ACRP at the 2017 4th Annual Green Youth Indaba 28th – 29th June 2017 at Sci- Bono Discovery Centre 

under the theme: “Young leaders creating solutions for the environment through skills development and

innovations”

By Teboho Mosehle African Climate Reality Intern

30 June 2017

The ACRP Team was invited to exhibit at the 4th Annual Green Youth Indaba together with many other stakeholders in the green economy and environmental sector. The Green Youth Indaba’s objective was to explore prospects for the youth within the green economy, unpacking all the necessary strategies that can create opportunities for the youth to get access to support, funding and the necessary skills development programmes that are needed to eradicate youth unemployment and poverty.

Photo by Noelle

African Climate Reality booth

The African Climate Reality Project participation at the exhibition provided the team with the opportunity to inform the public about the work the ACRP does.  We presented the causes and effects of climate change on the environment and on the people and ways we can change this, i.e. shift to a low-carbon development pathway by reducing emissions of heat-trapping gases while we adapt to the changing climatic conditions. Considering the current occurrence of climate change and the energy challenges that we are faced within our country, the team emphasised the fact that focusing on renewable energy sources is critical for a long-term sustainable supply of energy to power economic growth and to achieve our development goals in Africa. Another emphasise was the importance of protecting the environment and the ecosystem so as to ensure that future generations can build on the legacy that will be left behind; that they will still be able to enjoy the natural resources and environment.

Participant sharing his experience on climate reality

Something interesting emerged from our exhibition, which carries enormous influence and inspiration if we are to change things, and that is the concern and passion people have for the environment and a sustainable future for all. Many persons reacted to our presentation by emphasizing the importance of presenting on climate reality in schools, communities and the fact that climate change awareness should be spread across the many and different sectors in our communities.

During the conversations we had with them, a number of individuals committed to becoming catalysts in their families, local communities and society. With a newly discovered confidence and voice to address climate change issues, we believe as the ACRP team that the people we reached out to through our booth will be able to quickly connect around this issue of climate change which is affecting communities directly and indirectly, and will act as self-appointed leaders who are able to change the game and the atmosphere.

The main Green Youth conference, on the other hand, opened on a high note with government officials, CEO’s, youth and NGO representatives in attendance. The first speaker, Cllr Nico de Jager, the DA’s Johannesburg Member of Mayoral Council (MMC) for Transport, opened as the first speaker on sustainability mobility. He encouraged the youth to play a role in the green economy with creative and innovative ideas. He emphasised the importance of capacitating the youth who represent our future, to obtain the necessary skills in order to be meaningful players in the future of the green industry. Next up was a young learner named Karabo “Dynamit” Liza, who is a motivational speaker and an inspirational writer. Honourable Minister of Science and Technology, Mrs Naledi Pandor, followed to addressed the youth and emphasised that the future of our country and the African continent depends on increased support for and development of talented scientists and entrepreneurs who will take up the opportunity to create new technologies and innovative solutions for our pressing problems, or use existing technologies to respond in new ways to the challenges we are faced with. Key-note speaker Hon. Buti Manamela said “young people must not be locked in traditional business practices and rather think innovatively”.

Attendees showed a lot of interests on climate change

General Bantu Holomisa, an environmental activist, Climate Reality Leader, founder of Champions of the Environment Foundation and the President of the United Democratic Movement (UDM), was next on the podium. He stressed the importance of creating connections between various stakeholders to work towards a greener South Africa. He shared how his passion for and commitment to the environmental issues stretched back to his early days in the Transkei as a young boy and that this found further form during his time as deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs in President Mandela’s cabinet in 1994. He addressed that the youth must remain passionate in the face of disinterest; this comment was directed at the perception that there is lack of support for the green economy in other governmental sectors.

General Bantu Holomisa, an environmental activist and Climate Reality, addressing the youth at the Green Youth Indaba. Photo by Niveshen Govender

Dr Mao Amis followed and gave a presentation on Unpacking Green Economy, Opportunities for Inclusive Growth. Firstly, he pointed out to the issue of climate change and that people should be at the centre. He added that climate change is at the core of what we need to address in all sectors of our society. He said it is important to take the green economy to the man on the street. “The green economy is not just for the “Greenies” in society”, he insisted. More over he added that people must make wise decisions in order to contribute to the sustainability of the environment and the green economy, he showed a slide on how much water it takes to make a cup of coffee, this was astonishing to know that it takes 208 liters of water to make just one cup .Next up was Mr. Roche Mamabolo from Lora Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He presented on the 4th Industrial Revolution and referred to the importance of supporting our youth who are seeking to protect the environment, and to tap into the opportunities in the Green Economy.

Slide showing how much water it takes to make a cup of coffee. Photo by Ella Bella

The addresses were followed by a panel discussion. The panelists shared their successes… and failures in starting their businesses, and how they overcame the challenges. The panel consisted of youth entrepreneurs who are doing well in the industry. Ella Bella Constantinides, a Climate Reality Leader and the founder of Miss Earth South Africa and Director of Generation Earth, explained that The Miss Earth South Africa is a leadership programme that aims to empower young South African women with the knowledge and platform to create a sustainable difference in their communities to combat the destruction of their natural heritage. She mentioned that the challenge she comes across most of the time is that people think that the organisation is just about beauty pageant, whereas in fact the ladies go through a programme that runs for six months which helps to create an awareness of sustainable development, our environment, wildlife and the conservation of our natural legacy in South Africa, and ultimately the preservation of Mother Earth. She ended the panel discussion by putting on a set of big green goggles as a way to call on everybody to look at the environment via green lenses.

Panel discussion in progress. Photo by Nurayn Ismail