Rivers dry and communities suffering: How you can help
The south of Africa has given us a strong and powerful message that we feel obliged to share with all of you. This summer, the southern region of Africa is in the midst of the worst drought for 100 years. Farmers are often not bothering to plant seeds for they know the chances of a harvest are so thin.
The people who suffer are not the city populations, as they have a constant water supply, and food which is imported along with the sun cream they need to 'enjoy this beautiful weather'.
For the people of the mountains; the shepherds, the Chiefs and their tribes and the farmers, the situation is critical. Waterfalls are now just cliffs, rivers are dry stoned pathways between mountains and the arid land provides little food. Without the means to transport these necessities from the cities, people are denied a human right: food and water. These are things which the planet provides and has provided in abundance as far back as we can remember, and now humans have altered the functions of our planet to prevent this abundance.
Obviously the world moves through its natural cyclical movements which take us through ice ages and extreme heat, but this drastic and rapid change is anthropogenic (caused by humans).
Our planet is a gift. We did not gain this luxury through any of our own means and we have no 'right' to it more so than any other earthling.
So where is this going?
A hugely debated topic considering 97% of scientists studying it believe the predictions to be true. Climate change is "almost" a fact and an issue that we all have to solve as one.
If we abuse this planet which we call home and we take without giving back, we will continue to accelerate its change at a speed which life will struggle to keep up with.
1. Recycling everything
An obvious one, but very necessary. A lot of people struggle with recycling, but it is actually very simple. The 'rules of recycling' will differ from place to place, and you can always check your councils website to find out the specific details.
In general, cans, plastics, paper and cardboard and metal can all be recycled. Remember to clean all your containers before recycling. This may seem like something too small to be relevant, but if everyone did it, the world would have a much more stable climate.
For things which you 'can't recycle' you can always find a way to integrate into your own life.
Food waste can be used to make compost (and help you grow more food!).
Other products that aren't bio waste can be used for many up-cycling purposes.
2. Five minute showers
This is a must for everyone. Water may seem abundant back home, but people all over the world are thirsty. By making your shower shorter you can save liters and liters of water. If you make this a habit, you can change the world. It makes a huge difference.
We do it with music. You choose a great 5 min long song and play it as soon as you turn your shower on, you must turn it off as soon as the song is finished. It becomes like a game, or a race against yourself. It is easy, simple and it makes a huge impact.
3. Cycle or run to work
Being lazy and using the car, or even public transport, is a bad habit that we all like to accept as a fact. But the reality is that using your own means to get to places is the most effective and efficient way of transport. Not only are you exercising your body and mind (which benefits your wellbeing in innumerable ways), but you are probably getting faster to the places you want to go to. Traffic jams and inefficient public transport are causes of delays and discomforts when willing to arrive somewhere. We, living in Australia, run and cycle to work and uni, and we have measured the times compared to public transport and private car, and in both cases is more efficient to go running or by bike. Try it yourself, it is amazing how fast you can get to places and how healthy you get just by doing that.
4. Do not eat meat or dairy
Most people may struggle with this one, but it is key to help the planet we live in. Agriculture is the number one cause of accelerating climate change due to methane emissions from livestock and the huge deforestation and land clearing that is needed to feed them.
We know that in some parts of the world this is very difficult, but if you have the privilege of choice, you should try vegan.
There are loads of great information sources should you wish to research further.
5. Keep a bottle of drinking water in the fridge.
We heard about this one on the radio traveling through South Africa during the drought. A lot of water gets wasted running the tap and waiting for you perfect temperature. This can be a nice up-cycle if you use the same bottle repeatedly, you will no longer need to buy a new water bottle every time you need to quench your thirst.
Use your common sense and you will find you meet these targets without trying. We take these privileges for granted and by making small changes which seem to have no affect on your life, we can create a better world.
We create most of the problems faced by our planet Gaia. Let's start manifesting solutions.
If you come up with other simple adaptations comment below.
For more tales from Southern Africa you can visit any of the following pages!