Going Green campaigns intensify ahead of COP 17 : Tuesday 22 November 2011

Going Green campaigns intensify ahead of COP 17

Tuesday 22 November 2011 09:36

SABC

Climate train is heading for COP 17(SABC)

With less than a week before 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Going Green campaigns are intensifying.  A climate train has been criss-crossing the country raising awareness on climate change.


It started in Cape Town last week, and now it is in Johannesburg en-route to the conference in Durban next week.

The climate train is on a month-long journey across the country, to call on communities to help reduce the country's carbon footprint.

Project Manager of the Climate Train, Sandru Pillay says: "Community groups, church leaders, school children, business, houses are all being mobilised and invited to come and visit the train and be educated about climate change".

The programme also includes information sharing sessions, a hub to showcase low-carbon technologies and a number of trees will also be planted along the journey.

"We are looking at facilitating action beyond COP17. The main objective that we are looking at is how people individually and at sectoral levels respond to climate change," says Douglas Kativu ,who is also a project manager of the Climate train.

The train will continue across 17 cities and towns countrywide, and will reach Durban a day before the COP17 conference starts.

The climate train will not end in Durban, where COP 17 will take place,  but will continue with a return journey to present conference outcomes and messages back to the communities. 

The train is led by South African environmental agency, Indalo Yethu and is supported by other stake holders including the Department of Environmental Affairs.

She says all along the train they have been recording discussions with the communities, and also aspirations, desires and wishes of school children about the decisions they would want leaders who would gather in Durban to take.

Indalo Yethu CEO, June Joseph-Langa  says they thought of using the train to go around the country so as to reach communities that generally are outside of the mainstream of access to information.

"These are the very communities that are affected by climate change. So we thought instead of taking any other form of transport, the vehicle we should take for a national conversation is the train, to engage these communities that are often off the beaten track,"she says

"One of the objectives of the Climate train is to educate people about climate change, and also to make them understand what COP 17 is about and the fact that all of these countries of the United Nations will be coming to Durban to take decisions about their lives," says Langa.

According to Langa, many people know and sense that something has happened in the environment, especially those who are involved in farming as they know that they used to be able to predict when the rains would come, they used to predict when they could plant.

However, these extreme weather events of either extreme increase in rainfall that result in flooding or drought, their crops are affected and their livelihoods are affected. 

"So people know, its just that they have not been able to articulate the language, that is climate change."

Langa also says: "Part of what we want to do with the Climate Train is to develop a simpler and common language that allows all ordinary South Africans to be part of the climate change conversation." 

She says all along the train they have been recording discussions with the communities, and also aspirations, desires and wishes of school children about the decisions they would want leaders who would gather in Durban to take.

"We are doing a climate train film, and we are capturing this in the form of poetry and art, so at COP 17 we will represent those voices of people and their messages. The art canvasses of the children and the youth will be displayed all around the venue."

The Climate Train film will also be played in Durban and there will be an exhibition in Durban of the various platforms that have been used document all the information gathered along the way.  

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