Commit to the environment this year

PHOTO: supplied
PHOTO: supplied

THE organisers of the Happy Earth Festival are excited about the 2017 edition of the Happy Earth Festival, which not only promises to be bigger and better, but is also the fifth anniversary of the festival.

Held at the KZN National Botanical Gardens in Pietermaritzburg on 20 and 21 April, organisers are hoping to host 1 400 pupils during the festival. Over 20 environmental organisations will be offering hands-on activities that cover a wide range of environmental activities and topics including saving water and river health, fire awareness, basic ecology, conserving biodiversity, recycling and discovering the fun side of nature.

“We are discovering all around us how fragile Earth’s eco-systems really are and how dependent we, as a society, are on their health.

“The Happy Earth Festival is an opportunity to experience and connect with nature and restore a right relationship with our planet,” said festival chairperson, Pandora Long.

The participating organisations are part of the worldwide network of environmental activists that have seen and experienced the benefits of environmental education, not only for the environment, but for the teacher and pupils.

“It is an opportunity to share their passion, to pass on knowledge, to teach action and to widen the horizon of the pupils. Environmental education strengthens critical and creative thinking, it heightens imagination and enthusiasm, it increases tolerance as different aspects of often complex topics have to be considered, and it helps with fear of nature, known as biophobia, among others,” said Friederike Voigt, an organiser of the festival.

Research has shown that pupils often carry their new-found knowledge back to their communities and can be catalysators of change. Through that they are strengthening their communities as well as feeling empowered.

The Happy Earth Festival is proud to be part of this growing worldwide awareness and to play its part in strengthening environmental education and awareness in the wider UMgungundlovu District and beyond.

The line-up for this year’s festival includes the Bessie Head Library, Botanical Society, Duct, EDTEA, EKZN Wildlife, Karkloof Conservancy, Keep Pietermaritzburg Clean Association, KZN Museum, Lawrence Anthony Earth Organisation, Pacsa, PMMBT P.E.A.C.E., Sanbi, Sunshine Bread, UKZN, Ushaka, WESSA Umgeni Valley and Working on Fire among others.

Festival organisers expressed their thanks to their sponsors Lotto funding, Botanical Society, Rotary, Sunshine Bread, Bluff Meat Supply, Fairfield Dairy, Parklane and Mayors Walk SPAR.

Entry to the Happy Earth Festival is free to all schools that register. Registration is open from 1 February to 28 February. Space will be allocated on a first-come first-serve basis. Volunteers are also needed at the festival as well as sponsors for schools who are unable to pay for their transport to the festival.

For more information or to register email Voigt on happyearth - Supplied

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