I remember some years ago the big screens in Johannesburg, where Al Gore was showing 450 climate leaders in training some videos of devastating fires increasing planet wide, due to climate change. And the birth of new waterborne diseases – think Zika.
So the heat came this month, the droughts, the fires. Like last year, 100 fires starting up a day in different spots around Cape Town alone – and of course in many other areas. Are we looking at how we contributed towards this problem and what we can do to change that? I was forever hopeful that this would serve as a timeous and urgent wake-up call to our nation, with 5 provinces in drought - our staple food in jeopardy, and unemployment unofficially up to 40%.
I shudder to think of the consequences to those relying on maize and wheat for something to eat ... and the children competing for drinking water with cows. Imagine handling the oppressive heat without water?
Yet the official response remains wrapped around random and unproven allegations of arson. So, on the hottest and driest days of the year, only, suddenly 100 arsonists manage to simultaneously start fires in different spots all over the place? And as soon as the heat subsides, they go into hiding. Do you believe such a story? What will it take?
Digging a pool regeneration area, John came down with heat stroke. Luckily Ruben had published the story on how to deal with this, so he could respond appropriately. That was two days after I collapsed from heat stroke in the house! Lying under a ceiling fan, I wondered how this happened? Then a neighbour measured 49.5C in the shade…
I spoke on the radio repeatedly, showing parallel lines on graphs between this specific weather and the spontaneous combustion which generates fires. Last year Indonesia burned for 3 months. People had to flee via ships.
We are all in the process of accepting that our civilisation is not sustainable, is destroying our environment and is on a dangerous self-destructive path. Some call it terminal narcissism.
We cycle through the 5 stages of grief, as this is such a shocking realisation to embrace. The bulk of the world is indeed still in stage 1, denial. Some remain stuck in anger for long, and dip in and out of depression. Of course we need to go through all of these feelings and none are ever wrong. I value all those with the courage to feel. We need more...
We run a Facebook community for those in the mourning process, where we support each other. It helps to share with others across the world and to understand that this is a ‘normal’ process, given the reality of this planet. It is a closed group, but you can apply to join, if this feels like a good place for you.
And so I had to embrace another level of acceptance - that probably the masses are NOT going to wake up, no matter how bad things get. Sho, that was hard, but I am surrender now.
In the end we are all co-responsible to a more or less degree. I cannot point any fingers without appreciating that I too am enjoying the comfort of fossil fuel energy to run my home and drive where I want to be. My loo still flushes with drinking water, though we are halfway there... I appreciate that we did not create these systems, we inherited them, but we still reap the benefits. Now is the time to change the way we live, if's the last thing we do.
So what to do during this year when the elephant in the room can no longer be ignored? I am devoted to manifesting a harmless life, with the help of my friends. I will be blogging the journey, share what I learn. No, it will not save the world, it is simply my gift back to the planet that gave me life. The least I can do.
Enjoy the January sweep and please spread the news.
Elma and the team
PS. Remember to keep up with the green events on our calendar and lots more news on our Facebook page.
“Harrowing stories from children competing with cows for drinking water to farmers committing suicide, echoes over our barren land.” This from the national drought relief effort Water Shortage South Africa (WSSA).
Seven hundred years ago this month, people across northern Europe saw a comet in the sky and feared the worst. They were already running out of food. It had rained too much in 1315—sometimes every day for weeks at a stretch. Wheat, barley, and oats rotted in the fields, and it was too wet to make hay.
Arctic sea ice is melting at a record pace – and every summer looks grimmer. This past summer saw the ice pack at its fourth-lowest level on record, and the overall trend in recent decades suggests this will only continue.
Almost 60 years since the world’s first commercial nuclear power station began to deliver power to the UK’s grid, the industry remains as far from being able to cover its costs as ever, writes Pete Dolack.