The tragedy of the commons explains why avocados can be more important than elephants.
- In Kenya, how many elephants are affected by avocado farms that could block the Kimana Wildlife Corridor?
- Name three facts that show why avocados help Kenya’s economy.
- Referring to the first graph in the econlife post, name the world’s major avocado producers and Kenya’s rank among them.
- Referring to the second graph in the econlife post, describe Kenya’s avocado production from 2009 to 2018.
- Referring to the third graph in the econlife post, describe the volume of Kenya’s avocado exports from 2009 to 2018.
- Through Zimbabwe’s CAMPFIRE program, how did villages and elephants benefit from hunting expeditions?
The Economic Idea: The Tragedy of the Commons
Defined as a shared resource that no individual or business owns, the commons can become vulnerable. By contrast, we take care of what we own.
As a result, when fish, the air, or nearby ponds are available to all of us, we tend to abuse them. Called the tragedy of the commons, we overfish and pollute the water and air.
In Kenya, avocado farms are privately owned while the elephant population belongs to all of us. Consequently, elephants experience the tragedy of the commons.
Activity Goal: To consider how we can diminish the tragedy of the commons.
Procedure: Discussion in pairs or small groups.
- Divide into pairs or small groups (each with 3-5 students).
- Select a discussion leader and a scribe.
- Assume that your class has a lounge in which students can work and relax when not attending a class.
- Assume also, that the lounge can become very untidy and even smelly from aging food.
- The problem of the lounge can be called the tragedy of the commons because no one in the class owns or runs the lounge.
- Name three specific ways in which the tragedy of the commons for class lounges could be minimized.
- Then, identify the benefits of each of your solutions.
- Re-gather as a class.
- Each group should name and state the benefits of the ways in which it resolved the class lounge tragedy of the commons.
- As a class, through a vote, select the best approach.
- Decide if a broad interpretation of your solution could relate to the elephants in Kenya that could have their corridor blocked by avocado farmers.