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.

South Africa's Weak Green Governance and Virtually Non-existent Green Politics

Picture: Peter Blanchard/flickr Glenn Ashton - Both the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party and the South African flag have prominent splashes of green featuring in their respective colour scheme. After 1994 the new government was keenly focussed on demonstrating its green credentials in line with our constitutional commitment to environmental protection and sustainable use of our diverse natural resources. Twenty years into democratic experiment we need to reassess how green our political commitment remains. Liberation...

Activists under Attack by the Corporate State

Picture: Anti-Fracking Activist Arrested in Washington D.C. courtesy EcoWatch Glenn Ashton - Naomi Klein’s latest book, “This Changes Everything – Capitalism vs the Climate” explains how the dominant economic system is destroying the life support systems of humans and all other life on earth. Klein proposes that in order to prevent catastrophic climate change we need to fundamentally shift away from the existing materialist based capitalist system. The 1970’s and ‘80’s were decades where human threats to planetary ecosystems were not only...

Can the Post Office Become an Instrument for Change?

Picture: Chicken Smoothie Glenn Ashton - South Africa’s Post Office has effectively ceased to function over the past three months, turning this once successful and strategic state-owned enterprise into a dead letter box. The recent agreement between unions and management will not solve its ills. Even before this latest strike it was, along with many of its international counterparts, in deep trouble. But perhaps there are ways to reform this much maligned government run corporation to truly reform this once important...

Shadow Dancing with Debt: The Credit Ratings Agencies Must Be Reformed

Picture: Consilium Glenn Ashton - South African economic prospects have recently been downgraded, yet again, by major credit ratings agencies (CRA’s). The nation’s sovereign rating now stands just above junk bond status. Major parastatals like Eskom and Sanral have also been knocked by ratings declines because of poor planning and investment decisions. Similarly, South Africa’s highly regarded and robust banking system has been marked down by the CRA’s, precipitated by the recent blowback of African...

We Must Deal with the Causes, Not Only the Symptoms of Cancer

Picture: Jane Whiteoaks Glenn Ashton - We are regularly reminded of the growing global blight of cancer by repetitive education drives during cancer awareness months. But surely we should pay more attention to the causes, rather than simply raise awareness? Perhaps we fail to do so because the commercial imperative makes it easier to fundraise around the impacts of cancer rather than analysing the root causes? October was breast (and liver) cancer month, September prostate cancer and November is pancreatic, stomach, lung and...

Synthetic Biology: Artificial Life Threatens Nature and Society

Picture: Get ready for extreme genetic engineering in your ice cream cautions environmental NGO, Friends of the Earth U.S. Glenn Ashton - Synthetic food has long been the subject of speculative fiction, from Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator” where poor quality artificial food spawned dissent, to Kurt Vonnegut’s “Breakfast of Champions” where food was manufactured from coal and petroleum because fossil fuels had trashed global ecosystems. Today fiction manifests as reality. If genetic modification (GM) of our food were not enough, biologists continue to push the boundaries of their...