Climate change – too little too late?

By Lesley Thomson

America’s eminent climate scientist Katherine Hayhoe, in an inspiring TED talk, states that early debate on climate change started 150 years ago. What has been done over the last 150 years about this environmental phenomenon, which so many people are reluctant to even acknowledge?

Is it too little, too late? Some people are still denying climate change despite the Al Gores of this world and young Swedish activist, Greta Thunberg, standing up in public and asking that we take notice of the world’s changing weather patterns.

Teenage activist Greta Thunberg’s powerful words on climate change have become a rallying cry for protesters and activists. All pictures by Markus Spiske/Unsplash

Celebrated Australian author, the late Colleen McCullough, in her novel published in 1986, Creed for the Third Millennium portrays a harrowing and realistic version of America devastated by enduring winters and lack of sunshine. Is this what we want?

Does it take the media attention generated by a devastating a tsunami – they have been taking place for millions of years – or exposure to the after-effects, the economic and personal recovery that can, and does, last for years, before people are aware of what is happening? Or another disaster such as Hurricane Dorian that has left an estimated 76,000 people in Grand Bahamas and the Abaco islands homeless?

Mini tornado

Having experienced what we called a “mini tornado”, because of its ferocity, while in the KZN Midlands, we had just a minute’s glimpse of what a terrifying experience hurricanes and tornadoes must be.

Raging fires, caused by deforestation, human carelessness, intention or just lack of rain, create not only loss of lives, essential food supplies for humans as well as wildlife, and toxic emissions into the environment, they lay bare the earth for further devastation.

Wake up! Before it’s too late.

Some people will say it is all a natural phenomenon, a historical cycle that takes place over the millennia, that there is nothing we can do about it. But there is!

Converting trash into fashion in the KZN Midlands

Recycle. Using recycled material reduces the need to use raw and often unsustainable material. Use energy wisely by turning off and unplugging electrical equipment. Monitor use of water – a precious commodity which is becoming alarmingly scarcer. Avoid use of plastic and use re-fillable containers.

Throw-away society

Buy wisely, and don’t waste food. Reduce consumption and stop being a throw-away society. Walk, cycle, share transport and help prevent toxic emissions. In a nut-shell, reduce the use of fossil fuels in transportation, manufacturing and communications.

Katherine Hayhoe, encouraging people to be aware of climate change and what they can do about it, says talk about it: “We can’t give in to despair,” she says. “We have to go out and look for the hope we need to inspire us to act – and that hope begins with a conversation, today.”

*Contact Lesley at africatalks@iuncapped.co.za