Braam you earthSouth Africa faces its worst drought in over thirty years. Braam Malherbe explains how you can make small changes that make a big difference to our planet.

The Earth is getting hotter and it’s largely due to human-induced climate change. But what does this mean to us as individuals, and what can we do about it?

Over 122 years of recording South Africa’s annual temperatures, 2013 set the record as our hottest year ever. This record was short-lived - only to be broken in 2014 and then again last year! In the face of this extreme heat and low rainfall, we have been experiencing the worst drought in over thirty years. Affecting over 2.7 million households, things are only going to get worse, with food prices set to soar as we import vast amounts of maize and other products against a very weak currency.

People usually change for one of two reasons: The first is based on information and our increased awareness of the plight of our planet. As we become more respectful of what we take for granted, we begin to make more ethical choices in our daily actions. Unfortunately, the reason most people change is because they’re forced to. Imagine what you’d have to do if water stopped coming out of the tap? You’d have to move out of your comfort zone and make a plan.  Rather than waiting for that to happen, we can start making lots of small changes NOW.

Here are a few examples:

•    Don’t leave the tap running when you brush your teeth; or guys, when you shave;
•    Shower, don’t bath;
•    If you have a garden, buy hardy plants that don’t require much water;
•    If you have a green lawn, think about converting it into a vegetable garden, as lawns are hugely water intensive;
•    And a big one for me… substitute beef for venison if you must eat meat.

Of the approximately 70 billion farmed animals on earth, cows drink 1.7 billion litres of water per day. It takes a hectare of land to house one cow and a hectare of rain forest is burned EVERY MINUTE to grow maize or soy to feed that cow! Of that maize and soy, 35% is fed to cows – a figure that could quite easily feed the entire world’s starving poor.

Staying with the subject of food - instead of eating marine fish, buy farmed fresh fish (like the trout and salmon in your Woolies store). Peer reviewed papers from some of the world’s leading scientists tell us that there will be NO FISH IN THE OCEANS BY 2048! Don’t let this happen…we can change things by understanding the problems.

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On the 26th December my friend, Pete van Kets and I will be rowing the Cape to Rio yacht race. That’s 6700kms and we will be pulling around 2.3 million strokes with our oars. We need to get to Rio with your help… and want 2.3 million people to #DOT: to Do One Thing for the planet via our free downloadable App which will be launched later this year. Please help us help our planet by ‘pulling together’ with Pete and me.

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