Climate Change Project, News & Events, Programmes

Climate Change Communication Project

Climate change is a reality.

For South Africa, we need both to mitigate our emissions and to adapt to changes that are taking place in our environment. We need to ensure that we can reduce our risks, build our resilience and take advantage of new opportunities.  In order to build resilience, we need knowledge ……

In 2007, the Green Connection ran a series of climate change awareness workshops for local communities in the Succulent Karoo who have had little or no access to information about climate change in the past.

Discussing the impact of Climate Change on their lives and their future

Discussing the impact of Climate Change on their lives and their future

The Climate Change Communication Project raised awareness and built the capacity of the people of the Succulent Karoo around issues of climate change; more specifically in seven of the SKEP Priority Areas, namely the Bushmanland Inselbergs, Namaqualand Uplands, Central Namaqualand Coast, Knersvlakte, Hantam Tanqua Roggeveld, Central Breede River Valley and the Central Little Karoo.

The Succulent Karoo has a variety of stakeholders that can be affected by climate change, including those that rely on agriculture, ecotourism, natural resources such as rivers, and including those sectors of society that have influence over the response by communities to climate change, such as municipalities and government.

During 2008, we ran a series of climate change awareness workshops for local communities in the Succulent Karoo who have had little or no access to information about climate change in the past so we can help build capacity for understanding this threat to the ecosystem and how to mitigate its possible impacts. Where possible weinvolved local municipalities in this process tobuild their understanding and enhance their capacity to incorporate climate change into their policies and operations.

Part of adapting to climate change is understanding its impacts and gaining an understanding of what interventions can be implemented to enable us to improve our quality of life despite climate change.

While a key part of such understanding is that we are inevitably linked to the health of our surrounding environment, we also need to use the natural environment for food, warmth, shelter. How do we balance our needs and ensure that our children will also be able to meet their needs.

In 2009 and 2010, we built on this base and working with two pilot communities, Wuppertal and Sutherland, to assist them in choosing an intervention that will help them to adapt to climate change, address their social and environmental needs, and lead to economic empowerment for the community groups.

Operating the fuel stove

Operating the fuel stove

Safe, reliable and a cost effective fuel stove

Safe, reliable and a cost effective fuel stove








In 2012 and 2013, we worked with the Western Cape Government in helping design climate change awareness materials for their work with local authorities and citizens of the Western Cape.

For 2013 and 2014, the Green Connection wishes to extend our climate change project further and to roll out increasing numbers of smart climate interventions like fuel saving stoves…..

YOU can help.

It costs R250.00 to provide one family with a fuel saving stove which will save them searching and cutting wood, which will reduce biodiversity loss and land degradation due to de-forestation, and will increase one family’s wellbeing and energy security.

Alternative technology roll-out as part of climate change adaptation – Donate NOW!

Watch this space for updates on how these communities opted for in their climate adapted livelihoods.

For more information about Climate Change, visit


Solar Water Heating
Articles, Renewable Energy Advocacy

Advocating renewable energy project

Every day the Sun provides 20 000 times more energy than the entire planet needs. The Sun provides the energy to power the planet in a wonderful coordinated system that enables us to live our daily lives.

However, in South Africa, where we have some of the highest solar resources in the world, we are heavily dependent on fossil fuels.  Over the last few years, we have started to take baby steps towards a renewable future.  How can we ensure that we have a just transition into the future, one that safeguards livelihoods, and enhances socio-economic benefits within our finite ecological limits……

Solar Water Heating

Towards the late 2007, Sustainable Energy Africa undertook a broad investigation into the potential of renewable energy for South Africa, as well as the potential of saving electricity through modest changes to industry and residential practice.

