Strap in! Eco-justice Adventures, Loading…

It hasn’t been child’s play adapting to the ‘new normal’ since Covid-19 first hit in 2020. And in a world where restrictions on movement and social interactions have become regulation, it has been especially challenging for those people at grassroots – who strive for environmental and socioeconomic justice – to ensure that their voices are heard and that they are recognized as valuable stakeholders with a say in the future of this country!

While South Africa may need quick energy solutions – the country recently experienced the unwelcomed revival of Eskom’s loadshedding measures – twenty year emergency fossil fuel contracts not the way to go! A well-thought-out plan towards the just transition, this is the only solution to the current climate crises we are facing. A just transition, if done properly (that is, with the people in mind and involving the people), will also do much to address inequities of the past.

In our work, The Green Connection has been focusing on various projects and a worrying trend has emerged. Nearly every project we have looked at has had some or other flaw in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) processes. And EIAs are important because this is where those at local level who may be affected by proposed projects have a chance to raise their concerns and share any unique knowledge, and so on. Ideally, this is the point where public inputs should be encouraged/promoted. However, what we are seeing is quite the opposite. We have also been looking for the annual Integrated Energy Plan for South Africa which should guide our just energy transition. Sadly, are not too optimistic about the government’s proposed way forward which seems to fixate on fossil fuels and its supposed benefits for the country.

In our Oceans Tribunal, we found that communities, especially indigenous small-scale fishers, are not being consulted by government and private companies – as interested and affected parties – regarding decisions and proposals that have negative environmental impacts, even though they have been dependent on the ocean for years, and have unique knowledge about this fragile resource.

This is why The Green Connection remains committed to being a platform for community champions who are vocal about their issues and who want to take action against questionable environmental and socioeconomic decisions that they were not informed about!

If you are reading this, there is no doubt that you are a Green Connector who wants to make change in their community. Take a seat and be inspired to make a difference in your community!

Written By: Lisa Makaula and Natasha Adonis

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