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26 March 2018 Photo Pixabay
Back to the drawing board to save water
We’ve managed to damage nature’s ‘filter’ with air, ocean, and soil pollution, and by destroying wetlands.

Dr Cindé Greyling, a University of the Free State (UFS) DiMTEC (Disaster Management Training and Education Centre for Africa) alumni, studied drought mitigation with a strong focus on communicating important water-saving information. 

Can we run out of water?
Yes, and no, says Dr Greyling. “To our knowledge, water is not ‘leaking’ through our atmosphere. We have what we have, but that doesn’t mean we will have enough clean, fresh water forever. Nature has a magnificent way of purifying water through the water cycle. We, on the other hand, must use a lot of money and energy to purify water. Also, we’ve managed to damage nature’s ‘filter’ with air, ocean, and soil pollution, and by destroying wetlands. The other problem is a simple supply and demand scenario. More people will need more water, but not only that, population growth calls for industry development and increased food supplies – all of which require more water.”    

A war over water
Besides some Hollywood impressions, it is difficult to imagine a war over water, but it is possible. “Some experts are convinced that we are heading there, and others claim that such tensions already exist. Personally, I don’t favour these kinds of shock tactics (or truths) – social research has shown us that it rarely leads to behavioural changes. We can learn a lot from what was has been done in Cape Town. Although we all think people were bombarded with ‘Day-Zero’-scares, they were actually encouraged to adapt their behaviour with a communication campaign that hardly ever used the term ‘Day-Zero’. This approach mobilised citizens to reach record lows of water usage.” 

Adapt a new normal
Dr Greyling encourages the “new normal” set in motion by Capetonians. “Water consciousness is needed, even when the rain comes again. We’ve taken water for granted for too long. As consumers, we have the power to turn this situation around – drop for drop. Be aware about the amount of water you use, how you use it, and for what. Keep in mind that any wastage and pollution (of ‘dry’ things) also wastes and pollutes water. Generally, we need to behave better regarding consumption.”  

News Archive

UFS staff and students clean campus together
2011-09-02

 

Kovsies are not black or white, we are green, says Prof. Jonathan Jansen, our Vice-Chancellor and Rector. Here are some of the students and staff who helped to pick up garbage on our Bloemfontein Campus.
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs

A group consisting of students, staff and members of the management team of the University of the Free State (UFS) proved that they are not only talking about sustainability and the importance of keeping the campus clean, but they actually put their words to action by taking up a garbage bag and helping to pick up garbage.

According to Ms Martie Bitzer, Head of the Sustainability Committee of the UFS, the UFS followed the lead of higher education throughout the world by joining the movement for sustainability and took the plunge in addressing sustainability issues with both short- and long-term planning. One of the short-term plans is to make staff and students aware of the importance of a “green” lifestyle. This week’s activities, including the picking up of garbage and planting a tree on the Bloemfontein Campus of the UFS, is the result thereof.

Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS, who also helped to pick up garbage, told the group of staff and students that many universities around the world are implementing sustainability initiatives and are keeping their campuses clean, because they care for the environment. He thanked the group for their contribution to this process.

“By cleaning up around us, we show respect towards ourselves and towards our campus,” said Prof. Jansen.

To encourage students to keep the campus clean, Student Affairs at the UFS will launch a competition to see which residence can pick up the most garbage on 8 September 2011. A Clean Thakaneng Bridge Campaign will also be launched later on.
 

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