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Summary Profile

Dave Pepler is best known as the face of Groen, one of the icons of Kyknet. He has been presenting this environmental programme for almost five years and it has become one of the most watched programmes on TV in South Africa. However Groen represents only a small part of Dave’s interests, activities and contributions. His lifetime contribution to conservation was recognised in 2001 by the award of the Molteno Medal of the Cape Tercentenary Foundation. In 2007 his contribution to Zoological science was recognised by the award of the Stevenson Hamilton Award, the highest honour of the Zoological Society of South Africa. His interest in the environment has taken him far and wide in a career of 40 years, spanning 4 continents and too many countries to name. Wherever he has traveled he has walked with his eyes open and all his senses attuned and he has bought with him an undying enthusiasm and concern for what he has experienced. Dave is a visionary environmentalist able to explain his vision in common language while never losing sight of the small details that give colour to the vision. His understanding of the relationship between man and nature rests firmly on an understanding of man as well as his experience of man in conditions of extreme need. At the core of Dave lies the gift of being able to tell a story and to be able to find light out of darkness, a sense of fun which enables him to view the world optimistically and to share it with those around him. Dave remains one of the last of a group of great naturalists and a true renaissance man with an interest in and contribution to literature made in his popular books and regular magazine articles.


1 How to be cool and green

Every living moment of out lives impacts on the environment. From the minute we get up in the morning to the moment we fall asleep we move through a series of actions, each with its particular environmental footprint. This presentation leads you through a very ordinary day of an ordinary family, showing how quickly they build up a substantial carbon footprint. By showing how anybody can consider these actions carefully to minimize environmental damage, conservation becomes fun and, especially with children, it becomes cool!

2 The future of the forest

This presentation explains how forestry businesses have accepted their social and environmental responsibilities and the way in which NGOs have managed the forest products market to promote sustainability.

3 Walking with flowers

Dave tells some of the stories that surround his recently published book. The talk is the unexpurgated version of his personal relationship with nature and with people.

4 The making of an environmental programme.

The trials and tribulations of a field naturalist.

5 Ethical considerations for environmental consultation in Africa

To this day, Africa remains the “Dark Continent”. Not dark because it is still wild or undiscovered, but dark because it is so culturally impenetrable. Herodotus (484-425 BC) drew the line of the known continent through the middle of the Sahara, and as recently as 1850, Stanley, Burton, Speke and Livingstone charted vast areas unknown to western eyes. Today, Africa is considered a third world continent, subject to war, genocide and ecological mayhem – and with good reason.

This lecture attempts to investigate the reasons for the sorry state of the continent in general, and the underlying reasons for the perpetuation of this state in particular. It is suggested that the ecological collapse of the continent is driven by poverty, disease and the accompanying ecological drivers of uncontrolled burning, erosion and the overexploitation of natural resources. It is furthermore suggested that a contributing factor is the unsustainable exploitation of resources, mainly for the benefit of western and so-called first word societies. Africa is a continent built on broken promises, broken dreams. This is obviously a critical failure in terms of health and safety issues since, to quote the South African Constitution Section 24: Environment

Everyone has the right
a. to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and
b. to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that ¬
i. prevent pollution and ecological degradation;
ii. promote conservation; and
iii. secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.

The paper furthermore investigates environmental ethics, our moral duties, rules of conduct, competing claims and priority principles, particularly in the field of forestry, engineering and agriculture. Lastly the author takes the liberty to illustrate some examples of what could be considered “ethical consultation” in a number of African countries, and offer simple criteria by which our work should be measured.

6 Custom presentations

Considering the width of experience in sustainable resource management, any related presentation can be compiled on demand.

Dave Pepler


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