The environment and Africa: recent stories

Treehugger often feels like a pretty random “environmentalist” website. Half the time, I feel like they are trying to sell me something I don’t need (eco-consumerism is not necessarily a good thing).  That said, they also occasionally have very interesting stories.

This week I noticed they had a couple posts about Africa.

One does a fantastic job of playing into the stereotype of “Africa as exotic”.  It is a series of photos about “Socotra: The Most Alien-Looking Place on Earth”? That said, it clearly is a beautiful and unique place. And I’m surprised I had never heard of it before.

The other post is on the trade in Rosewood from Madagascar. The title mentions that the Rosewood is headed to China but the text never discusses that point. What it does suggest (but not really substantiate) is that the coup last year created an opportunity for outsiders to step in and exploit Madagascar’s natural resources. Once again, a familiar portrayal of Africa, this time as “victim”.

Africa as the exotic victim, plagued–in these cases–by environmental problems, is a refrain that persists. My question is whether — as Lakoff argued for liberals  — this is a frame that can be changed.

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