Friday, 16 December 2011

2011: The Year of The Forest?

In 2012, the year of the forest, at least 50,000 (check number of trees) have been felled on the Table Mountain National Park and within Cape Town.  The reason given is that the trees consume precious water resources.  However, this is only one variable in a complex equation.  Millions of birds, their chicks, snakes, other fauna and hundreds of millions of flora that live under the forest canopy have been murdered in this process.  Billions of essential bacteria living in the ground has been destroyed.  And we are left with a more acidic environment, with less ground cover and fewer trees holding the soil, thus erosion will be increased radically.  Trees remove toxins from the ground, provide oxygen to the air, provide an environment where people can go walking and stay fit, and provide a myriad other environmental needs.  Removing the trees has also dramatically increased South Africa's carbon footprint, just at the time that ministers are saying South Africa needs help from the "developed world" at COP17.  If we don't start in our back yard, we cannot expect help.

We have spoken to the chief director of environmental affairs of PAWC environmental department who told us that the trees should have been replaced with indigenous trees.  This has not happened and in the process we have lost a forest that was planted by our ancestors whose vision saw a massive growth in the population of South Africa; a population that would need trees to survive.  And this population has allowed our trees to be chopped down and sold to the highest bidder.

As far as water goes, it is true that the water table decreases when there are trees, but the benefits outweigh this particular disadvantage.  Furthermore, the Table Mountain Range has something like 35 springs that could provide enough fresh water for half the citizens of Cape Town, but most of this water is allowed to run into the sea.  South African Breweries, Woolworths, and some other companies make use of this water.  Citizens fetch water at a couple of the strings, for example in Spring Road, in Newlands.

New research in Israel and Germany, the only two countries in the world that ended the 20th Century with more trees than they started with, show that creating a indigenous rain forest makes weather patterns less erratic and we can see that weather patterns in Cape Town have started becoming more erratic with storms in the middle of summer, cold temperatures and new snow on the Ceres mountain range.

In Gaviotas in Columbia, a non-indigenous forest was planted as a way of getting trees into an arid area.  After 10 years, local seeds that had been dormant in the soil for perhaps thousands of years germinated and the natural forest canopy took over.  If the seeds in the soil of Table Mountain had seen the opportunity, they too would have germinated.

So we have cut down trees which supposedly use our water, whilst at the same time wasting the water from our springs.  And furthermore, most of our water in Cape Town comes from the huge dams in the Hottentots Holland Mountain Range, 60km South East of Cape Town, so what is the problem?

It is time for the Citizens of this beautiful city to get together and prevent more destruction of our precious environment.  We cannot rely on our leaders and government to do it for us anymore, be they ANC or DA.  Our government is meant to be an organisation that are "public servants", but unfortunately governments today see the public, who pay their salaries, as their servants and this situation must change.

Showing that we are concerned about our trees will change this behaviour pattern and make Cape Town and the Western Cape into an environment that we all want to live in.  Positive energies created will lead people to look at creating their own electricity, collecting their own rain water (as our grandparents used to do), dealing with our own sewerage, collectively growing our own vegetables and chickens, and generally leading to an increased vitality and health, unknown in the past couple of decades.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011


Apparently the White House referred to Christmas Trees as Holiday Trees for the first time this year which prompted CBS presenter, Ben Stein, to present this piece which I would like to share with you. I think it applies just as much to many countries as it does to America .
The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are, Christmas trees.

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it
. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God ? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her 'How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding Hurricane Katrina).. Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?'

In light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said okay.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit.

If not, then just discard it.... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in. 

My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,

Ben Stein