Hundreds march on climate change

2011-09-22 00:00

ABOUT 500 people in green and white T-shirts bearing the slogan “Mobilising KZN to reduce climate change” marched through Pietermaritzburg to raise awareness ahead of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (COP 17) in Durban in November.

The awareness campaign is an initiative of Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife, uMgungundlovu Environmental Stakeholders’ Forum and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Said Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife’s Caiphus Ernest Khumalo, “The important question to ask is ‘how are we going to engage our country to mitigate climate change?’”

The COP 17 should not just be about “politicians and representatives”, but rather a “catalyst to mobilise and educate the public”, he added.

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife employees handed out educational pamphlets to shoppers who stopped to watch the dancing and singing crowd.

Bumper stickers were eagerly grabbed by taxi drivers and their passengers.

Ronnie Ramharak, a member of the public, was walking through town when he saw the crowd. He quickly joined them , he said, because “they are trying to save the planet … for the younger generation”.

The crowd held up posters with messages saying, “Use public transport”, “Stop deforestation” and “Reuse, reduce, recycle”.

The march was followed by messages about environmental hope by Ukhozi FM DJ Mbali Ngwenya, who was mobilising the masses from a double-decker bus.

Alexandra High School’s eco-co-ordinator, matric pupil Nkosinathi Mncwabe, said he wants to show the public that “we as schoolchildren are aware” of the climate issues facing us all.

The procession momentarily stopped where a resolution, already adopted by KZN Legislature in August, was handed to the premier’s office by Omie Singh of the Conservation and Environmental Affairs Portfolio Committee.

On a practical level going green “does not have to be expensive”, Khumalo said.

“Any ordinary person can afford to live green by changing their lifestyles”.

He suggested simple practices for people to adopt such as using public transport, reusing plastic shopping bags, using glass instead of plastic and burning rubbish responsibly.

He said just because people can afford to live lavishly does not mean they should.

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife CEO Dr Bandile Mkhize said, “Let’s be friendly to the environment so it will be friendly to us.”

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