Wake Up

BY Leslie Ter Morshuizen

Spend some time travelling through your country or our beloved continent and you will notice certain changes across the landscape.  Trees are being felled at an alarmingly rapid rate, and no, there is not a planting program to replace the disappearing forests.  Road networks are improving; whilst this is good for development it also provides the arterial network required by the logging companies to transport the timber stripped from the forests.  You will also notice that there are people almost everywhere, even in areas that 5 years ago were virtually uninhabited.  More people means more pressure on the local environment through bush clearing for crop farming, grazing of domestic stock that displaces wild animals, water being required for irrigation, stock and household use, and of course the wastes that area generated and often simply discarded as litter (country dependant!).
In much of Africa the citizens are actively engaged in one of three activities: fishing, farming or trading.  Fish stocks are mostly seriously depleted to the point that this is now a marginal enterprise.  This situation is easy to remedy – stop fishing until the stocks recover and then only harvest sustainable sizes and quantities; but history shows us that this is not going to happen.  In South Africa you generally do not see the levels of commercial activity, especially farming, that you see throughout the rest of Africa.  It is as if the security of a State grant has robbed people of their urgency and creativity to place food on the table, or perhaps this is merely an expression of a cultural difference?
When we read reports on the state of water resources across the continent we learn that there is grave concern over the rate at which water sources are being spoilt by inappropriate agricultural and mining practices, along with other forms of industrial and urban pollution.  Water is a most precious commodity and the writers stress that urgent attention is required to avoid a significant number of catchments becoming polluted to the point of being unsuitable for use!  Many methods are available to reduce aspects of our negative impacts on water sources, but do we have the collective will to change our behaviour?
The IMF is warning of a global financial crunch starting in 2016/7.  Have read around the subject a bit there seems to be strong agreement across much of the financial media that a financial downturn is looming, with some suggesting it may be worse than the 2000’s crunch.
Recently we have seen the cost of food rising with all the primary cereals and meats having topped record highs in the past few years.  For you and I this is an inconvenience and possibly even a bit uncomfortable, but for the people at the bottom of the economic spectrum this is a crisis of massive proportions as they can no longer afford to feed their families properly.  The World Bank released a video clip (loaded onto our FaceBook page) which claims that 170 people fall into poverty every minute!!!  This is a staggering statistic and a very serious wakeup call that we cannot continue with business as usual.
I do not believe in responding to any of these claims in fear, however, ostrich tactics are no longer going to suffice.  However, I do feel that you and I that have a privileged position, as defined by having 3 full meals each day, a roof over our heads and education to at least Grade 12, have a moral obligation to get involved in finding solutions to assist those less fortunate than ourselves.  You may choose to see this as a business opportunity or a social responsibility, either way I encourage and challenge you to do what you personally can to alleviate the crisis ahead and the impact it is having, and will continue to have, on the least fortunate members of our society.  Aquaculture or Aquaponics may well be part of this plan but whatever you can do, do it.
 Wake up there is a crisis looming

 December 05, 2016
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