Slice of life: The pressing issues of climate change
Today we find ourselves stuck in a tug of war with economic challenges and political disputes. Where one could feel overwhelmed just trying to keep afloat while junk status is a threat to our country. Yet one forgets that there are other factors, such as climate change, that should wave a red flag other than political and economic problems.
We naturally adapt to the climate we live in, but what happens if the changes to our climate take place quicker than we can keep up?
Climate experts revealed that February was documented as one of the hottest months ever recorded and the effects of climate change are being felt abroad and close to home. Scientists believe the unusual heat is a combination of El Niño climate patterns and man-made global warming.
In South Africa we have experienced minimal rainfall and intense heatwaves, causing crops and livestock to die. Due to the intense heat, water levels dropped and reservoirs evaporated causing water shortage in parts of the country. As a result water restrictions were put in place and food prices increased, all having a ripple effect on our economy and our daily lives.
Though not as important as increasing food prices, the effect can be seen in recreation as well.
In December I went with a group of friends to Hartbeespoort Dam for the weekend hoping to go boating. However, due to the lack of rain the water had dropped so much that we were unable to launch the boat.
Towards the beginning of March, the complete opposite happened. Hartbeespoort Dam had received so much rain that the dam had flooded, forcing the authorities to open all the sluice gates.
A classmate whose grandfather owns a farm in the Free State told me that her grandfather used his dying crops as cattle feed and that they had to sell some of their cattle as they did not have enough water for all of them.
My brother, along with his friends, went on multiple water runs to Steynsrus and Virginia in the Free State in February and March as part of the Education and Care Horse Outreach (ECHO) programme. This is a group of concerned horse lovers that responded to the call for water and food in the drought-stricken Free State.
I strongly believe that individuals should care about the earth. I’m no tree hugger if that’s what you’re thinking, but the fate of the one and only planet we call home is uncertain if we do not address the challenges we face.
Carbon dioxide and greenhouse gasses occur naturally, trapping heat inside the atmosphere and keeping the earth’s climate stable. However, due to higher amounts of greenhouse gasses being released the earth’s temperature is rising.
According to the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre, the Arctic’s ice cap has shrunk by nearly a third since 1979 and this winter’s sea ice is roughly a million square kilometres less than its average for this time of year.
Friday April 22 is Earth Day, which aims to encourage people across the world to be more environmentally friendly. This might mean increasing the amount they recycle, volunteering in local events, planting a tree, reducing their energy consumption or simply just spreading the word
Five things to do this Earth Day Wits Vuvuzela, April 2016