If you know you’re heading for a precipice it’s no good slowing down, someone said. You need to STOP and turn around.
The Cape Town drought has proved to be the best teacher to take the general public into a deeper awareness of our precarious position as humans on this planet. At least in relation to water. Whether they get the connection to the bigger picture of environmental destruction and climate change remains to be seen, but I do think there is a move in that direction. This is huge for me! The crisis is on everyone’s lips. Saving water has become almost an obsession around here, as it should across the country and the planet. Finally Jo Soap is beginning to learn about his place in nature. Maybe I can retire now?
Yet once the City called off the Day Zero threat as expected the water consumption shot up again. Maybe it’s only when you dangle over the edge that you realise you have a problem? When you get pulled up again you tend to go back to the illusion of safety. How we are addicted to comfort. And no, one day of good rains as we’ve now had, does not mean that the crisis is over. Hope you’ve all managed to catch 20mm of magnificent water?
How do we keep escalating the wake-up and change our self-destructive culture? Somehow there is still a dissonance which prevents the most ‘civilised’ nations from honouring the delicate ecosystems that support our lives. I suspect the convenience factor is one of the biggest culprits. That and the group pressure which demands you follow materialist trends to be approved as successful. Of course it takes work to carry your urine to your trees, or flush the loo with your shower water, or wash in a basin. It might be more physically demanding or time consuming. And complaints abound about heavy bucket carrying and aching backs. Yet moving our bodies more is probably the best remedy for all the dominant ailments of our time.
Human convenience is destroying the ability of our species and most others to survive on this planet. What could be more serious? If you look at this the right way then you can see that the demanded changes are all good – a win-win situation. Let’s not slide back to push button toilets and luxurious baths. Let’s not fall asleep again.
What’s happening in the Cape is not a temporary glitch in the grand design – something to brave and endure whilst you dream of a golden future. No, it IS the future. Let’s drop our privilege and keep on top of the new game – and give our children a fighting chance.
Going forward depends entirely on the ability to adapt. So it’s the survival of the most flexible. Let’s remove the old stick from the mud and find new and earth-aware ways. Almost everything we know needs to change.
Let’s think this month about how and what and how much we consume. Essentially the more you need to earn to support your lifestyle, the higher your footprint on the earth. So the cultural command to constantly earn and consume more is a key problem here. Given the planet’s crisis it’s more intelligent to focus on reducing your lifestyle demands and living more simply.
Our food, our technology, our stuff. How much do we really need? Think scaling down and passing on what you don’t use or love. It’s a liberation all round. Others benefit and I drop my in-house footprint. In time every product will carry a number – not the price to you, but the cost to the earth. We need to know this number. Where and how was it made and transported? The more questions we ask, the better.
We could start by counting the pieces of packaging we bring home every day. This is the first thing to STOP - see why here. Then set out to reduce that. How? We can figure that out together. I will blog about it. Learn-as-you-go is the creative and environmental way to live. This is the brave new world we are creating.
Enjoy this month’s stories and have a blessed and green Easter time.
Thank you for reading and spreading our news for a better planet.
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