Environmental group opens school

2016-06-08 09:23
groundWork's environmental justice school opened it's doors on Sunday in Howick to 19 environmental activists from South Africa, Kenya and Mozambique.

groundWork's environmental justice school opened it's doors on Sunday in Howick to 19 environmental activists from South Africa, Kenya and Mozambique. (groundwork )

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Pietermaritzburg - Pietermaritzburg environmental activist organisation groundWork opened its Environmental Justice School in celebration of World Environment Day at the weekend.

The school opened its doors on Sunday for its third consecutive year, for an intensive four-week course on environmental rights and justice for activists from South Africa, Mozambique and Kenya.

groundWork spokesperson Megan Lewis said the school is focused on building a “cadre of informed environmental justice activists” who will contribute towards the mobilisation, resistance and transformation to a just society.

The 20 activists will engage on issues of development and environmental legislation in South Africa and campaigning in areas of climate, energy, air quality, waste, water, land and food.

The organisation’s director, Bobby Peek, said yesterday that the school started in 2014, with a two-week course for 17 environmental activists from South Africa and other neighbouring African countries such as Namibia and Zimbabwe.

Peek said the school looked at a series of environmental issues facing the different communities of attendees at the school, and spent a full day on each of them.

“They spent an entire day on one topic so they are taking detailed knowledge based on justice rather than superficial information, back home with them,” said Peek.

He added that the feedback has been “phenomenal” and that past activists had responded well to the course.

The school’s logo was designed in remembrance of famous ­environmental justice activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, who was murdered by the Nigerian state for his campaign around Shell’s “catastrophic” oil operations in the Niger Delta.

Peek said Saro-Wiwa’s campaign stopped Shell from its operations in the Niger Delta and was a guiding light of what environmental activism can achieve.

Peek said the activists would attend the course in Howick for three weeks before they go back to their homes and work on a project they wished to see develop in their communities.

“The activists have six months to work on the project and come back for a week in November where they will conduct a presentation on the project and their visions, goals and objectives for it.”

• chelsea.pieterse@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  environment  |  green

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