This planetary boundary is one of two core boundaries. This means that if this threshold has been crossed, it affects other processes on earth. The other core boundary is climate change.
By looking at the planetary boundary picture above, you can see that the green to yellow to red piece of the pie, indicates that we have crossed this threshold.
We are now experiencing the sixth mass extinction of planet earth. This beautiful blue and green planet of ours has experienced 5 mass extinctions before. These have been said to be caused by volcano eruptions, asetroid strikes, climate shifts and other natural causes. During these natural phenomenons, species extinction occurs at 1 to 5 species a year. This is called a background rate.
The sixth mass extinction known as the Holocene or Anthropocene extinction is caused by humans. The extinction rate of species is 1,000 to 10,000 times larger than the background rate of previous extinctions.
We are facing a future of losing 30 – 50% of all species by 2050 if we don’t act dramatically now.
This is caused by a number of factors:
Habitat loss and degration due to farming especially animal agriculture
Climate change through heat stress and drought stress
Excessive nutrient load and other forms of pollution
Over-exploitation and unsustainable use (e.g. unsustainable fishing methods) we are currently using 25% more natural resources than the planet
Armed conflict, which disrupts human livelihoods and institutions, contributes to habitat loss, and intensifies over-exploitation of economically valuable species, leading to population declines and local extinctions.
Invasive alien species that effectively compete for a niche, replacing indigenous species
The threat of extinction is at large and includes:
1 out of 8 birds
1 out of 4 mammals
1 out of 4 conifers
1 out 3 amphibians
6 out of 7 marine turtles
75% of genetic diversity of animal crops have been lost
75% of the world’s fisheries are fully or over exploited
Up to 70% of the world’s known species risk extinction if the global temperatures rise by more than 3.5°C
1/3rd of reef-building corals around the world are threatened with extinction
Over 350 million people suffer from severe water scarcity
Despite it’s misleading name meaning eight, October in the southern hemisphere is a time between the sping equinox and the summer solstice.
Photo by Jimmy Chang on Unsplash
October the 12th, is an annual observance known as Freethought day. This is a day for freethinkers to remember the anniversary of the effective end of the Salem witch trials where 25 innocent people died mostly by hanging due to mass hysteria, false accusations and religious extremism.
Bridget Bishop hanged as a witch at Salem in 1692. Briggs. Co. / George Eastman House / Getty Images
A festival called Beltane is celebrated on the 31st of October until sunrise on the 1st of November.
This festival is celebrated to commemorate fertility and growth.
Deciduous trees who have lost their leaves are budding and growing again. Fertile soil will give abundant food and herbs. Nature is at play while the days grow longer and warmer.
Photo by Suzanne D. Williams on Unsplash
There are many ways to celebrate Beltane which often include communal bonfires at night and to share the flame for home fires. Maypole dancing is another way to celebrate this solar based festival and committments and promises are made at this time of year.
The planting of a seed into rich soil is an act of magic in itself. It is the beginning of new life and out of the dark earth, it breaks free to grow, express, be, and give seed again.
Fertility is about germinating, sprouting, rising – so while your garden is burgeoning, let your mind be fertile too.
Photo by Yuri Efremov on Unsplash
Renew your connection to the force of life on this planet and enhance your dialogue with Mother Nature.
Understanding her, brings out the best solutions to living a wild and happy life.
Without fertility, there is no growth so take some time to meditate on the meaning of this word and see how you can increase the fertility of your life to bring abundance and high spirits.
I have been a passionate activist for the environment for as long as I can remember. My first trained profession was accounting and I would be lying if I said my job was a fulfilling one. Almost everyday, I was frustrated that I was not doing enough for our environment.
I would read about the devastating effects of deforestation, commercial agriculture, pollution and I felt overwhelmed. Most of all, I felt helpless at my desk while producing management accounts for board members. I knew my passion and skills were being wasted and I wanted to do more with my life.
I came to the conclusion that in order to find happiness, I would need to start a business on my own terms. Terms that respect the laws of nature and a happy working environment.
