As part of the Global work party and 350.org events organised by WESSA and Project 90×2030, Liz Taylor our KZN project 90 clubs coordinator, Bridget Ringdahl of the Eco-Schools National office and Anisa Khan travelled to Ndumo Game Reserve. to conduct a climate change workshop for educators from schools in this remote part of northern KZN. The workshop aimed at encouraging whole school involvement with exploring the climate change issue, the impacts associated with this and risks to the community and to the local biodiversity as a result of climate change.
Included in the workshop was a first time introduction for most educators to solar cooking as an alternative to the use of firewood and other unsustainable practices.
The Eco-schools team used Project 90×2030’s “My Carbon Footprint” booklets to educate participants how to measure and reduce their carbon footrpints. Educators practised calculating their electricity, travel and water use and were quite astounded as to the results. They were able to draw quite meaningful conclusions such as the relationship between vehicles with larger engine capacity’s and increased carbon dioxide emissions.
As part of the workshop educators were also briefed on simple strategies to reduce our climate impacts and the importance of lobbying and advocacy in pressuring governments to take appropriate action against climate change. As part of this, the educators endorsed the 350.org campaign and concluded the workshop with a pledge to protect and conserve our environmental resources and lovingly placed kisses on a young Acacia tree before planting this at the education centre as a symbol of this commitment.
The Project 90×2030 school club at St Anne’s also joined in the 350.org event by spelling out 350 on their school field.
What is the significance of 350? This is the number that scientists say is the safe upper limit of CO2 concentrations in our atmosphere, measured in parts per million.
Today, our atmosphere has 386 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 and this will keep increasing unless we stop our dependence on coal, petrol and oil. Before the industrial revolution CO2 concentrations were at 280ppm. If we carry on with business as usual we could easily double our CO2 levels by 2050 and triple them by 2075 – something that we definitely don’t want to see happen! We need therefore to reduce our emissions to 350ppm. And we need to get back to this level as soon as possible to avoid runaway climate change and global temperature increases.
Liz Taylor, Project 90 KZN Clubs Coordinator