Fridays for future South Africa

We, the youth of South Africa declare our intention to make a stand for our environment with a National Strike for Climate on Friday 14th June, 2019.

The #FridaysforFuture strikes have been gaining momentum around the world and are now backed by teachers and academics.

We call upon our peers across the continent to rise up and join us to protest the negligence of our leaders to address the environmental crisis which is exacerbating poverty and inequality. Africa accounts for only 3.8% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions but is far more vulnerable to climate change than the countries who caused it.

Global warming increases the risk of drought, floods and disease. The water shortages, hunger and health risks which result from extreme weather will impact Africa’s poor the most. Our region faces the effects of cyclone Idai as well as the impact of years of dryer hotter weather and yet plans for economic growth are still tied to fossil fuel usage.

Despite being only the 25th largest population in the world, South Africa is the 14th largest emitter of carbon dioxide. It is time our government stopped making things worse by burning Eskom’s dirty coal and trumpeting Brulpadda gas finds.

Last year, the IPCC (the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) said that if we want to keep global warming to no more than 1.5 ˚C by 2100 and avert climate catastrophe, we have to cut carbon emissions 50% by 2030, and 100% by 2050. If every country polluted like South Africa, we’d hit 4˚C for the world, and 8 ˚C for Southern Africa, because our region warms faster.

We demand that SA political parties acknowledge the climate emergency and commit to:

  1. A moratorium on new coal, gas and oil mining licences
  2. 100% renewable energy in the electricity sector by 2030
  3. A Green New Deal* for South Africa
  4. Initiating climate adaptation education in schools

Why are children striking for climate?

This post has been translated by several individuals into languages
as unexpected as Hungarian and Italian, tuned into pamphlets at Gretta
Thunberg ‘School Strikes’, adopted into 2
PhD theses, inspired 2 poems and 2 original all through the reach of
social media more than 30k shares later. Written by Marc Doll

Please understand that many you reading this won’t live to an old age… and likely will start scrolling after one or 2 more paragraphs…

The IPCC report and Paris accord are incredibly overly optimistic and that commits the world to a target that means the death of hundreds of millions if not more.

But it is worse than that.

Even the commitments made by countries in the Paris accord don’t get us to a 2 degree world.

But it is worse than that.

The 2 degree target is now unattainable (unless of course the entirety of civilization does a 180 today…) and is based on geo-engineering the climate of the earth as well as the sequestering of every molecule of carbon we have produced since 1987, as well as every molecule we are producing today,as well as every molecule we produce tomorrow…. with magical technologies that don’t exist, wont exist and, even if they did would likely cause as many if not more problems than they fix.

But it is worse than that.

The 2 degree target of the IPCC does not factor in the feedback loops
such as the increase absorption of heat due to a drastic reduction in
the albedo (reflectivity) effect caused by the 70% loss of arctic
ice,..- the release of methane from a thawing arctic. (there is more
energy stored in the arctic methane than there is in coal in the world).
This is called the methane dragon. If the process of the release of the
methane, currently frozen in the soil and ocean beds of the arctic,
which may have already begun, but if it spins out of control we are
looking a an 8 degree rise in temperature.

But it is worse than that.

The report which gives us 12 years to get our head’s out of our arses
underestimated the amount of heat stored in the world’s oceans, as we
descovered in mid-January by 40%… so no , we don’t have 12 more years.

But it is worse than that.

The IPCC report ignores the effects of humans messing up the Nitrogen
cycle through agricultural fertilizers and more… Don’t go down this
rabbit hole if you want to sleep at night.

But it is worse than that.

Sea level rise will not be gradual. Even assuming that the billions of
tons of water that is currently being dumped down to the ground level of
Greenland isn’t creating a lubricant which eventually will allow the
ice to free-flow into the northern oceans; it is only the friction to
the islands surface that is currently holding the ice back. Then
consider the same process is happening in Antarctica but is also coupled
with the disappearance of the ice shelves which act as buttresses
holding the glaciers from free flowing into the southern ocean. then
factor in thermal expansions; the simple fact that warmer water takes up
more space and It becomes clear that we are not looking at maintaining
the current 3.4mm/yr increase in sea level rise (which incidentally is
terrifying when you multiply it out over decades and centuries.) We will
be looking at major calving events that will result in much bigger
yearly increases coupled with an exponential increase in glacial
melting. We know that every increase of 100ppm of C02 increases sea
level by about 100 feet. We have already baked in 130 feet of sea level
rise. It is just a question of how long it is going to take to get
there… and then keep on rising..

