Our short month ends with political parties’ manifestos being published for all to see. First thing I look for has to be how will they preserve our habitat so that our and all children can make a future here?
No matter how much the focus zones into other matters, if we don’t have sufficient and clean water, food and renewable energy all that talk will be wasted, for we cannot survive.
If they don’t prioritise transforming the waste industry and protecting our rivers diseases will make this country unliveable. We know that 99% of sewage farms in SA is not treating the effluent to sufficient standards and dumping untreated waste into the rivers. Farmers use this water to irrigate our food … what are we consuming?
We need to see an end to all landfilling and an end to the word ‘waste’ as all resources must stay in a closed loop of re-use, repurpose, recycling forever. We cannot afford to lose any materials to careless previous century unconscious dumping. For there is no away on this planet.
When my daughter was small I overheard a conversation between her and a friend. The friend asked her what was karma. She said “It works like this. You know the planet is round? So if you do anything to anyone it goes right around the planet and hits you from behind.” All of us want good hits, surely? The children know…
If local, organic, affordable and healthy food is not easy to reach and provided without packaging, no public health system of any sort will save our people. Nutrition is indeed a human right. If the focus shifts there and to nutrition education, then the bottlenecks at clinics and government hospitals can be alleviated. All people deserve health. I will go out on a limb and say that 90% of the folk who sit in those endless lines to get attention for their pains are simply nutritionally starving. And when they get hungry during the long wait, what is available to purchase? Junk food and sweets to add to their woes. No real food!
Now is the time to end all fossil fuel energy supply. We all opposed the building of more dirty coal fired power stations – they did not listen. Do these parties vying for our vote know what it will take to keep climate catastrophe at bay? Do they know that SA will heat twice the rates as the rest of the world? Do they know that we fry first and that the poor folk will go first? Do they understand that climate change is the biggest a social injustice ever and that we cannot point any fingers elsewhere whilst we generate dirty coal, destroy our water sources and put our citizens at risk with nuclear plans.
Do they know the environmental impacts of fracking?
Do they know the impact of drilling for gas or oil in our oceans? On the sea life, the health of the ocean and on the world’s top source of healthy protein – and the most affordable protein to our people, who already don’t consume enough of this essential food group?
Now the focus on growth. This is NOT the way to sustain life on this planet – we have already overgrown our boots to such an extent that our planet cannot carry us anymore. We need to replace this obsession with ENOUGH for all. Only the green industry should be expanding – all else should be transforming into sustainable business. All the energy, water, waste and biodiversity work and food growing that is needed can provide ample employment for all of today’s unemployed youth. Then you add green homes from recycled materials – see the exciting plans for building materials including recycled polystyrene here – all hands can get busy.
If all education – and all government services – don’t include green education then our children will not know how to survive. With a holistic focus on resolving our challenges there is indeed a place in the sun for every South African.
We have highly informed and passionate earth warriors, but we also need to join the structures so that our voices can inform policies going forward. We need to hold the future for our children if we are to treasure the gift of life.
By Elma Pollard