The local government elections have come and gone.
In a few weeks time, your new municipal or metro council will begin the serious task of managing the local municipality.
How well they pay attention to the environmental justice issues that affect you and your community will depend, in part, on your active participation as a citizen.
What is the role of local authorities
when it comes to decisions that impact on your environment?
The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation has just published this new report highlighting the dangers of responding to climate change with "false solutions". The report is a collaborative effort with input from a range of individuals and organisations from Africa, latin America and Asia, including EMG.
EMG's work with small-scale rooibos farmers in the Northern Cape has been highlighted in a chapter of a new book "Living Land" co-published by the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and Tudor Rose for the United Nations Decade for Deserts and the Fight Against Desertification (2010-2020).
Vulnerability to land degradation on a global scale is driven by a combination of a changing climate and patterns of land use. Addressing climate change requires co-operation at a global scale. Ensuring appropriate land use requires local action.
According to the UNCCD, the new book is a powerful outreach tool for sensitizing the public about land degradation problems and the mobilizing efforts that are taking place around the world.
You can access the digital version of "Living Land" via this link to the publisher's website.
Squeaking in just before the end of 2015, our Annual Report for 2014 (1.1MB).
We promise to get next year's report published sooner! Watch this space.
(This is no ordinary ticket office. Its where you get
tickets for Goedverwacht's annual Snoek en Patat Fees,
an event not to be missed!)
On 18 June 2015, EMG co-hosted a public seminar on fracking. The event took place at Alternative Information and Development Centre, a Cape Town based NGO active on social and economic justice. An award-winning new documentary produced by Alliance Earth, The High Cost of Cheap Gas, was screened as a catalyst for discussion. Guiding the discussion were a panel of representatives from EMG, Alliance Earth, Treasure the Karoo Action Group (TKAG) and Centre for Environmental Rights (CER).
The seminar was well supported by civil society and a diversity of voices contributed to an interesting discussion. Issues of major concern for South African civil society, surfacing from the documentary and discussion, include sourcing of water, water pollution, impact on livelihoods, agriculture and tourism, jobs, development options, climate change, alternative energy provision and the role of South African companies in the region.
The Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) on fracking recently launched by the SA government was welcomed. It has been long-called for. The stated terms of reference for the SEA, however, appear highly problematic from both a decision-making and participation perspective (see www.seasgd.csir.co.za).
The assumption behind the SEA is that should sufficient gas be found in the exploration stage, fracking will go ahead. It is not apparent that a no-go option is being considered; nor are alternative sources of energy clearly identified as a strategic option for investigation by the SEA. This begs the question of how strategic the SEA will be. In regards to the issuing of licences by the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) to explore for shale gas, it was felt that licences should at the very least only be issued after the SEA has been completed. Issuing licences before the potential impacts have been fully researched casts the SEA in a token light.
The provision for public participation in the SEA also appears weak. The webiste states that the only way in which public concerns will be considered is through formal comments on the written documents developed by SEA specialists. This effectively excludes almost every South African, and certainly biases participation away from the people most likely to be affected. The flipside to this is that the nature of this opposition to fracking provides an important opportunity for South African civil society to organise across economic, racial and cultural divides.
Short of amending the scope and process of the SEA to address these shortcomings and to better reflect the Principles outlined in Chaper 1 of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA), the discussion led to a civil call for reinstatement of the moratorium on shale gas exploration, at least until after the outcomes of the SEA have been realised to support such a decision.
On the 15 April 2015, EMG successfully hosted the first seminar of the EMG Seminar Series 2015.
The seminar was well-attended and involved a lively discussion around Revitalising Catchment Management Forums in South Africa. Thanks to Dr Victor Munnik for presenting his research and guiding the dialogue. Thanks to all those who participated from civil society, ngo's, academia and government.
Get the presentation here on slideshare.
Download a PDF of the Discussion -> Discussion: Revitalising Catchment Management Forums.
!!! Hot off the press !!!
Participatory Adaptation Handbook : A practitioner's guide for facilitating people centred adaptation to climate change
EMG is part of the consortium responsible for planning, writing and launching this fantastic resource for anyone involved in community-based adaptation work. Download the Participatory Adaptation Handbook here (3.1MB PDF) or contact us for a hard-copy (R100).
Accompanying the book is a set of facilitation cards Experiental Learning for Adaptation (945KB) - an amazing resource for anyone wanting to facilitate a community group.