Unicorn Cafe was born as an online shop and educational blog. I knew starting a business was no easy feat and that it requires dedication, commitment, perserverence and persistence. Luckily, I have all these things and I believe in my business so much that I will never give up. It is my baby, that has germinated from a place of hope and inspiration.
What I did not have was capital and so I had to grow it organically whilst still working a full time job. So, with the little time that I had, and a small inheritance from my late father, I created a website and built up some stock.
The greatest challenge is time and time is running out. I can build Unicorn Cafe myself but to grow a business organically takes a long time and I want to provide a space for my customers sooner than that. I have customers that ask me frequently and regularly about a shop. I want to give that to them. I also want to provide a space to learn how to cope with challenges of climate change and how to restore the land and live a regenerative life. This is why this task has become urgent. People need to learn now and Unicorn Cafe needs this space to provide that.
Unicorn Cafe is destined to be a magical space where people can do their shopping in a zero waste store. It will be a place to enjoy colourful and delicious plant based food with ingredients sourced ethically and locally where possible. The greatest gift of all is the community centre where people can come together to enjoy cultural activities like poetry, dance and music. They can maintain a healthy lifestyle by attending yoga, exercise and meditation classes and they can learn. With hands on and practical workshops that range from growing your own food, reconditioning soil with resources at hand to how to make energy and manage water – this training will equip people with the skills needed to face climate change challenges head on and survive together as a tightly knit community.
Income will be generated from sale of food, drinks and tickets for the workshops. Each ticket sold to attend a workshop will pay for two people. One for the purchaser, and one for someone who really needs it like a disdvantaged community member battling to find empoyment because of lack of skills and work available. Climate change is everyone’s fight and together we can walk far into the future.
The funds I am requesting is to buy a large house on Koerberg road in Milnerton and to renovate it into the space I need to host a cafe, community centre and grocery store. The tipping point amount allows me to at least rent a space large enough for a full year until I can afford to buy premises on my own.
It would be a shame to plant a food forest and then have to move again so that is why I want to buy property so that I can maintain an orchard and the vegetable gardens I have created by improving the soil quality.
I have so much knowledge and experience and I know I can transform people into a healthy lifestyle through a fun and informative experience.
Stratospheric Ozone Depletion is one of 9 interplanetary boundaries.
Introduction to Planetary Boundaries
Planetary Boundaries is a concept where each of the nine boundaries are interconnected with one another. It was proposed by a group of earth system and environmental scientists led by Johan Rockström from the Stockholm Resilience Centre and Will Steffen from the Australian National University.
When one boundary is pushed beyond it’s limits, it can cause catastrophe for the other boundaries. It’s a bit like looking at the planet as a whole ecosystem.
Some people argue and say that using planetary boundaries implies that humans can continue their destructive ways up until a determined limit and thus not change methods entirely. I agree with them. I believe we should be altering our methods so that we are healing the planet and not taking without replacing.
I do, however find the planetary boundaries concept interesting because it alerts us to the dangerous territory we are embarking on that could cause the life, including human life, on our blue planet to collapse.
Business as usual in a system that is based on infinite resources is leading us to the depths of Modor, to put it figuratively. We are dancing on the edge of a cliff and we must find our way back to the laws of nature.
Nature is a wonderful thing. She is fruitful, rewarding and can pour abundant doses of happiness into our souls. That sentence only applies when we treat her with respect. If we abuse her, punish her, force her and overpower her, she will become hostile. Unfortunately many innocent lives are at stake for the actions of a few people orientated by money and immediate gratification. We must look into the future and think ahead. Immediate gratification is like an addiction and it will make us sick.
Our Ozone Layer
The ozone layer encircles the Earth, and it is a gaseous layer situated at the lower end of the stratosphere. Ozone is a molecule made up of 3 oxygen atoms. The oxygen we breath is made up of molecules with 2 oxygen atoms. The ozone layer has more ozone in it than any other atmospheric layer around the earth. Ozone serves an important purpose for life on earth. It blocks harmful ultraviloet radiation that comes from the sun.
