Saturday September 24th 2022

NEEDED : Two Planet Earths

Journalist Erica Southey on grave environmental concerns facing our planet.

Reading “Worst coral death strikes at Southeast Asia” woke me up with a jolt as to how humanity is slowly ‘sinking’ our planet.

Why? Global warming and climate change.  Rising sea levels, receding glaciers, melting polar ice caps and the spreading of diseases are but a few of the consequences of carbon emissions into the atmosphere.  Ex United States Vice President: Al Gore showed some disturbing statistics and pictures in his documentary ‘An Inconvenient Truth’.

As I read the ‘Coral death’ article and visited related stories – the ‘ugly truth’ glared at me.  I am also a contributor to global warming and climate change!  Coral isn’t just a beautiful ocean ‘decoration’, but also plays an important role in balancing the eco-system. It houses other sea creatures and life forms.  This, is but one of the areas affected by our over-use of declining resources.  High carbon emissions are blamed for rising temperatures leading to stories such as coral deaths.  Glaciers, like in the Antarctic – are melting away and receding at an alarming rate.  The melted ice has to go somewhere. The ocean! It fills the ocean with fresh water, causing desalination which leads to an imbalance in the ocean finally resulting in disruption of marine eco-systems.

Mankind’s need for faster, bigger and better come at a high cost.  Our planet.  Planes, trains, ships and cars are over-utilised when it comes to business. With alternatives such as internet, e-mail, social networks and real-time communication packages such as Skype we can reduce carbon emissions by leaps and bounds.  Illustrating the power of nature, (Canada-based Geologist) Dr Alan Morgan showed a slide during his Icelandic Volcano lecture held in Cape Town recently. He challenged us on changing our carbon footprint. To illustrate; he showed the amount of trans-atlantic flights that were affected in one day after the Eyjafjallajökul volcano erupted and left many passengers stranded earlier this year.  For this region alone – it showed the amount of carbon-dioxide we inject into the atmosphere. Imagine the bigger picture.

How can we help curb global warming? Use technology, walk to destinations where possible and use the organic/natural alternatives.  It will take some changes in habit, but is worth letting go – when we count the cost. In our recent interview, Morgan said that one Canadian child uses the resources of 20 children in India.

Shocking yet – is the statement in the 2010 edition of the WWF’s Living Planet Report: “New analysis shows populations of tropical species are plummeting and humanity’s demands on natural resources are sky-rocketing to 50 per cent more than the earth can sustain”.

With a current global population of about 6.9 billion people – our way of living requires 1.5 planet earths to sustain us. This is already beyond our planet’s limits.  If we continue to pollute the atmosphere; we will require the productive capacity of two planet earths by 2030 according to a specialist article on Science Daily.  Morgan also said that the population is estimated to rise to 9 billion by 2050.

Though damage is done, the problem isn’t insurmountable and should not be left for someone else to solve. Women, can be the role models and trailblazers in curbing this invisible evil.  The saying of “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world” rings very true.  Teach our children and stamp down our authority when it comes to buying products that have an influence on our planet.

Some advertising campaigns focus on women to get us to invest in their products. We have the power to ensure a greener planet by asking: “how effective is your product in preserving our planet for the next generation?”

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