Last week, a public talk was held in Port Elizabeth ( Nelson Mandela Bay) organised by Dr Lorien Pichegru at the Bayworld Conference Centre where Dr Andrew Muir, CEO of the Wilderness Foundation and the President of the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber, delivered a talk on the possibility of Nelson Mandela Bay becoming the world’s biodiversity and sustainable development capital.
According to the current stats, the African population will double by the year 2050 and it is estimated that there will then be 50 megacities worldwide of which 22 of them will be in Africa! According to Wikipedia, a megacity is a very large metropolitan area with a population of more than 10 million people! We need to ask ourselves how we will be able to sustain a thriving planet if we are already in the minus when it comes to our basic resources which we are overshooting our earth’s resources by over consumerism. “Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when our humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year.” https://www.overshootday.org/about/
On the evening, Dr Andrew Muir shared this very important information with the public regarding our planet in order to put the current climate change crisis into perspective for everyone:
- Copenhagen is currently the cleanest city in the world
- Zurich in Switzerland is the most sustainable city in the world measured by its quality of life for its citizens and economic status, others cities at the top of the ranks are Singapore, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Stockholm
- Countries making the top of the list for the Mega Biodiversity (Megadiversity Countries is a term used to refer to the world’s top biodiversity-rich countries. This country-focused method raises national awareness for biodiversity conservation in nations with high biological diversity, with many species unique to a specific country) are Brazil, China, Australia, Columbia and South Africa!
- At the top of the list of the most biodiverse cities in the world are Sao Paulo, Mexico City, Barcelona, Melbourne, with Cape Town in the lead for the last four years in a row!
Port Elizabeth stands a good chance of becoming the next biodiverse city in the world and could be a great example to other cities around the world. Here are some of the points Dr Andrew Muir highlighted in his talk as to why Port Elizabeth could be both the worlds biodiversity and sustainable development capital of the world:
- Is the only city with 5 of the 8 biomes
- Is the only city in the world that borders on the Big 7 (Lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, buffalo, Southern Right Whales and Great White sharks)
- Within a 70 Square kilometre radius, there is over one million kilometres of protected area
- Algoa Bay is also home to half the global population of African penguins and home to 70% of the global population of Cape Gannets that nest on Bird Island
- Algoa Bay is also the bottlenose dolphin capital of the world
With over one million species under threat of becoming extinct at the current rate we are living and this could all happen in a short number of years according to National Geographic, we need to all look at how we can recover our wilderness, the balance of life on this planet is in our hands and if we are able to just plant one billion trees every year for the next 20 years internationally, then we may have a chance to stop the temperatures from rising and reduce the rate of climate change.
“There is a lot we can do as a collective”- Dr Andrew Muir, CEO of the Wilderness Foundation