It is compelling to know that ultraviolet radiation from the sun actually forms the ozone molecules in the ozone layer. Ozone forms when radiation or electrical discharge separates the two atoms in an oxygen molecule (O2), and these free oxygen atoms can form with other oxygen molecules (O2) to form ozone (O3).
The general public became more aware of the ozone layer when scientists discovered that certain chemicals manufactured by humans destroyed some of our ozone. These harmful chemicals include chloroflurocarbons (CFCs) and caused a ‘hole’ (or rather a considerable less amount of ozone) in our ozone layer that sits over Antartica during the spring time.
After an outcry, an international treaty was signed in 1973 called the Montreal Protocol, and the manufacture of these chemicals was greatly reduced.
The ozone layer destruction has slowed down significantly and we are hoping that it will continue to heal with humanity’s cooperation. There is some science that suggests that major volcanic eruptions (mainly El Chichon in 1983 and and Mt. Pinatubo in 1991) may have also contributed to the ozone depletion.
If the ozone layer continued to deplete, humans would be susceptible to various cancers, cataracts and plants would not grow well thus impacting our food supply. Whales have also shown signs of skin damage due to the hole in the ozone layer.
While stratospheric ozone which protects us from the sun is good, there is also ozone produced near the ground from sunlight interacting with atmospheric pollution in cities that is bad for human health. It causes breathing problems for some people, and usually occurs in the summertime when the pollution over a city builds up during stagnant air conditions
The planetary boundary for the ozone layer is recorded in Dobson Units and is currently 276 Dobson units. That means if we fall under 276 units, we have passed the threshold. The current reading accorning to Wikipedia is 283 Dobson Units. The value before industrial times was 290.
Here is an interesting timeline of the history of the ozone layer from theozonehole.com. Note Du Pont’s role in this, who is also responsible for biodiversity loss in food by producing pesticides, herbicides and genetically modified food to survive these poisions.
HISTORY OF THE OZONE LAYER
600,000,000 B.C. Ozone layer forms
1839 Christian Schöenbein identifies ozone in the laboratory
1845 Auguste de la Rive and Jean-Charles de Marignac suggest ozone is a form of oxygen; confirmed by Thomas Andrews in 1856
1858 Andrei Houzeau finds ozone present in natural air
1865 Jean-Louis Soret proves that ozone is O3
1879 Marie Alfred Cornu measures solar spectrum and finds sharp cutoff in ultraviolet (UV) light
1881 Walter Hartley recognizes cutoff corresponds to UV absorption by ozone
1913 John William Strutt (Lord Rayleigh) shows absorption is not in lower atmosphere
1919 Charles Fabry makes first spectrometric measurements of “thickness” of ozone layer
1924 G.M.B. Dobson develops ozone spectrophotometer and begins regular measurements of ozone abundance (Arosa, Switzerland)
1925 Jean Cabannes and Jean Dufay show ozone is about 10 miles high
1928 Thomas Midgley synthesizes chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s)
1929 Umkehr method for Dobson instrument establishes that ozone maximum is below 15 miles altitude
1930 Sydney Chapman describes theory that explains existence of an ozone “layer”
1934 Ozonesonde (balloon) measurements establish the ozone concentration is maximum around 12 miles up
1930’s GM develops applications for CFC’s
1950 David Bates and Marcel Nicolet propose catalytic (HOx) ozone destruction
1957 Global network of Dobson spectrophotometers established during the International Geophysical Year (IGY)
late 1950’s CFC market expands rapidly
early 1960’s Catalytic destruction is necessary in order to explain ozone amounts
1960’s Boeing proposes supersonic transport (SST) fleet of 800 aircraft
1969 Paul Crutzen discovers NOx catalytic cycle
1971-74 Dept of Transportation sponsors intensive program of research, The Climatic Impact Assessment Program (CIAP)
1971 Congress axes funding for the SST
1971 Johnston calculates that NOx from SST’s could deplete ozone layer
1973 Rick Stolarski and Ralph Cicerone suggest catalytic capability of Cl
1973 James Lovelock detects CFC’s in atmosphere
1974 Sherwood Rowland and Mario Molina warn of ozone depletion due to CFC’s
March 1977 First international meeting (Washington DC) to address issue of ozone depletion held by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP)
March 1978 US bans non-essential use of CFC’s as aerosol propellant
1978 Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) is launched aboard NIMBUS-7 spacecraft giving global coverage of ozone layer thickness
1980’s Renewed expansion of CFC market
