Steel nature

Posted: October 10, 2011 in Uncategorized

I had to educate myself before 100 of us trek to Rocking the Daisies 2011 on a 60km two-day walk.  So among other things I’ve learned that some ten percent of the world’s flowering species are found in South Africa. This is the only country in the world with an entire plant kingdom inside its borders.

I’m not equipped with an extensive knowledge with regard to plants and flowers but on this journey I remembered the king protea and hoodia. King Protea is regarded as South Africa’s national flower and the largest of the proteas. This flower makes up an important part of the Cape floral region, a major global biodiversity hotspot and a Unesco World Heritage site. As a sport loving I also knew that the proteas also give their name to South Africa’s national cricket team. Hoodia gordonii – a leafless spiny plant with medicinal uses came to my mind too. I learned that its flowers smell like rotten meat and are pollinated mainly by flies. Hoodia was not on our 60km from Cape Town to Darling menu as can only be found in the Kalahari Desert. However, since it is known to suppress appetite when making long hunting trips by the Bushmen, I thought it could help in this journey. Thanks to the Fruit and Veg Company – we didn’t require hoodia’s expertise on this expedition. I remain curious about what this plant can offer though.

As we walk through some truly magnificent scenery that very few others have been able to enjoy first hand, I remembered that Shell Company is interested in extracting gas in the karoo. Should I believe that for exploring and extracting natural gas from underground layers of shale in the Karoo Shell has a best interest of the environment at heart? This oil worshipper has a long and sinister history of environmental destruction and human rights abuses wherever they go. I thought of the pictures I have seen of the Niger Delta. I have learned that to flare a natural gas is a practice that causes more greenhouse gas emissions than all other sources in sub-Saharan Africa combined. I’m not ready to appreciate a steel-made protea flower or walk on oil polluted land – and I will never be. That thought is morally damaging. Particularly when I look around the innocent of the Cape Nature reserve and busy appreciating the daisies – I gave thanks to Walking the Daisies initiative.

For most part of the first day we walked barefoot while helping to clean up the beach heading towards the west coast. I couldn’t complain since I remembered it is estimated that over seven million kids in South Africa walk to school barefoot in all weather conditions. Walking barefoot was to show my solidarity. Here I was, besides appreciating the environment I was also trying to raise support and awareness for the Bobs for Good Foundation and their initiative to donate a pair of brand new kicks to those needy children. I’m happy that my R150 application fee has helped someone to own a new pair of shoes. I may have left my fair share of footprints on this walk, but surely my carbon footprint is close to zero. This walk made me appreciate and become thankful to some of our guides who are botanists for giving us education regarding plants and flowers we passed on the way. I was also raising awareness for 350.org, a global grassroots campaign that rallies around the world to bring the message of climate change home and more importantly, to do something about it.

This walk made me realize that as South Africans we should stand together and protect not only our hard-worn democracy, but also this magnificent country that has been entrusted to our care. Things we take for granted are the things some can only dream of.

Comments
  1. Pink says:

    Well spoken, my friend of life!

  2. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good. I don’t know who you are but definitely you are going to a famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!

  3. Ricardo Ioli says:

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