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Dear *|NAME|*

This weekend there was solidarity across the planet, when 2000 Climate Marches took place in preparation for the Paris climate conference, COP 21 happening this week. There heads of states get to decide about our future and the role out of the most important story of our time: Our planet in peril.

Today starts a series of important meetings in Paris.

Will there be serious, far-reaching, binding agreements that can radically turn this ship around from its destructive path? Sadly, civil society is not very hopeful. If the past is the best predictor of the future, then we will remain in trouble. And will need to intensify our work – hopefully more of you will join and add your energy and skills.

All the world governments have submitted their intentions to lower their contributions towards climate change gasses, called their INDCs. And if everyone holds their promises, then this planet will have to deal with more than 2 degrees increase in global average temperature. Guaranteed. Some might think that is OK. Not so for the world, much less so for Africa. Here you have to double the global average, so we have to prepare for over 4 degrees up. What would that look like?

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The World Bank recently published research warning that the planet is charging towards a 4 degree increase by the end of the century. Turn the clock back for Africa, as for us it is much, much sooner. Around 2050 or even 2030. Right now it’s our best case scenario.

From the report, called Turn down the Heat by Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Climate Analytics:

“A 4 degree warmer world can, and must be, avoided – we need to hold warming below 2 degrees,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. “Lack of action on climate change threatens to make the world our children inherit a completely different world than we are living in today. Climate change is one of the single biggest challenges facing development, and we need to assume the moral responsibility to take action on behalf of future generations, especially the poorest.”

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The report says that the 4°C scenarios are potentially devastating:

  • the inundation of coastal cities;
  • increasing risks for food production leading to higher under and malnutrition rates;
  • many dry regions becoming dryer, wet regions wetter;
  • unprecedented heat waves
  • substantially exacerbated water scarcity in many regions;
  • increased intensity of tropical cyclones;
  • Irreversible loss of biodiversity, including coral reef systems.

In South Africa we are experiencing the consequences of the heating already. This week even the Cape Province was declared a disaster area due to the drought. So 7 out of 9 provinces in trouble. This leads to fires, which always go hand in hand with droughts. Soaring food prices – basics like wheat and maize, which leads to chickens, eggs, beef – most foods depend on basics in this country. Is this sufficient for our much distracted citizens to focus on this important issue?

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Some might feel cushioned against such calamities as they turn up the air-conditioner, prepare for a lavishly consumerist Christmas, and simply up extensive food budgets. Not so for those with more humble footprints – those who don’t enjoy 3 to 6 planet lifestyles. Where is the justice in that? Even the middle class is feeling the pinch already. Jobs are lost, crime increases. Connect the dots.

“We need a global response equal to the scale of the climate problem, a response that puts us on a new path of climate smart development and shared prosperity.  But time is very short,” says President Kim.

Cape Town's biggest climate march yet

In Cape Town over 1,500 marchers from all colours of our rainbow nation gathered at CPUT and listened to passionate environmental activists Peter Johnston from UCT, Nick King and David Le Page from Fossil Free SA, Thembeka Mjali and Mpumeleo Mhlalisi. There were performances by Wendy Oldfield with Lionel Bastos backing her love songs to the earth. Andile read his own poem, appealing to us to remember the earth.

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Prayers from all faiths were done, before we set off towards Parliament. Drummers and cyclists lead the way and there was much singing and chanting. Faced by former president Jan Smuts on his horse a memorandum was to be handed over to the mayor, provincial premier and energy minister, endorsed by the COP 21 Climate Action NGO Alliance. This included AIDC, Avaaz, Project 90x2030,, SAFCEI, WESSA, Biomimicry SA, UCT’s Green Campus Initiative, WWF, Green Times, African Monitor and UNASA.

Sadly none of them pitched, but there were speeches on their behalf by mock parliamentarians with puppet faces. Lance Greyling from the Mayor’s office received the memorandum. He assured us of action towards clean energy in Cape Town.