Oct 1982 Shigeru Chubachi measures low ozone over Syowa, Antarctica (reported at Ozone Commission meeting in Halkidiki, Greece in Sept 1984)
1984 British Antarctic Survey scientists discover recurring springtime Antarctic ozone hole (published in Nature May 1985)
March 1985 Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer
Sept. 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer (Amendments – London 1990; Copenhagen 1992)
March 1988 DuPont agrees to CFC production phase-out
late 1980’s Ten years of satellite data begin to show measurable ozone depletion globally
1991 DuPont announces phase-out of CFC production by end of 1996
1992/3 Abnormally low ozone observed globally
1995 Crutzen, Rowland, and Molina win Nobel Prize in Chemistry
mid-1990’s springtime Arctic ozone dent appearing
Jan. 1996 CFC production ends in US and Europe
2000 Maximum CFC concentrations in stratosphere are reached
Today The Ozone Layer – Global Map
2010 CFC production ends world-wide
2030 Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) alternatives are phased out
2040 HCFC production ends world-wide
2050 Springtime Antarctic ozone hole disappears
I did find a video that states that the ozone layer is not healing and I cannot ignore it from this article. To view it, click here.
1¾ cups cooked brown rice
1 egg-replacer (you can use flax, I used Orgran egg replacer)
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1/2 an onion, chopped
4 spring onions/scallions, chopped with the white and green parts separate
4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
3 large mushrooms, chopped
100g chopped kale
100g baby spinach
A large handful fresh basil leaves
1 package firm tofu
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
½ teaspoons turmeric
2 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari if gluten-free)
5 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2/3 cup soy or almond milk
2 teaspoons arrowroot
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
For the crust, pre-heat your oven to 190 degrees celsius and lightly grease your springform pan. Mix the egg replacer with the cooked rice and then press the rice into the bottom of the pan. Brush the top with a little oil and place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes. Take out and leave to the side. Turn the oven down to 180 degrees celcius.
After this, add in the spinach, kale, basil and green parts of the scallions. You may have to do this a little at a time as they will have to wilt down a bit to fit in the pan.
As they wilt, turn the heat down to its lowest setting and start with the tofu mixture. For this you will add to a food processor or blender the tofu, mustard, turmeric, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, milk, arrowroot and oil. Blend until you have a smooth consistency.
Pour the tofu mixture into the greens and stir until everything is combined. Now pour this onto the brown rice crust and bake in the pre-heated oven for 40 -50 minutes, depending on how deep or shallow your dish is. Just check it after 35 minutes to make sure it’s not too brown.
Leave it sitting for about an hour before taking off the sides of the pan. Once you do, allow it to cool before slicing as this will make it set further.
Trees are incredible forms of life on this planet.
I can write pages and pages about them. If you knew what I knew about trees, perhaps you would hug them too now and again. They are essential to our existence and without trees, our planet would be inhabitable. I cannot empahsise enough how we must strive to plant them, whenever we can, and in many places as we can.
Just because you don’t have a garden, does not mean you cannot plant a tree. Enhance public spaces like parks and sidewalks with trees. Choosing an indigenous and water wise species will increase chances of survival and not consume too much water.
Here are some important facts you should know about trees:
1. Trees seed rain
Trees transpire water which form clouds and rain back down. Check out these awesome videos which explain the process.
2. Trees increase the fertility of the soil
The leaves that fall off the trees, cover and protect the ground from evaporation. Microorganisms and other small creatures like worms, eat the organic matter and process it into nutritious soil for plants. The oranic matter becomes food for the ground. There are also trees that absorb nitrogen from their air and return it to the soil through their leaf litter and nodes in their roots. If the tree is large enough to prune, the stored nitrogen in the root nodes are released into the soil as the tree balances its roots with its canapy. When deciduous trees lose their leaves in autumn, you can decide how you would like to use them, as they have great fertilizing qualities.
