Hundreds, or maybe thousands, have been marching in Durban and across Africa to push for strong climate action.
As I wrote last week, a climate change caravan made its way from Northern Africa to South Africa for the climate change conference occurring there this week to push for real, strong climate action. Furthermore, there has been talk of vulnerable nations “occupying” Durban if a good agreement is not made. Here’s the latest news I’ve found on the climate change activism in Durban:
From SABC on Saturday:
Hundreds of environmental activists are marching through the streets of Johannesburg today. They’re demanding that world leaders meeting in Durban for the Climate Change Conference (COP17) come up with definitive solutions. South Africa is hosting the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change over the next two weeks.
If a global deal to reduce carbon emissions isn’t reached soon, Africa will face further drought, submerged cities and coastlines, and some species of animals may become extinct.
Earthlife’s Makoma Lekalakala says they’re marching to raise awareness to the extent of the problem, “Millions of people around the world are already facing the impact of the climate crisis. We are marching to make sure that this COP doesn’t become another failure, a failure that would cost the lives of millions of South Africans. That is why we demand them to come up with a solution. Is this COP17just going to be hot air or will a deal be reached at this meeting?”
The day before, a climate action caravan, or green caravan, also swarmed the streets of South Africa.
“Wearing mostly green clothes, politicians, children and environmental activists walked from Botha Park to the City Hall in Durban,” Times Live reports. “The parade was not just a colourful event, it also acted as a platform to showcase the city’s readiness to host the 17th Conference of the Parties (Cop17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.”
And here’s the intro to a wonderful piece on the climate caravans from a Westerner participating in them (the piece is really good — recommend reading it it in full):
‘Hope’ is written in huge letters on the side of our coach, but the word that has been used just as often – in speeches, chanted at rallies and in conversations all along the route – is justice.
The caravan may be a celebration of Africa’s flourishing climate change movement. But it is also a show of strength; a sign that African activists know their rights and are ready to demand them. As one of the few people on board the bus from an industrialised country, the activists’ speeches have made for uncomfortable listening at times.
I squirmed in my seat in Bujumbura, I squirmed on the terraces at Kampala rugby club, I am squirming now in a city centre hall in Nairobi and I expect to keep squirming all the way down to Durban.
Note that if you didn’t read the full piece, African activists are calling on us Westerners to lobby our politicians — they need it! (And we need it, too!)
Durban climate caravan photo via Friends of the Earth International