How can you make 2019 the year that nature wins?
Climate Change: The bad news, The good news and The ultimate solution!
Picture: This picture uses GIS mapping to show what Cape Town might look like at a 5 degree temperature rise according to Extinction Rebellion South Africa.
The bad news…
… is that the oceans are warming 40-50% faster than predicted. Ocean heat content (water temperature measured down to about 2000 metres) is arguably the best measure of global warming, because the oceans absorb more than 90% of the Earth’s extra heat that comes from climate change. Using data from thousands of temperature drogues deployed all over the world’s oceans, scientists tested the climate models developed by the 2014 IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) and found that they were more accurate, but also more conservative, than expected. Some recent effects of ocean warming include more frequent and severe hurricanes and severe weather (droughts or flooding). A longer-term effect is a measurable rise in sea level (18 cm from 1897 to 1997!). Meanwhile we have missed the low-emissions deadline in the Paris climate change agreement, and it seems we might take another decade or two to bring down CO2 emissions.
The good news…
…is that the authors of the article in Science are optimistic that humans will find a solution to the crisis. And one of them, a climatologist at the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the U.S) believes that despite current inertia, there is a new generation, a “grass-roots movement of young people who care.”. Let’s hope they are right!
The ultimate solution…
…to cutting CO2 emissions lies not in using low-energy bulbs, growing our own veggies, and other well-meaning activities by private people, argues environmental journalist Martin Lukacs. He points out that since 1988 a hundred companies alone produced 71% of CO2 emissions. This, he believes, is the result of “political neoliberalism”: a policy of privatization and deregulation spawned largely by Thatcher and Reagan, which freed corporations to “accumulate enormous profits and treat the atmosphere like a sewage dump”. The only solution, he argues, is a change from individualist, consumerist, neoliberal dogma to a societal approach that recognises our interdependence as humans. (Thatcher infamously said “there is no such thing as society”).
Because neoliberalism blames each of us for the situation the world is in and leaves us with the responsibility for finding a solution, our guilt induces us to grow carrots, use bicycles and diligently install low-energy devices. This makes us feel better (and may help a little) but real change will only happen when the economic system benefits everyone – not just the relatively rich elite who can afford to change their behaviour. And that will only happen when political systems begin to hold corporations accountable and when they regain control of public well-being.
However, Lukacs also ends on an optimistic note, pointing out that organized public opinion is beginning to have major effects. For example, various movements have blocked pipeline developments, forced massive divestment in ecologically damaging developments and led to clean energy systems in many cities.
So – let us make our voices heard!
Dr. Rob Anderson
Fritz, A. the oceans are warming faster than we thought, and scientists suggest we brace for the impact. Washington Post, 11 January 2019. (Reporting on a paper in Science, Jan 2019, not yet available online).
Lukacs, M. Neoliberalism has conned us into fighting climate change as individuals. The Guardian, July 17, 2017.
Some ways to make a difference
Become a vegetarian, or better yet a vegan
The share of greenhouse gas emissions from animal agriculture is usually pegged at 14.5 percent to 18 percent, but the Worldwatch Institute found lots of oversights in those calculations that, when properly counted, bring the ag contribution all the way up to 51 percent. Choose the vegan pizza at the Red Herring…
Eat organic when you can
Organic food is good for us because we’re not putting non-organic pesticides in our bodies, but organic food is also grown without synthetic fertilizers, most of which begin as byproducts of oil refining. When you buy a conventional apple, you’re giving a little boost to Big Oil. Noordhoek has many organic producers and sellers…time to support them!
Buy local when you can
I’m not talking about patronizing mom and pop stores, although that may have its own merit; I’m talking about buying locally-manufactured products made with locally-sourced materials.
Live in the climate
The biggest residential demand on our dirty energy system is climate control—home heating and cooling.