You can choose to rake up the leaves, and store them to make leaf mould. Leaf mould is an excellent form of compost, or you can let nature do all the work for you by leaving them on the ground. Fallen leaves have a wonderful purpose, they protect the ground from extreme cold or heat. Leaves (as mulch) stop water evaporation and when the worms eat them, they turn them into super compost for the soil. This is nature’s cycle of returning nutrients back to the soil so that more life can grow.
3. Trees stabilize the soil
The roots dig deep into the soil to secure the tree and this also protects the soil from soil erosion. Soil erosion occurs when rains fall and top soil is washed away where there are no trees to hold the soil in place. This leaves big gaping holes where it is difficult to grow anything.
4. Trees provide shade and regulate temperature.
If you measured the temperature of various man made things like tar roads, concrete, bricks and steel and then compared those temperatures with the tops of trees, you will see a big difference. Trees regulate the temperature. Man made structures like roads and concrete increase the temperature in cities and contribute to global warming. I am sure all of you have experienced the sanctuary of shade underneath a tree on a very hot day.
5. Trees help in the maintenance of biodiversity and ecosystem balance.
Trees provide a home to wildlife and increase chances of survival of many species. They provide food and shelter. Where many species live together, a balance is retored and is called an ecosystem. An ecosystem can fall out of balance if a species of life is removed and this threatens the survival of all other life. Biodiversity is key for survival of all species.
6. Trees are a resource for fuel and building
Wood from the fallen and dried branches of trees, can be burnt to provide warmth. Burning dried branches also makes coal which can be burnt or used to clean water. It can even clean our teeth! We can make things with wood like furniture, shelter and paper. We must be careful to prune for the trees health, and not cut them down. Destroying a forest for our own needs is selfish when there are better and more sustainable ways of providing for our comforts.
7. Trees store carbon
Do you know about all that carbon in the air that is making our planet hotter and making the sea acidic? Well, it should be in the ground or in trees where it is safe and put to good use. Trees store carbon and return it to the soil by decomposition.
The Moral of the Story
Go out there and plant a tree for Arbor month. Plant 10 trees if you can and try stick to indigenous, water wise trees. Let’s fix the grass deserts in our parks and restore the land, climate and wildlife with trees. Plant some fruit or nut trees in your garden and you will be rewarded with delicious food.
Trees are so vital to our survival. We need more of them to fix the damage we have done to this planet. Plant a tree for Arbor Month.
We, at Unicorn Cafe, wish you every success and happiness during this time of rebirth, rejuvination, fertility and activity.
Spring is such an exciting time of the year where landscapes burst with the colours of flowers and babies of every kind are born. The slumber of Winter ends and we awaken to warmer, longer days where our sewn seeds germinate into tiny expressions of life.
Plan your hikes in nature, make time for a wild flower drive. Invite your friends to a picnic in the park or along a river. Go stawberry picking and plant lots and lots of seeds. Indulge in the sunshine outdoors and relish the new buds on the deciduous trees.
The 15th of September is world clean up day…
…where people all around the world will be cleaning up coasts, rivers and landscapes. September has also been labelled plastic free due to the plastic epidemic that we face. Clean ups are being organized world wide so join one and have some fun while making a difference for the environment. I always meet such wonderful people at cleanups and I find them so rewarding. Remember that a clean up without a brand audit is only treating the symptom and not the cause. More about that here. Join the movement and be part of the #BreakFreeFromPlastic Revolution!
September is also Arbor month in South Africa and
there is something remarkably noble about planting a tree. Trees don’t just add greenery and shade to an area but they keep fresh water on land. Their leaves protect the soil and provide fertility. They provide microclimates and regulate temperature. If we want to stop our city from becoming unbrearingly hot from climate change, we should be planting trees and lots of them! One of my favourite sayings is ‘When in drought, plant a tree!’
