The bigger picture

In our culture we have a totem system. Your totem which identifies your family is usually if not always a wild animal common to your area. I strongly believe it was an effort by our ancestors to conserve our environment. If my totem is elephant, it means that animal is sacred to my family and we have to protect it. It meant less pressure on our wildlife and helped create a balance in the food chain. Most of the religions I have come across or heard of always emphasize on the importance of taking care of our planet. It’s sad however that selfishness has taken over and we now are only thinking of ourselves at the expense of our beautiful blue planet.

My grandfather used to have a beehive on his small piece of land. He would harvest honey for us and I always marveled how he managed without harming the bees. He would keep the colony intact which meant more honey for us later.

Recently I came across a charred bee hive. It was a devastating sight which got me thinking. It was not evidently as a result of a veld fire (which is not justifiable either way). It appeared as if someone was trying to harvest some honey and decided to kill the bees. It is sad how sometimes our selfish behavior can make us so myopic. We think of the immediate benefit of our actions and do not project possible consequences. The honey was made by the bees and you destroy the makers yet you expect to have honey next time.

The bee movie puts across very well the effects of selfish behavior though in it puts it’s from the perspective of the bee community. Right now most environmental headlines are on global warming. These are effects of our actions. When we built our concrete jungles we didn’t think of the fate of the animals we displaced and the forests we were clearing. We were making our lives more comfortable and providing ourselves with the much needed accommodation in the process creating problems for our future generations.

The media has spread the word that poaching is not only a crime but it’s a danger to our environment.  A person kills a rhino knowing it’s an endangered species, all because of its precious horn. They sell the horn makes a few dollars spend it and want more and go after more rhinos. What happens when you kill the last rhino? What will you tell your children and the future generations? What about the overall impact on the ecosystem.

A person drops a plastic anywhere which combines with other floating litter and they are carried to the drains were they accumulate and eventually clog the drain. When the rainy season comes and our cities get flooded the blame is placed on the authorities who did not clear the drains on time. Yes we have people who clean after our mess but we need to be accountable for our actions.  I dropped the paper and contributed to the problem. If we placed our litter in the designated bins there wouldn’t be a mess to clean after anyway

We have noted the mistakes made by our predecessors but will our generation learn from them. It will be immaturity consistently making the same mistakes which our fore fathers did creating some of the problems we have to deal with. We are now aware of the importance of biodiversity and conserving our wetlands, so why allow the idea of an immediate short lived benefit cloud our judgement. Environmentalist should now be part of the planning force to highlight the unforeseen impact our various projects might have.Image


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