Climate change is an increasing problem globally; and South Africa is among the top 20 largest producers of carbon emissions in the world. Reducing our carbon footprint is more important than ever. The Wonder Plant social enterprise and the Spekboom Foundation have just the plant for the job.Spekboom, indigenous to the Eastern Cape, has remarkable carbon fixing properties that have the potential to offset greatly our carbon footprint. (Image: Bradley Dennis)Mathiba MolefeThere was a time when it covered vast sections of the landscape in the Eastern Cape, spreading for kilometres in every direction. But today, as a result of overgrazing farm animals, spekboom, Portulacaria Afra, is limited to small patches scattered loosely throughout the province.Indigenous to South Africa, spekboom is considered by some to be a wonder plant of sorts. Given its remarkable ability to draw large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere, it is no surprise that it is regarded so highly.With climate change a growing problem worldwide, there are widespread efforts to reduce our carbon footprint and impact on the environment. Tapping into the under-utilised potential of local flora such as spekboom may be part of the answer.Most of South Africa’s energy is still generated by burning coal and this, coupled with the country’s energy- and carbon-intensive mining and industrial sectors, made it the thirteenth highest producer of carbon emissions in the world in 2008, according to data collected by the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Centre (CDIAC).This also makes South Africa the largest producer of carbon emissions on the African continent, with more than 460 metric tons of CO2 produced in 2011.According to the Spekboom Foundation and the Wonder Plant social enterprise, spekboom can absorb nearly 10 times as much carbon dioxide per hectare than any tropical rain forest on the planet.Offsetting carbon emissionsBradley Dennis, a conservationist from the Samara Private Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape, said “fortunately, environmental awareness is ripe and many people and organisations are actively working towards counteracting these threats.“One such way to combat these emissions is through carbon sinks.”According to the Spekboom Foundation and the Wonder Plant social enterprise, spekboom can absorb nearly 10 times as much carbon dioxide per hectare than any tropical rain forest on the planet.This is because spekboom functions differently from other plants in that it continues to photosynthesise during the night, thanks to its ability to store solar energy. This, together with its ability to grow in some of the country’s harshest conditions, makes spekboom the ideal plant to help offset our carbon footprint.“The plant is extremely water-wise and requires very little attention. It can tolerate long periods of drought,” Dennis explains.“And best of all, besides being very attractive and blooming wonderful little pink flowers, it is easy to grow.”Organisations such as the Spekboom Foundation and Wonder Plant offer members of the public easy access to this amazing plant, so you can play a part in actively lowering South Africa’s carbon footprint.“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now” – an old Chinese proverb. Above, volunteers planting spekboom saplings at the Samara Private Game Reserve.Get involvedThere is an old Chinese proverb that says “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now”.If you would like to get your hands on a spekboom plant, support local business and reduce your carbon footprint, you can visit either the Wonder Plant website or the Spekboom Foundation website to find out how.“Making a difference, even if it’s as small as planting a tree in your backyard, has a bigger impact than one realises,” says Dennis.Play Your PartAre you playing your part to help improve the lives of those around you through your everyday actions? Do you know of anyone who deserves recognition for improving South Africa and its people?If you do, then submit your story to our website and let us know what you are doing to improve the country for all; we want to hear it.If we don’t get actively involved in creating a better future for South Africa, then who will? Step up and play your part in our country’s journey to greatness.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
Experiments begin with a hypothesis. You have an idea based on your knowledge and what you intuit, and you guess at what some future result will be. You then test that hypothesis to see if it’s true.These experiments return results. Your results show you whether your hypothesis is true or false. You might be proven right, or your underlying supposition might prove to be flawed.Your Great ExperimentTake a look at any result you’re producing in your life right now. You have some hypothesis, some underlying belief about that result. Your results are giving you feedback on that belief. They’re telling you whether what you believe is true or false.This is The Sales Blog, so we’ll use sales as an example. Maybe you believe you can make your number with very, very little prospecting. But your sales results may prove that your hypothesis about the amount of prospecting you need to do is wrong.You might believe that more activity alone will improve your sales results, and you might take massive action trying to make your number. But that hypothesis may be proven wrong, too. You might be generating plenty of activity. Your results may be poor because what you’re doing isn’t effective. (There are a lot of sales people who believe that doing more of what worked in the past will help them now. But this is a new day and a new age).Maybe the experiment you are unintentionally running is trying to win business by relying on a single power sponsor to guide you to a deal. But instead of winning you’re losing opportunities to competitors and the status quo. Your results may be telling you that you are missing something (maybe you need more stakeholders to win).Whatever you want to improve about your life, whether it’s in sales or some other area, your underlying belief about that area of your life is what’s driving that result. If you’re killing it in some area, your hypotheses are driving those result, too.If you want to make the most of the great experiment that is your life, carefully examine your hypotheses and observe the feedback you’re receiving. Then, change them and dial in your great experiment.QuestionsThink of one area of your life where you’d like to produce greater results. What feedback are you getting in that area?What are the experiments you are running in that area of your life?What are the underlying beliefs about that area? What’s your hypothesis?What new experiment could you run to see some new results? Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Now
Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Now If you need to create 4 opportunities a month, each one worth $75,000, to be able to make your number. If you don’t create those opportunities, you need 8 opportunities the next month. If you do better work the next month and put up two new opportunities worth $75,000 each, you are now carrying forward 6 opportunities into the very next month—in addition to the 4 you need to create to cover the month you’re in.Math doesn’t care if you don’t really like prospecting, the creation of new opportunities. It doesn’t care if you don’t believe that you should have to cold call, nor does it care that marketing didn’t give you the leads you believe you need. Math does what it does.Math also doesn’t care if you are lazy. It doesn’t care that you aren’t willing to exercise the self-discipline necessary to manage yourself. Nor is it concerned that you like to be entertained, and that you love the novelty provided by the small screen of infinite distractions. Math works even if you don’t.Math doesn’t care that you had every intention of doing good work, and that you really need to do well in your role. It isn’t even aware that you have any feelings whatsoever, good, bad, or indifferent. Math certainly doesn’t have any feelings.It doesn’t care about your manager, the President, your irrational competitor, your equally irrational prospective client, your product challenges, or the fact that the Internet is disintermediating your industry. Math just goes right on being math, neutral in all issues, punishing some and rewarding others.If it is difficult to create 4 opportunities in a month, then it isn’t any easier to create 10 in that same number of days.