oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Wilderness: source or resource? A suggested Wilderness Act for South Africa



Large sections of South Africa's population live in primitive areas and are, of necessity, more concerned with the present generation's day to day problems of survival than with more remote wilderness values. Ultimately, in the future, as in the USA, there will be a general awareness and acceptance of the need to establish and protect wilderness areas in South Africa. But the pressures of over-population and technological advancement are such that we no longer have the time to await such an evolutionary development. In the USA public awareness and pressure produced the necessary legal change. In South Africa a reversal of roles is necessary - the function of the law in this context should be to encourage and foster public awareness, to give direction and leadership and, where necessary, to enforce protection of our wilderness areas. Appropriate legislation can serve as an instrument for reform of attitudes. It is for this reason that it has been argued that there is a need for legislative adoption of a conservation ethic.


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