Speech delivered by Mrs L Johnson, MEC for Agriculture, Environmental Affairs and Rural Development during the Ntuzuma Climate Change Roadshow
6 Jul 2011
Programme directorGood morning
Ntuzuma Local Leadership
Members of the Ntuzuma Cooperative
Members of the Bhukula Mfazi Cooperative
Members of the press
Ladies and gentlemen
It is said that “charity begins at home” and Ntuzuma is my home, what better place could there have been in this district, for me to start these road shows on climate change. We all know that our province will play host to United Nations (UN) member states who will later this year, descend on our shores to attend the climate change conference widely known as COP 17. This all important global gathering will trash out a diverse range of issues that make up the subject of climate change. These will include amongst others, adaptation and mitigation actions like reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, greening of our communities and reaching consensus on certain policy matters and so on.
Ladies and gentlemen, climate change isconsidered to be one of the most serious threats to sustainable development with adverse impacts expected on the environment, human health, food security, economic activities, natural resources and physical activities. Global climate varies naturally, but scientists agree that rising concentrations of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxides to mention a few in the atmosphere are leading to global warming. The effects of climate change have already been observed across the globe.
Environmental issues are so high on the agenda not only locally but internationally as well. They continuously form part of our daily discourse hence the need to heighten awareness that prompts action amongst the people of the world be it in the 1st world or 3rd world countries. It is also significant to note that environmental disasters often accredited to climate change know no boundaries.
We have just embarked on a worthy exercise this morning, moving around the township creating awareness about climate change. Our objective is not to speak just about the upcoming conference but rather what people can do right here in their communities in order to avoid hazardous climate disasters. Impacts of climate change are global phenomenon which can only be managed through concerted and structured efforts at local levels.
The department is the custodian of the environment in this province, hence our presence here this morning to talk to you about climate change. We are here to seek your involvement in programmes and activities that do not only curb the effects of climate change, but enhance food security and environmental management.
One good example of that is the food security campaign that we have in this province, the One Home One Garden, One Indigenous tree and One fruit tree campaign. What this campaign conveys to us is very practical even for urban settlements like our townships. If all households here in Ntuzuma can have food gardens to fight hunger and malnutrition at a household level, have trees to serve as windbreakers that can assist you as a community. Although it will not render you immune to disastrous weather patterns of climate change but it will assist you somewhat in minimising the effects.
Annually as the department we plant 600 trees in 300 low income houses. Each house hold receives one indigenous tree and one fruit tree.
The following are the areas where we have successfully planted trees:
- In 2008 - it was in KwaDabeka
- In 2009 - Chesterville and Umlazi
- In 2010 - Waterloo
- In 2011 - plan to plant in Illovu
This is one initiative where we make concerted efforts to combat climate change. While this also beautifies eThekwini area, it also enhances its position as a tourist destination from which the province generates some revenue.
Removal of alien plants
The department educates communities about the danger of alien invasive plants and encourages them to remove or control alien invasive plants in their local areas. The Ntuzuma Enviro Co-op has been involved in such a programme for many years now. The department provided them with an extensive training on alien weed control. Today this group is involved in many municipal initiatives like removing alien plants and rehabilitating local streams. I am also pleased that many other groups are involved in alien plants education programmes. Those other groups are Bhukula Mfazi cooperative from Umlazi, Siyazama Group(Ngonyameni), Soil Mothers (INK area), KwaMahlangu Wetland Rehabilitation (Clermont) to mention a few.
Clean up campaigns
We encourage eThekwini local people to engage themselves in environmental cleanup initiatives, caring for the environment by cleaning up any spot that seems to harm the environment or seems to degrade its aesthetic value. I am happy with progress here in Ntuzuma, I have been told that yearly the Ntuzuma Enviro Co-op conducts a cleanup campaign which involves local schools and the community at large. This becomes very effective since door to door home visit campaign is conducted.
Many other cleanup campaigns take place around eThekwini like the Coastal Cleanup in September. Mpumalanga Enviro Forum in Hammarsdale is also very much involved in organising cleanups in the township. Last month we witnessed a good partnership where Bester traditional healers, Ekuthuleni church leaders, schools and one soccer clubs had a successful Piesang River Stream Cleanup in the Bester area. I would like to encourage other communities to follow suit and take good care of our environment. I always say that the environment doesn’t need us, we need the environment.
In conclusion I wish to reiterate that all what we sought to do this morning was to disseminate information and educate people about climate change so that it does not remain a subject that seems far away for their engagement and yet directly affected by it. I think we have successfully achieved our goal this morning and many thanks to all those who participated in ensuring that success.
The department will take this gospel to other communities elsewhere in the province so that we can all be on par with information as we forge ahead with preparations for the conference in December. We are also consolidating information from the district climate change semminars that the department convened last month. Please let us always be mindful of what we owe our environment.
I thank you.
Issued by: KwaZulu-Natal Agriculture, Enviromental Affairs and Rural Development
6 Jul 2011
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