“Men argue. Nature acts.”
Johannesburg is a city where we as the inhabitants are well use to hot weather. It is not uncommon for consecutive days in summer for maximum temperatures to reach well into the 30 degrees celsius. Given our current heatwave and that for consecutive weeks we are experiencing average maximum temperatures of well more than 30 degrees, with some days getting way to close to 40 degrees for comfort. I took a photo yesterday of the temperature on my car's speedo of 39 degrees. The fact that our fossil fuel cars are part of the problem wasn't lost on me at the time I took the picture. That we are still relying on something called "fossil fuel" to drive our vehicles forward is just frightening to think about. We are technically burning dinosaurs to get around. Even the Flintstones couldn't come up with such an inefficient idea.
Unless you drive a Tesla (assuming you charged it with solar energy), you and I are contributing in our own way to making climate change worse.
The fact that billionaires and visionaries, who have the ability, sense and money to make the right choice, are spending their hard earned cash on finding ways for humanity to leave this planet, is worrisome. It means they see spending their money on saving our current planet as more risky than finding a way off of this one.
As a country with the natural ability of being the third best country in the world for solar energy efficiency, we are making the choice to switch on two new coal fired power plants. The day is here where we as consumers can't hide behind our lack of ability anymore. By burning coal for energy, we are voting for the most energy inefficient manner of creating heat to drive a turbine short of burning wet grass. There are viable and better alternatives to everything which is contributing to climate change, today.
Take solar energy. The sun is an highly convenient and free fusion reactor and we only need to blanket an area of 496 000 square kilometers with solar to provided the entire earth with energy. Sounds like a lot, I know. To put this number into perspective, the United Nation estimates that we are destroying some 170 000 kilometers of forest, each year. If the loggers cover the area they plunder with solar panels, it can be done in less than three years.
We blame politics, blame high prices and blame others inaction for it. But the time is here when we can no longer keep ourselves as individuals out of the equation anymore.
What else do we expect the greatest minds in the world to work on when it is more lucrative to be under Facebook's employment as an engineer, working on a "like" button, instead of solving our energy dilemma? Next time you open a social media feed for the hundredth time in a day, be careful what you are enabling, through your individual choice, the smartest minds in the world to focus on.