Unless we start treating the environment better, the rising temperatures, floods, fires and droughts the world has been experiencing will only get worse.
South Africa has experienced devasting droughts and floods, while internationally, many countries have battled extreme weather and weather-related disasters, such as the wildfires in Australia and Canada.
We need to take a stand and start caring for the environment.
The results of a polluted environment?
Global warming causes desertification, which is the degrading of land caused by extreme weather conditions, particularly drought, and human activities that pollute or degrade the quality of soil. What we do to our soil determines the quality and quantity of the food we eat and how our ecosystems serve us.
Stop throwing your rubbish on the ground! Litter and illegal dumping have environmental, social and economic effects. Litter can trap, su_ ocate, strangle and poison wildlife and livestock such as cows that may die from eating plastic.
Litter also contaminates soil and water and blocks stormwater drains, thereby leading to floods.
Cigarette butts not extinguished and put in the bin could start fires, which could negatively impact the environment.
When a raindrop hits soil that is not protected by a cover of vegetation and where there are no roots to bind the soil, it has the impact of a bullet. Soil particles are loosened, washed down the slope of the land and either end up in the valley or being washed away to sea by streams and rivers. Erosion removes the topsoil first. Once this nutrient-rich layer is gone, few plants will grow in the soil again; this means people and animals will have less food.
What is climate change?
The Earth’s climate is always changing and global climate change has typically occurred very slowly over millions of the years. Today our climate is changing rapidly because of the rate of development, our Population growth and our general lack of concern for the environment.
Apart from increasing average temperatures, climate change also alters rainfall pattern and leads to extreme weather events which result in floods, fires and droughts.
How to care for the environment
Plant indigenous trees
- Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the air and use it as their energy source, producing oxygen for us to breathe.
- Don’t use more water than you need. Be careful not to let water run when you shave, brush your teeth or wash vegetables. Fix leaking taps.
- Unplug or turn of all electronic equipment when not in use, including lights, TVs, heaters, fans and kitchen appliances.
- Use gas for cooking.
- Use less hot water by washing your laundry in cold or warm water.
- Switch to energy-saving light bulbs. This will save you money on your next electricity bill and the bulbs last up to eight times longer.
Reuse, reduce and recycle
- Reduce - Buy and use less. Also, buy products that offer packaging made from recycled materials.
- Reuse - Store food in reusable containers rather than non-recyclable cling-wrap or tinfoil made from resource-intensive aluminium. Repair products rather than buy news ones, if possible. Donate items you no longer need instead of putting them in the garbage.
- Recycle - Choose packaging and products that are recyclable – look for the recycle symbol – and be sure to recycle paper, glass, plastic and tins. You can also use your vegetable waste to make compost.