By Lydia Mogano
On the 25th of March 2017, everyone was encouraged to participate in the environmental awareness campaign, Earth Hour, to encourage the reduction of humanity’s carbon footprint on the planet by switching off all electrical appliances between 8:30 till 9:30pm.
I was invited as one of the guest speakers in Pretoria to promote a deeper understanding of the complexities which the impacts of climate change bring in everyday life and its link to eco-justice. Much as this day is a celebration and a hour of action, I chose this topic to highlight the (often overlooked) realities experienced by ordinary and vulnerable people due to these climate change impacts in South and Southern Africa in order to promote a richer understanding of the context we live in and to encourage further collective action.
Today’s youth need to be more conscious of the broader Southern African community. They need to understand their environmental and moral obligation to own the process of designing a sustainable, low carbon society which they can enjoy and that greater success is possible when we work together in teams across the intellectual, social, economic, cultural and religious spectrum.
It is also important for them to believe in their own individual capacities to transform their lives and those around them by making small environmental behavioural changes such as recycling, reducing their consumption of meat, car pooling and more which may have a broader butterfly effect. I issued a challenge to the students to initiate creative campaigns to address the student traffic and parking congestion problem at the University of Pretoria. It’s time for us to find solutions together and show that we can be the change we would like to see!
The group had an opportunity to practically explore a few renewable energy technologies available in the country such as but not limited to the solar PV’s, energy saving bulbs and water saving shower head from ELLIES. The purpose was to demonstrate the opportunities which lie in trying to achieve a sustainable, low-carbon future.
This event was organized by the phenomenal Boitumelo Sehlake who is currently studying towards her Master’s Degree in Petroleum Engineering at Wits University and it involved bright young people from the University of Pretoria, including dynamic individuals from local townships, the Greenline society, United Nations Association of South Africa as well as Miss Earth 2016. This event is one of the first of many actions SAFCEI seeks to partner with many other young people who are passionate about the environment as well as the future and sustainability of our beloved country.
If you want to become part of this network of Earth Keepers in the Pretoria area, contact Lydia Mogano at email@example.com.