Life in the Green Lane

Environmental journalist Candice Batista shares video clips and eco-savvy advice from her TV show, A Greener Toronto.

Hello to all my fellow greenies, I am so happy to be home and blogging again. I have been in the USA and South Africa, what a trip. South Africa, my hometown, has changed a great deal in the past two years. Some of that changed has been good and some really really bad. As far as the environment is concerned, like Canada, they have a long way to go. While Africa contributes very little to global warming, South Africa is the 14th highest carbon emitter in the world, and must commit to measurable actions to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, including ending its dependence on coal, without looking to nuclear power as the solution. Across the continent Africans are feeling the effects of climate change and according to Greenpeace, over “180 million people in sub-Saharan Africa will die as a result of climate change by the end of the century.” Drought, little to no rainfall, lower crop yields and dwindling resources are all having profound effects. Mass migration, increased tension and conflict are just three examples. South Africa, as with Africa as a whole, is in a position to harness an abundance of renewable energy resources like solar, wind and biomass. An “energy revolution” in Africa would help reduce the effects of climate change significantly, but it would also assist in bringing electricity to rural areas, which is crucial to South Africa’s rural development and job and economic growth. Climate change and the effects of global warming are having alarming results on the African people and the continent as whole. Deforestation (illegal logging) and over fishing off the coat of West Africa are two examples. The Congo Basin rainforest is under extreme threat from industrial logging. There are 40 million people living in that region and they depend on the basin for their livelihood. The rainforest plays a vital role i regulating climate change (trees absorb carbon dioxide), its also the fourth largest forest carbon reservoir in the world. If logging continues at is current rate, the Democratic Republic of Congo risks losing 40 percent of its forest within 40 years. Africa needs to adopt international financing mechanisms that would make the Congo Basin rainforest more economically valuable intact than as timer. The South African government should also support Central African countries by backing moves to create a funding mechanism that makes protecting tropical forests and the climate more economical than logging. Tropical forest destruction accounts for about 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Another big issue is foreign trawlers off the coast of West Africa. These massive fishing boats are single handedly destroying the aquatic life in the region. This practice has an extremely detrimental effect on the local communities. Over-fishing deprives natives of crucial nutrition leading to an in poverty and overall food insecurity. Africa need to implement laws against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Like other parts of the world, Africa needs to implement sustainable fishing and fish procesing operations, managed and financed by Africans, as well as increased monitoring and control. The area needs a network of well enforced marine reserves. 

“Tackling environmental problems in Africa is vital to ensuring a future for its children and the world as a whole. While it is most likely to be one of the hardest and quickest hit by the effects of climate change, some of which can already be seen, Africa is also a major part of the solution. Through harnessing its renewable energy potential and protecting its tropical forests Africa can lead the way in environmental development.” (from Greenpeace) Here in Canada you can help, make mindful choices when you shop. Support sustainable fishing. And always buy FSC certified goods. Stay tuned for my next blog...if you are interested in volunteering at an animal sanctuary in Africa, I’ll have everything you need to know...a hint....it’s a once in a lifetime experience. Eco Candy.