Sustainable Futures

In a world that is ever changing, The R2AIN Model provides insights into evolving global trends towards sustainable outcomes


The Last Telegraph Road

I have had the immense privilege of being able to live on the Western Heads of the Knysna Estuary for the past 18 months, in an area that borders the Garden Route National Park, Knysna Lakes Section which is managed by SANParks South African National Parks (SANParks). Having relocated from a highly built-up, urbanized area, where land degradation and social consequences are beginning to show and take their toll. The contrasts are stark, and I realize that what I see here is a remnant of what we once had globally. The area is indeed the last “Garden of Eden”, or the original “Telegraph Road” – from the Dire Straits song. I release there too are other remnant areas like this, on a global scale. All facing similar threats. People are naturally drawn to immense beauty, as other areas fade and degrade, only to affect change often in a negative manner until the area they were drawn to, likewise deteriorates. There are localized threats, from development, alien plant invasions, and limited fund availability for biodiversity rich land protection, maintenance, and conservation.
As I stand and look across the Western Heads with views of the Ocean, Dunes, Critically Endangered Knysna Sand Fynbos, and Outeniqua Mountains in the distance, I wonder if our children and grandchildren will be able to experience this same view. Particularly with climate change affects accelerating and reports that, “Scientists are 98% certain the 1.5C mark will be broken before 2027”
My LinkedIn environmental network feeds are a flurry with amazing posts of environmentalists trying to make a difference, that I must admit that my minimal efforts seem oftentimes insignificant and unimpactful. I realise though that the environmental change that we are facing in the future is going to be daunting. It will take large and small efforts, from diverse, multi-disciplinary scientists, consultants, government employees, activists, and just the average person. Creative, technical, financial, and practical solutions are needed.

Dr Vanessa Weyer, Brenton on Sea, Knysna, 21 May 2023