- On 20 September, the youth of Cape Town will take to the streets for the third time this year to protest the SA Government’s lack of action on the climate emergency: South Africa is warming at a rate nearly double the global average.
Learners from around 50 schools across the city mobilised by the African Climate Alliance will be joining millions of their peers in over 150 countries around the world for the Global Strike on Friday 20th ahead of the important UN Climate Summit in New York on Monday 23 September.
July 2019 was the hottest month on record and scientific consensus indicates that the next 18 months are critical to reduce emissions and restore eco-systems if we are to keep climate change to survivable levels and maintain a liveable planet. UN secretary general António Guterres has called for the emergency summit to accelerate action to implement the Paris Agreement before it is too late.
The African Climate Alliance trusts that President Ramaphosa, as Chair of the AU in 2020, will be taking a high powered delegation to NYC in order to lead the continent in these urgent measures – as well as to put pressure on the Global North to honour their commitments to prevent climate apartheid.
If coal-fired power stations continue to burn fossil fuels at the current rate and the world’s degraded lands are not restored, our children’s generation will soon be suffering even greater inequality. Extreme weather, droughts, floods and wildfires threaten food systems and will worsen poverty.
“We’d like to see President Ramaphosa taking a bold plan to New York, committing SA to reducing air pollution from burning coal and introducing mass electrified public transport” said ACA spokesperson Ayakha Melithafa, aged 16. “If the government got serious about slowing climate change, the necessary actions could also create many jobs, and reduce poverty and inequality. Sticking with coal is strangling our economy as well as choking us.”
Swedish school strike instigator and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greta Thunberg has called on adults to join the climate movement saying “This is not just the children’s responsibility… We are calling on the adults to strike from their work. We need everyone.”
As Greta says, “If not you, then who else? If not now, when?”
Capetonians joining the Global Strike on 20 Sept will be meeting at the greens on the corner of Cambridge and Keizergracht streets in Zonnebloem at 12 noon, then marching to City Hall to demand that the government:
- Declares a provincial and national climate emergency
- Bans new coal-fired power stations and fossil fuel mining licences
- Commits to 100% renewable energy generation by 2030
- Creates a mandatory climate education curriculum for South Africa
- Prioritises the restoration of degraded landscapes and funding of ecological infrastructure
Issued by the African Climate Alliance, a youth-led affinity group seeking to:
- Unite against climate, ecological and social injustice
- Make climate action fun
- Encourage creative intercultural collaboration around climate challenges
- Advocate for climate adaptation education
- Promote a pan-African approach to climate justice
Following the strike, from 21-27 Sept, the African Climate Alliance is inviting everyone to participate in a Week of Positive Action for climate in their communities, from beach clean-ups to urban gardening and recycled art workshops.
Author: Bryan Groenendaal