Wow, its been a busy week for me in regards to my research that I completed last year for my degree, I have given a presentation to the Zandvlie Nature Reserve committee to inform them about the decreasing / increasing bird populations. My supervisor for the research has urged me to publish my research in a local scientific journal. I then met with Birdlife South Africa to aid me in getting the process started. I say its all go isn’t it!! In this case its a short post this week where I will focus on some ideas on how to have a more sustainable lifestyle.
The human population is currently estimated at 7.6 Billion and increasing. This puts heavy pressure on the earth’s resources and this is a growing concern for conservationists. This can be attributed to the fact that more people means more food to be grown, more land for houses as well as more industrial areas to produce goods and services to the people. Extensive amounts of natural habitat are being altered to make room for this growing population and the environment is suffering for it. Some examples of natural habitats being destroyed is the Borneo Forest to make room for palm oil plantations. This is affecting the already endangered Orangutan.The Amazon rain forest for subsistence farming of local communities, the Great Barrier Reef due to climate change, the Everglades due to urban encroachment and the Congo basin because of illegal logging and industrial practices, wildlife trade and guerrilla warfare.
Conservation efforts are doing what they can on all fronts around the world however the environment is still suffering. As the human population we need to find more sustainable ways for living on earth so that our future generations, flora and fauna have a chance to survive and live comfortably.
Here is a list of examples and ideas to help reduce our own ecological footprint at home, in the office or wherever you may be.
- Recycling – With 8 Billion tons of plastic in the ocean already, this is an important aspect of daily living.
- Plastic littering – Don’t use plastic straws or ear buds, these two items are the most commonly found plastic pollution on beaches other than plastic bags. You can see more information here http://exploringconservation.com/2018/04/20/earth-day/
- Reuse – Purchase reusable bags to go shopping with, instead of using the plastic ones at the till.
- Combating alien invasion – Plant indigenous plants in your garden instead of exotic species, this will encourage birds and other wildlife to your garden and it will also save water. See http://exploringconservation.com/2018/05/07/the-aliens-that-live-among-us/
- Saving water – Due to climate change rainfall patterns are shifting. Along with this more people on the earth means more water consumed and fresh drinking water is becoming scarcer. In order to combat this, purchase a water harvest tank and in doing this after it has rained you can use that water for a variety of things such watering the garden, washing the dog or car. This saves you from using municipal water.
- Water pollution – Use eco-friendly washing detergents.
- Saving forests – When printing documents, print on both sides or better still try not print the document at all. In doing this you reduce the pressure of cutting trees down and ultimately save forests.
- Over fishing – Eat fish which is caught sustainably and not from fish stocks which are collapsing due to over fishing.
- Climate change –
- Try eat less red meat, Have a meatless Monday meal.
- Plant a tree, the more trees planted the more carbon dioxide can be extracted out of the atmosphere.
- Car Pooling, The less cars there are on the roads, the less carbon monoxide will be let off into the atmosphere. So chat with your colleagues and friends to find out whether you live close by and if you are going to the same destination catch a lift with them. This will not only minimize pollution levels but also reduce traffic congestion which would make everyone a little bit happier.
- If carpooling is not an option for you, then try and use public transport more often.
- Endangered species – Try keep your pets from attacking / catching wild animals , keep them on their leads.
- Ecosystem functioning – A number of people around the world are laying down artificial grass. This can have detrimental effects on ecosystems and wildlife in that area and in general. Artificial grass laying has become a popular trend in Britain and many conservationist are concerned about the ramifications that it will have on the local wildlife. Birds, butterflies and bees have decreased already and this may add to the problem, large amounts of soil are excavated in order to lay the plastic artificial grass, lots of worms and other insects who live in the soil are displaced. These insects, particularly the worms have important jobs of aerating the soil as well as providing nutrients for the soil and keeps its structure. This aids the soil when heavy rains come or droughts. Due to the drought in Cape Town many residents have adopted this approach as well. So think twice before laying down artificial grass. It may be low maintenance but in the long term we may all suffer the consequences. See full article here https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jul/04/growth-in-artificial-lawns-poses-threat-to-british-wildlife-conservationists-warn
Some of these examples of being more sustainable are readily known and I have put some of these ideas into previous blog posts. However if each of us could adopt at least one of these examples it will go a long way in preventing further deterioration to the earth we live in. I believe in conclusion that it is very important to educate not only the next generation to conserve and protect the environment but also adults alike. In doing this we can preserve what’s left.