I am a born-and-bred South African writer, editor, speaker and campaigner living in Cape Town. Here’s my CV/résumé. I’ve worked in advertising, on newspapers and their websites, and in television. My editorial work includes editing academic writing and books, sustainability reporting, and writing for various organisations and corporates, of late mostly on environmental, climate change and sustainability issues. As a journalist, I have special interests in inequality, social justice, HIV and the environment. This site mostly chronicles my professional life, but also carries notes on related interests, such as my poetry.
Since 2014, I have been putting a lot of work into a campaign for fossil fuel divestment in South Africa, and over the past three years have learned quite a lot about corporate ESG – “environmental and social governance” – and finance (but am still far from being a native speaker of finance).
During 2011, while working part-time on communications for the Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute, I tracked developments in South African civil society towards COP17, the UN climate conference in Durban, December 2011 on a separate dedicated blog. That blog pulled close to 100,000 hits in the course of a year.
Affiliations, past and present
In the second half of 2012, I was an interim committee member for the democracy campaign My Vote Counts. From late 2010 to February 2012, I worked part-time, mostly on communications, at SAFCEI, as a secondment from its board. During that time, I attended the COP 16 and 17 climate conferences in Mexico and Durban. I was an associate at Incite Sustainability in 2009. Between 2003 and 2005, I worked for the Nobel Prize-nominated Treatment Action Campaign and the associated Community Media Trust. From 1998 to 2001, I worked for the Mail & Guardian, including time spent as manager and editor of the M&G Online. In the 1990s, I also worked for a time as a freelance theatre critic for that paper. My career began at Ogilvy, the ad agency. I have been a member of the Buddhist lay organisation SGI since 1989.
Leaves of language
The name of this blog is from an article written by Daisaku Ikeda in the Japan Times (‘Restoring our connections with the world’, Oct 12, 2006):
Our planet is scarred and damaged, its life-systems threatened with collapse. We must shade and protect Earth with ‘leaves of language’ arising from the depths of life. Modern civilization will be healthy only when the poetic spirit regains its rightful place.
Ikeda’s article begins by discussing the Man’yōshū (‘A Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves’), the oldest (1300 years) surviving collection of Japanese poems.
If it’s still a range of lowish mountains with red cliffs, and sweet green grasses, then it’s on the N7 north from Cape Town, near Vanrhynsdorp, August 2008, at the beginning of a bitterly cold and stormy weekend.
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– David Le Page