Robben Island

Figure 1: Robben Island maximum security prison (Photo credit: Meraj Chhaya via


Martin van Nierop – 20 March 2017

Environmental consulting can be a real drudgery.

Many of us become environmental consultants because we care about the environment. We want to make a difference in protecting the environment. We want to ‘save the rhino’, ‘protect our wetlands’, ‘rescue oil coated penguins’, etc.

However, we end up spending our time sitting behind a computer hammering out monthly reports; or attending interminable meetings with clients and stakeholders. What is the point of all this seemingly meaningless work? Are we really making a difference? Are we protecting the environment?

Doing meaningless work came to mind on my visit to Robben Island this week.

Despite the fact that I have been to Cape Town numerous times in the past, I have not been to Robben Island before. It took hosting an international guest to get me there.