Elizabeth Davie: The Joburg Zoo has declined your offer to purchase the 3 elephants. They have labelled it a publicity stunt.
JV: They are right and I have a few more publicity stunts coming their way. When I started the tiger project 19 years ago it was also labelled a publicity stunt. Look where it is today.
E.D: What should the zoo do.
JV: The Zoo should rename themselves the Jacob Zuma Zoo. Then private enterprise should take over the Zoo build a hotel, invest in high tech education. Release all the animals from the cages and rename it the Cyril Ramaphosa Zoo.
E.D: Germany has just launched a similar Zoo.
JV: The Zoo should become a joyful place , a place of learning, using high tech education. Winning nations are doing it around the world. Germany has a prototype
E.D: What about Mopani and Ramaphosa?
JV: I am making a documentary about these two elephants and the journey they travelled.
E.D: Some say they were taken from a culling programme.
JV: If they were taken from a culling programme then they would have seen their mothers killed in front of their eyes. This would have been traumatic in the extreme. This will remain with them for the rest of their lives.
E.D: What’s your response to those who say that only positive reinforcement was used in their training.
JV: An elephant has guests on its back and it starts misbehaving. Do you pat it on the head and give it an orange. Bullshit you hook it in the ear with a bullhook. I have been on the back of elephants in India, tracking tigers and the elephants put a foot out of line the mahouts hit them with bullhooks. At Bowmansville Zoo in Canada (Bowmansville was closed down due to cruelty to animals) the elephants were given positive and negative reinforcement to control them. The negative reinforcement is brutal.
E.D: Have you had a reply from Sean Hensman as to what methods he used to train Mopani and Ramadiba
JV: I have had no reply from Sean Hensman or Inkwenkwezi where Mopani and Ramadiba took people on their backs. Normally when people don’t reply they hiding something!
E.D: What should the Zoo do with their 3 elephants?
JV: They should release them into a large area where there are other elephants where there is a river to swim in and grass and trees. There are many such places in the USA and there are a few in India.
E.D: Is there any such facility in South Africa?
JV: If there is not, we will make one.
E.D: Are there any positives to came out of this sad affair.
JV: Many. You could see social media working at its very best. Likeminded people, with a common goal to do good by the elephants. There was an outpouring of anger, but there was no mudslinging. Everyone working in unison. It was amazing!
E.D: Any negatives?
JV: The mentality of the Zoo personnel was shocking. Fifty years behind modern thinking. The press release was one of the worst pieces of public relations I have ever seen. The Mayor of Joburg was dismal, you can see why the DA are going backwards and the interspecies communicators and elephant whisperers never pitched up. I was disappointed in the musicians. No body wrote songs about Mopani and Ramadiba or Voortrekker.
E.D: You write a lot of open letters. Do you ever get a reply?
JV: I have never had a reply to an Open Letter but I have had good results. Open Letters work!
E.D: Give us an example
JV: I wrote three Open Letter to President Ramaphosa pleading for a good Minister of Environment. Finally we have Barbara Creecy who has already stopped the octopus traps entangling the whales. Thank you Mr President. Thank you Barbara Creecy.
E.D: Who are your heroes
JV: Bob Dylan, David Allenborough, Jane Goodall, Paul Watson, George Monbiot.
E.D: Why is Bob Dylan such a hero of yours?
JV: Bob Dylan is a messenger of life. He writes poetry and then he sings his poetry. When you ask him what do the lyrics mean, he answers “Interpret than any way you like”
Bob Dylan rarely gives interviews he just puts songs out there. The world is here and Dylan is out there detached from the world. He marches to his own drum, answerable to no one. I like that!
E.D: You have been described as reclusive.
JV: The communication revolution has allowed me to live life on my own terms in a place where I like to be. I have a beautiful supportive family. I have three extended families and I have a network of friends across the world who are researching and informing me daily. Like Bob Dylan I have been able to detach myself from the world so I can objectively watch humans wreaking havoc on planet earth. I am also dyslexic so I see things from a different perspective.
E.D: Someone described you as a social misfit.