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Some of the key points in the documents being handed over are:

  • The need for South Africa to up its level of commitment to reducing dangerous Climate Change causing gases by moving more determinedly away from its reliance on fossil fuels. At present its pledges are deemed “insufficient.”
  • The need for the Western Cape to heed its own telling report on Climate Change impacts on the province by carefully re-evaluating policies related to land-use change, economic development and conservation of coastal, wetland and biodiversity rich areas.
  • The need for Cape Town to embrace the potential for all citizens to contribute to the electricity grid through small PV installations by revising policy that currently inhibits this

Important links:

With love

Elma and the team

PS. Remember to keep up with the green events on our calendar and lots more news on our Facebook page.

Clashes in Paris as protesters rally ahead of COP21

French riot police fired tear gas at activists protesting as part of global climate demonstrations Sunday, on the eve of the COP21 climate summit in Paris.

Limpopo-based recycling co-operative wins SEED Award

The Thinana Recycling Cooperative was recently announced as one of the winners of the 2015 SEED Awards.

Humanity needs to unite in the face of ISIS horror

History is made in moments, often of crisis and uncertainty, and the wisdom with which we meet them. This is one of those moments.

Collect bread tags to purchase a wheelchair for the needy

Each year, South Africa celebrates National Disability Rights Awareness month between 3 November and 3 December.

Ordinary people mobilising to disrupt the fossil fuel industry

Ordinary people are joining forces to create a global grass-roots movement, geared towards taking on some of the biggest organisations and encouraging them to divest from fossil fuels.

What is the state of environmental governance transparency?


The Centre for Environmental Rights (CER) has released its fifth report on access to environmental information from South African government departments and private companies.

Eco smart kids can reap the rewards


The third book in the ‘I Live Smart’ series is seeing the light, with a competition attached.

As Indonesia burns, its government moves to increase forest destruction


In the midst of its worst fire crisis in living memory, the Indonesian government is taking a leap backward on forest protection.

Toxic sludge reaches Atlantic after Brazil dams burst


Officials in Brazil say thousands of hectares of land and water are affected by “the country’s worst environmental catastrophe ever”.

Ukraine nuclear power plants ‘dangerously’ without power


In an eerie reminder of a possible nuclear catastrophe, a senior Ukrainian energy official revealed that the attack on transmission towers that cut off the delivery of electricity from Ukraine to Crimea also created an emergency situation at nuclear power plants.

‘No jobs on a dead planet’ says Kumi

“Preparing for the 22nd Century, Environmentally” was a talk held by Greenpeace Executive Director Kumi Naido at the Cornerstone Institute in Cape Town recently.

Top speakers inspire at the 2015 Green Building Convention


If everyone got free WiFi with every tree they planted, we wouldn’t have the problem of climate change.” This was the sentiment shared by renowned businessman, activist and sustainability advocate, Jochen Zeitz, at the 8th Annual Green Building Convention in Cape Town recently.

Imizamo Yethu residents rebuild after fire


Imizamo Yethu residents who fell victim to a fire that razed numerous shacks and left families homeless a week ago are busy rebuilding their homes after getting some assistance from the City of Cape Town.

South Africa on the brink of importing food: Agriculture minister


Farmers across South Africa are losing livestock due to the current drought which may force government to import maize and wheat into the country, Agriculture Minister Senzeni Zokwana said on Friday.

Clean energy in refugee camps could save millions of dollars


Humanitarian agencies could save millions of dollars and reduce carbon emissions, deforestation and violence if solar power and other clean energy sources were installed at refugee camps, according to a new analysis.

Vertroetel jou plantjies nou


Die reën wat weerhaan verlede week sien kom, is maar swakkerig in die suide en suidwestelike gebiede van die land.  Mens kan maar net hoop die bietjie bietjie wat aan die Natalse kus kan uitsak, verhang die krieketbordjies daar.

New plan to secure future for grey crowned cranes


Grey Crowned Cranes have undergone a long-term large scale population decline of up to 80% over the past 45 years.  They are econic, charismatic flagships for Southern and East Africa’s grasslands and wetlands.

