STOP AND LOOK

Roodeplaat nature reserve dam

The beautiful sounds of Nature help to relax me after a long day. When ever I am feeling stressed or anxious I just stop and look at my natural surroundings and the sounds and the sight of mother nature’s beauty help to bring me back and relieve me of the pressures of mankind’s world.

Sometimes the best therapy is to just walk away from man’s concrete and loud world and step into the natural world, whether you are hiking or going on safari, Nature has this thing about it that just immediately clears your mind and you start to feel free from the stresses of your life. So stop and just look, that’s all it takes, to just look and appreciate the beauty of our planet.

That’s why our planet is worth saving, because it’s beauty help us to escape, our home planet is also our escape, from societies pressures and our own demons, mother nature makes us forget and also makes us feel warm.

I enjoy being outside and experiencing my planet, the natural way and I try very hard to play my part to ensure that my future generation also gets to experience the beauty of this planet the same way that I did, because they deserve that. So play your part and make a stand. Help save what is ours.

You feel alive around nature

TREES

growing up in Durban i always saw trees, they were everywhere and because of their abundance i never used to really notice them and because of that i ignored their importance. i used to love trees because they were fun to climb and they gave me a really nice view of the world when i was on the highest branch. but now i love trees because i understand their importance i now know why they are there and why we need them. trees give us our oxygen, they do this through a process called photosynthesis where the tree takes in the carbon dioxide and with help from the suns energy, the tree then breaks the carbon dioxide into natural sugars and release Oxygen as a bi-product. oxygen is the air that we breathe and without it we would suffocate, so it is important to take care of our trees because we need them, not only us but also the animals need trees because trees are their source of food and also their habitat.

trees provide us with shade when the sun is too hot, and since we are in Global Warming, which means the earth is overheating due to the thick layer of carbon dioxide and other harmful gases that trap the heat that is meant to escape earth. our planet is getting hot by the minute and we need the shade from the trees to help cool us down, this is also known as microclimate, a microclimate is when a small area has a different climate then the surrounding area e.g Shade under a tree when it is hot, because the shade is cooler than the surrounding hot areas. mother nature is interesting you just have to look at her with an open heart and understand that every human action has a consequence.

trees are being cut down at a fast rate, and this is a disadvantage for us because a future without trees is not a future at all. Forests are being cut down to make way for human settlements, this is called deforestation and it is destroying habitats leaving hundreds of species vulnerable and without a safe space to hide, the destruction of habitat is one of the main causes of species being threatened and pretty soon they are going to be extinct. unless as a united world we come together and fight for our right to live, because the removal of trees is a slow death for us all, we are being robbed of our lives. so stand and fight the good fight and give trees a chance.

THE RHINO

I remember seeing a Rhino for the first time, i felt my heart jump up and down because i had only seen them on television and thought to myself what majestic creatures. the first rhino I saw was a black rhino, i remember thinking to myself that they are called black and white rhinos because one is black and the other is white, but upon seeing the black rhino i saw that their skin was not black at all but a greyish colour and this confused me at first until one of the people who worked with rhinos finally explained to me that the only difference between the black and white rhino is not their skin colour but instead the shape of their lips.

the black rhino is a black rhino because it has a pointed upper lip and the white rhino has a squared lip,, this plays a major role with what they eat, the black rhino has a pointed lip because it is a browser, and the white rhino has a squared lip because it is a grazer, this really fascinated me and ever since that day when i see a rhino i look at the shape of their lips and determine whether the rhino is black or white.

seeing the black rhino made me feel so happy and excited, they are massive creatures and standing next to one made me feel so small but i did not mind because i was in the presence of one of the most amazing creatures that ever lived, everything about them i found to be amazing and this made my love for all flora and fauna even stronger and i knew that my destiny was in nature.

