EMG's work in this field is primarily focussed on questions of adaptation.
In our last post we included, as part of our Lotto Environmental Justice Programme we carried articles from two of the interns on the project Abonga and Sizwe, and three of their friends Xolisa, Loyiso and Lonwabo, who are participating in the Climate Tracker: Path to Paris Programme. These short pieces focused on aspects of Climate Change that interest them and count towards helping them get to Paris for the COP21. The great news is that Sizwe is in Paris as this is being posed! Congratulatiuons Sizwe! Here is a picture of him at the airport with his friends saying Bon Voyage!
To keep the Environmental Justice Flag flying in South Africa while Sizwe is away Abonga, Xolisa, Loyiso and Lonwabo have written more excellent articles which you can read below.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SOLAR POWER IN SOUTH AFRICA - by Abonga Tom
If wind and solar power can be build in homes many can benefit and even more jobs can be created ,
Like in china 25 000mw of wind power have station generating far been built , Europe has been planning to build 100 000mw of offshore wind power alone. Why are these countries building these renewable energies they have noticed that in to save their resources they can use renewable energeis.
Every country in Europe is using solar power to limit their electricity problems ,in South Africa solar power is in full demand but yet the government is not responding with solutions that can lead to less electricity power cuts.
Government needs to take notice of what is happening because our country is facing many challenges that can be limited by these renewables energies . Nuclear power is not a solution because it has many waste product gases that can cause some explosions and problems in the future so let us do what is best for this country and this planet.
WATER IS NOT AN INFINTE RESOURCE - by Lonwabo Mfenguza
Natural resources are the basic things for living things as know no livings things can survive without water in planet earth.
But in our days water will be scarce because of ways we use water such as washing cars irrigating plants in order to grow food. Also the industries that cause climate change by producing lots of carbon dioxide will also make an imbalance that will stop us from getting clean water that come from rain. There will be acid rain in the future if they keep on producing lots of carbon dioxide.
Corporates companies are busy draining oils from underground. This is poisoning our underground water because after that process our land is degraded such that we are not able to grow plants and get pure underground water.
All these problems will affect poor people because they don’t have resources to protect themselves in order to have other options of getting water. Now in my county South Africa low income locations are having water management devices (WMD) installed. They have a certain allowance of water per day, if they exceed that then the devices cut off their lines of getting water. This is a new thing to us. We used to use water freely, without restricted access for a day.
Why does government not stop these corporate companies who have huge influence in polluting our water and climate? Instead of dealing with problems, they accept an innovation of reducing wastage of water.
But what I know is that everyone must have access to natural resources without paying any amount to fulfill them.
SUSTAIN THE PEOPLE - by Loyiso Hulushe
EMG is currently running a programme funded by Lotto with 12 young activists engaged with environmental issues. Two of them, Abonga and Sizwe, and three of their friends Xolisa, Loyiso and Lonwabo, are participating in the Climate Tracker: Path to Paris Programme. These short pieces focus on aspects of Climate Change that interest them and count towards helping them get to Paris for the COP21.
!!! Hot off the press !!!
Participatory Adaptation Handbook : A practitioner's guide for facilitating people centred adaptation to climate change
EMG is part of the consortium responsible for planning, writing and launching this fantastic resource for anyone involved in community-based adaptation work. Download the Participatory Adaptation Handbook here (3.1MB PDF) or contact us for a hard-copy (R100).
Accompanying the book is a set of facilitation cards Experiental Learning for Adaptation (945KB) - an amazing resource for anyone wanting to facilitate a community group.
Community-based adaptation to climate change focuses on people and their relationship to the resources around them.
EMG currently works with small-scale farmer organisations and artisinal fishers in exploring how they can build their community's resilience to the impacts of climate change. Together with each group, we try to gain a deeper understanding of the particular impacts of climate change on their lives and livelihoods, explore the questions that concern them, and develop a set of action-research activities they want to pursue. Apart from bringing benefits to the participating groups, the work aims to test and promote an Action Research methodology.
The impetus for some of this work came out of the testimonies made to the Pan-African Climate Change Hearings, hosted by EMG and Oxfam in Cape Town in October 2009. Click here to read the testimonies from South African participants.
A group of artisanal fishers in Doringbaai and Lambert's Bay have begun to collect data on their fish catches, the sea and weather conditions and their income.
The fishers are all members of Coastal Links and have enthusiastically embraced the process of building their own stock of knowledge about the near-shore marine eco-system and the potential climate change impacts. Their observations include catches of warm-water fish in their area, regular "swarms" of jelly-fish and storm-surges which threaten their slipway and boathouses. EMG facilitates regular workshops where the fisher's data is discussed and climate change's impact on their livelihoods are explored.