South Coast community rises to water crisis challenge


The community of Port Shepstone rallied together last week to prove that charity really does begin at home.

Rooftop solar system under way at V&A Waterfront


Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront is soon to launch the installation of more than 7500 square metres of solar panels on eight rooftops of key buildings, as the landmark property expands its emphasis on going green.

The Ecomodernist Manifesto is a program for genocide and ecocide


The idea of a ‘good, or even great, Anthropocene’ as promised in the Ecomodernist Manifesto is purely delusional, writes American author and environmental activist Derrick Jensen.

SA government and US hunters hold secret meeting


Hunters from the United States and South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) were meeting behind closed doors at a resort near Polokwane recently, to plan the future use of Africa’s wildlife. No media was invited.

Miss Earth SA Carla champions the earth


Our Miss Earth South Africa, Carla Viktor, is now preparing for the international leg of the 2015 Miss Earth pageant.

Climate fund endorses renewable energy plans in East Africa


Energy remains one of the biggest struggles in East Africa, though more investors are attracted to the region.

Share solidarity message with Paris after tragic bombings


There are too many of us who know what it means to have terrorism touch our lives, our loved ones, our sense of connection with the people around us.

Grieving could offer a pathway out of a destructive economic system


Is it possible to hold all the grief in the world and not get crushed by it?

Make Life Matter course equips change agents for better SA


A growing number of people are inspired to build a better future and change their world – but don’t know how.

Extreme temperatures causing drop in human fertility

If you’re not feeling like sex when it’s too darn hot, you’re not alone. Latest research into human fertility and temperature extremes reveals that birthrates suffer a fall nine months after extreme temperatures events.

Native people say ‘False Solutions’ won’t save Mother Earth at COP 21


A solidarity day, “Native People, Defenders of Mother Earth, the Environment and the Climate,” was held in Paris by the Committee in Solidarity With the Indigenous People of the Americas (CSIA).

Green Building Council SA awards first EDGE rating certifications in SA


The council is now set for a major rollout of green building ratings in SA’s residential property sector.

The campaign to remove Roundup is here


The time has come for a nationwide picket to create awareness of the toxic side effects of Monsanto’s herbicide.

UK facing record breaking ‘summer’ weather alongside huge storms

Christmas may only be six weeks away, but forecasters are predicting record-breaking high temperatures across Britain this week.

Drought drives SA farmers to seek government aid

Corn producers desperate for rain and already in record debt will implore the government to provide guarantees for new bank loans as the worst drought in 23 years leaves farmers short of collateral before the new planting season.

Climate change played role in 2014’s extreme weather, report says


'Explaining Extreme Events of 2014 from a Climate Perspective' is a report linking extreme weather events to human causes on all continents, except Antarctica.

Jukskei River clean-up connects children with nature


Last Sunday 170 children tackled the heavily polluted banks of the Jukskei River in an endeavour to grow into hands-on active citizens.

Call for ban after fireworks ‘spark’ fire and injuries


Fireworks were the focus of heated debate earlier this month after Guy Fawkes celebrations caused havoc around Cape Town and were blamed for possibly sparking a blaze in Table View.

SA landscape will ‘change drastically’ due to climate change


The South African landscape will change dramatically over the next few years, as the effects of climate change take hold, said the Department of Environmental Affairs.

Mercury levels rising in Pacific yellowfin tuna, study says


The tuna we’re eating is becoming more mercury-laden every year, and it’s most likely our own fault.

Campaigners attack UK government u-turn on fracking


Campaigners have attacked a UK government U-turn that could result in fracking being carried out beneath the New Forest and the South Downs National Park.

SA working hard behind the scenes to fight climate change


South Africa will be able to take some of the credit if the world takes effective steps to limit climate change at the 2015 United Nations Climate Conference (COP21) in Paris from 30 November to 11 December.

Climate change reveals more mercury under Arctic ice


Climate change is thawing Arctic ground that was once frozen all year, making it a potentially potent new source of toxic mercury pollution in the region, according to a new study.
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