Line dry your clothes
Since I stopped using a clothes dryer, not only do I feel good about the fossil fuel I’m not burning, but my clothes last much longer. Which means I don’t need to buy new clothes nearly as often. Which means new clothes are not being shipped to me from Asia in freighters burning dirty, unregulated fuel oil. Let the wind do the drying work…
Vote with your feet
Every time you drive a car, you vote for the car. Next time walk to the Noordhoek deli to get your fresh bread or even better…cycle.
Raise environmentally friendly children
Researchers estimate each child increases a parent’s carbon footprint by nearly six times! Raise little vegetarian/ vegans who know how to live in the climate and how to eco-brick!
Reduce and reuse before recycle
Recycling emerged as a virtue before we knew we had a climate problem, and it turns out that transporting and processing materials for recycling is carbon intensive. Recycling still uses less energy than making new products from scratch, but reducing and reusing are even cleaner.
Offset your carbon emissions
After we’ve done everything above, we’ll still be responsible for some unavoidable emissions until our society cleans up its act. Calculate and offset your emissions at climateneutralnow.org. You can also donate money to go towards the SA reforesting of Platbos forest: https://greenpop.org/south-african-reforestation-platbos/
For the full article: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2017/01/23/nine-things-you-can-do-about-climate-change/#46e6e2ba680c
A poem for the animals that live in the Noordhoek wetlands
SAVE THE WETLAND PONDS!
ONE OF THE WETLAND PONDS THAT WILL BE IMPACTED BY THE HOUMOED ROAD EXTENSION
Watch the below video that contains Toads calling at the Noordhoek wetland ponds
Your furry paws and wind caressed wings
Only seek to live and be and sing
You walk miles to seek to nourish
Your babies with an unknown ability to flourish
You hop and call and carry it all
Your life as valuable as those who have it all
More walls, more people more challenges each day
Making your existence the opposite of a holiday
Until one day you hear the stomping of boots
Starting to poison, pull and spit at the roots
Of your future, your life and your right to be free
Your home destroyed so humans can be
You see the bulldozers drive in to destroy
With your young hanging for dear life like a kid with a toy
Crying and screaming to please let them live
I am sorry, dear animals in the wetland, but the city is pushing nature off a cliff
They rationalise and hold onto dear life for power
Making people, animals and nature cower
The dark forces run into your home
Killing through the words of their own
The water in the wetlands will be covered in your blood
Because it feels like fighting for your rights is like being stuck in thick, dark, mud
My only wish for you is to live a life that is free
So you and your babies can just be
Humanity has become a dark force of selfish desire
Focussed on building a fake and blood stained empire
I am sorry dear animals in the Noordhoek wetlands
We are trying and fighting with everything we can
The tears will never stop flowing
Until the city stops mowing
Your life, your rights, you future…
Written by Andrea Marais after the proposal was received to build a road that will negatively impact the Noordhoek wetlands and ponds (you can see in the video how amazing these ponds are!)
WHAT WAS NEAG UP TO DURING 2018?
Commenting on development applications that impact the natural environment and its well-being
Collaborating with other organisations we have commented on applications for developments and also opposed threats to our wetland.
Reduce animal road kills
A group of concerned residents and NEAG helped with the development and placement of road signs after a large number of wild animals were killed on our Noordhoek roads.
NEAG worked hard on controlling local alien vegetation that also increase fire risk. Please see our website for more detail on how to fire-proof your home.
Caring for the Chapman’s Peak Nature Sanctuary
This nature sanctuary is home to a range of very important plants and trees and function as an important haven for biodiversity in our area. We clean, clear and care for this natural space. NEAG committee members Dr. Anderson and Tessa Oliver did guided walks through the sanctuary during the Noordhoek open gardens.
Monthly beach clean-ups
The first Sunday of each month we host a community beach clean-up where we often pick up the strangest things…Join us!
We were asked to appear on Cape Talk with ToadNUTs to describe to the public the impact the Houmoed Rd Extension will have on the local endangered Western Leopard Toad population.
