Green Connectors In Knysna Update Us On Their Waste Management Project
In a bid to combat water pollution in the Garden Route, late in March 2021, activists with The Green Connection’s Legacy Programme – in collaboration with Oceans Alive – started their Waste Management project in Knysna. Committed to protecting and conserving their natural surroundings, these environmental defenders took matters in their own hands, also calling on the youth to take action against environmental hazards littering the coastline and other areas, through beach and river clean-ups.
The Waste Management Project does more than just keep rivers plastic-free, but also gives back to communities through the exchange of educational materials – to help boost young people’s understanding of the environmental issues we face.
“We need government to support and bring initiatives like these to our communities, instead of investing in more fossil fuels. These initiatives will help equip the youth with valuable knowledge and skills suitable for a just transition. Government should implement measures that will help drive the country’s energy investments to greener sustainable energy, which would provide jobs for the unemployed graduates,” says Barend Fredericks, a small-scale fisher and Legacy activist with The Green Connection.
However, protecting the environment is not just about beach and river clean-ups. In the past year, eco-justice activists have successfully opposed Shell and Searcher – the multinational oil and gas companies that applied to undertake seismic surveys along the coast of South Africa – which would have potentially endangered marine life and coastal livelihoods. The fight for sustainable development continues and civil society (and coastal communities) will continue to call on government to shift to renewable energy sources in order to reduce the impacts of climate change, such as droughts and floods.
Fredericks adds, “As indigenous people, who have been living along the coast for generations, it is of utmost importance that our oceans are protected from pollution. And, as far as I am concerned, should charity not usually begin at home? It is, therefore, high time that we also play our role in ensuring we take concerted action to reduce pollution in our towns. Take part in projects like these or why not start your own? Encourage the youth to also participate in defending our natural habitats.”
The Green Connection Legacy Programme equips the Green Connectors with advocacy skills to fight for environmental and socio-economic justice through workshops and mentoring, as well as practical exercises involving their communities and leadership (and corporate) structures. The goal-driven Legacy participants are encouraged to exercise and protect their human and environmental rights, especially to demand that government do proper and meaningful consultations with the communities when making decisions that will/could affect them.
Join the movement and sign The Green Connection’s petition to stop offshore oil and gas exploration.