Global warming – are you tipping?

‘Our economy from an emissions perspective is more inefficient than Poland, India and even the US.’
Issue Date: 30 March 2007

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I’ve felt the heat this summer. I worried that it was old age creeping up, but not so – a look at the weather records shows otherwise. Daily evaporation, the measure which best indicates how we feel about the weather, has been way up on past years. Coinciding with this discomfort, I’ve suddenly become aware of the enormous amount of media coverage of the global warming threat.
The subject has bored me in the past, but it’s taken on a new meaning.

Have I reached my own personal tipping point?
Malcolm Gladwell, in the book The Tipping Point, graphically demonstrates this phenomenon. We all experience “tipping points” in our daily lives, but Gladwell’s book brings powerful insights. It’s “the straw that breaks the camel’s back” – something builds and builds, and suddenly, a major change is triggered. In business we may have struggled with an advertising campaign, when suddenly goods start moving. We’ve reached the tipping point. At home one of the kids is niggling and niggling, when suddenly, after another very minor irritation, dad loses his patience. He’s reached his tipping point.

Figure One

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Figure Two


But back to global warming. Googling “global warming”, “carbon” and “climate change”, I was inundated with information. a look at Figures 1 and 2. Frightening, hey?

Even more frightening is the fact that we South Africans are one of the world’s worst contributors to carbon emissions, the root cause of global warming.

According to the World Resources Institute, our economy from an emissions perspective is more inefficient than Poland, India and even the US. Makes you think!

But, I ask myself what can I, a small farmer, do about it?
The problem is so huge that it’s way beyond me to make any contribution – or is it? Do you know the one about the two chaps walking on a beach when they find millions of stranded starfish? One starts picking them up and tossing them back into the sea, and the other says, ”You’re wasting your time. What difference do you think you will make?” He answered, “Maybe not much, but it made a difference to that one.” You can make a difference.

As a start, get yourself informed about the problem, and begin talking about it. You can help push society to its tipping point, so the threat is taken seriously. Let’s have a look at how you can make your own personal contribution to cutting down emissions next week. Contact Peter Hughes on (013) 745 7303 or e-mail [email protected]. |fw