Sunday, October 16, 2005

Change Or Die

Each of us, at certain points in our lives, has decisions to make in regard to the type of person we want to be and the legacy we hope to leave.

As we get older, we become more aware of our mortality and realize if we are going to become more successful people - however we define success - we need to make different choices. For, if we continue doing things exactly as we have been doing them, we will continue seeing the results we have been seeing.

For instance, if a person is having problems in his or her marriage, that person must be willing to change - perhaps to let go of resentments or change routines that block intimacy and love - in order for there to be improvement.

It is said people do not like to change, but a large part of that dislike is because, so often, we don't have the first idea how to change. In addition, we want to be true to ourselves, and so often resent being told we have to change something about ourselves.

It would be far easier for us, as human beings, to change in positive ways, in ways that would, ultimately, make our lives better, if we could grasp the fact that what we see about ourselves - the way we dress, act, and even think - are not really who we are at all.

All of this is superficial. Our personalities are masks over the divine spirit that is our core.

That core is always trying to break through to us, through the thoughts we think are ours - but have been embedded within us by our respective cultures.

That core is always trying to get us to understand that this whole world is a constantly reflecting mirror for each of us. Like attracts like and everywhere we look, we see ourselves.

Are you angry at someone in the news? Dig deep and you will find that what you are really angry about has little to do with them and everything to do with you and your own actions or inactions, your own inner fears and conflicts.

In addition - and this is crucial to understand, what we see "out there" is the result of a string of actions that we have taken either as an individual, or collectively. And, have no doubt, each of us has contributed to everything we see, whether by actively shaping what has happened or by, passively, going along with it.

Why? We live in an energy Universe. What we do comes back to us. In the past the return was, often, slow and it was difficult to really see a connection between how our thoughts, intentions and actions were coming back to impact us. But the energy of this age is different. Anyone who is honest with himself can see it and feel it.

What we do is now coming back to us at an accelerated rate. Thus, as the Bible says:

He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 2 Corinthians 9:6.

An issue that overshadows most others, in this regard, is Global Warming.

We have heard about Global Warming for the last three decades, but preferred to avoid our responsibility to change. Now those seeds we have sown are coming back to us in a multitude of ways, including destructive hurricanes, most poignantly Rita.

Poorer nations have always felt the effects of human folly before we do - such as with the tsunami - and Africa is now in the midst of a terrible crisis. According to the article below, they understand that they must change or die. Now the question is, when will we?

We must adapt to climate change - or die

By Caroline Hooper-Box

As Earth hurtles towards potentially disastrous changes in temperature, top scientists from Africa and the rest of the world will meet South African government officials on Monday in Midrand to discuss the threat of climate change in South Africa and the sub-continent.

In South Africa, the effects of global warming are predicted to include the spread of diseases such as tick-bite fever, cholera and malaria; the extinction of plants and animals; and ruined crops.

Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is to deliver the opening address at the National Climate Change Conference, where delegates will thrash out options for responding to the crisis.

Globally, nine of the past 10 years have been the warmest since records began in 1861. Research confirms that climate change is "a real and significant threat to biodiversity in South Africa", according to Guy Midgley of the South African National Biodiversity Institute.

South Africa's botanical treasures - the succulent Karoo and fynbos biomes, recognised as specialised ecosystems of rich plant biodiversity - are under grave threat. Once temperatures rise 2,4°C higher than they are now, the Karoo's 2 800 endemic plant species will become extinct. Above 3¼C, the Kruger National Park is projected to lose two-thirds of its animals.

Some species in the Kruger Park are already disappearing, Norman Owen-Smith, a Wits university scientist, said. "Half the species in the park may want to be somewhere else in 20 to 30 years' time."

Sable and roan antelope in particular will want to move west of the Kruger, where rainfall is higher, he said, but are unable to move beyond the park fences.

South Africa's biodiversity provides livelihoods for a significant number of rural South Africans who are victims of poverty, Midgley said.

Maize is particularly susceptible to drought
This was confirmed by a report on the impact of climate change to be presented at the conference this week by Council for Scientific and Industrial Research scientists Graham von Maltitz and Carmel Mbizvo. They predict that in most instances, climate change will add stress to already fragile livelihoods.

Because 70 percent of Africa's population relies on agriculture for its livelihood, and because the continent includes some of the world's poorest nations, it is particularly susceptible to climate change.

Southern Africa's staple food, maize, is particularly susceptible to drought.

The southwestern tip of Africa will see less rain as the planet heats up, Von Maltitz and Mbizvo say, "and it is this area where some of the most severe livelihood consequences may result".

The United Nations Environment Programme predicts that an increase in temperature is likely to reduce soil moisture and soil quality, both of which are vital for agriculture, as well as to generate a proliferation of pests.

The UN has warned that by 2050 as many as 150 million "environmental refugees" may have fled coastlines vulnerable to rising sea levels, storms or floods, or agricultural land that has become too arid to cultivate.

In South Africa, a broad reduction of rainfall in the range of 5 to 10 percent for the summer rainfall region is predicted. This is likely to be accompanied by an increased incidence of drought and floods, with prolonged dry spells being followed by intense storms.

The department of environmental affairs and tourism says the increased temperatures and changes in rainfall can be expected to affect health, including an increase in the occurrence of strokes, skin rashes, dehydration and skin cancers.

South Africa's east coast is expected to become wetter, with an accompanying increase in the incidence of diseases such as cholera, malaria and sleeping sickness.

In a warmer world, mosquitoes and ticks could also expand their range to higher altitudes.

Peter Luckey, the chief director of the department of environmental affairs, told reporters this week that climate change science predicted more frequent and intense extreme weather conditions, and said that "in most cases, they will be changes that affect our everyday lives".

Bruce Hewitson of the climate systems analysis group at the University of Cape Town said what was needed most in this period of climate change was "following up on adaptation and responding to impact".

It was too late to mitigate the effects of climate change, Hewitson said. "There is nothing we can do to prevent climate change for this generation."

This article was originally published on page 3 of The Sunday Independent on October 16, 2005

Published on the Web by IOL on 2005-10-16 09:33:00

© Independent Online 2005. All rights reserved.


At 10/16/2005 12:25 PM, Blogger Rod Pendergrass said...

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At 10/19/2005 1:46 AM, Blogger Clyo said...

Rod, I wish you had a blog, but I see you don't have one that I can visit.

I'm not deleting Ron's website, however, because it appears he does offer knitting patterns, etc. and someone might be interested.

At 10/19/2005 6:25 AM, Blogger Linux Unix said...

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