As every year recorded is hotter than the last, Parceval is also beginning to feel the effects of our changing weather and climate patterns. Not only is the Western Cape, which Parceval calls home, in a severe drought, but some of our partners and supply chains are also feeling the heat.
Generally considered as a moderate climate region, albeit with high summer temperatures, the Western Cape has been caught unawares in an unprecedented drought. The build-up was gradual with several winters not bringing the usual rains, but with the last winter being especially dry the water reserves are close to exhaustion and the city of Cape Town is preparing for a Day Zero (the day running water will be switched off to all but the most vital services, such as hospitals), with Wellington not far behind.
To prepare for and combat this situation, we have closely monitored our water usage over the last months, reducing our usage to a minimum level, and have put a contingency plan in place. We are therefore pleased to say that we will be able to continue operating beyond Day Zero and there won’t be disruption to our service to our clients.
While this immediate concern is most pressing, there are other longer-term ramifications to the changing weather systems we are experiencing. The dry environment has led to a wave of wildfires over the hotter months, one of which hit our organic farm, Waterkloof, at the beginning of 2017. This led to losses in habitat and plants sourced from the wild, especially the much sought after Agathosma betulina – or Buchu. We have begun cultivating our own Buchu, however shortages will remain an issue, especially as the dry conditions slow down the growth and regrowth of these plants, as well as others.
In Somaliland where Parceval sources myrrh, its own drought situation has reached a critical point, with the food security of the country being threatened in many areas. Supply chains are put under pressure as yields decrease and social tensions rise as migration begins to put pressure on other areas.
But it is not only drought that is displacing people and putting strain on our economies and societies. Damaging storms and floods are on the increase, the most recent being across certain countries in Europe this month.
Climatic and social disruptions are set to continue and as we start a new year, we need to be ready for changing times. At Parceval we continue to look critically at our systems to ensure they are as efficient and sustainable as they can be. This means that we continue to tighten our operations, but also that costs will rise in some areas as some plants and commodities, such as water which is vital to our work, can no longer be taken for granted.
We can no longer count on unconditional abundance, however we are counting on our partners and clients to meet this challenge with us and to find ways to move forward creatively, constructively and in ways that take our precious planet into account.