While there are plenty of topics to talk about at any given moment, from politics to sports to “did you see what Eskom is up to?”; one discussion trumps them all – and it’s the weather.
Sure, sometimes, “let’s talk about Weather” leads to rolled eyes or an attempt to fill an awkward silence, but for the most part, bringing it up is a surefire way to stimulate conversation (or, if you’re like us, a viable excuse to rant about how every time you wash your car it starts to rain). There’s so much to talk about when we talk Weather that we wouldn’t even know where to begin – but that might just be because it’s our industry and we’re in the know. For the most part, people comment purely on what they’re experiencing (or fearing, if there’s a wedding coming up), without truly understanding the complexity behind the concept.
However, what many don’t realise is that the Weather is actually a vital part of our entire world, way of living and existence at large. Don’t believe us? Consider for a second the impacts of climate change and the way it’s radically affecting the world we live in. Below, we’ll look at exploring why one of the most fundamental, global hot topics (which we’ve all heard about thanks to Greta Thunberg) is so important and understand who it affects most:
Let’s start with the ones who feel it the most (because we talk about it the most) – human beings. Ever noticed winter is more biting and summer is longer, hotter, and seemingly never-ending? In Jhb alone, it’s been a heatwave since August – and we used to be considered cold. We feel the effects of climate change both physically and in the damage caused to our surroundings – even if it doesn’t directly impact everyone individually. For example, while most of the country could enjoy a steady stream of water throughout the year, there were many parts of Cape Town suffering through their worst drought in recent memory. Climate change affects all of us, whether we realise it or not – and we humans are the ones who can fully understand its impact.
That being said, we aren’t the only inhabitants of mother earth. Animals across the globe are dealing with drastic changes to their natural habitats – environments which thousands of years of evolution have suited them for, making escape a very unfeasible possibility. From polar bears to whales to lions in the Sahara, drought, flooding, and fluctuating temperatures are proving devastating. By wreaking havoc on the natural order of their environments, climate change is drastically (and negatively) impacting the lives of innocent creatures everywhere.
It goes without saying, but changes to the environment have a knock-on effect on their surrounding landscapes. From previously thriving ecosystems being starved of rain to the rapid melting of glaciers in both the North and South Poles (as well as the damage this flooding causes), our environment at large is radically impacted by fluctuating temperatures and their resultant effects.
From trees dying to glaciers melting, fluctuating temperatures are wreaking havoc on once stable, thriving ecosystems.
People with scant resources
For us in SA, accessing fresh (or, at least sort of fresh) produce is as simple as visiting a grocery store (or ordering a delivery, if you’re that way inclined). However, there are many areas (such as Sub-Saharan Africa and the jungles of South America) where entire villages and towns rely only on what they can slaughter, grow, and harvest. The damage incurred by ever-changing temperatures and its impact on numerous ecosystems can provide a challenge to many in terms of sourcing and enjoying food that may have previously been abundant.
As a farmer, you know the importance of healthy crops, good weather and regular rain. With things changing from year to year, it becomes both difficult to predict and challenging to maintain regular or healthy growth of produce, which in turn has a knock-on effect on your income, output, and supply to those who need it.
We may be starting to feel some effects today, but by far those who are most affected will be tomorrow’s generation, as the impacts of climate change worsen and more radically alter the world they live in. They say the wisest man is he who plants a tree knowing full well he’ll never be able to sit in its shade, which is why it’s more important now than ever to do our part to reduce our carbon footprint and, if not reverse, at least stabilise the impact we’re having on our climate to the best of our ability – if not for our sake, than for those of our children.
So, even though you may not realise it at first, we can probably agree that the weather involves far more than rain forecasts or cloudy with a chance of snooze. It’s a good thing, then, that we have esteemed industry experts leading the revolution and at the forefront of the fight to educate, empower and usher in a generation that cares about something as seemingly trivial, yet vitally important, as the weather.
By Annette Botha, Vox Weather