Climate Change Crisis in Sub Saharan Africa

Concentric Circles Tell the Story

Thank you to all of you who have supported our small green enterprise business development project, Future Proof Leaders for Africa (FPELA) by buying hoodies and T-shirts from our Grow Africa Green shop. 

We are posting pictures of our donors on our Facebook page so please send us one of you sporting your FPELA/Zingela Ulwazi gear! The campaign is active and ready for orders. Proceeds from the sales go toward the startup costs to launch FPELA this year.

Do you know that we, as a planet, have entered a new era? We have been going along for the past 10,000 years in a period called the Holocene—a period of climate stability that has never been seen before in the history of mankind. Whatever we as humans did to the planet, nature was able to respond and “fix it”. But in the last 50-60 years, we have actually entered a new era. And it’s called the Anthropocene. Anthropo means human. The Anthropocene is the era where human activity is driving change on the planet beyond what nature can “fix”.

Here are two examples of how human activity is impacting the earth in ways that can’t be dealt with. We have created pesticides that will never break down, never go away. They are created from a combination of manmade chemicals that nature doesn’t recognize and can never “fix”, such as DDT. South Africa is one of the countries that still uses DDT even though it was banned in the U. S. in 1972. It will never go away. And it impacts health of people and wildlife in many significant ways.

A second example: we have started packaging everything in plastic. How long do you think it takes a plastic bottle, on average, to decompose? 450 years. And only about 20% of plastic in South Africa was recycled in 2016. The country and our oceans are awash in plastic.

All of this is occurring within the context of something else that is impacting everyone on the planet–climate change. Climate change=changes beyond what we would naturally expect. We only need to look at the water crisis in Cape Town to see the effects of climate change.

What does it mean and what are we seeing in terms of changes in the climate in South Africa?

  • Longer months of dry (8vs.5), rainy season starts later
  • Lots of rain over shorter periods of time (frequent and intense heavy rains)
  • Extreme weather events (cyclones, flooding, drought, snow)
  • More frequent and higher extreme heat–more hot days (10-40 best case, 18-50 worst case)
  • Rivers drying up because of hotter temperatures and more hot days
  • When it is hotter the demand for water goes up as people need to drink more to stay hydrated and plants need more to stay alive
  • Water use has increased. Water supply is going down.

People in rural areas understand these concepts very deeply because people in rural areas are more impacted by climate change and are living with the results of it every day. This is why our green enterprise development project, Future Proof Enterprise Leaders for Africa (FPELA) is so critically important. This graphic tells the story.

All of the international scientists who are experts in climate change say that Africa is highly vulnerable to the effects of global warming and climate change.   The part of Africa that will be the most heavily impacted by the changing climate is Sub-Saharan Africa. Within Sub-Saharan Africa, people in rural areas will suffer more because they already lack the basic infrastructure that helps people cope with the hotter weather—clean water to drink, proper sewage and waste disposal and treatment, and access to health facilities. Within rural communities, there are those “nodes” that are “designated presidential poverty” nodes, where the poorest of the poor live, and Acornhoek area, where we will run our first course, is one of those—with an estimated unemployment rate of 78% only 1 in 5 people are working. People are desperate for a way to create a livelihood for their families. But they must learn new ways of doing business that are good for people, the planet and prosperity—the triple bottom line.

Keep watching this site for more on FPELA and other Zingela Ulwazi efforts to “inspire, empower and ignite untapped potential to improve lives and custodianship of nature.”   That is our mission and reason for existing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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