As South Africa is preparing for the 17th world conference for climate change the Durban University of Technology (DUT) is also doing its part to help improve the world. DUT recently held a small conference on Africa Day to embrace climate change. COP17 a Non-Governmental Organization based in Durban is going to be hosting this conference in November at the International Convention Centre. Prof Ahmed Bawa DUT Vice chancellor, spoke highly of the non governmental organization which he said is doing everything in its power to make our world a safer place to leave in. “ We have to take action now to make life possible for the world to come.” He said The Wildlife and Environmental Society of South Africa (WESSA) were amongst the organizations that enlightened the students on ways to protect the earth. With their slogan, people caring for the earth, whose main aim is to motivate people and communities to live in a sustainable way. WESSA is a key environmental education and conservation organization, as an NGO they depend on funding from corporate as well as individual donations that allow them to continue to do their work. They are over 80years old and have achieved so much since 1926 and they are still going strong. They work closely with government authorities, they own over a thousand hectares of high biodiversity land in KwaZulu Natal, and they have about 1800 members and consist of four environmental education centres and thirteen branches. Gabriella Peppas of the Durban Green Corridor said. Their main aim is to connect people with nature. “It is much easier to conserve something that is of much use to you”. They offer a range of exciting activities that for both children and adults. “we are information solidarity “ that was Mr Desmond D’sa opening statements. The South Durban Community Environmental Alliance ( SDCEA) main concern is the well being of the people and the fundamental needs such as nutrition, food, water , energy etc for the people living in eThekwini. “ we hold the government responsible, we do not sit back and we advise members of the community because everyone has a right to well being.” The SDCEA is doing their part in creating awareness about COP17 and what it means for them. Muthoni Ngothu of the Green Network has established a tube gas called a bio digester which is used in households for cooking; they install power solar lighting in household. They are involved in a few projects in the rural settlements with other NGO’s. They do food gardening and help to clear alien species from gardens to expand the organizations gardens. Ngothu posed a question “How much water do you use when brushing your teeth? Do you leave the tap running or do you pour your water in the glass? Are we really doing much to conserve water?” Their slogan is “ we are doing our part, what are you doing”? Elet is another NGO that was established in 1984. It helps schools in the township with their gardening. Most schools in the townships provide lunch for the needy kids so that they do not learn on an empty stomach. Elet is assisting those schools with seeds to start the garden, garden tools and all the necessities one needs to start and manage a garden. They target mostly primary schools to do their greening projects but are also involved in communities where they have gardens and try to assist where they can. They have a nursery for organic plantation at Wentworth and their slogan is “one home one garden”. Amanda Botes of Imagine Durban believes that eThekwini is the most caring municipalities. Imagine Durban is about the community, it takes an integrated time into the project sectors of eThekwini. their slogan is Ake sicabange ngeTheku ( lets think about Durban) they have three phases the first one is visioning your future, secondly planning and implementation and thirdly themes being formulated. Once the first three steps are achieved it’s easier to identify thematic areas, reach goals, create a strategy and taking action. “The world could be a better place if we were to take better care of it”. Climate change is one of the worst environmental challenges facing life on earth. It is caused by carbon dioxide and other gases called greenhouse gases which are creating a gaseous ‘blanket’ in the atmosphere which prevents the suns heat from radiating back out to space. South Africa is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in Africa; in 2003 alone the country emitted 318 billion of carbon dioxide( CO2).
As many South Africans gear up to cast their votes at different voting stations all around the country, one can only wonder if half of them even know what voting really means.
Voting started in the year 1910 when at the time only white men were allowed to vote in three Provinces. Blacks and coloureds were restricterd to vote only in the Cape Province. Times have evolved now we live in a democratic country where one can exercise their rights anywhere.
From as early as eighteen years, every South African citizen with a green bar-coded Identity document has a legal right to choose their leader.
At the Durban University of Technology students are also eager to go and make their voices heard, some for the first time. But it is not everyone who feels that voting is making your voice heard. Siyabonga Miya who is 2nd year Journalism student says “ voting is just a waste of time, we vote for these people believing that they are going to bring about change in our communities. Once they are in power they buy new houses in suburbs and forget about, so I am not going to vote.” Said Miya
Everyone has their different views on voting and which party to vote for. Hafsa Mkhize also a DUT student has a different view. Mkhize has expressed her eagerness to cast her ballot come May 18th. “I am 20 this year and I have wanted to vote ever since I was small, voting is my voice. I am a South African citizen and I believe with voting I am exercising my legal right”.
Mkhize has made it no secret of who she is voting for. Stating her firm support for the Democratic Alliance. “I am voting for the DA, I am so tired of the boundaries between black and white leaders. I feel that a woman of good qualities like Helen Zille will make the best of this country. It is not a matter of race, she also deserves a chance.” Added Mkhize.