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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

Work clouds and rhizomatic learning – Prof Johannes Cronjé teaches through technology in inaugural lecture
2014-09-29

Prof Johannes Cronjé 

Prof Johannes Cronjé has been appointed as visiting professor in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences in collaboration with the Centre for Teaching and Learning. The driving force behind his appointment is to develop young and upcoming scholars in the field of online and blended learning at our university.The title of Prof Cronjé’s inaugural lecture, ‘Tablets, Painkillers or Snake Oil – a Remedy for Education?’ suggested a compelling event. Prof Cronjé did not disappoint.

“We live in a world where we carry more information in our pockets than in our entire head,” Prof Cronjé remarked. Interesting fact: an iPhone 4 has 16 million times more processing power than the Apollo 11 – the spacecraft that put the first man on the moon.

If students carry this much processing power in their hands, what should we be teaching students? Prof Cronjé asked. “I believe the answer to that is: we should be teaching them to teach themselves.”

Presenting his inaugural lecture in the same way as he would to his students, Prof Cronjé had the entire audience within minutes vigorously participating in the event.

Prof Cronjé advocates a process called rhizomatic learning. Knowledge, he explained, grows in a similar way to rhizomes’ roots – inseparably connected and seemingly without beginning or end. “Learning is a social aspect: people learn from one another.”

Making use of freely-available online applications, Prof Cronjé demonstrated the power of technology in the classroom. “My objective is to use technology to make people enthusiastic and motivated about the learning process.” Using their smartphones, tablets and laptops, the audience could effortlessly participate through connecting to each other by means of a virtual work cloud. “Knowledge is being created in the room as it happens,” Prof Cronjé explained, “motivating you to participate in this learning experience.”

“There are three things you need for group work to be successful: a mutual goal, individual responsibility and positive interdependence. Then it is real cooperative learning,” Prof Cronjé concluded.

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