Speakers at the environmental stewardship day. From left to right: Dr Pieter Swanepoel (Stellenbosch University); Wentzel Coetzer (Conservation Outcomes); Portia Phohlo (WDSP and Trace & Save researcher); Barbara Bieldt (Milk Producers Organisation); Sue Viljoen (WWF-SA); Phillip Terblanche (Trace & Save); Craig Galloway (WDSP and Trace & Save researcher). Photo By Impact Studio
It was so exciting to be part of the environmental stewardship day held by Woodlands Dairy and Trace & Save. I was most eager to interact and gain valuable information from well-known organisations such as World Wild Fund for Nature -SA (WWF-SA) as well as the Milk Producers Organisation (MPO) who were part of the day. It was very interesting to be surrounded by scientists who everyday research and try to find better ways to help farmers manage their farms better as well as advocates who are very passionate about nurturing the environment and making sure that it is preserved for future generations. I was fortunate to be one of the speakers who contributed towards helping to address the problems/challenges that farmers face on a daily basis.
One of the important take away points of the day was that this generation (producers, retailers, consumers) needs to understand and appreciate that they have in their hands the opportunity to ask questions, come up with solutions and create awareness across the world about why stewarding the environment is crucial. Contrary to popular belief, this responsibility does not only fall on the farmer, but also on the consumer.
Consumers have in them the leverage to hold manufacturers accountable for how they manufacture their products. Buying products solely based on price shouldn’t be a norm anymore! Consumers, retailers and product processors really need to look deep into their ways and assess what impact their decisions have on the environment. Woodlands Dairy farmers have taken the first step towards environmental stewardship and those that haven’t are encouraged to do so. We need to support environmental stewardship initiatives by showing support to farmers and nature. It is very encouraging to see organisations like WWF-SA and the MPO showing massive support and helping develop methods to support farmers and businesses conserve and utilise natural resources responsibly.
It is no secret that South Africa suffered severely from a drought and in some parts of the country water scarcity is still a serious problem. We saw how the drought affected us as consumers; food prices went sky high; natural water sources like wetlands, ponds and rivers were dried up in some parts of the country. The rain just didn’t come in some areas at the expected time and when it came the intensity wasn’t as normal. All of these happened because of the change in climate which is very much influenced by how we manage the environment. Now that we have learnt the hard way, what are you going to do in your life or organisation to ensure that the effects do not get more severe?
The bottom line is, we simply cannot afford to do nothing anymore, we have seen the consequences, and we really need to start showing support to nature and save the sinking ship!
Article originally posted by Trace & Save, our partner in sustainability