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.

If the Democratic Alliance Ran South Africa

Picture credit: Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille courtesy Democratic Alliance/flickr. Glenn Ashton - The Democratic Alliance (DA) in power and Zille as President. What would South Africa be like? There are lessons to be learned from Cape Town and the Western Cape, which have been under DA control since 2006 and 2009 respectively. The party extended its majority by absorbing minority partners including the Independent Democrats (ID), handing its erstwhile leader Patricia de Lille the mayoral chain. There was a predictable outcry in 2009 when Zille appointed a white, male-dominated...

Rip Eskom Apart

Picture credit: Pakistan Today Glenn Ashton - While rolling blackouts are never a joke, many South Africans cracked an ironic smile when Minister of Public Enterprises Malusi Gigaba remarked that Eskom was better prepared to deal with their recent power supply crisis than in 2008. Thanks for that insight, Minister. Problem is, we still have rolling blackouts six years on, with things looking pretty dire as we approach winter. As usual we all pay, in different ways, for these systematic failures at the highest levels. Surely it is time...

Toward a More Resilient South African Energy System

Picture credit: Magick River Glenn Ashton - South Africa is supposed to be a developmental state yet the intentions that inform our national energy policy are at odds with the lived reality of most citizens. President Zuma’s 2011 promise to deliver electricity to every home in the country by 2014 will not be met. More importantly, despite free electricity allowances, many of those connected to the grid find this power unaffordable. South Africa’s approach to electrical power supply remains monolithic and inflexible....

Emerging Market Currencies under Attack by the Sharks of Capital

Picture credit: Ahmad Tamimi/Deviant Art Glenn Ashton - As an emerging market South Africa finds itself amongst a raft of emerging nations in increasing peril in the ocean of international currency markets, with value being speculatively eroded by the predator sharks of the casino economy. The prospect of rescue by capital institutions in the developed world appears slim. Instead commercial and central banks, along with institutions like the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, disinterestedly observe the carnage. It is unsurprising that...

Restoring Land and Livelihoods

Picture credit: World Bank/flickr Glenn Ashton - At the birth of our democracy the incoming government ambitiously stated they would redistribute thirty percent of agricultural land, 25 million hectares, by 1999. When it was obvious the goal could not be met, the delivery date was shifted to 2014. Today we are not even a third of the way to achieving this limited target. The question of redistribution, restitution and broadened access to land remains a powder keg. The jobless and hopeless are increasingly receptive to this explosive...

Not So Cool Drinks: Is It Time for a Sin Tax?

Picture credit: Inge Jorge/flickr Glenn Ashton - A few decades ago city workers anticipated a cheap, relatively healthy lunch of a bunny chow – a dollop of stew or curry in a half loaf, along with a pint of milk. Today inflation and industrial food have shifted us to where a lunchtime visit to the corner shop or local supermarket reveals the extent of our dietary rot. For too many, lunch often means a half a loaf of bread and a bottle of cool drink. In our cities cool drinks have almost become ubiquitous, the daytime drink of...