QUARTERLY EDITION

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

NEAG Chairman

 

 

Sources:

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/

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.

Alien vegetation

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!

Cape Talk

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.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/dec/18/blind-amphibian-named-after-trumps-climate-change-stance

EVENTS

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

Venue: Parliament

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

DISCLAIMER: Views expressed in our newsletter articles are those of the contributors and where applicable, those of the authors of the original source material

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