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Extra Virgin June
Extra Virgin June

Joni Mitchell sang it best: you don’t know what you’ve got, ’til it’s gone. Leonie Joubert is glad she lives close to a working tap. In the end, it’s all about water.

It’s called the Cinderella zone. And no, I’m not talking about the place you go to when you’ve licked an hallucinogenic toad. Think on an astronomically larger scale. Literally, space-sized. The Cinderella zone is the name we’ve given that region around a star – like our Earth’s orbit – where conditions are just suitable for a planet’s water to occur in all three states: solid, liquid and gas. Any closer to the sun, and our water would boil away…any further out, and it’d freeze up. Outside of this cosmic sweet spot life, as we know it, wouldn’t be possible.

'They say the next wars will be fought over water. And earlier this year the France-based World Conservation Union, the IUCN, reminded us of this prediction.'

“Climate change is water change,” the organisation said, ahead of the World Water Forum, where it pointed out that two-thirds of the world’s population will be at risk due to water shortages by 2025.

Our swelling global population is demanding more and more from a shrinking water supply. Climate change is pinching off many sources of fresh water as clouds and rainfall dry up in parts, snowlines retreat and glaciers, whose summer melt water feeds some of the world’s rivers, thaw out for good. Then there’s our creeping development and growing pollution. All these erode the ecosystems which supply fresh water to us, making it an even dearer commodity.



What a surprise to see the seismic shift in the Jacob Zuma cabinet. Within hours of being sworn in, JZ announced that some departments were being split up (the education ministry’s getting chopped in two), others spliced together (forestry and agriculture), and entirely new ones created (one for women, nogal).

The climate modelling for South Africa is fairly clear – we get hotter everywhere over the next 50 to 100 years. The western part of the country gets drier, and while the east may get more overall summer rain (a warmer world means some places will get heavier rainfall events), that doesn’t mean the region will be spared the overall drying effect as heat waves and droughts punctuate those higher rainfall seasons.

So, it’s time to think seriously about water – how valuable every single drop of the stuff is.

In closing, here’s a tip for the month: think twice before buying bottled water – it takes something like two to three litres of water to produce one litre of bottled water, and a lot of the water you buy over the counter is from the municipal tap anyway. Keep a permanent bottle in your bag and fill it up from the tap. That way you’ll be able to rinse your mouth out next time you’re tempted to lick a toad.

Extra Virgin June



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