Midlands Marches for Climate Justice

You might think that Climate Change is something happening somewhere else. It’s not, it is right here already. r peoples climate march 347The hundreds of people who gathered in Howick last weekend were determined that our leaders got the message, raising their voices in solidarity with people across the planet to say that the time for talking is way past. Act Now, Act Fast. We have seen the impacts on our local weather, on food prices, and watched in horror as tragedies unfold across the globe. r peoples climate march 238 - Copy Protests began early in Mpohomneni when the Mpophomeni Conservation Group led a march along Mandela Drive. r peoples climate march 094 Across Africa, thousands of people called on their governments to take real action by holding the global north accountable for starting climate change, and by ditching coal and investing in clean solar and wind energy in their countries. r peoples climate march the boys ‘Angifun’ ifracking’ shouted a banner at the Howick March, another suggested we need ‘Farming not Fracking’. “Fracking could destroy our water resources.” Said Penelope Malinga of the Mpophomeni Conservation Group “We can’t drink gas. We need clean energy. Amandla elanga kunegas.”  Fracking is a real threat in the midlands unless we reduce our energy consumption drastically. r sisanda peoples climate march 014 Many other banners focussed on clean energy. “It is possible to have a meaningful impact by simply focussing on your own energy consumption at home. Small changes add up to big things.” said Karen Zunckel, initiator of the KZN Midlands Green Map that lists many of the sustainable options available right here. “We have to do this, or we are stealing our children’s future.” r peoples climate march 323 - Copy Candy Zuma hit the nail on the head with her banner. Environmental impoverishment links directly to human suffering. r peoples climate march 012 At the UN Climate Summit in New York City on 23 September, Ban Ki-moon hopes to inject momentum into efforts to reach a global deal on cutting greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2015, at a conference in Paris. “Time is not on our side,” he said, “We cannot delay any more, change needs to happen now. We are the first humans to ever breathe air at 400parts per million CO2.” r peoples climate march 247 - Copy The People’s Climate Mobilisation and the Climate Summit in New York mark the beginning of a busy 18 months of crucial international negotiations. Climate negotiators will head to Lima, Peru, in December 2014 to make progress towards a global climate deal. Then, in September 2015 world leaders will meet back in New York to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals, the global post-2015 development agenda. Three months later, the world will gather in Paris to try and sign a new international climate treaty. r peoples climate march 255 - Copy With almost 3000 activities around the world last weekend, the sheer scale and diversity of the People’s Climate March, has shown politicians that there is a massive, energized movement demanding immediate action to address the climate crisis. This is true people powered movement – people from all backgrounds acting locally, mobilising their communities, shaping the future of our planet. Tafadzwa Bero of Shea O’Connor Combined commented “Imagine what this world will look like in the next 20 years? All the small changes could mean a huge impact towards reducing Climate Change.” r peoples climate march shea o c Judy Bell Chair of the MCF concludes: This is a human rights issue, as along with global development, climate change is already starting to affect the quality of the air we breathe, as well as our capacity to provide safe drinking water and sanitation, sufficient food and secure shelter. The World Health Organisation expects there to be an additional 250 000 deaths every year from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress alone. We all need to look at ways we can reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases through making responsible choices, especially regarding transport, food and energy. We must commit to becoming more informed and involved. We must take every opportunity to influence decision-making in terms of development at the local, regional and national level. This can be at home, at work, in our communities and municipalities. We must all do our bit as all the small changes will have a big impact. r peoples climate march 163 - Copy We consider ourselves privileged to have the source of the uMngeni River and its tributaries in the heart of the KZN Midlands. The Midlands Conservancies Forum has a water focus in all we do to help protect these water factories which sustain the flow of clean water, supporting the lives and livelihoods of 5 million people downstream. Our work involves inspiring and motivating those who live, work and play in the area to cherish the ecosystems, such as the forests, grasslands and their interdependent wildlife, that form the basis for these water-bearing life support systems. r peoples climate march 298 Without these natural places, which provide us with clean air and water, good soil to grow our food and raise our livestock, absorbent surfaces to attenuate the effects of flooding and drought, sinks for carbon dioxide and modulation of the extremes of temperature, our life on earth will be much shorter and less enjoyable. In order to appreciate and protect them, we need to immerse ourselves in these precious places, so go to our website and FaceBook page to find a walk to inspire you and your family. You can also find out more about the work we do and how you can become involved to make a positive change. r peoples climate march 158 To change everything, it takes everyone. That includes you. Stand with the hundreds of thousands of people who marched around the world to help rock world leaders into action where they have only offered words before. http://act.350.org/letter/ready-for-action/ r peoples climate march 303

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