Today we’re marking the 49th Earth Day after it’s inception in 1970. Celebrations?! It should be a wake up call, an urgent clarion call to action right round the globe! Let us not kid ourselves the environment is in a deteriorating state and we’re killing Earth’s creatures.
Scenes are pictured at the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve where beaches are littered with plastic and storm strewn fishing gear from nets to piles of rope, fish traps. Recent whale carcasses washed up near Buffels Bay and another on the Atlantic side near the Tommy T Tucker shipwreck.
Being aware that we’re in an era of the “Sixth Extinction” let’s pay tribute to this the 25th annual International Day of Biodiversity. The Western Cape region is known as a hotspot for biodiversity particularly for it’s fynbos ecosystem. No better way to describe it’s rich heritage is Cape Nature’s latest biodiversity report in this Vimeo link below.
According to Earthday network – “This year’s Earth Day is dedicated to providing the information and inspiration needed to eventually end plastic pollution, according to Earth Day Network.”
“Plastic pollution is now an ever-present challenge. We can see plastics floating in our rivers, ocean and lagoons, littering our landscapes and affecting our health and the future of billions of children and youth. We have all contributed to this problem –- mostly unknowingly,” Valeria Merino, vice president of Global Earth Day at Earth Day Network, said in a statement.
It’s all so familiar – the scenes below were recently taken on what used to be a pristine beach.
What if there was a dead simple way to turn your waste into green construction material and keep it out of our ocean and landfills?
Meet the EcoBrick
A dynamic team in Cape Town head up -www.EcoBrickExchange.org
“We do this by using EcoBricks – plastic waste compressed into PET-bottles – a highly insulating building material that is water-, fire- and even bullet-proof.
Our programmes empower individuals to address the shortage of quality education facilities, implement sustainable waste management systems and raise environmental awareness.’
Everybody should be participating and adding encouragment to such projects.
The charismatic African penguins living in my neighbourhood are back in the news. A notice was put out last month by the South African National Parks board that a strain of avian influenza virus (H5N8 strain) has been detected in the colony at Boulders Beach. So far penguin eighteen deaths have been noted. The state veterinarians are working to contain the outbreak. Let’s hope they succeed.
Playing tour guide, my first stop is this vantage point overlooking the splendid vista of False Bay. Simon’s Town lays at the foothills, and way in the distance on the opposite side is Cape Hangklip. The small town bustles with a distinct naval ‘air’ having been established as a naval base by the British in 1799 and where today the SA Navy is stationed. We’ll pass through it, as we’re on our way to visit Boulders to see the African penguin colony.
The Boulders area is dotted with impressively sculpted granite rocks sheltering discreetly placed sandy coves. Here a colony of African penguin (Spheniscus demersus) have found a comfortable nesting area. From just two breeding pairs in 1982 the population numbers have increased to about 2200 in recent years.
We will venture down the boardwalk to see the main nursery.
As you will note the houses are quite nearby – this is as close to an ‘urban’ colony as can be imagined. The area is fenced off, but often the penguins stray beyond the boundaries and care must be taken driving or parking to check if all is clear.
Sadly the African penguin is listed in the Red Data Book as an endangered species, and the birds are in considerably more trouble than rhinos. With the decline in shoal fish such as pilchards and anchovy they could be heading for extinction in the not too distant future.
To end the tour, a nod to the eminent granite Rock Stars, all of 540 million year old. A pathway follows along the coast for a nice leisurely stroll and swim to top off the experience.