The study drew on experts in the fields of renewable energy and energy efficiency. The outcomes of this investigation were quite surprising:

The following are extracts from the SEA presentation:

  • Electricity based on coal has provided sufficient capacity to grow the economy to this point. But right now, there is little spare capacity, and according to Eskom, with a projected 6% economic growth rate, we need to grow our electricity capacity at a similar rate in order to meet an anticipated demand of 80 000MW of electricity by about 2025.
  • Most electricity consumed is by industry and business – amounting to over 75% or three quarters of all electricity generated.
  • Experts in the energy efficiency field project that industry could easily save 20 to 25% of its current electricity use and that such energy savings would pay for themselves. UCT working with a car manufacturing company showed that the company could immediately save about 18% of their electricity using energy efficiency measures, and by so doing cut their energy bill by 25%.

Extract from energy audit summary below-


  • The total investment required for the execution of items 1 to 5 listed above is R130 000
  • The total annual energy earning for this is greater than R2M
  • The payback for these measures is less than one month

Based on Eskom current cost projections, it costs R3.5 million to save 1 MW of power while it costs R17 million to R28 million to build 1 MW.
As we have pointed out, industrial and commercial experts have pointed out that energy savings pay for themselves over a very short time. Therefore the cost to government is reduced. The question is can we incentivise these savings in a way that enables commerce and industry to move swiftly. For example, if we were to implement cost savings in the industrial and commercial sector of 10% by 2009, we would have saved over 3000MW

We have seen that we can save electricity, sufficiently to avoid blackouts in the short term. And we achieve this without any sacrifice in comfort, standard of living, and productivity. In fact we will be more economically competitive because of reduced input costs.

However, we need increasing amounts of electricity as we make the transition from a developing country to a developed nation with all citizens healthy, fulfilled and economically active, and with adequate provision for the youth and the aged.

How do we do this?

A study released in February 2006 examined all available renewable energies within the South African context, and concluded that if we invested now, renewable energy could indeed meet much of our electricity requirements into the future cost effectively. The report is available at If the costs used in this study are updated, and it is put together with the energy savings, it appears that it is more cost effective to invest in renewables NOW (despite their perceived high upfront costs).

What about jobs?

Renewable energy is a major creator of direct jobs. Let us compare Renewable energy technologies with conventional coal and nukes. As you can see, we get 25% more jobs than coal and 90% more jobs than nuclear per unit energy generated.
We cannot continue to use coal because of climate change pressures. (With South Africa producing a per capital carbon emissions higher than most developed countries in the world, we will come under increasing pressure to shift to alternative energy source). Nuclear energy comes with several unaccounted for costs – and high risks, particularly given the “terrorism threat”. It is also dependent on a finite resource – uranium. So eventually, we will end up generating our electricity from renewable resources. But if the costs of moving to renewables now is equivalent to continuing as business as usual – why don’t we move now? We can lead rather than follow.

For more information about where you can see the presentation, please contact Megan at Sustainable Energy Africa or visit For more info about renewable energy potential contact Liz McDaid –


Environmental Impact Assessment – PPC expansion

Involving communities in the Environmental Impact Assessment process – Riebeek West and the PPC expansion.

In 2006, the Green Connection was approached by a group of concerned residents from the Riebeek Valley near Malmesbury in the Western Cape. Residents expressed concern with the way in which the EIA was being run, and felt that they lacked the expertise and experience to ensure that their voices were heard.

PPC was proposing to expand its cement production facility in the valley. Residents were concerned that such expansion would lead to a significant impact on their way of life and wanted The Green Connection to guide and facilitate their input into the EIA process.

Residents expressed concern with the way in which the EIA was being run, and felt that they lacked the expertise and experience to ensure that their voices were heard. The Green Connection worked with the residents, assisting them to obtain extensions to deadlines so that they could read and understand the voluminous documents, assisted with providing commentary on the documents, and watchdogging the process to ensure the people’s environmental rights were not violated.

The EIA report has now been finalised and is awaiting a decision from the Western Cape Provincial authorities.
If you want to know more about the specific inputs into the PPC EIA, or if you are in a similar situation and would like help, contact