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You are here: Home eNewsletter Archives 2009 February 2009 SAEON pioneers new book on earth observation and environmental change in SA

SAEON pioneers new book on earth observation and environmental change in SA

- Johan Pauw, Managing Director, SAEON

Contrary to the warning by climate change prophets of doom that the general public is tiring of news about climate and environmental change, recent surveys have indicated that members of the public want more information on these changes and on what they can expect, in language and terms that they are able to understand.

An exciting new book is currently being compiled to inform South Africans about the envisaged environmental change in the country. Coordinated by Prof Larry Zietsman, former head of the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Stellenbosch, the book will comprise short illustrated articles written by scientists about environmental change observations in South Africa and their implications in a way that decision-makers, students and the general public would be able to relate to.

Informed policy-making

The book is not a "green" book, and its main purpose is to foster an understanding of the environmental realities in the country for informed policy-making. The main message of the book is that environmental changes are taking place at a rate that needs to be closely monitored. Long-term observation systems are required and should be sponsored by government rather than by individual constituencies. SAEON has an important role to play and should continue to be supported. Government and decision-makers should be cognisant that policy and management practices impact on the environment, whether for good or ill.

The book will be richly illustrated with photographs, images, maps and graphs to show at a high and political level how environmental change is being experienced in South Africa. The authors will also give guidance on policy to manage these changes. The book will be based on the DPSIR causal framework (adopted by the European Environment Agency for describing interactions between society and the environment).

More than 80 national and international scientists are collaborating to produce this book. The abstracts of articles have already been received and the authors are currently preparing their full texts. It should be stressed that these will not be research papers, but easy-to-read articles illustrating current environmental change.

The intention is to publish the book in mid-2009 to have an impact on the new dispensation of political decision-makers that will be appointed after the general elections.

Partners of SAEON are invited to purchase sponsorship, which would give them an opportunity to use the book to brand their organisations. For more information, contact Johan Pauw on 012 392 9383.

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