BY: Francois Theron, trainer at the Bushwise Mahlahla campus
This blog isn’t meant to conjure up visions of doom and gloom. Rather, it is meant to inspire field guides to act as ambassadors. To make known to their visitors the truth about the dire situation that we are currently facing with regards to the loss of our natural world.
Field guides have a critical mandate: to explore wild places and the biodiversity thriving within them. They can then highlight their discoveries and enlighten visitors from all over the world about what could happen if we do not look after our planet.
The following statistics were taken over an 83-year period. A lifetime for many humans.
- The world population was 2.3 billion in 1937 and now stands at a staggering 7.8 billion people
- The remaining wilderness stood at 66% and has dropped to a mere 35%
- Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen from 280 parts per million to an astonishing 415 parts per million.
Human beings have had a detrimental effect on the planet. We have exploited natural resources and exhausted them to the point where it is predicted that a person born in 2020 will witness
- the Amazon and the African savannah turn into desolate deserts
- an ice-free Arctic
- fish populations plummeting
- pollinating insects disappearing
- a dramatic fall in global food production.
As it stands there are 50 billion trees being cut down each year, while freshwater resources have been reduced by 80%.
The Earth has faced five mass extinctions and if we continue the way we are now, humans will be responsible for the sixth. There has never been a more urgent call to change the way we are living.
In order to leave something of worth for the following generations, we must do everything in our power to reduce the carbon footprint now before it is too late.
Scientists are busy exploring Mars on a mission called Hope, but I believe we should rather be exploring ways to save this planet from ourselves before we destroy it!