The tiny fishing community of Buffeljagsbaai on the Cape south coast is highly dependant on marine and coastal resources and also extremely vulnerable to sea-level rise and storm surges. They are keen to learn more about their local coastal ecology and the potential impacts of climate change, so as to be able to build a more sustainable future.
Small-scale rooibos tea farmers of the Suid-bokkeveld meet every 3 months to review past climatic conditions, their impacts and what the farmers were able to do to counter-act negative impacts. They also critically assess the Weather Bureau's forward predictions and share with each other what steps they plan to take to minimise the impact on their tea cultivation.
The Ericaville farmers cultiveat organic honeybush tea on their farm near Plettenberg Bay. In recent years they have been plagued by sequential droughts and floods which have devastated their yields. EMGs intervention includes regular workshops with the community, technical advise -- and recently, the installation of a temperature and rainfall recorder to allow for better forward planning.
EMG's work with these 4 community groups is done in partnership with Indigo Development & Change, Masifundise and Coastal Links and is made possible with funding from the DG Murray Trust, Comic Relief UK, and the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF)
Visit the National Lotteries Board website to find out about other projects supported bythe NLDTF
Repackaging and sharing information on climate change is an ongoing part of our work, and we are regularly called on to participate in, or co-facilitate workshops for rural and urban activists – or to assist other NGOs to look at both their own carbon-footprint and the vulnerability of the work that they do to changes in the climate.
We are in the process of developing training materials for this work.
Building solidarity amongst organisations concerned about climate change is an important part of our work. We are active members the Western Cape branch of Climate Justice Now! and regularly provide input on this and related issues to other CJN members.
Climate change is also a priority for members of the South African Water Caucus and EMG regularly provides support and input to Water Caucus meetings in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, Gauteng and KZN.
EMG is also a founder member of the Adaptation Network
The United Nations UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is tasked to provide negotiators to the Framework Convention on Climate Change with the latest in climate science -- both current data and future predictions. The IPCC released their latest report in April this year.
While very few of us will ever read the full report (over 1000 pages of detail) the 33-page Summary for Policymakers makes grim enough reading.
Half of all carbon dioxide emitted over the last 260 years occurred just in the last 40 years and seems to be increasing exponentially. Global annual greenhouse emission in year 2000 was about 39 giga-tonne (carbon dioxide equivalent). By 2010 this had increased to about 49 giga-tonne. And its showing no sign of slowing.
At this rate, and given population and economic growth, the current atmospheric concentration of 430 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide equivalent will grow to 450 ppm by 2030 and between 750-1,300 ppm by 2100. At this rate the global mean surface temperature in 2100 will be 3.7 to 4.8 deg C above pre-industrial levels. Most scientists consider a 2 degree rise a disastrous. A 4-degree rise would be catastrophic.
.... unless we can significantly de-link our economies from oil, coal and gas.
And this is no small challenge. It implies that we have 35 years to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions to 40-70% below what they were in 2010 level, and by 2100, they should have reached near zero.
As one of the planet's larger per-capita carbon emitters, South Africa cannot shirk our responsibility. But this is not made any easier by us being locked into another 40 years of coal-fired future with Medupi and Khusile, amongst the largest coal-fired power-stations in the world, just about to come on-stream. And certainly, in this context, talk of fracking as a "game-changer" seems rather hollow.
We struggle like everyone else to come to terms with what it really means to function in a low-carbon economy. We measure and review our individual and organisational footprint every 3 months. This has led to:
... and there is still much, much more we can do!
We work with many other brilliant organisations, big and small, to keep up the pressure for a socially fair, progressive and eco-sensitive society and economy.
Climate Change Response Strategy: In mid-2011 Government drafted a Green Paper for comment, followed in late 2011 with the final draft White Paper approved by Cabinet. EMG offered written submissions to both documents.
Carbon Tax: Treasury has mooted a carbon tax which would both change behaviour (encourage less or more efficient use of fossil fuels as well as adding income to the fiscus to be used for adaptory measures. Some elements of such a tax are already in place. Many argue that fossil fuels are already reaching unaffodable levels and a tax would be the last straw. Read EMG's 2011 Position on the Carbon Tax issues (120Kb).
Below are a few publications and links that indirectly relate to our work in the field of community-based climate change adaptation. You may find them interesting.
"Fisheries: Facts and Trends South Africa" is published by WWF South Africa and is a comprehensive analysis of the state of South Africa's fisheries sector
"Climate Change and Fairtrade" outlines the position of the International Fairtrade Labelling Organisation (FLO) on climate change and how the fair trade system is responding to it.
"Supporting data collection by the poor" outlines some of the empowerment effects of community organisations collecting their own data and making their own analysis... rather than leaving this kind of work to academics and experts. The article was first published by IIED and reprinted in Alliance V17, No3 Sept 2013