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Sponsoring Nature


Sponsoring Nature: environmental philanthropy for conservation
By Maano Ramutsindela, Marja Spierenburg and Harry Wels

About this book
Saving the world's flora and fauna, especially high-profile examples such as chimpanzees, whales and the tropical rain forests, is big business. Individuals and companies channel their resources to the preservation of nature through various ways, one of which is the funding of environmental non-governmental organisations (ENGOs) and community-based organisations (CBOs).

This book is the first to comprehensively addresses this issue and focuses on a dominant theme in environmental philanthropy, the links between ENGOs and CBOs and their sponsors, especially the private sector. It has been argued that donor support is based on recipient's perceived expertise and needs, with no favouritism of flagship environmental organisations as recipients of donor funds. A counterview holds that the private sector prefers to fund mainstream ENGOs for environmental research and policy reforms congenial to industrial capital. The authors show that the debate about these arguments, together with the empirical evidence on which they are based, may shed light on certain aspects of the nature of environmental philanthropy. The book evaluates practical examples of environmental philanthropy from Africa and elsewhere against philosophical questions about the material and geographical expressions of philanthropy, and the North-South connections among philanthropists and ENGOs and CBOs.

Review quotes
"A rich and varied, indeed eclectic, account of the history, thinking, practice and personalities across a broad swathe of environmental philanthropy. Philanthropy is becoming ever more important and we need more explorations like this to understand the changes it produces, and stymies."—Daniel Brockington, reader in environment and development, University of Manchester, UK.

About the authors
Maano Ramutsindela is associate professor in the department of environmental and geographical science at the University of Cape Town; Hubert H Humphrey visiting professor of international studies at Macalester College (2010); and Mandela Mellon Fellow of W.E.B. Du Bois Institute, Harvard (2011) . He is currently researching meanings of the border in transborder environments; green imperialism in transfrontier conservation in Southern and Eastern Africa; and the ways in which regions and environmental agendas constitute new environmental regionalisms in different parts of the world. His recent publications include Parks and People in Postcolonial Societies: experiences in Southern Africa (Kluwer/Springer, 2004) and Transfrontier Conservation in Africa: at the confluence of capital, politics and cature" (CABI, 2007). He is the editor of the South African Geographical Journal and associate editor of GeoJournal.

Marja Spierenburg is associate professor/senior lecturer at the VU University Amsterdam in the Netherlands, in the department of culture, organisation and management. She is currently involved in several research projects focusing on the role of the private (for profit and non-profit) sector in nature conservation as well as in land reforms in Southern Africa. Her research investigates the negotiations between the different parties but also within the different partner organisations concerning the meaning of the concepts of development and conservation. It also addresses the impacts of the growing importance of public-private partnerships in conservation on the land rights of local communities and the latter's possibilities to participate in the management of and benefit from conservation and land reform projects. Marja Spierenburg's earlier books and articles include "Conservative philanthropists, royalty and business elites in nature conservation in southern Africa", co-authored with Harry Wels, published in Antipode in 2010, "Strangers, spirits and land reforms, conflicts about land in Dande, northern Zimbabwe" (Brill 2004) and, together with Sandra Evers and Harry Wels "Competing jurisdictions. Settling land claims in Africa" (Brill 2005).

Harry Wels is associate professor/senior lecturer at the VU University Amsterdam, at the Athena Institute, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences. He has worked on issues of private wildlife conservation and community relations in Zimbabwe and South Africa. He has been working on structures of organisational cooperation within the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area in southern Africa. Currently he is developing a transdisciplinary and transspecies research programme on traumatic stress related behaviour in humans and non-human animals in southern Africa.


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