A new view from our savanna birthplace shows us how breaching ecological barriers in the Pleistocene era propelled us to global dominance, yet destroyed nature. There is still a chance to conserve the wealth of life and health of our planet, but only if we make a break with our evolutionary past and change our own nature.
David “Jonah” Western is chairman of the African Conservation Centre, Nairobi. He began his PhD research at the University of Nairobi in 1967, looking at the interplay of pastoralists and wildlife in Amboseli. His work, unbroken since then, has served as a barometer of global changes and a test of conservation solutions, based on the coexistence of people and wildlife.
Western established Kenya’s Wildlife Planning Unit, chaired the African Elephant and Rhino Specialist Group, directed Wildlife Conservation Society’s international program and is a former director of the Kenya Wildlife Service. He was founding president of The International Ecotourism Society and is Patron of the Wildlife Clubs of Kenya. He held adjunct professorships in Biology at the University of California, San Diego and University of Minnesota. Western is founder and chairman of the African Conservation Centre in Nairobi.
Western’s publications include Conservation for the Twenty-first Century, In the Dust of Kilimanjaro, and Natural Connections: Perspectives in Community-based Conservation. He has initiated many conservation exchanges between communities around the world, including “The Two Cowboys,” cattle families from the American West and Maasai herders from the African East. He recently served on the government task force redrafting environmental legislation in line with the new Constitution of Kenya 2010 and is editor of the newly-released Kenya’s Natural Capital: A Biodiversity Atlas. Western is presently engaged in conservation programs in East Africa and around the world.
He received the World Ecology Award in 2010, a Life-time Achievement Award for Ecotourism in 2012 and is a nominee for the Indianapolis Prize 2016.
Western is married to primatologist, Shirley Strum. They have two children, Carissa and Guy.
Arrival: Please arrive via the members’ gate at 7pm. You will be directed to the Education centre from there. The talk will begin at 7.20pm.
Refreshments: refreshments will be available to purchase on arrival.