‘We need a wake up call… and fast’

picture: wendy june

The earth is one planet worth saving… just think about it; no earth means we have nowhere to live and no life support to speak of, so seriously, we need a wake up call and we need it fast.

Instead of looking at ways to reach other planets in the galaxy, we should be bringing our focus closer to home. Right here under our feet is the most incredible planet and it provides us with all that we need to survive.

It is an extraordinary place with diverse and complex systems at work all the time, to make life possible, if not perfect. Yet, we take it all for granted, and most often, we abuse the very planet we call home and depend upon to survive.

To be honest, the earth is a resilient planet and nature has ways to repair damage and bring back balance and harmony. We, the human race, on the other hand, are placing our health and survival at stake with our greed and dependance on material things.

Our way of life and desires for more and more “stuff” is not healthy for the planet, and in the long run, it could be our demise.

As humans (in general) we want bigger, better, more and more. We are not happy with a simple life, living in harmony with the natural world. Instead we try to outdo each other, be it in person, business or by country.

Life is driven by how much profit one can make rather than by how we can least impact our natural world and those around us.

We have become selfish and thoughtless. In the process we forget the very life force we rely on. Our drive for the ultimate (whatever that is) has caused us to disconnect from our world and take for granted all that we need and all that our planet provides us.

Human activity is harming the earth’s natural systems. It is threatening entire ecosystems and causing the extinction of many species.

Last month, the Helderberg Eco-Rangers held an Earth Hour celebration and picnic at the Helderberg Nature Reserve, an event where like minded people joined to celebrate our magnificent planet earth and all living creatures and plants.

Those who attended the event had a good time, learned a little and connected to the natural world around them. This was the aim of the event along with raising funds for environmental education.

Children, some as young as two, parents and grandparents had incredible fun making lanterns. The faces were enough to show the joy when seeing the lights turn on as each lantern was completed.

Following the craft was a march “to save our earth. This was a soul-stirring and touching walk, starting from the education centre and ending at the stage area.

Families carrying their lanterns walked behind Glenn Poley playing the bagpipes. Two tiny tots took part – one just three and the other still two. A puff adder slithered along side us for a while; however, the music from the pipes must have scared him a touch.

The talk by guest speaker, Dr Wallace Vosloo, was entertaining, humorous and informative with many hints and tips on how to survive the power outages, and had a special story for children, to help them cope in a power outage and see the positive side to “no lights”.

The night time-adventure walk led by Andreas Groenewald was one not to be missed, and there was great excitement as the group explored the nature reserve.

Each person who joined this walk will have left richer in knowledge than when they arrived. And the experience will be one to linger for many years to come.

Nature played its part, with the nightjar filling the warm air with song, and a spider shedding its skin in an almost choreographed dance fashion. Some were lucky to see a nightjar too.

A scorpion was seen glowing, spiders were seen waiting by their burrows and there was more. Each person listened to call of the eagle owl and learned to tell the difference between male and female.

To end the walk there were taste, touch, feel and smell experiences. Here each person was given the chance to taste, touch and smell plants or fruits found in nature.

The wild olives created many a shocked face due to the taste, but there was chocolate to take the bitter flavour away afterwards. The Nom Nom fruits and Kei apples were all devoured, and the buchu and Nom Nom flowers filled the air with a delicate scent.

The final stretch of the walk had characters for the children to find: Bertie the bat, Slither the snake and Spooky the spider.

Beyond these were hidden treats for all the children, a perfect way to end the evening, which was blessed with perfect weather, a wonderful crowd of people and the nature reserve.

What more could one ask for when celebrating our earth?

The Helderberg Eco-Rangers thanks all who came out for Earth Hour to show their respect for and celebrate the earth.

But as we well know, the present global civilisation is not healthy for the planet or us. Protecting life on earth, including our own species, requires a serious transformation within society.

We need to change our attitude. We need a new way of relating to the earth, its many species and each other. We need a planet-wide civilisational shift.

Each of us need to change our thinking when it comes to how we value, use and dispose of resources, creating a circular system, as in nature.

This is perhaps the ultimate point of Earth Day: to respect and protect the earth and to save us from ourselves.

Protecting our earth needs to become a way of life, for the sake of our children and all living creatures who depend upon this planet for survival.

Take your children out into nature often, show them the wonders of the natural world and let them connect with their natural surroundings.

In turn, children will learn to know and love nature and the outdoors enough to want to protect it. This is the beginning of changing the way we relate to the earth: one child at a time.

The Helderberg Eco-Rangers is an environmental education group for children and their families. It is the aim of this group to connect children with nature, create future stewards for nature and to pave the way for a better future for our children and the planet.

Wendy June, of Helderberg Eco-Rangers, supplied Bolander with this article.