Conservation Finance


Report Conservation Finance

Report Conservation Finance

This week a new report on conservation finance came out:


“Conservation Finance. From Niche to Mainstream: The Building of an Institutional Asset Class”


Please find the report via this link:


Sustainable farmland, healthy forests, clean water, and abundant habitat stand to become more valuable as the global population climbs to nine billion by 2050. Already, pioneering investors have put together financial solutions that combine real assets, such as tropical forests, with cash flows from operations in fields such as sustainable timber, agriculture, and ecotourism. Conservation finance, as this field is known, represents an undeveloped, but emerging private sector investment opportunity of major proportion.

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Food for Thought…


These cartoons pinpoint some actual issues…


Food for thought…


Evolution of Man by Dan Piraro



= As an aside, please find an interesting interview with cartoonist Dan Piraro here. =




… and thought for food…

Bizarre Evolution

Bizarre Evolution









A recent video of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the UN shows more serious details around these themes. Worth the watch:

FAO on Farming


Sour Grapes and Sweet Lemons

Illustration by Aofie-Fionn

Illustration by Aofie-Fionn

A famished fox saw some clusters of ripe black grapes hanging from a trellised vine. She resorted to all her tricks to get at them, but wearied herself in vain, for she could not reach them. At last she turned away, hiding her disappointment and saying: “The Grapes are sour, and not ripe as I thought.”

—Aesop, traditional fable, The Fox and the Grapes


The fox in this fable is very motivated to get her hands on some deliciously looking grapes. Unfortunately, she cannot reach them… In the end she turns her back to the grapes and comforts herself by thinking that they are not so ripe or desirable anyway.

Like the fox in the fable, if motivated, people bring judgments of desirability in line with judgments of likelihood. (How likely is it that a desired object is obtainable? How big is the chance of getting something and hence, how much do I want it?) A great article on this phenomenon is “Sour Grapes, Sweet Lemons, and the Anticipatory Rationalization of the Status Quo”.

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Fooling around

slider_escherIn my prints I try to show that we live in a beautiful and orderly world, not in formless chaos, (…). I cannot resist fooling around with our established certainties. It gives me great pleasure, for example, to deliberately mix together objects with two and three dimensions, surface and spatial relationships, and to make fun of gravity.” – M.C. Escher

Read more…

Les fous d’Afrique

Folle d'Afrique?

Folle d’Afrique?

This book on Africa is a few years old, but worthwhile the read:

Dowden, Richard, AFRICA – Altered states, Ordinary Miracles, 2008


I like the quote about travelling on the African continent:


The best way to find out is to go, not as a tourist in a bubble of Western luxury and safety, but as a traveller to meet people and engage with them. It is easily done. But be aware. Africa can be addictive. Les fous d’Afrique, the French call them, those who become mad about Africa.” (page 9)

Shareholder statement

Headline in the Guardian dd.  1 July 2015: “Church of England divests from Soco oil firm over Virunga operations“


The Church of England, a key shareholder in the UK oil firm Soco, sells its GBP 1.6m stake, citing ethical concerns over UK firm’s controversial plans to drill in Virunga National Park, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Please read more here:


To be interpreted… Certain payments and activities in Virunga…

The New York TimesVery unfortunate, but maybe nothing new: Global Witness presents latest evidence that UK oil company SOCO has been involved in corrupt activities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in and around Virunga National Park. Please see the following New York Times article (dd. 9 June 2015):


Whether it is about bribery or “facility payments” (these concepts and the “differences” between them are intriguing; shady and grey), it was – is – and remains a tricky situation in this magnificent, unique region of the world. Sad but true. It shouldn’t be like this. And it doesn’t need to be like this. There are multiple opportunities for sustainable development here…!

Dare to explore


Eruption of the Nyamuragira

This was my view from the Frankfurt Zoological Society camp in Rumangabo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is the eruption of the Nyamuragira, one of the Virunga volcanoes. A true force of nature. Mind-blowing! Working and living in East Congo amazes in every possible way.

Read more…









The mind-blowing Nyiragongo lava lake




Limited minds… and (corporate) responsibilities?

Upon reflection, we can acknowledge that our human mind is rather limited:

We overestimate what we do know and we underestimate what we don’t know.


We humans take a lot at face value. We suffer from “black swan blindness” (as we mostly see white swans, we tend to think they are all white and we tend to forget about the black ones). We can even ignore “stampeding black elephants” if we want?! In other words, we can ignore very obvious facts that are in the face (please see the previous blog post dd. 25 November 2014).

Interesting questions that follow out of these facts are: How do we deal with reality? How do we (want to) see things? How much are we aware of our limitations? And how do we manage these limitations?


M.C. Escher

M.C. Escher Museum


In my prints I try to show that we live in a beautiful and orderly world, not in formless chaos, (…). I cannot resist fooling around with our established certainties. It gives me great pleasure, for example, to deliberately mix together objects with two and three dimensions, surface and spatial relationships, and to make fun of gravity.” – M.C. Escher



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Attention! Stampeding black elephants…

Black Elephant

“Black Elephant”

The New York Times of 22 November 2014 makes us aware of the black elephant phenomenon that has been discussed at the World Parks congress in Sydney recently.

A black elephant is:

“a cross between ‘a black swan’ (an unlikely, unexpected event with enormous ramifications) and the ‘elephant in the room’ (a problem that is visible to everyone, yet no one still wants to address it) even though we know that one day it will have vast, black-swan-like consequences.”


Let’s think about the state of our world. Do we (want to) realize what is going on? Do we (want to) act upon it? What can we do? Please find the insightful article of Thomas Friedman via this link:

Conservation is self-preservation.” (Adrian Steirn)

TEDxLeiden 2014: ABUNDANCE









Photos by Rienke Wiersma










Theme of the day: ABUNDANCE

TED talks are all about “ideas worth sharing”. Or as the moderator of this TED conference in Leiden, Joep Stasse, said: “sharing ideas from the stomach, the heart and the mind”. It was a very inspiring day! It made us realise once again that we live in an abundant world indeed.


Some key take aways:


* Conservation is not charity. Conservation is business. Restoration industry.

Restoration brings 4 returns:

  1. Inspirational capital
  2. Social capital
  3. Natural capital
  4. Financial capital

(Willem Ferwerda)

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National Geographic Junior

For my Dutch speaking friends:


the November 2014 edition of the Dutch National Geographic Junior magazine is out now!


With a great “Dare to explore” story on Yaya’s (ranger/guide in Bukima) and Anita’s (as reporter) visit to Virunga’s mountain gorillas.



NGJ NOV2014 front page

NGJ NOV2014 front page