Wally Menne – R.I.P

Dammitall, I can think of a lot of people whose death would be good for the environment. Wally Menne is not one of them. His is a seriously sad loss for our environment.

Trish worked with Wally at BotSoc and at the big annual plant fair he was so instrumental in organising. The indigenous plant fair was huge in getting more indigenous plants out into gardens all over KZN and in spreading the word and popularising the planting of plants for a reason other than looking pretty. Azaleas are pretty but we all started to need to plant things that fit better into the local soil, insects, birds, etc biosphere.

We all knew that plantations are sterile and suck up water, but Wally gave me this book and taught me the real dangers of plantations:

Wally Menne gave me this book and taught me about the plantation industry

He told me about the plantation industry’s influence on governments and their insidious PR calling themselves “forestry people” and representing themselves as the stewards of forests when they were in fact the enemies of forests and grasslands. They sponsor bird books and create little nature reserves while destructively expanding into precious biodiverse areas, ruining them forever. They “capture” prominent environmental bodies by sponsoring them and wining and dining their representatives. Insidious. “State Capture” is old hat to them. Wally as always said it exactly as it was: He likened their use of  the word “forestry” to the Nats’ use of terms such as “separate development” or “mother tongue education” to put a pretty face on apartheid.

We miss you Wally and we need someone to stand up in your huge shoes. Ain’t gonna be easy. Most of us are easily swayed by persuasive bullshit and a book launch or a ribbon cutting at a new little nature reserve (which incidentally has no real protection).

Tonie Carnie wrote a stirring obituary for Wally in The Daily Maverick.

4 thoughts on “Wally Menne – R.I.P

  1. headhuntbds

    What a great enviro fighter. Twas he who called me to a meeting of two Durban Country Club (DCC) guys and himself (a member?) that could not oppose the DCC selling the HAWAAN last pristine east coast forest to a developer. Then set me up with my kids (Ok I volunteered) to hand out protest pamphlets on the day of the AGM. “HAWAAN to be sold for 20 shekels”. Short story: I was assaulted by DCC manager Ald Sudheim, who kept his job despite having a Criminal record for assault.
    Viva Wally.


    • bewilderbeast

      You stood up for what’s right. DCC went for the shekels and sold land WE THE PEOPLE had given them specifically “for use as a golf course”. When they decided not to use it they should have given it back to the people of Durban. Instead they sold it for their profit. It was – still is – disgraceful. The rich stealing from the poor. Like a rich club like DCC need a R12m handout! The city officials should have demanded the land back. Shame on them, too.


  2. 3juanita4

    Shame Man – This was SUCH a part of Trish’s life at one stage. Is there anyone following in his footsteps?
    Hugs to you – J – Janet Humphrey


    • bewilderbeast

      I don’t know. Most of us are SO polite. And we listen to corporate-speak and PR bullshit and get bamboozled. Many of the prominent “Wildlife” and “Environmental” bodies are “captured”. Their drinks get paid* for by the big companies and they swoon.
      *Of course the sponsorship is way more than that! The tree plantation guys are SO environmentally correct – as long as you don’t count the extra thousands of hectares they ruined this year!
      Wally used to count those hectares.


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