30 Jan Climate Change, Carbon Footprint and Lindani’s Sustainability
As a family we have all accepted the view of scientists that human activity will bring about climate change unless all the countries of the world set and achieve agreed goals to reduce the threat. At the same time, one tends to behave as if it is some vague threat in the far future. Two things are beginning to make us think hard about this ‘big issue’ at Lindani:
1.Lindani is a heavy user of energy – electricity, diesel, petrol, gas, firewood. If you include the ancillary costs, it probably represents well over 20 percent of our total operating costs.
There are now clearly major question marks over Eskom both in terms of likely price escalations in the next five years and the reliability of supply. We can all see that Eskom is caught between a rock and a hard place, significantly thanks to its own doing but also because of the need for the country to switch to renewable energy.
2.The weather pattern at Lindani also appears to be less stable at present. Just after having recovered from the severe drought three summers ago, we are experiencing a very different summer. The first few months were hotter than usual and the first rain was over two months late. Since its arrival, it has behaved differently – extreme lightning storms with little rain, very isolated when it has rained heavily and some strong winds. We have had our transformers knocked out at least ten times over the last three weeks. In a normal full summer, this occurs once or twice. Eskom pylons between Vaalwater and Modimolle were completely knocked over two weeks ago.
For this summer, our rainfall to date is about two thirds of the lowest on record and we are well past halfway through the rainy season. Fortunately this is enough to ensure we have grass for the game through the winter but not nearly enough to sustain the water table and our beautiful trees.
In response to all of this, we have decided, with the help of one of our most loyal and supportive guests, to conduct a study of the feasibility of getting off the power grid and replacing a number of our vehicles with battery driven substitutes. We have no idea at this stage what the outcome will be but suspect it will put us between a rock and a hard place. It would require a major capital investment if we were to go ahead.
On the one hand, this would contribute significantly to Lindani’s long term sustainability by reducing operating costs and be our contribution to the struggle against climate change – with some possible marketing spin-offs. On the other hand, the question has to be asked whether it is wise in the current political environment for a white-owned, land-based business to invest major sums of capital.
We would welcome comments from those who know and love Lindani.
Sam van Coller