Climate train pulls into Durban

2011-12-01 00:00

STEAMING from Cape Town through 17 cities, the Climate Train chugged into its final destination at Durban station just in time for COP17, carrying its message of climate change.

Co-ordinator at the Durban phase of the train’s journey, Metsana Modise, said the message was aimed at the most disadvantaged communities who mostly use trains.

“It’s not uncommon for young people to ask ‘So what’s this COP17 about?’ and it shows that they want to learn.

“An initiative like the Climate Train goes straight to the heart of the communities,” she said.

As at previous stations, trees will be planted outside Durban station and people will be allowed to exhibit their art on board the train for all to see, said Modise.

The Gauteng department of agriculture and rural development teamed up with the environmental agency, the German Embassy, the British Council and the Passenger Rail Association of South Africa to send the train off on November 22.

Agriculture and Rural Development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza said she is excited about the concept of the Climate Train.

“The Climate Train raises awareness and educates about mitigating climate change.

“It ensures that the people of South Africa are taking the matter seriously,” she said.

Between 70 and 100 trees have been planted in every town where the train has stopped along its journey.

There is also a climate caravan, which began its journey in Nairobi, Kenya. The caravan and the train allowed people to get involved in the conversation and encouraged engagement with women, youth, religious leaders and civil society.

Michael Hlagise, one of the exhibitors, had on display various indigenous plants that he educated passengers about.

“Every tree is an asset to our land, and I explain this to our people.

The Earth is our only home — our forefathers understood this — but now it seems our youth are ignorant.

“COP17 is here and I think it is spreading that positive and very important message of conservation,” Hlagise said.

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