The world´s leading Earth scientists unanimously agree that human activity is the root cause of the environmental crisis facing the Earth today. Climate change experts regard Africa as the continent that will suffer the worst effects of global warming and climate change.
Earth´s ecosystems are in crisis as a result of the fossil-fuel-driven technological revolution, global overpopulation and the imbalance between civilization and nature. As the Director of the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University, Donald Johansen, states "Right now we are hurtling towards self-destruction because we have forgotten that we are a product of the natural world and that we depend on it for our survival. This is extraordinarily dangerous and there will be very serious repercussions for the human species unless we find it in ourselves to rapidly restore our reverence for the natural world".
How can you help?
On a daily basis we are bombarded with the news of further calamities facing the environment and if we do not consciously guard against it, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. One way of counteracting this is to become proactive and take responsibility for cleaning up your own backyard by putting into action the slogan: "Think Global, Act Local". Here are some ideas as to how you can make a meaningful difference:
Calculate Your Carbon Footprint
It is important to understand how your life style creates the carbon emissions responsible for Global Warming. Knowledge of this is the starting point for reducing your carbon footprint and for offsetting those carbon emissions that you are unable to totally reduce. An example of these would be unavoidable air and car travel.
One important way you can offset carbon emissions is by sponsoring the planting of forest trees at Platbos. Along with the many positive benefits that these trees give to the wider environment, they are also conserving and "growing" this unique and precious forest ecosystem. In addition, your trees are automatically protected by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry - all going well, they will live for 100 years and more. Read more about what trees do for the environment and how you can sponsor tree planting on our reforestation page.
You can work out your approximate carbon footprint on our Carbon Chart. Once you have done this, you can take steps to reduce your own environmental impact. Below are some suggestions for achieving this as well as links to organizations that specialize in this field.
Take Steps to Reduce Your Carbon Emissions
In the Home
- Save energy at home by using energy-saving lighting such as LED´s. If you use the standard energy-saving light bulbs be sure to return them to the retailers once depleted as they contain mercury that is toxic to the earth.
- Turn off your lights and appliances at the wall when not in use. For example, 25% of the overall energy that a television uses is consumed when it is turned "off" but not switched off at the wall.
- Choose energy-efficient appliances when making new purchases. For example, laptop computers are 90% more efficient than their desktop cousins.
- Conserve hot water: heating is one of the major drains on household energy.
- Install a solar geyser and consider changing over to green power (sun or wind) as your budget allows. Renewable energy systems are becoming increasingly available, affordable and user-friendly.
On the Road
- Carpool: share lifts to work / school / college / the shopping centre.
- Take public transport, cycle or walk instead.
- Drive less - cut down on unnecessary trips.
- Reduce air travel: flying produces huge amount of carbon emissions. Holiday nearer to home - remember: Local is Lekka! Consider telecommuting instead of business-orientated airplane travel.
- If your airplane travel is unavoidable, consider offsetting your carbon miles by sponsoring the planting of forest trees at Platbos.
Reduce Emissions by Consuming Less
- Before making that purchase, ask yourself if you really need it. Consider the item´s impact on your family´s health and the health of the environment.
- Consider the disposal of a product once you are done with it. Currently, all 6.5 billion of us are consuming natural resources at an unsustainable rate. Simplifying our consumer life-style is a vital component of reducing our impact on the environment.
- Buy things of value that last and which have been produced by environmentally-responsible producers with ethical labour practices.
- Buy locally-produced goods - these have a smaller carbon footprint.
- If possible, buy organically-grown produce and eat less meat. Red meat and dairy products account for 5 to 10 times more carbon emissions than nuts and grain foods with equivalent nutritional value. If you do eat meat, support those producers that follow humane and organic farming practices.
- Reduce your paper and water usage.
- Buy bulk products to reduce unnecessary packaging.
- Forests are precious ecosystems. Contribute to efforts to conserve and rehabilitate the world´s natural forests. Find out more about Platbos Forest´s reforestation project: Trees for Tomorrow and how you can sponsor the planting of trees on the forest edge.
- Separate out paper, glass, tin, and plastics from your house-hold rubbish and make sure it gets to your recycling depot.
- Recycle goods that can be resold in charity stores.
- Start a worm farm with all your organic waste for feeding your garden or window boxes.
- Purchase products that are not swaddled within layers of unnecessary packaging.
- Take along your own supply of plastic or cloth carrier bags when doing the shopping. Make a habit of storing them in the boot of your car so that you don´t forget them!
- Pass on unwanted items when you no longer need them to someone who will have a use for them.
- Read the labels on your house-hold cleaners - lots of chemicals? These are harmful to your health and end up in the ground water, polluting our rivers and oceans. Look for environmentally-friendly alternatives.
- As a consumer, you can put your money where your mouth is - spending power is just that: POWER. By supporting environmentally-responsible businesses, the "little" people can bring about great changes.
- Visit some of our links and explore the many other ways that you can make a meaningful difference to the Earth.
- Lastly, while each one of us must take swift and serious steps to reduce our individual carbon footprint, best we also remember the power of our thoughts. Don Helder Camara said: "When we are dreaming alone it is only a dream. When we are dreaming with others, it is the beginning of reality." Our collective thoughts have tremendous power - be sure that yours are not feeding into negative doom-and-gloom scenarios for the Earth. Rather, join with others who are holding in conscious-thought, the picture of a healed Earth, in a state of balance, peace, harmony and grace.
please visit our
and sponsor the planting of a tree. Order this forest greeting card, pictured above, to inform your special person of the trees planted in their honour.