Water Wise Watch: May 2019
This month at Water Wise
'Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health'
What relevance does biodiversity have to you and me? Biodiversity is not something important to scientists and environmentalists only. Biodiversity is essential for the survival or each and every one of us. A healthy environment provides what is known as critical ecosystem services. These include food security, clean and secure water supply, clean air, flood attenuation, building material, and biomass energy. Natural ecosystems provide the foundation of our economy and society, without which neither would function.
Unfortunately, the growing human population and subsequent pressure on the natural environment through urbanisation, water demand, agricultural needs, pollution, habitat destruction, over-exploitation of natural resources, and invasive alien plant and animal species has severely impacted biodiversity across the globe. Without healthy, functioning ecosystems, we face a future of threatened water supplies, air pollution, loss of soil, and reduction in food security.
Every single living organism on Earth has a role to play. No species is redundant. Removing a species from the environment will have a severe knock-on effect on the functioning and sustainability of that ecosystem, even those species we find annoying or threatening. Here is a list of some of the services and benefits we can expect to lose if we do not focus on conserving our natural environment:
- maintenance of the hydrological cycle, and thus the provision of clean water;
- maintenance of atmospheric quality, which in turn provides pure air to breathe and helps to control the climate;
- the generation and conservation of soils, which are essential to agriculture and forestry;
- protection from erosion;
- nutrient cycling;
- pollutant breakdown and absorption;
- control of many potential crop pests and vectors of disease;
- the pollination of many crops;
- maintenance of a vast resource of genetic materials from which South Africa and other countries have developed crops, domestic animals, medicines and industrial products;
- The insurance and basis for adaptation which biodiversity provides against large changes in climate and ecosystem processes.
So, what can you do?
- Don't support any activity or service that exploits the natural environment.
- Support your local nature reserves and environmental organisations.
- Reduce your consumption, for example, of single-use plastic like shopping bags and straws.
- Reduce your pollution.
- Recycle and re-use wherever possible.
- Reduce your energy demands, for example, electricity and petrol.
- Reduce your water demands. Use less water!
- Restore habitat in your community or garden.
- Protect natural environments such as wetlands and rivers in your community and encourage others to do the same.
- Grow your own organic vegetables, without the use of chemical pesticides and herbicides.
International Earth Day celebrations with Miss Earth 2019
On 25 April, Water Wise celebrated International Earth Day at Rand Water's Head Office. The event featured a talk by Miss Earth Director 'Ella Bella', as well as an opportunity to take a selfie with 'Ella Bella'. Have a look at the photos from the event below.
Water and environmental news
(Click on the bold heading below to read the article)
Our weather station is currently under maintenance and weather data is unavailable. We apologise for the inconvenience. In the interim, have a look at the weather forecast for South Africa, courtesy of the South African Weather Service, by clicking on the image below.