KZN could lead the way

2009-11-03 00:00

“THE solutions to the world’s problems of climate change will come from KwaZulu-Natal. This province carries the expectations of the whole world to lead the way out of this international crisis,” said a respected local environmentalist.

Dr Jim Taylor of Wessa, the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa in Howick, was speaking last week at a round- table discussion ahead of a summit on climate change to be held next month. He said that delegates at a recent environmental conference in Canada identified this province’s critical role in solving climate change because of two things: “I didn’t think those scientists had even heard of KZN, but they identified us because everything is going wrong here, and we’re also doing every­thing right here.”

Taylor said southern Africa has been identified as the part of the world that will be hardest hit by climate change, including natural disasters like floods and drought. He mentioned the huge problems this province faces, which explain why “everything is going wrong”: for example, housing and food shortages, a health crisis, poverty, a shortage of water and climate problems.

“At the same time, great things come from here. Ideas and examples of best practice to address climate change can be found in this province.” Taylor mentioned the Mariannhill landfill methane gas project, biodigesters being installed to supply gas from human waste and the fact that the head office of Sadc Reep, (Southern African Development Community Regional Environmental Education Programme) is based here. It is the organisation drawing up environmental education and education for sustainable development programmes in all Sadc countries.

Taylor encouraged participants to adopt a positive approach to climate change rather than being “miserable and depressed” about it. Delegates representing different levels of government and environmental NGOs agreed to seek out examples of “best practice” to present at this month’s Kwanaloga summit.

Kwanaloga, the KwaZulu-Natal Local Government Association, and the Provincial Government are hosting a three-day summit on rural development and climate change. It aims to draft a joint declaration and create a municipal programme of action.

The event is open to all interested stakeholders from government, commerce and civil society. It will be held at the ICC in Durban from November 16 to November 18. The programme includes presentations, consultations, key note addresses, an exhibition and a gala dinner.

 

• For further information, contact Debbie Isaacs at Kwanaloga at 031 361 1236.

 

“In African culture we have created an understanding that people are demeaned if they get their hands dirty. Everybody wants to wear a collar and tie. We need to change that mentality.” — Obed Mlaba, Mayor of eThekwini

“There is a need to lead by example and ‘walk the talk’. The cars that many Cabinet Ministers have bought have carbon emissions of about 420 parts per million. The ‘safe’ upper limit of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is 350 parts per million. We are currently at about 390 parts.” — Des Moodley, KPMG facilitator

“This is not just about business or government or the rural poor who are most affected. It’s all about all of us.” — Obed Mlaba, Mayor of eThekwini

“We need to start looking at sanctions against industries that pollute the environment.” — Yusuf Bhamjee, Umgungundlovu District Mayor

“We need to make sure that all the vehicles bought by municipalities, passenger vehicles and others, have carbon emissions less than 350 parts per million.” — Obed Mlaba, Mayor of eThekwini

“It is not good just telling people that they have to stop using wood or paraffin for cooking. We have to provide alternatives [like gel stoves] to get buy-in from people.” — Zanele Hlatswayo, Mayor of Msunduzi

“There are things we can do immediately and there are things we need to plan. We need to have short-, medium- and long-term plans to have a sustainable future.” — Obed Mlaba, Mayor of eThekwini

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