It is time for unity in the earth caring and environmental lobby. Only if we could knit ourselves together in collaborative partnerships will we facilitate shifting the inertia on this planet.
If the latest IPCC report does not provide a sobering moment for reality to dawn on those still hoping for a miracle, then it will never happen. And we cannot wait for the sleepwalkers to join our ranks before forming a unified march.
“We have the means to limit climate change,” said Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the IPCC. “The solutions are many and allow for continued economic and human development. All we need is the will to change, which we trust will be motivated by knowledge and an understanding of the science of climate change.”
This science we have been publishing for 7 years now via this newsfeed. Yet despite more policies on the planet designed to limit greenhouse gases, the last decade has seen greater volumes of emissions than ever before, the report warned. Yet the “imminent risk of irreversible climate change impacts” intensifies each year.
Burning coal, oil and gas has been responsible for 78% of the increase in emissions since 1970, with growing populations and economies driving activity. Greater use of coal – the dirtiest fossil fuel – has undermined attempts to create a cleaner energy system, it says. It warns that the impacts have been felt across all continents and the oceans.
“A large fraction” of this will be irreversible for centuries, they warn, with impacts continuing to be felt across the natural world thousands of years after temperatures have stabilised.
“To keep a good chance of staying below 2C, and at manageable costs, our emissions should drop by 40 to 70% globally between 2010 and 2050, falling to zero or below by 2100,” said Pachauri.
Sounds impossible? “Only the impossible is worth doing,” said Revd. Mpho Tutu at the launch of Fossil Free SA – during which Africa has finally joined the divestment campaign that is huge in Australia, the UK and the US. Here is an answer that calls all of us to account. Here is the march to our final freedom. Now is the time to join.
“Climate change is hitting the poorest the most, whilst those responsible are the most cushioned,” she said. “Women across the world have to walk further for firewood and food for their families. The collective energy women spend doing this on one day is enough to build the Empire State Building 280 times a day. If this is not a waste of human resources, then what is? This is energy that could be used to teach children, to create a business, to recreate the planet we are wrecking.”
“We are stealing from generations yet to come. And that’s not a shame, it’s a sin,” she said.
“Beyond 2C we begin to unlock long-standing vaults of greenhouse gasses in the oceans, in the perma-frost and in forests. This runs the risk that the gasses we emit through the burning of fossil fuels end up being just a small fraction of the total emissions – over which we have no control. This is the scenario of run-away climate change. A scenario that is worth avoiding,“ said Anton Cartwright, researcher from the African Centre for Cities.
More of his sobering words:
“The easiest and cheapest way of achieving this is to cut our dependence on fossil fuels. The technologies to do this exist. We now need people’s purchasing power to create effective demand and to shift finance and investment to credible alternatives.
I don’t want my pension money to be creating the type of world into which it might be hell to retire! South African capital is a laggard relative to the rest of the world when it comes to climate change and renewable energy, and it is in danger of being exposed.
Please don’t accept the stylised fact that renewable energy is unreliable and intermittent – as if our current fossil fuel fired electricity is not intermittent. Research shows that South Africa is the envy of the world in terms of its renewable energy resources, and that the right geographical and technological spread of renewable energy can smooth supply curves and reduce base load requirements by seven-fold.”
Where is your money invested? What are those companies up to? Ask the questions which can save lives. Do you own research. Share what you find. Even your pension fund. Who does your bank invest in? Attend the launches of Fossil Free SA across the country – they are in your neck of the woods soon.
This is THE issue of our time. Our call to action.
Right under our noses are more threats which demand our urgent attention: Proposed new legislation blocking our freedom to manage our own health naturally. Proposed new legislation to shorten the already deeply flawed Environmental Impact Assessment period before developers can do as they like. Government’s plans to frack the ocean. Acid mine drainage contaminating our water sources.
The Federation for a Sustainable Environment has strongly opposed a possible development of a coal mine near a Rand Water pump station in Vereeniging, south of Johannesburg. The federations CEO Marietta Liefferink explains:
“The Panfontein colliery coal mine will obviously result in a significant increase in the acid mine drainage risk. Acid mines are not only high in salinity, they also contain toxic and potentially radio- active metals. It is imperative that an assessment is done of the equivalent impact of all the existing mines, historic mines and also new proposed mines.”
We can never be awake enough in our world under siege, but especially in our sunny country. It is so tempting to chill at the end of the year and trust that things will resolve themselves. Sadly, that is a fantasy. There is much we can and should do to take the best possible care. And every day we need to learn more from each other and others just how to do this.
PS. The Green Times is self-funded by our community of readers and green business members. Our Club 1000 needs 50 members to sustain our future. Please consider joining and making a small monthly donation.
“People of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change,” said Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu during the countdown to the launch of Fossil Free SA, which started in Cape Town last week.
All those promoting awareness and education of the marine environment are gathering in Gauteng from 11-16 January 2015 to share research, classroom and field activities and be energized with new ideas.
If personal and environmental transformation is your thing you might like to join me for a Relationship Building workshop called “People Politics and Gossip,” offered by Michele Hinds on Wednesday, 19 November in Cape Town.
A historic deal between the Government of Mozambique, Joaquim Chissano Foundation and Peace Parks Foundation will strengthen Mozambique’s efforts to combat wildlife crime by supporting the development of anti-poaching operations in around Limpopo National Park.
There is grave concern about the threat to our environment posed due to the proposed shortening of the period for the completion of Environmental Impact Assessments, (EIAs) before a new development can go ahead.
More than 300 traditional healers and many other guests crowded into the Old Assembly Hall of Parliament last week to listen as the Traditional and Natural Health Alliance (TNHA) presented its views on an amendment to the Medicines Act Bill 6 to the Portfolio Committee of Health.
A pregnant leopard named Brandy was snared in Magaliesberg recently. According to a statement released by Johannesburg City Parks, she was released back into the wild after two operations to treat her open wounds.