Liz is a qualified scientist, teacher, and adult educator, with a Master’s Degree in Climate Change and Development from the University of Cape Town. As an independent environmentalist, she has worked for over 25 years at the energy/poverty/community nexus, with a focus on participative, ethical governance. She has coordinated, led and supported a wide variety of civil society groupings to advocate for energy justice and against energy poverty.
Liz has worked for government and Parliament and civil society, and her predominant aim is to ensure that people’s development is both transformative and within the boundaries of ecosystem sustainability. She is one of the founding member of The Green Connection, which strives to ensure that economic growth and development, improvement of socio-economic status and conservation of natural resources, takes place within a commonly understood framework of sustainable development. She has led a variety of climate change awareness and adaptation interventions, including a campaign for the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund which was rolled out across the Western and Northern Cape, with the aim of building resilient communities who would be empowered to adapt their livelihood strategies and conserve the fragile ecosystems on which they depend. Liz has worked with small-scale fishers over decades, empowering fishers to increase their understanding of the marine ecological systems and how we ensure that we fish sustainably. This has been through UCT, Masifundise, WWF and IOISA. She currently works with the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI), groundWork, OUTA and others, across the SADC region on energy and eco-justice issues, engaging with local communities, national policies and international governance initiatives. Her recent work as part of the Electricity Governance Initiative includes an energy poverty analysis for Oxfam – ‘You can’t eat electricity’ – and a review of the South African renewable energy programme, with a focus on community impacts. Her work with SAFCEI, as Eco-Justice Lead, involved an advocacy campaign against an illegitimate, secret deal between South Africa and Russia for a nuclear build programme, which would have bankrupted the country. These efforts culminated in a successful legal challenge – a landmark victory – in partnership with Earthlife Africa JHB, which ended the nuclear aspirations of the then Zuma government. For her part in this, Liz was awarded the 2018 Goldman Environmental Award, Africa.