Opinion: #climatestrike Can Lead to Environmental & Economical Gain in South Africa

The time to make a change is now – but is it too late? On Friday, South Africans took to the streets to call on government to call a climate emergency.

One poster reads “Don’t be a Fossil Fool” while another “We need to care”. These were amongst hundreds of others shouting the same message, South Africa and the government

need to stand up and make a change now!

The GreenTimes mentions “The fight for social justice and environmental justice are the same fight. We cannot solve any other social issues if we do not have a livable planet with access to safe clean drinking water and food. We cannot do this alone. We need the government to do their part.” http://thegreentimes.co.za/event/global-climate-strike-cape-town/

It is for this reason that South Africans are no longer waiting. They are now demanding that government declare a climate emergency. Further to the environmental impact, the need for structural changes to support climate change has never been more important for the fledgling economy.

In a statement on Friday, Councilor Phindile Maxiti has said that “we are also demanding that South Africa move away from its heavy reliance on destructive fossil fuels towards cleaner sources of energy which could create many jobs and reduce poverty and inequality.”

“We have taken our fight to move away from Eskom’s fossil fuel-based energy supply to the court as we want to be able to buy cleaner energy from independent power producers. Cities can play a huge role in immediately reducing the levels of carbon emissions and increasing resilience to future shocks,” said Maxiti.

The South African government has made commitments to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions up to 42% by the year 2025. This is because they have recognized the importance of reducing carbon emissions and foresee the benefits that a low carbon economy can bring.

Bottomline, moving to renewable energy and privatizing production will lead to job creation. A turn to renewables will lead to both economic and environmental sustainability.

Climate change, however, is not solely up to the government. As citizens of South Africa and the world, we too need to play our part by reducing our use of plastic, and by being more mindful of how we live and treat the environment. We all need to stand together to make a change!