There have always been wildfires but climate change is making them worse, and human lack of care for our planetary systems is the cause.
Since 1998, we have had the ten hottest years on record, and nine of those have been since 2005. Overall our planet is getting hotter. Record breaking temperatures and drought have preceded many of the worst fires – fuelled by dried out land and plants, the fires have grown larger and faster.
In a region where wildfires are a seasonal part of life, to protect the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary it is surrounded by a 70ft firebreak, and there are firebreaks around every animal habitat. Thanks to a generous, anonymous founder we now have four firefighters – portable water tanks with motors and high-pressure hoses. Our new truck, sponsored by the Robert R Sprague Foundation, and the trailer our supporters helped purchase, have improved the speed of our response. We can be at all points of the sanctuary very quickly, and have added overhead water stations to top up the firefighters at speed.
We are part of a community working together to put out fires in the area. Hadio, who patiently gives our animals their medications, has also put out a local blaze spotted by the ADIWS team. Last year, when a car crashed nearby, exploded and sent flames racing towards the sanctuary, our team scrambled and the fire was stopped dead in its tracks at our perimeter firebreak.
To stop the human-caused warming of our planet, we must cut greenhouse gases by replacing fossil fuels with renewable clean energy, as we are doing with solar power at the ADIWS. We understand it is not yet possible for everything – air travel with renewable energy is years away, but people are working on it.
We are setting up a scheme to enable people who must travel by air, to offset it with a donation to plant trees at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary! This will be based on existing carbon pollution offset schemes – and you will be able to see tangible results, your trees growing and our sanctuary transforming. Until this is available, you can support tree-planting at the ADIWS here.
When we first announced we would be building a sanctuary, we said we would make it a green sanctuary. We have planted trees and begun returning land to nature that had been degraded by farming and chemicals. Our fences, motorised gates, heated floors for senior animals, security lights and CCTV cameras are all solar powered. Recently we began converting the hot water in our accommodation to solar. We are self-sufficient in water from our springs and taking steps to preserve this precious resource. We plan to install our own eco-friendly waste disposal and water re-cycling and filtration system.
Our friends at sanctuary Big Cat Rescue in Florida (where ADI took ex-circus tigers Hoover, Max, Simba, and Kimba) realized how important this project is, and understand the financial challenges for a new sanctuary. BCR has kindly offered ADI a matching grant of $50,000 towards our green waste recycling system. If we can raise $50,000 in the coming months we will have sustainable, planet-friendly waste disposal and clean water security forever. Can you help?
Education – governments and next generations: To bring about change, we need to educate and increase awareness of the damage we do, without thinking. We must make governments pay attention and accelerate the shift to renewable energy that is kind to our planet and other earthlings. End government subsidies for industries that damage the planet, and transfer assistance to earthling-kind industries. With your help, our Jean Warner Sprague Education Center will be taking this message to South African school children.