Damned fools

James Hansen, climate scientist from the 1980s, takes no pleasure in being right. “We are damned fools”. I hope that’s not our epitaph. I for one don’t want to get into a debate about how much of what we’re observing/measuring is human-driven. Some of the change probably is, but who the hell cares at this point. What *is* important is that we use our gigantic footprint on this Earth to not make things worse. Reduce greenhouse gases, stop polluting the planet with plastics and hydrocarbons, build and live more sustainably. And we should get ready for a pretty big change to worldwide coastlines. Turns out the Anthropocene will look a lot like the Pliocene.

It really would be fascinating (maybe horrifying) to watch how this plays out over the next few hundred years. I wish I could be around to see it.


Having said that, off we go to Africa next week to see some big critters before they die off from climate change or are killed by poachers. Our international flights won’t exactly be carbon neutral, but they’re flying with or without us. So yeah, I’m a hypocrite on being responsible about minimizing our human impact on climate.

Our first stops will be in S Africa. After a night spent near Johannesburg, we head out for Kruger National Park for a few days of National Geographic-hosted safaris. We’re staying at Umbhaba Eco Lodge – not exactly roughing it. Here’s the description of one of our safari days:

Rise early and climb aboard an open jeep for a full-day safari in Kruger National Park—home to an extraordinary array of large mammals. Spot elephants, lions, giraffes, and perhaps elusive leopards as we explore this breathtaking wilderness of savanna and scrubland. Return to our lodge in the evening, where you can take some time to relax and enjoy the nocturnal sounds of the bush. At over 19,000 sq km (7,500 sq mi), South Africa’s Kruger National Park is one of the largest and most impressive animal reserves in the world. With 147 species, Kruger has more species of large mammals than any other park on the continent.

Hop in a 4×4 safari vehicle and get yourself one step closer to the surrounding nature. Be ready to spot elephants, giraffes, hippos, lions, zebras, and many other species in this impressive South African national park.

Sounded pretty good to me.

Another safari we’re taking from that base is to the Karongwe Private Game Reserve. Again, from the Natgeo description:

Travel to the Karongwe Private Game Reserve, a pristine wildlife sanctuary located in the Greater Kruger area. Meet with a researcher from the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Cheetah Metapopulation Project—a program funded in part by National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative—and learn about efforts to protect the region’s cheetahs and other carnivores. The researcher then joins us for a wildlife-viewing excursion through the reserve.   For the next two days, enjoy ranger-led morning and evening wildlife safari drives in an open safari vehicle in Karongwe Nature Reserve, searching for Africa’s famed Big Five. With over 9,000 hectares (22,240 acres) of supreme African bushveld, Karongwe Private Game Reserve is home to many creatures, and our safari drives provide several opportunities for wildlife viewing.   We use various accommodations within the reserve (the location is based on availability). During your time here, you will either stay in lodge rooms or very comfortable permanent tents (both of equal quality and with similar amenities).   Wildlife safari drives are conducted with qualified wildlife rangers and local expert trackers who will share their vast experience of the African bush.

Then, we’re off to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. I’ll save that description for another post.