We, as the human species, take so much for granted and often never question if what we are doing is the correct thing or what impacts it will have on nature and ourselves in the long run. We are a utilitarian species second to none. Many people, me included, simply ignore or turn a blind eye to the atrocities happening around the word by comforting ourselves with the erroneous belief that “I can’t do anything about it as it’s nowhere near me.
What can I do about the deforestation in the Amazon”? Perhaps nothing, perhaps something! Maybe the Amazon isn’t what you should be concerning yourself with but rather something closer to home. Read a paper, watch the news or simply check out your face book page to see the slaughter of dolphins and fur seals, the huge amount of sea birds caught by long-line fisheries etc. Okay so you live nowhere near the sea so what can you do about long-line fisheries? Take baby steps that cost you no money at all. For example BirdLife South Africa (www.birdlife) has a dedicated sea bird programme where you can download a list of fish that you can eat without have any negative impacts. This list you will find under the South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) and they even have a number you can text while choosing your fish to see if it belongs in the green, orange or red category – 079 499 8795. Below is a section from their website.
This list tells you about which seafood species are legal and more sustainable choices. The species included on the list have been assessed by considering the stock status, the environmental effects of fishing and the management in place to reduce these effects or maintain the stock at healthy levels. Note that some fishing and farming methods pose less harm to the environment than others. For instance, line or pole caught methods are relatively selective and don’t kill unintended species such as albatrosses. Although some forms of seafood farming can reduce pressure on over-exploited wild stocks this is only the case if wild fish don’t need to be fed to the farmed fish or if the production method doesn’t further degrade the environment.
In essence by buying the correct type of fish from the right source you are helping the albatrosses living thousands of kilometers away from you. This is just one simple example of how you can help the world and it didn’t even cost you one cent.
There are thousands of different ideas you could look into to reduce the impacts that you are having on our environment. Have a look at any of the sustainable living sites and see which ones suite you and make them a way of life. Many people believe that sustainable living means recycling. That is simply one thing that you can and should do but quite honestly if it doesn’t suite you don’t do it, look for something that suites you and your family and stick to it.
A final thought is “be careful who you give donations to”. There are so many people who have jumped on the band wagon in South Africa about rhino poaching. Restaurants, for example, are advertising ‘functions’ to help raise money for the rhino. Is this actually going towards the rhino or simply a good way to attract people?
Guide at African Insight
Great post, Nigel. Very often small things add up to become something big. No one ever set out to change the world, but there are plenty of opportunities to make a significant difference with mindful actions.
Thank you for the feedback Nikki. All of us at African Insight agree!