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Climate Consciousness: This Wits professor has Earth's interests at heart

3 August 2020 7:00 PM
Tags:
Wits University
University of the Witwatersrand
Wits Originators
Wits Impacts For Good
Bob Scholes
Professor Bob Scholes

Scientists are stepping into the political arena to persuade politicians to take decisions that will save us from climate change.

As humanity is faced with increasing global emergencies, now more than ever, we must all contribute to solutions: for good, and for the good of all people. In the Wits Impacts For Good podcast series, Eusebius McKaiser engages in conversation with Wits Originators, forward-thinking researchers from Wits University, interrogating problems and seeking robust and impactful solutions, backed by leading research.

Meet Bob Scholes — the Wits professor working hard to address the catastrophic impacts of climate change and global warming with transformative change.

Are we facing a climate catastrophe? By now, we should be past the point of having to persuade sceptical leaders that climate change is occurring, especially after South African farmers can testify to the dire effects of rising temperatures, which manifested in severe droughts in many parts of our water-scarce country.

Large parts of the Western, Northern and Eastern Cape faced its worst water shortage in over 100 years — a prolonged drought that dealt farmers a devastating blow and threatened South Africa's food security.

But, while South Africa has always had droughts, rising carbon emissions and other human activities have amplified its natural occurrence, creating an environmental disaster.

We’re as a species, really very poor at dealing with things which are important but to urgent. We will always allow things which are urgent to bump them off the agenda and, in the instance of climate change, that’s fatal… in other words, by the time it gets important enough, it's already too late.

Bob Scholes, Professor — University of the Witwatersrand

Our planet is cloaked in the fog of carbon emissions!

The movement against climate change has inspired global citizens to speak up and take action but, is the social awakening happening fast enough?

Professor Bob Scholes believes that we're facing an existential crisis.

As a world-renowned environmental scientist, his work in the field of Systems Ecology has taken him around the world, sharing his expertise on the evidence and science related to global warming and, finding ways to address global climate change, global biodiversity loss and land degradation.

How do we even begin to address this monumental environmental crisis?

Professor Scholes believes that it's important for scientists to step into the political arena to increase the odds of politicians and policymakers making decisions that reflect scientific consensus.

To effect climate control, Professor Scholes is confident that transformative change can help turn down the heat as we begin to realise the importance of radically reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. He believes that we have the technical solutions to overcome the climate emergency we're facing, but whether we can achieve this politically and socially remains an open question?” he asks.

It is a question that cannot be answered until politicians start putting climate change on the agenda.

I don't believe that climate change will be the end of the world, the world has suffered much greater insults in its past nor will it necessarily be the end of homo sapiens... but, it may well be the end of civilisation as we know and expect it unless we really start doing some things very differently in the next few decades.

Bob Scholes, Professor — University of the Witwatersrand

3 August 2020 7:00 PM
Tags:
Wits University
University of the Witwatersrand
Wits Originators
Wits Impacts For Good
Bob Scholes
Professor Bob Scholes

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