Vegan cooking demo fundraisers
In order to raise funds we have been working with ToadNUTs and brilliant local vegan chefs to host cooking demos around Noordhoek to raise funds to fight for the natural environment and to show how easy it is to prepare plant-based meals.
The ban on single use plastics
We have been very active in protesting against the use of single use sachets at runs that move through the Noordhoek area. We are also supporting the call for a total ban on SUPs.
Donaldtrumpi the blind amphibian
The name was chosen by the boss of EnviroBuild, a sustainable building materials company, who paid $25,000 (£19,800) at an auction for the right. The small legless creature was found in Panama and EnviroBuild’s Aidan Bell said its ability to bury its head in the ground matched Donald Trump’s approach to global warming.
The US president’s denial of climate change will be “honoured” when scientists publish the description of a new species – a blind amphibian that burrows in sand. To be called Dermophis donaldtrumpi, the ten-centimetre long, wormlike creature was recently discovered in the Amazon. Naming rights were auctioned, and an English sustainable building company paid $25 000 to name the beast. The money will go to the Rainforest Trust.
When presented with his own administration’s climate report last November, Trump said “I don’t believe it”. It is perhaps fitting that Dermophis donaldtrumpi is one of the many organisms that could become extinct because of climate change.
Source: The Guardian, 18 December 2018.
NEAG AGM and talk by the curator of the Stellenbosch University botanical garden, Dr. Kirkwood
Noordhoek Environmental Action Group (NEAG) AGM and talk by Dr. Kirkwood will be held on the 25th of February. If you care about our local environment please attend and consider volunteering.
Title of talk:
“Beyond waterwise – beautiful, resilient drought-proof gardens for the south Peninsula”
Venue: Noordhoek Community Centre, off Avondrust Circle, on the west side of the common (the Centre is the last gate and building before Jakes Restaurant, heading North).
Date and time: Monday 25 February, 6.30 for 7 pm.
Parking: At the Centre, parking is rather limited (to about 20 cars), but there is parking less than 100m away in Paul Mauser Rd (just south of the Forestry buildings).
Seating: there are only 30 chairs in the hall, so please bring your own folding chairs if possible.
Tea and coffee will be provided, but if you’d like something else please bring your own!
Annual Membership fee: R50pp
GREEN VOICE at the Opening of Parliament
Extinction Rebellion South Africa will be going to the Opening of Parliament on the 7th of February 2019 to ask the South African Government to declare a state of emergency with regards to the Climate Breakdown and Ecological Collapse posing an existential threat to all of humanity and 98% of all species on earth. You can make your voice heard by joining them and demanding zero emissions by 2025! Join this group on Facebook: Extinction Rebellion South Africa
Time: See Facebook group for further details.
Vegan picnic on the Common
Come join us for our first vegan picnic in the park of 2019.
Everyone is invited! New vegans, vegan veterans, non-vegans, veg-curious, flexitarians, vegannuary pledgers, and those just wanting to find out more about the vegan lifestyle. All are welcome. Join us under the leafy green tree canopies oppie common and mingle with some like-minded folk while meeting new friends over delicious vegan food and wine (or kombucha).
When: 12pm Sunday 3rd February (first Sunday of each month)
Where: Noordhoek Common
Bring: Your vegan picnic and drinks. If possible please bring a vegan dish to share
Guerilla House Volunteer Days
Are you looking for opportunities to volunteer? Join Guerilla House for their volunteer days as they prepare the SEED venue for the Seeding Futures programme starting 4 February they need hands to help create garden beds, planting, propogating, pruning, clearing, painting classrooms and signage.
Venue: Corner Park and Capricorn Avenue, Rocklands Primary School, Mitchells Plain (http://bit.ly/2CmzQRs)
Time: between 8:00am and 17:00pm
What to bring: dress to get dirty, sun hat, water bottle, your own snacks and lunch, and a positive attitude
Whatsapp group: http://bit.ly/2QLTUlr
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