JV: I would agree with that I don’t like talking. I prefer singing, writing and filming. Someone asked me a question the other day my answer was
“If you go to page 142 of Nine Lives, there is the answer”
E.D: When did you start playing the guitars. I started playing the guitar so people couldn’t ask me questions. Then I played so badly that everne went to bed and I was left around the campfire with just my guitar. (laughing)
E.D: Tell me about Sir David Attenborough?
JV: Sir David spent a lifetime showing us what a beautiful planet we have. Now he’s telling us how we are destroying our planet. I wish he would have started telling us 40 years ago. However, into his nineties, the ground Sir David covers is extraordinary. His contribution to conservation is immense.
E:D: Tell me about Jane Goodall.
JV: Jane is urging us to change our lifestyles, reduce our impact on planet earth. Become vegetarian, grow our own food.. Jane Goodall is a hundred years ahead of her time!
E.D: What does Paul Watson do.
JV: Paul Watson is a gung-ho activist. He is answerable to no one. He backs his words with actions. You love him or hate him. He’s my kind of guy.
E.D: Who is George Monbiot?
JV: George Monbiot is a brilliant environmental writer. He pulls no punches. George Monbiot probably has a better grasp on where the planet is heading and he is able to communicate it in a very understandable way. Everyone should support the Guardian Newspaper which is the newspaper he write for.
E.D: Someone described you as one of the most powerful emerging environmental activists on planet earth.
JV: If I can master all forms of communication, talking , writing, singing, filming I could make a tiny different. However it’s a drop in the ocean because Gaia is going to level the playing fields.
E.D: Please explain the Gaia hypotheses to me.
JV: In the 60’s James Lovelock a British Scientist, produced a hypotheses that the earth was one self regulating system. At the time his hypotheses was not accepted but today everyone knows that James Lovelock is correct. The planet is one giant ecosystem. However the health of the planet is now being greatly affected by one species human beings. The planet is heating, the Co2 are higher than ever in history. The floods are greater, the droughts move severe, the hurricanes stronger, the cyclones more devastating. Ask the people of Beira in Mozambique
E.D: Do you not think human beings have the wisdom and intelligence to turn this around?
JV: We have no leadership Donald Trump doesn’t believe in climate change. I spend my days working out how Gaia will move to protect the planet. The crucial mistake we make as human beings is we believe that the planet is here for human beings. Gaia doesn’t see it that way. Gaia will move not to protect human beings, Gaia will move to protect the planet.
E.D: When you say Gaia, what do you mean?
JV: Gaia is the Greek Goddess of the Earth. Gaia is God, Gaia is Nature, Gaia is Evolution. As Dylan says interpret Gaia anyway you like but Gaia ultimately will control the fate of planet Earth.
E.D: So what must Gaia do?
JV: Gaia must remove 60 + 75% of the human population from Planet Earth so the people left on planet earth can live on a sustainable basis with Planet Earth. They will live like Jane Goodall wants us to live.
E.D: You talking 5 to 6 billion people. How will she do this?
JV: Gaia has many strings to her bow. She can scorch the food supply of humans. However I believe it will came in the form of an airborne virus. A deadly flu which moves rapidly across the globe. I am writing a book on this at the moment.
E.D: What is the title of the book
JV: One Flu Over the Cuckoo Nest (laughing)
E.D: Which people deserve to stay and which people will be taken. Those who deserve to stay are those who have lived on a sustainable basis with the planet. The Amazonian Indians, the Inuits, the Kalahari Bushmen and others.
E.D: Will Donald Trump be spared.
JV: Humans have made crucial error in their survival strategy. Like chickens in a battery, the majority of humans live in Megacities. Here the flu can spread rapidly. Trump lives in Washington, he’s gone.
E.D: Will Bob Dylan be spared?
JV: It depends if Gaia likes his music (laughing)
E.D: Will you be spared
E.D: I email Gaia everyday asking her to spare my life. Like my Open Letters I have not had a reply. (laughing)
E.D: John Varty thank you for this interview
JV: Next time wear a lower cut top which shows more cleavage and you will get a longer interview
E.D: are you single. Are you available?
JV I’m an antisocial recluse