Welcome to our October sweep in the midst of the first national drought of the new South Africa. Maize farmers can’t plant. Our staple food, upon which our vulnerable people depend, needs rain water. Dams are too low. More maize will have to be imported. The cost of maize has already increased by 40 to 50%. The bulk of our wheat is being imported – this will have to increase too.
According to water expert, Dr. Anthony Turton, only 20% of the country’s 5000 billion litres of sewage generated per day is treated to ‘reasonable standards.’ All sewage flows back into the rivers, often first back into drinking water. The bulk – around 4000 megalitres - flows downstream, untreated, towards the sea. Farmers irrigate out of these rivers. With extremely low rivers now … you get the picture.
“We are on the brink of a sewage catastrophe,” said Anthony.
No wonder extreme swimmers, Andrew Chin and Henko Roukema, were forced to abandon their brave attempt to swim the length of the Berg River to draw attention to the calamity of our rivers. Everyone, including the backup team, were too ill to continue. Thank you for trying. We get the picture.
The hottest temperature measured anywhere in the world ever during October was clocked this month in Vredendal. What a dubious world record. You know in Africa the effects of climate change are twice what they are in the rest of the world. El Nino is frying us … brace for impact.
So what to do? Scrutinize your water bill with a fine comb. Where is all this water going to? I have made a number of adaptations in my household, saving at least 2232 litres per month. And my garden is thanking me for it. A tiny difference, but we cannot stop there. There are many more things to do. How much water do we really need to live? There are unlimited ways to adapt, as long as you just DO it now. The more we respond, the less despondent we feel. “Action is the antidote to despair.’ Get outside the old entitled boxes and be creative. How did we ever get to flush our toilets with drinking water? I think this is the biggest environmental sin in Africa.
November is our last month to gather the forces to mobilize the world leaders to stop climate change at COP21 in December. Was there ever a more serious issue? Make sure you join a march near you. For once we need total solidarity for humanity’s sake. After causing the demise of thousands of species with our industrial life and work styles, we are now fighting for our own species too. Don’t numb out on this information. There is work to do. Join a march, speak up, show you care, live your truth and set an example.
It is when problems look insurmountable, that our ultimate potential is liberated. Rise to the occasion!
Elma and the team
PS. Keep up with the green events on our calendar and lots more news on our Facebook timeline.
Climate change will breed financial crises and plummeting living standards unless leading states force companies to be transparent about their true carbon emissions, governor of the Bank of England (BoE) Mark Carney has said.
Today we don our green hat to honour companies who minimise environmental impact within their supply chains and successfully comply with local and international regulations and green practices throughout their supply chain.
Our editor, Elma Pollard, won a Merit Award in the annual Eco-Logic Awards by the Enviropaedia. We are excited that so many excellent nominations were received. This means our country’s team of green warriors is expanding year on year and that gives us hope.
In November, nearly 200 countries meet in Paris for UN talks to agree a new climate deal. Find out below how their pledges – known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions or INDCs in UN jargon – compare.
A year ago, Kumi Naidoo, the head of Greenpeace International, and Francesco Starace, the chief of Italy’s largest utility, were sworn enemies. Now, they’re putting their minds together trying to come up with a way to fight global warming.
A Texas petroleum exploration company with prospecting rights over huge chunks of KwaZulu-Natal and other parts of South Africa has begun its attempt to find gas and oil in the mountains near Matatiele.
National forests whose names come from their large, majestic trees—such as Redwood National Park and Sequoia National Park in California—may need to rethink their brands as droughts increase in frequency and severity in many regions around the world due to climate change.