Nurseries will mostly likely have Arbor week specials. Plant a fruit tree in your garden. With some love and care, it will reward you with delicious sun ripened fruit far tastier than anything bought in a grocery store. Plant an indigenous water wise tree in your local park or a sidewalk. It is the ultimate form of guerilla gardening.
Yours in creating a regenerative community
The Unicorn Cafe Team
I wanted to write about climate change so that every day people could understand what is happening to our planet. The science journals and graphs and special lingo can be offputting and a lot of information is not understood by the majority of people. The motivation to write about climate change happened one year ago and sadly, I have not devoted the time needed to resarch this topic fully in the way that I would like to write it.
My starting point was to explain planetary boundaries. This is a system based on 9 planetary life support systems and how they are interconnected. If a number of them are pushed, then the system in it’s entirety collapses threatning this planet’s habitability. To just explain one of these nine systems, I had to build on my limited scientific knowledge and quickly, I realised that writing this would be a series of artcles that would take a considerable amount of time.
Writing articles is not my main focus however I do feel that humans need to radically change their lifestyle to live harmoniously with the ecosystem. Hence, I write artciles to promote regenerative living however, there is more to expect…
Climate Change is happening now.
We are at the point of irreversable damage and that point may have passed us already. Sustainable is no longer good enough and regenerative living is not enough right now. For those that can accept the difficult and uncomfortable truth, preparation for adaption is needed.
We need to be informed of what to expect so that we can make preparations. Unicorn Cafe focuses on the positive side and drives change from this angle. Doom and gloom is not an experience we want to feel yet ignoring that serious consequences lie ahead of us would be irresponsible.
What I can do now is post links to media out on the world wide web and I hope to take you on the journey with me as I explore options to survive.
There are support groups in place
It is inevitable that some of us will feel hopeless and helpless when we understand the magnitude of what is to come and so, suport groups are forming.
HOW I ENDED UP WITH A BUNCH OF 5 LITRE PLASTIC BOTTLES…
I was stockpiling water in 5 litre plastic containers when day zero was imminent. I was afraid that we would be left high and dry when and if the taps were switched off. Now that I have large rain tanks collecting our storm water, these bottles are just taking up space. I am hesistant to drop them off for recycling so researched ways to upcycle them.
There are quite a few innovative ideas hence I decided to post the pictures I found rather than explain one idea, step by step. These are easy projects to complete as you can see from the pictures. The websites, with more information, are included in some of the pictures.
Have fun and please share your upcylce ideas with us 🙂
it is so easy to make! Once all the chopping is done, it’s ready in no time. What is also lovely about this recipe is that you can substitute the green vegetables with other green vegetables. So if you don’t like brocolli, no problem! Just replace the brocolli with a green (ish) vegetable you do like. Other greens you can use are cabbage, baby butternuts, patty pans, brussel sprouts, asparagus, chard, kale, and peppers. Get all your healthy greens in an enjoy this quick curry.
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion chopped
300g – 400g baby marrows chopped
2 tbsp of grated root ginger
2 cloves of garlic crushed
1 – 2 chillies chopped
2 tsp ground cumin seeds
1/2 tsp of ground coriander seeds
300g – 400g fresh brocolli roughly chopped
150g – 200g of frozen or fresh peas
150g – 200g of frozen or fresh green beans
1 tin of coconut milk (300 – 400ml)
1 heaped teaspoon of Ina Paarman’s vegetable stock
1 cup of boiling water
250g of spinach leaves
fresh coriander leaves
Heat the oil either in a large saucepan or pot and add the onion. Cook until the onions go translucent but not brown. Add the garlic, ginger, chillies, spices, salt and cook for one minute. Mix the stock powder in the boiling water and add to the saucepan or pot. Add the baby marrows, brocolli, peas, beans, spinach and coconut milk. Bring to the boil and then reduce heat to low and let it simmer until the vegetables are cooked.
Serve with fresh coriander leaves on a bed of basmati or long grain rice.