Liberia. Literally the land of liberty. Africa’s oldest republic. An independent nation since 1847, yet it remains one of the poorest places in the world in per-capita GDP, sandwiched between Tokelau and DR Congo. Don’t worry, I had never heard of Tokelau either. It’s a group of 1,200 Polynesians on a couple of small atolls in the South Pacific. Continue reading “Finding Art and Beauty in Liberia”
I admit that I came to Madagascar with a head full of preconceived notions, which mostly (thankfully) turned out to be false. My first thoughts of this forested island nation were of humidity, bugs and French–three things I dread. Continue reading “Mad about Madagascar”
Driving in Kenya is a very interesting experience. In theory, I won’t have to take the driving exam to get my Kenyan license, as I hold a valid US license and an international driving license from AAA. But if I did, here’s what I imagine would be on the exam. This is just a taste of what I deal with on my 15 minute commute in the morning. Continue reading “Just a peaceful Sunday drive”
The human species is incredibly adaptive. We have exploited essentially every ecological niche thanks to our large brains and tool-making abilities. In colonizing various habitats, humans have shown remarkable resiliency to a variety of climates, from hot and wet tropical forests to the cold arctic tundra and everything in between. Continue reading “A Nice Climate is Good to Have”
Finally getting around to updating these photo blog posts. In 2013 I made two trips to Namibia, both related to a project involving developing small drones for anti-poaching operations to protect rhinos and elephants. Continue reading “10 Years, 28 Countries: 2013”
Upscale Shack readers will recall my 2014 review of Dr. Richard Carroll’s first book 2000 Miles around the Tree of Life, which recorded the author’s experiences hiking the Appalachian Trail from start to finish in the mid 1970’s. In his latest book, The Emperor and the Elephants (ISBN: 1935925709), Carroll recalls his Peace Corps service in the Central African Empire (today known as the Central African Republic, or CAR), in the late 1970’s, and his subsequent years working as a conservationist in Central Africa .
For nearly 100 years, the land that is today the Bubye Valley Conservancy (BVC) of Zimbabwe was not wilderness. The land was a cattle ranch. Wild animals were intentionally wiped out, for fear of disease transmission, and to eliminate predators that would kill cattle. For nearly a century, the land hosted a cattle monoculture, devoid of wildlife; and elephants, rhinos, leopards and lions were completely wiped out. For a century this land was the furthest thing in the world from wilderness. Continue reading “The Myth of Wild Africa”