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  • John Cockayne

A letter from the editor

BGM Issue 2 Vol 2: Editor’s Letter

I am not an eco-warrior - yet! - however, a close working association over the past 2 years or so, with the John Collier Survey, has further sharpened my sense of awareness to our impact, as a species, on the environment.

During 2010, using the various recycling processes in Henley-on-Thames in the UK, and, in this case, trying to work out the arcane schedule of alternating weekly collections of degradable garbage and recyclables such as car batteries - and watching as the bags of degradable rubbish became mountainous on collection day - I realised that those in charge, really didn’t know what they were doing, at least as evidenced by their grasp of what would be an appropriate collection schedule - I mean how often are you going to be throwing away a car battery!

Washing out tins and food containers, but not the hard plastic yoghurt type, which are not recyclable (OK - but then what are you supposed to do with them?!) in our sou-sol (basement) in Caurel in France, before taking it to the recycling point in our village to find the modified skip over-full - every week, made me realise that the logistics’ issues were probably also a global problem.

This point was then reinforced by living in Spain, and watching a combination of both the experiences of Henley and Caurel being repeated, while trying to dispose of rubbish responsibly in Guadalmina!

If there is a global village in an environmental sense (not the construct of Marshall McLuhan’s media version), then it has arrived with a vengeance, as seen from the perspective of the disposal of rubbish, which is a global issue.

Aside from rubbish, ‘man’ is a polluter, on so many other levels.

In this same context, I believe that Hartbeespoort would be a lot more popular if it wasn’t’ so busy!

This apparent contradiction stems from the stream of cars and other vehicles that clog the area’s roads - especially at weekends, with the influx of visitors. All of this accounts for more wear and tear on our potholes, and more emissions.

However, with this type of increased activity is another type of ‘rubbish’ - noise pollution.

In this case, I am not referring to engine noise, although the rumble and sound of often unnecessary acceleration of engines, especially motorbikes, needs to be curbed.

Perhaps when fuel reaches a pump price of R 40.00 per litre, this might deter some of these ‘revheads’!

The noise pollution I am referring to is much more insidious, and I was made aware of its effects recently, when I heard the sound of a car alarm in short bursts, but with a slightly odd ‘musical’ undertone.

I searched unsuccessfully for the offending vehicle, only to find that a Mynah bird (an incorrigible mimic it must be said), was the source of the noise.

It would be easy to say that it must have been a South African Mynah, because only here, with the crime rates, do car alarms go off often enough to enable a bird to copy them!

That might be true, but it would also miss the broader point that the effects of our existence (a scientist once likened our impact on the World to that of a virus!) is causing issues at so many levels - many of which go unnoticed.

As a sporting community, we have the perfect opportunity to make a difference, and generally the education levels, to know that it is going to take a collective effort from everyone, to make the kind of difference required to change our environmental crisis.

These comments are not specifically about golf. However, like it or not, our game is involved, as the pictures in the introduction to our new series in 'From the Fairways' on page 84 will show, and even if golf is not renowned as a team sport, never has teamwork been more important than it is now, and in the face of climate change.

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