Published in Business Day, 19 November 2012
THE other day, I spotted a small flurry of activity just outside my front door. A gecko had died and its body was covered in black ants. Within days, the ants reduced it to a shell of crumbling skin.
The world is full of beings and processes that support us in ways we take for granted, just as some take for granted their domestic workers. Yet this symphony of all life on Earth, “biodiversity”, is profoundly threatened. The word is almost designed to sound inconsequential. Yet biodiversity is the sum and wonder of all species on Earth — perhaps all species in the universe.
Last month, the Convention on Biological Diversity met in India. The world barely noticed, which is amazing compared with the attention given to climate change, because the biodiversity crisis is more advanced than the climate crisis.
Climate breakdown is destroying the lives of millions, but SA has merely adopted a morally bankrupt position, writes David Le Page
Parliament has been holding hearings on South Africa’s climate change green paper. We must hope truth will emerge, for the truth is a hard thing to come by when it concerns the global addiction to fossil fuels.
The danger posed by further carbon emissions is now so great, and the evidence for that danger now so overwhelming, that any proposal to expand fossil-fuel production – not least the natural gas exploitation plans of Shell, Sasol and others in the Karoo – should now be regarded as a crime against humanity.
When government licenses continued fossil-fuel production – in the absence of an absolute commitment to a low or zero-carbon economy – it, too, is committing a crime against humanity. And when the media fail to communicate this crisis, they are complicit in crimes against humanity.