How hard can it be to get a South African to braai less? (March 2021)

Published March 2021

How hard can it be to get a South African to braai less?

Climate change should receive more attention and regulatory response than Covid-19. This pandemic brought on an opportunity for us to demonstrate our readiness and reaction to a global disaster. Unfortunately, we failed this test and the result was a crippled economy and a loss to many of our civil liberties through government regulations. Political compensation has been rife in decision making. We allowed ourselves to panic and be directed by leaders who were not prepared. We must learn and not allow ourselves to make the same mistake again.

The problem is we are genetically wired to wake up and plan how to deal with the challenges of the day and not those in the months and years to come. We need to become fully aware of the threat to our family, communities and businesses because the effects of climate change will be felt within our life time and well before 2050. The decisions we make within the next five or so years will decide the quality of life for our children and the fate of all living things on this planet.

‘David Attenboroughs Life on our Planet’ is an exceptional documentary you can watch to quickly bring yourself up to speed on how bad the situation is. It is probably the most powerful documentary I have ever seen. You can find it on Netflix and I encourage you to watch it with the entire family today.

You and I have to change. A pandemic is one type of many natural disasters which will increase in frequency and severity because of climate change. I am grateful the mortality rate of Covid-19 is low. It could have been far worse. Mother Nature has been easing us into learning a lesson we refuse to take a class on. There are too many of us alive, living to close to one another, using resources in an unsustainable way, and living above and apart from the eco system. Carbon emissions have jumped 60% in the last 3 decades from oil and gas companies and at the same time our carbon footprint from agriculture linked to meat production is at a critical level. We continue to abuse oceans and the wilderness.

How hard can it be to get a South African to stop braai’ing or change their habits when we feel there are so many other pressing challenges we have to solve today? Do I need to accept that the majority of us are going to act like a screaming toddler who wants their own way no matter what?

While I woke up today and worried about load shedding, corruption and race relations, I also knew in my heart that there is no greater equalizer than a hungry belly. The levels of starvation, poverty and inequality of today will pale in comparison to what we are on path for.

What I, and all of us need to accept is change will happen regardless of how you behave. Governments world-wide are going to respond with new regulations. Commercial entities are going to be strong-armed into policy reform. Investment of funds will be diverted. Businesses are going to have to be transparent in their carbon impact.

I believe the commercial arena is where the battle must take place and be won. Future Thinkers have a vital part to play here. They need to research and share information. 1 Trillian USD is said to be lost in the next 5 years for large businesses world-wide. Small companies stand to lose everything. 180 billion UDS is required each year for the next decade just to mitigate the anticipated 1-2% increase in global temperatures. Sharing relatable information helps: 50% loss of wine production will result from a 2% rise in global temperature. Chocolate and coffee will run out. South Africa will suffer a double bladed knife, because ‘green businesses’ use a lot less people in their supply chain, and we have unions and government egos which rely on offering job opportunities, but there will be far less available in the future world if we don’t focus on creating new avenues rather than sharing what little there is. Education and re-skilling is pivotal.

Countries that don’t respond to climate change and make it their priority will become commercially and ethically undesirable.

Change starts at home. If you can manage to eat a vegetarian diet three or four days a week, have no more than two children per family, and primarily support local businesses and services, you have already laid down the foundation for the change we need to not only stop climate change, but reverse it. These three simple changes directly mitigate the greatest contributors of carbon impact. Every South African can start today.

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - How hard can it be to get a South African to braai less?



Published March 2021

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