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Saving the Planet - One Drop and one Unit at a Time

Student of life, nature lover and enthusiastic traveller. B.A. from UNISA and M.A. from Abilene, Texas

A typical Rainwater tank - self installed

A typical Rainwater tank - self installed

Solar heated geyser

Solar heated geyser

A slimline Jojo rainwater tank

A slimline Jojo rainwater tank

From this weeks local newspaper in East London - regular load-shedding

From this weeks local newspaper in East London - regular load-shedding

Rain water tanks being provided in poorer areas by municipality

Rain water tanks being provided in poorer areas by municipality

Saving the World – One Step at a Time

As any reasonable person follows the news it is obvious that something needs to be done urgently to change the environment dilemma that we have created. Floods in some areas and droughts in others, of previously unheard of proportions, give a clear warning that something has to be done and done now. Wild fires out of control are destroying forests, crops and homes. New records in temperatures and rain are a daily occurrence. So we need to wake up!

It is great that world wide it is young people who are leading the way in calling for urgent action to be taken to bring about the changes that we all know are necessary. Unfortunately these changes are also resisted because of human greed. Perhaps the answer lies in not only what the governments and large companies can do but in what the millions of small people can do.

While it in encouraging to see that many of the houses in the new RDP housing (Reconstruction and Development Program - housing provided by Government to low income people) are often provided with solar heated geysers. It is however millions of people who are at present using expensive power provided by the unreliable and strained electricity provider that also need to make a difference..

Here in the Eastern Cape of South Africa we are facing a desperate drought leading to water shortages where many municipalities are hovering around day zero as far as basic water supply is concerned. Many of the dams are empty or below 10% capacity and obviously water-use restrictions are being implemented. We also face regular power cuts by ESCOM, the South African electricity supplier, leading to hardship in houses and businesses.

So the question than arises: what can be done to solve this ever increasing problem? Who is going to change it? Obviously it is going to take serious action at all levels if our planet is to be saved. But let me suggest that if the millions of people who use water and electricity on a daily basis decide to make a serious effort it can make a big difference..

Solar Heating. Every house can use solar power to heat their water. One thing that we have enough is sunshine. Immediately the question arises; how much will it cost me to install a solar heating system? The answer is quite a lot and doing the maths you may find that it is not likely that you will make much of a saving in your monthly budget as you pay off the cost of the system. But a more important question needs to be asked: Can I afford to not make an effort to save the planet? If millions of householders who can afford it, even at a loss in the short term, get involved it may in fact go a long way in saving the world.

Water Storage. If every home in the Eastern Cape installed a water tank to store rain water it would make a huge difference to the water usage in the area. We daily flush a lot of water down the toilet. With some regular effort ever home can save the expensive municipal water by using rain water that is supplied free of charge. All you need is a roof and a tank to catch the water which usually just runs away. Most of that water runs into the streams, rivers and dams and then makes its way into the sea but if some is used along the way it can only benefit everyone.

Regular water saving advice is promoted by every municipality but more education in this area is needed. Most people busy with their daily battle to simply survive cannot begin to see how they can make a difference in the larger scheme of things. After all it is really up to government and big business!

Over the past couple of years we have not used electricity to heat our water that we use for showering and washing dishes. We still use electricity for cooking and making tea and coffee, but our cost for electricity has gone down considerably because of our solar geyser. We have flushed our toilets, washed our car and watered our garden with rain water from the three Jojo tanks that I have installed next to our house. Perhaps we have not saved a lot of money in these efforts but then perhaps we, as just ordinary people, have made some headway in the fight to save our planet for the next generation. If a world wide effort was made by millions of ordinary people, what a difference it could make.

The pop song “One million and me” from the last century comes to mind as I realize that I can make a difference, rather than waiting for someone else to do it. What if millions around the globe decided to do the same? What if you and me and a billion ordinary people took the personal responsibility to save on power usage by installing a solar heating system? What if you and me and a billion other ordinary people saved water by capturing rainwater off our roof? What a difference it would make. One drop of water at a time! One unit of power at a time! Perhaps that is what the world needs to save our planet. Just you and me and many millions of ordinary people each making a difference personally. Don’t wait for the government or big business to do the job. Just you and me, and millions of ordinary people can make a difference! If only we cared enough!

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