John Lucas, founder of Explore4Knowledge (e4k), is a man larger than life itself. Regarded as South Africa’s own ‘adventure scientist,’ John has an even bigger heart when it comes to the conservation of our precious freshwater resources. His upcoming Mouth2Mouth Expedition is a major milestone and one that’s been in planning since 2008.
John Lucas, a recognised and awarded conservation scientist and member of the Royal Geographic Society, will once again be promoting education through Land Rover-driven adventures. This time, literally across South Africa, from East to West.
Watch the incredible e4k Mouth2Mouth Expedition ‘Coming Soon’ preview video HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sw2Z6FmGDic
Following three rivers through three countries in Land Rover vehicles, John and the e4k crew will travel more than 7000 km and educate 7 000 students in the Mouth2Mouth Expedition. Specific expedition dates has yet to be announced, but John says that he aims to depart Cape Town around mid-2017.
The Mouth2Mouth expedition will see John Lucas and his team not only raise awareness around fresh water resources, but also collect scientific data and insight from from local experts, while managing interactive programmes and utilising some interesting new technology.
John and his crew will start at the source – the Tugela River Mouth – on the East Coast of South Africa before crossing over the shared water tower and following the Senqu River (source of the Orange River) through Lesotho and then onto its mouth through Namibia and along the South Africa West Coast.
The Mouth2Mouth is considered a world-first and the Explore4Knowledge team will effectively navigate one of the largest joint water catchment areas in Southern Africa. John welcomes you to join the team through their new website launching mid-2017 and following them on social media (@exlore4knowledge & #e4kMouth2Mouth).
A Quick Cuppa with e4k’s John Lucas
Over a quick cup of coffee, we chat to e4k’s John Lucas about his plight for fresh water and the upcoming Mouth2Mouth Expedition.
Q: The Mouth2Mouth Expedition sounds like an incredible adventure. Can you share some more details?
JL: The concept for the Mouth2Mouth Expedition (#e4kMouth2Mouth) originated in 2008 and is designed to be e4k’s first major expedition and project. Everything we’ve done to date has led to this expedition, the lessons we’ve learned has shaped the Mouth2Mouth into what we believe, will also be our most challenging expedition yet. Our aim is to traverse South Africa from East to West, along the Tugela, Senqu and Orange River – a route covering more than 7 000 km through three countries (SA, Lesotho and Namibia), promoting education, scientific discovery and citizen science alongside the importance of our countries largest water catchment area and shared water shed.
Q: What’s the current state of our freshwater supply? Is there a cause for concern?
JL: Yes, at the moment, we’re facing a national crisis. Unfortunately, we seem to have woken up a little too late. We’re crisis-managing instead of having the foresight to implement mitigating measures. However, I believe that doing something is better than doing nothing. Most of our dams are below critical capacity. There are experts out there who predict that by the end of 2017, Johannesburg might face a serious water crisis, having already implemented water-shedding, and not restrictions, in certain areas.
Q: What the solution?
We’ve passed the point of telling people to close a dripping tap or collect grey water. Yes, these are vital, and need to be addressed. However, we need to be more deliberate. With only 5% of South Africa’s land mass producing more than 50% of our drinking water, most of which is imported from Lesotho, we need to actively consider the effects of urbanisation, industrial development, agricultural practices and poor land management on fresh water. In the Western Cape, said to have the most pristine rivers in South Africa, 76% are considered critical for habitat, ecological and species loss due to poor land practices. We’ve read some scary reports from scientists stating that by 2020, we will have no more fresh drinking water left in our country.
Q: 2017 is a busy year for e4k. What else is in the pipeline?
JL: We’re also launching our e4k DREAMS campaign (#e4kDreams). This campaign is aimed at encouraging the general public, schools and businesses to get involved in raising funds to purchase a much-needed mobile classroom (second-hand Land Rover Defender 130) and assist us with funding educational campaigns. Over the past few years, we’ve been asked by teachers if classes can do fundraises to assist us in our work. Our new website will allow you to choose the campaign your wish to support. We’ll also start working alongside specific partners to develop an online classroom application and model. Watch this space…
Q: How can those interested get involved?
JL: Keep an eye out for our new website launching in 2017, or alternatively, follow us across all our social media platforms (@explore4knowledge) to stay abreast with launch dates. The expedition will depart from Cape Town mid-2017.