To mark Freedom Day in South Africa we have compiled this list of actions you can take to help all people have an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being.
So that all people can realise their highest potential, without interruption by environmental racism or inequity and for the benefit of present and future generations. The South African Constitution states that, “Everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that: 1) prevent pollution and ecological degradation; 2) promote conservation; and 3) secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.”
Currently, the impact of climate change does not affect communities equally.
- Understand the links between structural racism and the disproportionate environmental burdens that certain communities face. Follow the Centre for Environmental Rights here.
- Indigenous knowledge in South Africa has powerful resources to assist us and it has to be retrieved, learned and respected.
2. Use the Power of Boycott
Before you shop, investigate the environmental practices of companies. While many of them have become increasingly transparent about their practices, deliberate environmental harm for economic gain is sadly commonplace.
3. Support Local
Instead of relying on big companies and brands, invest your money in our local economy. Shop locally for groceries or buy directly from small or Black-owned businesses.
4. Be a good citizen
Vote for politicians who care and who will reduce wasteful spending, end corruption and professionalise the state bureaucracy by appointing the best people in the country to serve in government. If you can’t find one, become one!
If we are to survive, all living creatures need to be respected. All life and all ecosystems on our planet are deeply intertwined and need to exist, persist and regenerate their vital cycles.
To help facilitate structural change, you can choose to support one or more of these organisations that are working towards positive structural change in South Africa. (Thanks Emma Jones-Phillipson and friends!). See link here.