Skip to Content

Small is great

Lifestyle Section - Environment


cn_rh_greatWhile most people are desperately keen to see the Big Five up close and personal (until it actually happens, of course!), it is increasingly the small things that are making a big impression on me, and the way I think about the world and our role in it.

This is a particularly apposite discussion at this time given the global 350 campaign that took place all over the world recently  – a campaign to make us all aware of the more rapid than expected accumulation of C02 in the atmosphere. It is the aggregation of C02 and other toxic gases like methane that prevents hot air from escaping our atmosphere, thus causing our planet to grow hotter and hotter.

So why are the small things important?

By focusing only on the big things like climate change and the Big Five, we tend to lose perspective and the understanding we need to really appreciate the interconnectedness that is essential to life as we know it on our planet.

It is in looking at the small things that helps us to see these connections and the implications on a wider, more pervasive scale of the importance of modifying our behaviour, so that our planet has a chance of sustaining itself. On our most recent trail it was the beauty of some of the tiny, exquisitely beautiful flowers, and the industry of a group of ants that made these connections for me.

Many of the flowers, like many of the fynbos plants in the Boland, are found only in very specific spots.  They depend on that eco-system for their continued survival, for their sustainability. For that to happen the eco-system needs to remain intact.  

This is not a simple matter, and we need to be very thankful for the many wonderful scientists who beaver away every day in and outside our national and provincial parks and academic institutions, to help us understand what is required to conserve the eco-systems upon which we are totally dependent.

cn_rh_great2The amazing industry and determination of five small ants reminded me that although the task is big, by collective action and a single-minded determination almost anything can be achieved.
These ants came reconnoitring in the area where we had sat and eaten our simple lunch of bread, cheese, some meats, tomato and beetroot.  

They found a small piece of cheese which for them was huge.

I estimate about five times their collective bodyweight. They decided that they would take this back to their queen and proceeded to manoeuvre, push, pull, tug, carry, lift and transport their prize all of 10 metres across rough terrain!

A simple calculation suggests that this would be roughly equivalent to five of us carrying five times our bodyweight a distance of about 10 kilometres without rest stops or a drink! There are some assumptions which can be questioned in here, I know, but I am sure you get the point.

If we consider the challenges that face us; if we can consider the exciting opportunity of massive collective action, then let us also consider the importance of working together for the generations to come that are depending upon us to do just this!

Written by Tony Frost You are reading Small is great articles

View a complete list of the Bolander Property distribution points. Click Here...

Who's Online

We have 65 guests online