Saturday, November 3, 2007

Global warming cause fish to die in Rietvlei Wetlands Nature Reserve - Cape South Africa 27 December 2006


Tableview received an unwanted Christmas present this year, when fish started dying on Christmas day as water temperatures soared to over 27 degrees at times. Since then tons of dead fish is being cleared away from Rietvlei.

Two years ago Rietvlei was a cool natural tree paradise in hot weather where one could escape from the heat of the sun and the hustle and bustle of city life.

I remember walking along a tree (alien) lined path on a hot summer day. As far as the eye could see was natural bush with all its birds and other small veld habitants. It was wonderful and cool, even though it was mid summer. A woman isolated in nature, and feeling safe, was a rare experience in South Africa. One had the feeling of being the only person on earth. It was so peaceful one would never think that the highway and houses are just a short distance away.

Recently the threat of our diminishing Cape fynbos lead to drastic measures. A decision was made to earmark Rietvlei as an area to be changed back to old "sandveld" (from the days before global warming). Perhaps one should have anticipated that changing the land would have an impact on the water also. The banks changed from being cool and shaded to become hot and exposed.

Our Nature conservation department has one narrow vision of preserving at least some of our fynbos from extinction. Perhaps nature is granting us that wish, for in the old days Blouberg was called an area of shifting sands. In nature it is all or nothing plus global warming.

Now that there are no trees to shield the sand and pollution from nearby homes. We receive constant complaints from residents about sand entering their homes. The result is that an artificial pump has to keep the dust plains moist and this creates noise pollution to a previously tranquil natural habitat.

Lets hope that we soon find a new way of preserving our natural habitat and fynbos in the awake of the soaring global temperatures. As long as the solution is not an artificial one like the measures that had to be implemented to contain the falling rocks from Table Mountain after the removal of the trees.

We need our fynbos. We need to rediscover their medicinal properties and functions in nature before it disappears forever. We need to find ways of protecting them in spite of environmental changes. It is predicted that with global warming the temperatures will rise by two degrees and that we will loose many of our fynbos species, If that prediction is correct then Rietvlei will turn into a sand vlei - then it may as well be sold to developers.

Let's make 2007 the year of right action to minimise the effect of global warming, for the predicted global warnings are too terrible for words. At Rietvlei, today, one can have the feeling than we are experiencing the beginning of an end.

There are other dangers that has not yet developed, yet but can be a future possibility:

Tons of dead fish being taken away

Rietvlei before the removal of the trees

After Removal of the trees

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