the first i heard that rhinos were being killed for their horns i was in high school and i remember in my classroom there was a local newspaper and i opened it to read because there was nothing else going on in class and i remember i turned the first page and that’s where i saw the most gruesome picture i have ever seen, it was of a rhino that had its horn cut out from it, seeing this made me mad, because this rhino was innocent and the poachers came and killed it for its horn, a horn that is made from keratin the same substance that makes our nails and hair, i felt sad for the poor rhino and thought to myself, if its keratin that they want why don’t they cut their own hair and their own nails, better than killing some innocent animal.

as the years went by i saw the numbers of rhino poaching increase and i felt fear in my heart because i did not want to live in a world where there are no rhinos, i could just imagine the chaos in the ecosystem because the food chain had been broken since a herbivore has been removed, i lost faith in humanity that year. but i still had faith in rhinos pulling through. I saw that some people were fighting to protect the rhinos and that gave me hope and fueled me to play my part, because even if one person cares that is enough to make a big change.

so play your part and protect our threatened, vulnerable and endangered species so that the children of tomorrow can experience their beauty.

TIP: when taking pictures of Rhinos in a game reserve turn location off when posting on social media so poachers wont know where the rhinos are.

-Samukelisiwe Cele

Alien Plant Species

what are they? these are plants or trees that are not indigenous to an area, these Alien Plant Species are very dangerous as they compete with indigenous species. Alien Plants are planted either on purpose or by mistake, it is very important to control these species as they can displace indigenous species. since the Alien plants are not from that region that means they lack natural enemies, so because they have no predators to control their population they outgrow the indigenous species and can lead to the extinction of the indigenous species in that area. that is why it is important to control these species before they get out of hand.

Melia azedarach, commonly known as the Chinaberry tree. taken in Pretoria , native to Australasia.

Alien plant species are very hard to control once they get out of hand and this sometimes requires tough action to be taken against these plants such as the introduction of its natural enemy to that particular area, this requires the transportation of either insects or other plants that will help to control the population of the out of control species, this is both positive and negative, because it requires introducing an alien species to get rid of another alien species. the introduced alien species will do its job in controlling the population of the out of control species but once the job is done, you are left with another alien species that’s going to outgrow the indigenous species and therefore creating another alien plant predicament. the best option in my opinion is to use the mechanical method, which requires the use of tools such as slashers, handsaws and hedge shears to cut the Alien plant species and also the use of the chemical method that requires you to use herbicides in order to kill the invasive species, these methods are way easier to use and easier to mange rather than introducing new species that will soon become the new alien species problem. the other best way to get rid of alien plant species is also by follow ups, checking the area maybe once a year, so you can catch the growing species before they reach maturity. also check your gardens for Alien plant species, and remove them replacing them with indigenous Plants. CHANGE YOUR MIND AND GO GREEN

-Samukelisiwe Cele

earth

this is our home and it is sad to think that one day it is going to be this dry desolate place. no longer will one hear the sounds of the birds early in the morning, no more beautiful trees for children to climb and for producing clean air, and no more clear night sky to look up to and see the beautiful stars, the same ones our ancestors looked at for direction and sometimes answers. our world will be a sad and dying place, the big blue marble no longer a home but a prison that we all want to escape. its funny how we all look up in the sky and think about other planets and how they would be suitable for human life, instead of looking around us and seeing what we are doing to our own home, the only place that we know, the only place we are sure has life. look around you and see earths beauty that alone should be enough to change your actions. so instead of looking at new homes for the human race how about we save this one first. many of us forget that we are not alone in this planet we share it with Animals and trees and other living and non living organisms, at least lets think about them and how this affects them. we are not only killing them but we are also killing ourselves, our children and our children’s children. earth deserves a future, we deserve a future and the only way to guarantee that future is by changing our mindset, and seeing things with a clear vision and also by opening our eyes to the signs around us, like the rising heat, the melting polar ice caps and the threatened number of species. this is all our fault, but its not too late we can still turn things around, as long as one person cares there is always hope. change your mind and go green.

-Samukelisiwe Cele.