In 1972, the global think-tank Club of Rome issued a chilling warning that the global economy could not assume infinite growth on a finite planet. Nearly half a century later, the collapse of life-supporting natural systems foretold in its 'Limits to Growth' study is unfolding before our eyes. This month, the group came 'home' to Africa, to see what the world can learn from the mother continent.
"Extractive industry is not development. When you come to extract what is in the soil for the benefit of shareholders, when you come to pollute water, destroy biodiversity and natural resources, and the ecological infrastructure, that is not development. The kind of development trajectory we want is one that is ecologically sustainable."
Speaking at the global summit of the Club of Rome think-tank, held outside Stellenbosch this month, environmentalist and activist Sinegugu Zukulu represented the Xolobeni community from Pondoland on the Wild Coast, which has been fighting for two decades to prevent its community and environment from being torn up by Australia-based mining company Mineral Commodities, which wants to dig titanium from ancestral land.
The Xolobeni struggle has been described as the "Standing Rock of the south", and represents the battle of indigenous...