Greenpeace film festival launches ‘Weather Gods’ for Africa

2011-12-07 00:00

WITH COP17 drawing to an end, the extension of the Kyoto Protocol is what everyone lobbying for a healthier planet hopes for, and Greenpeace co-ordinator Dianne McAlpine has a good feeling about it.

The 25-year-old from Johannesburg, who has been with Greenpeace Africa for three years now, is tasked with co-ordinating a film festival free to the public on North Beach at a tent with all electronics entirely operated on solar power.

“People are finally getting the message that our planet cannot sustain us forever at the rate things are going and that dramatic and unilateral change is needed.

“The outcome of COP17 has to be different to previous summits. I am confident there will be a positive outcome,” she said.

The highlight of the film festival is the launch of an African documentary, Weather Gods.

“Africa is the the hardest hit by climate change and yet we are the least guilty. This film highlights the plight of people in Kenya along Lake Turkana, Mali and here in KwaZulu-Natal. It’s a must-see,” she said.

There is a strong focus on women, who Dianne says, bear the brunt of climate change.

The movie is part of a larger project in conjunction with Greenpeace Netherlands called the Women and Climate Justice Project.

“The doccies on offer are hard-hitting and very important, and the message is poignant and strong,” she said, adding that the planet is in grave danger and we all have to do our bit to save it.

Dianne’s feelings toward the United Nations are mixed.

“I don’t believe the UN realise their full potential.

“They are a very powerful body and, save for the politics within it they could, alone, contribute immensely to the health of the planet and its inhabitants,” she said.

McAlpine expressed huge respect admiration for her leader, Kumi Naidoo, executive director of Greenpeace International.

“Kumi has presence wherever he goes, and his experience as a leader and an activist comes across every time the man speaks.

“Durban should be proud to have produced such a powerful person and it’s fitting that COP17 is here in his hometown,” she added.

Commenting on Monday’s arrests at the Protea Edward Hotel — seven members were arrested after they abseiled down the building in attempt to hang a banner from it — she says its all in a day’s work.

“There really is little risk and members undergo rigorous non-

violent direct action training, where nothing is left to chance. Even the arrests are anticipated,” she said.

To become a volunteer at Greenpeace, go to www.greenpeace.org and fill in the registration form.

• rowan.sewchurran@witness.co.za

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