The lecture at Edgewood Campus (UKZN) on 21 April was to celebrate Earth Day, which commemorates the birthday of the modern environmental movement 47 years ago. Though some things have improved, we are still losing ground. Since 1970 wild animal populations worldwide have gone down by more than half (WWF). Between 25 and 50% of forests and grasslands have been converted for farming purposes (WRI).
I can’t bear the thought of this lovely indigenous forest in Hogsback, which we visited recently, being threatened. The South African National Biodiversity Institute estimates that a quarter of our indigenous plant species are threatened or in a worrying state, the main threats being habitat destruction or deterioration and invasive aliens. Everywhere we went we saw depressing evidence of this (SANBI Red List stats).
The general attitude towards the environment is still marked by ignorance and apathy. Linked with humanity’s insatiable hunger for money, meat and ‘more-more-more’, nature continues to languish. Quite frankly, I am determined to do whatever I can to change even a few people’s hearts, and show them how they can make a difference in their immediate surroundings.
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