On Safari. Currently, David is creating a multi-media presentation with Dr. Richard Leakey that will be sponsored by zoological societies and museums of natural history in the United State late this year.

THE CHALLENGE
challenge

If you think about it, humans are the only species that comprehend that Earth even exists. One could argue that our consciousness has given us an advantage over the millions of other species. Once hunter-gatherers (living in cooperation with nature,) we have used our intelligence to declare our independence from nature.

Most would argue that has been a good thing. Few would question that life for mankind is better today than it was one hundred years ago let alone 100,000 years ago. On the other hand, are we advancing ourselves into extinction? And, is this a good thing?When the first group of Homo sapiens left Africa, some 60,000 years ago, there were probably very few of us.

There were probably no more than one million people on the planet 10,000 years ago, the era when agriculture dawned and civilization began. When the first “baby boomer” was born, there were just over two billion on the planet. Today, there are close to seven billion and based on current life expectancy tables, by the time the last “baby boomer” dies, there will be nine billion of us competing for shrinking resources. Mother Nature might do something to correct that projection if humans remain unconscious and disconnected with the natural world given that the common belief is that the earth has a carrying capacity of five million people.

Most of us now live in cities and we have lost our emotional, visceral, life-and-death connection to the natural world, and that is why we have, collectively, allowed the destruction of our planet to accelerate. It is as if the loss of a species (we are losing approximately 30,000 a year) and the destruction of ecosystems no longer matters. What intelligent person would believe that is true? Unfortunately for us Americans, there are many!

We need to emotionally reconnect with the living planet, which for now, is the only place we can live, before we can fully understand on a conscious level how seriously damaged planet Earth has become due to consumption model economic systems that man has created to maximize pleasure and minimize discomfort over the millenniums.

Most of the people on the planet now live in cities disconnected with the natural world. And those that do spend time in nature, it is usually for short periods of time. Most Americans are lucky to take time off for a “long weekend” or a two week vacation. And, if it is vacation into the “wilderness,” bottled water and processed food will most likely be packed into the SUV or motor home.

The solutions to all of the problems of mankind can be found in Nature. The more we use technology to attempt to control or change the natural world, the quicker the sixth extinction will be upon us. We as a species need to re-connect with Nature.

 


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