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Dr. John Ledger

Dr John Ledger is a respected South African environmentalist, with a wealth of experience in many diverse fields.

John is Associate Professor of Energy Studies at the University of Johannesburg, where he directs a postgraduate programme for the Honours Degree in Energy Studies. He also holds the position of Visiting Associate Professor at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, where he teaches a postgraduate module in renewable energy and energy efficiency for the MSc in Environmental Sciences.

With a BSc Honours in Zoology from the University of the Witwatersrand, he joined the South African Institute for Medical Research as a researcher in the Department of Medical Entomology where he was to spend 18 years, completing his PhD and being appointed as Head of Department.

In 1985 John was appointed Director of the Endangered Wildlife Trust, stepping into the shoes of Clive Walker. Under John’s leadership the EWT grew from just three people into one of South Africa’s most dynamic biodiversity conservation non-governmental organisations. Using the Vulture Study Group as the first example, John extended the idea of ‘working groups’ to cranes, carnivores and many other threatened species.

John Ledger has always been a pragmatic conservationist, and as early as 1977 he had started a dialogue with Eskom about the impacts of birds and powerlines. This resulted in the formation of a strategic partnership between the EWT and Eskom which endures to this day. A similar relationship was established with the Airports Company of South Africa to address the ecologically sound management of airports to reduce bird strikes.

John retired from the Trust in 2002 to pursue his numerous interests. He remains a Trustee and edits the EWT’s Vision annual. He is also the Editor of Environment (People and Conservation in Africa), a dynamic quarterly publication that arose from the amalgamation of WESSA’s African Wildlife magazine and the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Vision magazine in 2009. Together with six other conservation NGOs, this magazine is now the leading publication on conservation and environmental matters in southern Africa.

He worked on the Lesotho Highlands Water project from 1988 until 2012, and has a wealth of knowledge about the environmental impacts of this huge engineering project. He is a past Chairperson of the Sustainable Energy Society of Southern Africa (SESSA) and has interests in many aspects of energy, including solar water heating, photovoltaics and energy efficiency.

John Ledger is an accomplished and entertaining speaker, and offers presentations on Wildlife and Industry, The Lesotho Highlands Water Project, Community Conservation in Namibia, Energy Options, and the Great Global Warming Scare. He is willing to address related topics on request.

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