Glenn Ashton

Glenn Ashton

Glenn is a multidisciplinarian with a background in geography. Besides being a published author, he also edited "A Patented World? The Privatisation of Life and Knowledge," published by Jacana in South Africa. He currently is on the editorial board of the SA Journal of Natural Medicine.

Additionally, Glenn has written many commentaries and analyses of wide ranging issues including waste management, water use, food security, genetic engineering, nanotechnology, health, agricultural fuels, marine resources, climate and many other environmental and socially relevant issues.

He has also presented many papers and talks to a wide range of audiences. He specialises in communicating complex scientific issues in an accessible manner. He is a freelance writer and researcher.

Bread and Circuses: How Dystopian Fantasy Distracts Us from Our Dystopian Reality

Picture credit: Photograph of Jean-Leon Gerome Glenn Ashton - Two millennia ago the Roman commentator Juvenal wrote of “panem et circensis,” bread and circuses, to demonstrate how the masses had abandoned political responsibility in exchange for full bellies and extreme entertainment. In Juvenal’s times entertainment was of the gladiatorial variety. Today the violence of gladiators has been replaced by sports heroes and teams where rules constrain the violence, or by cinema and television featuring violence as gratuitous as the...

Revitalising Agriculture: Healing the Land, Feeding our Nation

Picture credit: Women packing vegetable courtesy AUSAID South Africa/flickr Glenn Ashton - South Africa is a harsh country, a place of extremes. Producing sufficient food for our people has always been a difficult challenge. The new Minister of Agriculture, who can only be an improvement on the previous incumbent, is an interesting choice. Senzeni Zokwana is the national chairperson of the South African Communist Party, as well as having headed up the National Union of Mineworkers. He has no background in agriculture, in common with his deputy, ex-Police commissioner Bheki...

A Demand from Students around the World: Change Economics Education Now!

Glenn Ashton - A remarkable thing is happening in the world of economics. Dissatisfied students from various institutions around the world insist that the dominant economics curriculum must change, as it inadequately reflects, or deals with, our current economic realities. They clearly realise that real change occurs from within. These students demand changes that not only reflect our post-2008 economic crash world, but further insist that the entire theoretical economics framework and curriculum be...

Antibiotic End Game: What are the Implications for Africa?

Picture credit: Discovery News Glenn Ashton - Antibiotic resistant bacteria have brought humanity to the dawn of a new era of medical uncertainty and risk. This has emerged through a simple evolutionary trend, where some of the most basic organisms on earth have managed to thwart our ingenuity over the course of slightly more than half a century. Recent medical and scientific progress has extended human longevity well beyond the traditional biblical time-span of 70 years, across many parts of the world. One of the most important...

Hidden Treasure and the New Colonialism: Why SA Must Protect Its Intellectual Property

Picture credit: AIDS activists in London demanding an end to big pharma Glenn Ashton - South Africa is about to embark on a radical restructuring of its health industry in order to provide universal access to good medical resources. The astronomical cost of medicine has consistently outstripped inflation. These costs are driven by three primary factors: Firstly the progressively technological nature of intervention, using devices like CAT scans in sophisticated facilities. Secondly, doctors are increasingly specialised and innovative, which raises costs, particularly in...

Facing Down the Apocalypse: A Plea for Sanity and Change

Picture credit: Joost J. Bakker/Wikimedia Commons Glenn Ashton - There really is no easy way to put this, so I will be blunt: If we fail to clean up our act, post haste, the world as we know it is doomed. We need to place our political, social and economic institutions on the equivalent of a war footing to fight for the survival of the natural systems that support us. Should we fail, the lives of our children will not only be radically different, they will almost certainly involve a constant struggle for survival. Sure, life on earth will carry on...