Imagine Travel in 2032: A world transformed where some of the most fascinating tourism bucket list spots are newly formed desert regions in the Vaal and mysterious attractions in the forgotten undersea cities of Venice and Cape Town, which is now partly in the Atlantic Ocean near Table Mountain Island.
And for the most intrepid, adventure-seeking world traveller, extreme sports like subway surfing in New York and dune trash surfing in St Lucia offer thrilling new experiences on the itinerary.
Unfortunately, this uncanny world paints a picture of planet Earth’s possible final destination in its trajectory towards a bleak future, as unchecked climate change plagues the planet with droughts, floods, earthquakes and rising sea levels.
Changing the journey:
But, according to The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), if we, as individuals — regardless of our age and location — take specific action to address climate change, we can in fact stem the tide, “Change the Journey” and prevent the grim reality of a world forever stripped of nature.
WWF South Africa Head of Business Development, Justin Smith said nature as we know it is in jeopardy due to climate change and factors like plastic pollution, deforestation, and rampant development, leading to a loss in biodiversity and disturbing changes to the world’s weather patterns.
“Evidence of climate change is sweeping the globe every day, as devastating weather systems cause floods, droughts, wildfires, and tsunamis. Climate change is expected to raise the Mediterranean Sea by 140cm by 2100, causing cities like Venice to sink. Cape Town’s Sea level is rising at about 2mm per year while South Africa’s East Coast has very sadly also been devastated by recent flooding,” Smith said.
Our impact on the environment is real:
“The spiralling loss of nature that we have seen over the last 50 years could eventually lead to the total collapse of our Earth’s life-giving systems because we cannot sustain human life without the food, water, energy fuel, and other products and services we get from nature,” Smith adds.
According to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) latest report released in February 2022 African agricultural productivity growth had already been reduced by 34% since 1961, due to climate change. Future warming will negatively affect food systems in Africa by shortening growing seasons and increasing water stress.
In addition, the report revealed:
- Global warming above 2°C will result in multiple breadbasket failures with expected yield reductions for staple crops across most of Africa compared to the 2005 yield.
- 1.7°C global warming, which will be reached before 2050 at current rates, will cause reduced fish harvests that could leave 1.2–70 million people in Africa vulnerable to nutritional deficiencies.
- By 2030, 108–116 million people will be exposed to sea-level rise in Africa, compared to 54 million in 2000, increasing to 190–245 million by 2060.
WWF has called on all the citizens of the world to #ChangeTheJourney and make a difference to fight climate change.
Ways to start your journey involve reevaluating:
Here are six elements, 18 hard facts, and all the motivation you need to start playing your part:
1. What you eat:
- Food production also has the greatest negative impact on the planet — more than any other human activity.
- One-third of all food produced in South Africa (a total of 10 million tonnes of edible food) is wasted every year.
- A lack of diversity in our diet creates a lack of diversity in nature, making us less resilient to diseases in our food supply.
2. What you wear:
- The fashion industry produces up to 8% of annual global carbon emissions, more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.
- It takes around 3800 litres of clean and drinkable water to make a typical pair of jeans — that’s 1L of drinking water for 3800 days or 1L per day for 10 years.
- Textiles account for about 9% of annual microplastic losses to the ocean, or the equivalent of 45 million plastic bottles per year.
3. Plastic use:
- South Africa generates 2.4 million tons of plastic waste every year, equivalent to 41kg of plastic waste per citizen.
- The materials you throw away persist in nature long after they have been discarded.
- Only 14% of the 2.4 million tons of plastic thrown into bins are recycled.
4. How you get around:
- In 2010, road transportation was responsible for the largest (just over 91%) fuel consumption in the transport sector.
- We seemingly need infinite transportation systems. Statistics show that there will be around 2 billion cars on the road by 2040.
- In Gauteng, the highest income group is responsible for almost 60% of passenger transport emissions, mainly through private car use.
5. Your water footprint:
- It comes from nature. 50% of the water in our rivers and dams comes from 10% of our land area.
- South Africa is the 30th driest country in the world. No drought, we’re a water-scarce country.
- By 2030 there will be a 17% shortfall between how much water we have and how much we need.
6. Your carbon footprint:
- Fossil fuels such as coal are damaging our planet. Yet, about 73% of South Africa’s energy needs are derived from coal.
- Organisations and people in South African cities use 54% of the country’s electricity. That means cities are responsible for over half of our carbon emissions from electricity.
- South Africa has one of the highest solar resources worldwide, yet we’ve committed to only 9% of renewable energy supply by 2030.
For more information on the small steps you can take to help us in our work to make a difference and #ChangeTheJourney to save the planet from becoming a world without nature visit www.wwf.org.za