South Africa

Courageous Conversations: Individual Action on Climate Change


Craig Glatthaar


Wilderness US Sales Manager Craig Glatthaar describes the company’s first Courageous Conversation evening, held in Cape Town on Tuesday, 10 September 2019, to engage key stakeholders in what has to be described as, not only the fight for our lives, but the fight for our planet.



A collection of some of the country’s greatest scientists (to give guidance on the factual issues at hand), businessman and commercial giants (to move the economic needle) and politicians (the policy makers) gathered to debate solutions for the “anthropogenic apocalypse” that is looming for our planet.



Cape Talk’s John Maytham, the voice and ear of the people, set the stage perfectly for a series of hard-hitting talks, starting with Ian Michler.




Speakers from left to right: Ian McCallum, Ian Michler, Don Mac Farlane, John Maytham and Angus McIntosh

"What a powerful evening. It has shaped my thinking going into the next planning phase for our business. Drastic changes to the entrenched way of thinking are needed. Wilderness is a keystone company and we hope to try and do the same in a small way in our niche. - Courageous Conversations Attendee "
"The Global Climate strike is set for September 20th when millions of people around the world will walk out of workplaces and homes to join young climate strikers on the streets and demand an end to the age of fossil fuels. “Our house is on fire — let’s act like it”, is the call from activists around the globe. And a scary statistic is that barely 17% of South Africans are ‘climate change literate’ – meaning they know what climate change is, understand its negative effects on long-term weather patterns and that it is caused by human activity. A full 59% either haven’t heard of climate change or know nothing about it, according to Sunny Morgan, a climate activist and founder of Enerlogy Solar. "

Ian Michler, well known conservationist, author, guide and activist started proceedings with a harrowing account of what it now means to live in the Anthropocene – the age of humans.



Don Macfarlane, Woolworths Packaging Technologist, highlighted the challenges that plague all of our attempts to live with less impact at home, as he unpacked Woolworths’ mission to meet both the demands of a convenience-driven consumer with the challenges of plastics in our environment.



Finally a bare-footed Farmer Angus introduced a polarising subject as he debated the merits of a vegan diet and the future of biodynamic farming.


The evening was hosted at the Norval Foundation, which, apart from being a centre for art and cultural expression, is also the custodian of a key wetland area that protects the Endangered western leopard toad (Sclerophrys pantherinus).



Dr Ian McCallum in his inimitably enigmatic manner left us with sobering thoughts as he asked us about hope, the danger of indifference, and the role we all play as keystone individuals. A keystone species is one that plays a crucial role in the health of an ecosystem. It was not lost on anyone at the event that we as humans are far from a keystone species. In fact ecosystems would probably thrive and be much healthier without our presence.



However the challenge was laid down for each one of us to act as keystone individuals, individuals who actively participate in lessening our impact, and making Earth, our home, a healthier place for all species to live.



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