Ja!! Wouldn’t that be convenient!!!
The good news is that the Ozone Hole has stabilized and is slowly closing. The concerted international action to stop the emission of ozone damaging chemicals is a success story with a positive message for Greenhouse Gas emissions and Climate Change. Clearly, we have the capacity individually and collectively to effect change – if we choose to. International studies show that, at this stage, energy efficiency (and CO² reduction) can be achieved 20% from technology and 80% from the efforts of users who are informed and committed (The New Energy Book by Sarah Ward). Reducing the rate at which we emit Greenhouse gasses is admittedly more complex, requiring significant lifestyle and technological changes than those required to address the Ozone Hole. The stakes however are much higher.
How BIG is yours?
Simply by living, all of us have an impact on the earth’s resources. A few hundred years ago, the impact of humans on the earth could be compared with footprints on the beach – which are washed away by each high tide. But as the human population grows and as more of us adopt materialistic lifestyles, the earth’s ability to meet our wants diminishes. Climate Change is one example of the consequences of unsustainable human lifestyles.
Scientists have calculated that the earth has 10.8billion hectares of productive land and sea. Based on the current global population, that amounts to about 1.9 hectares of productive land and sea per person. Currently, the global average person’s footprint is about 2.3 hectares, which means that we already need 1.5 earths to sustain our current lifestyles. But the human population is increasing by over 200 000 people per day and an increasing number of people are striving for a materialistic lifestyle – a lifestyle that costs the earth. At the same time, available productive land and sea is finite and needs to be shared between more people and still leave productive space for nature – not because nature is cute but because without an intact ecosystem we will all die. Affluent Americans, the popular stereotype personifying gross materialism, have a footprint of over 8 ha per person. We would need 5.5 earths to sustain the world population if we all lived like this.
We all need to accept the responsibility of living sustainably. A sustainable lifestyle is one that does not use more natural resources, at a faster rate than the earth can replenish them. As Wangari Maathai points out, this is likely to require a new value system.
David Parry Davies, publishing editor of the Enviropaedia, calls our attention to the `Convenient Untruth’, namely that it is convenient to believe the untruth that individually we can’t make a difference. This is untrue because the sum of our individual actions can and will have a global effect when we Walk the Talk. So while stamping a footprint on the environment is inevitable, we can choose how large or small that footprint is. Are you a heavyweight or do you walk with a light step?
Go to www.90×2030.org.za/frame_index1.html to measure your carbon footprint and make personal changes one step at a time to lead the way to cool living.
LESS is the new MORE.�
MORE & MORE people are Cutting Carbon!! ARE YOU?
The carbon cutting that is required of all of us is going to impact dramatically on our lifestyles. Let’s choose those changes ourselves, so that fewer changes will be imposed on us in the (near) future as a result of Climate Change. Start to implement energy and climate saving tips today. Walk or cycle, and burn off your calories not the ones in your car. Buy local. Get creative with great meat free meals. Reduce the temperature of your geyser. Take shorter showers. Dry clothing in the sun, not in the tumble drier. Install energy saving lights and appliances. Reduce waste and recycle the rest. Shop consciously and consider the environmental cost of unnecessary stuff. And until you have managed to cut your carbon emissions dramatically, consider carbon off- setting – by planting a tree or by supporting a local biodiversity conservation project.
For more information:
The Story of Stuff : a must see 20 minutes film. A fast paced, fact filled look at the social and environmental costs of our production and consumption patterns. www.storyofstuff.com/
13 year Severn Suzuki addresses the International UN Conference on the Environment in Rio di Janeiro in 1992. Her powerful and moving message is 18 years old. When will we get it.? www.dailymotion.com/video/x5ln08_makethisvideogoaroundtheworld_news
“The Lorax“, by Dr Seuss, is an engaging and magical tale with a hopeful message for the future. treeday.planetark.com/kids/lorax.cfm
The most terrifying video you will ever see. Don’t be put off by the title, its just to get your attention. The video is a clever risk analysis that looks at the scenario of ignoring climate change vs the economic consequences of changing the economy to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions. A bit funky, but gets the message across brilliantly. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AE6Kdo1AQmY
Project 90 by 2030 is committed to creating awareness about the need to reduce RSA greenhouse gasses by 90% before the year 2030. There website has a wealth of up to date articles and resources . http://www.90×2030.org.za/