There is that adage about the frog in the water. I’ve always thought it was a big of a gross example; the thought of a frog boiling in water freaks me out. Although there may be some merit in this graphic illustration when pondering the sustainability of our environment.
The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has just produced its most recent report. And, spoiler alert, the news is spectacularly bad. There is a lot of complexity to climate change stuff. That’s because all aspects of our World are so interlinked. I’m just going to touch super briefly on two very big, obvious, and likely impacts for us here in Africa through a series of statements.
Where will we live?
- Certain parts of Africa (and South Africa) will become uninhabitable because it will be too hot and too dry.
- People from rural areas will be forced to migrate to cities.
- Cities will probably not have the infrastructure to cope with these additional people.
- Informal settlements will expand.
- Poor infrastructure and sanitation in these settlements will make people less healthy, and reduce life expectancy.
What will we eat?
- 30% of maize growing areas and 50% of bean growing areas will go out of production because it will be too hot and too dry.
- On top of this, crop yields will decline because of the changes in weather.
- Food will become more scarce.
- Food prices will increase.
- Populations will become hungry.
In both these likely scenarios, life expectancy will drop. This is a real travesty given the huge strides we have made over the past 50 years in extending life expectancy across the continent. The wealth and wellbeing of Africans has never been higher. It would be devastating to see a reversal of such great progress!
So what can we do about it?
Well, there are a ton of things. Governments need to put in place wide ranging policy to combat climate change, we need to invest in innovations that will reduce carbon emissions – particularly in key polluting industries, and we need to have extensive education on environmental sustainability. But there is a lot you and I can do too. Here are 3 simple things (amongst many more) that we believe are a good start!
- Buy less: before you buy, ask yourself “do I need this?” The more we buy, the more stuff has to get made. When stuff is made, a lot of CO2 is put into the atmosphere, which makes it hotter and hotter. Buying less saves you BIG BUCKS too! Winner winner chicken dinner!
- Go preowned: when you need to buy, go preowned as much as you can. It means new stuff doesn’t need to be made, and it prevents stuff from going into landfills. Think: if we can increase the average life in a phone from the 2 years which it currently is to 4 years, that will mean we’ll only need half the number of new devices to be produced. Wow!
- Recycle responsibly: Across the World, we product 56 million tons of electronic waste (eWaste) each year. This goes into landfills, pollutes the ocean, kills sea life, and produces dangerous chemicals that pollute the soil and underground water. So much of old electronic devices can be recovered and reused!
Make a difference and keep those iPhones, Samsung Galaxy’s, laptops and tablets in circulation for longer. Preowned really does save money and the Planet.
If you’ve got lots of time on your hands and are keen to learn more, check out the full IPCC report at https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg2/