But it is worse than that.

Insects are disappearing at 6 times the speed of larger animals and at a
rate of about 2.5% of their biomass every year. These are our
pollinators. These are links in our food chain. These represent the
basic functioning of every terrestrial ecosystem.

But it is worse than that.

58% of the biomass of vertebrae life on earth has been lost since 1970. That is basically in my lifetime!

But it is worse than that.

The amount of Carbon we add to the atmosphere is equal to a yearly a
human caused forest fire 20% bigger than the continent of Africa. Yes,
that is every single year!

But it is worse than that.

Drought in nearly every food producing place in the world is expected to
intensify by mid-century and make them basically unusable by the end of
the century… Then factor in the end of Phosphorus (China and Russia
have already stopped exporting it knowing this) and the depletion of
aquifers and you come to the conclusion that feeding the planet becomes
impossible.

But it is worse than that.

We can no longer
save the society that we live in and many of us are going to be dead
long before our life expectancy would suggest.

If your idea of
hope is having some slightly modified Standard of living going forward
and live to ripe old age… there is no hope. This civilization is
over…

..but there is hope..

There is a way for some to
come through this and have an enjoyable life on the other side. Every
day we delay can be measured in human lives. There will come a day of
inaction when that number includes someone you love, yourself or myself.

So we have 2 options.

Wake the fsck up. If we do we will only have to experience the end of
our society as we know it aka…the inevitable economic collapse which
is now unavoidable, but be able to save and rebuild something new on the
other side. This would require a deep adaptation. Words like
sustainability would need to be seen as toxic and our focus needs be on
regeneration. Regeneration of soil, forests, grasslands, oceans etc….
This is all possible.

Option 2 is the path we are on thinking
that we can slowly adapt to change. This not only ensures we experience
collapse but also condemns humanity to not just economic and social
collapse but in a 4-6 or even an 8 degree world… extinction.

I am sick of pipeline discussions. I am sick of any argument that is
predicated on the defeatist assumption that we will continue to burn oil
at an ever increasing rate simply because it is what we have always
done. Fact is if we do we are not just fscked, we are dead. I am sick of
people who don’t understand how their food is produced, and its effect
on the climate.(both carnivores who eat feed-lot meat and vegans who eat
industrially-produced-mono-cropped-veggies as they are equally guilty
here. The consumption of either is devastating). I am sick of the tons
of shiny new clothes people are wearing without realizing 1 Kg of cotton
takes over 10 thousand Liters of water and incredible amounts of energy
to produce. I am sickened by the amount of that same clothing hits the
landfill in near new condition. I am sick of the argument that our oil
is less poisonous than someone else’s. Firstly, no it isn’t and
secondly, It doesn’t fscking matter. I am sick of people that can’t even
handle the ridiculously-small, only-the-tip-of- the-iceberg-of-changes
we need to accept; a carbon tax. I am sick of the fact that the
political will seems only capable of focusing on the individual consumer
through small measures like a carbon tax but no elected Party seems to
have the fortitude to enact policies that take it to the small handful
of companies that are responsible for 70% of our current C02 production.
I am sick of my own hypocrisy that allows me to still use fossil fuels
for transportation. I am sick of those who use hypocrisy as an argument
against action. I am sick of the Leadership of my country that argues we
can have economic growth and survivable environment… we can’t. I am
sickened by the normalizing of the leadership of our Southern neighbour
who as the most polluting nation in the world officially ignores even
the tragedy that is the Paris accord. I am sick of the politicians I
worked to get elected being impotent on this subject. Naheed and Greg
I’m looking at you. (BTW…Druh, you are an exception) I am sick that
the next image I put up of my kids, cheese, pets or bread is going to
gain immeasurably more attention than a post such as this which actually
has meaning… I am sick about the fact that all the information I
referenced here is easily discoverable in scientific journals through a
simple google search but will be characterized by many as hyperbolic.

I am confused as to who I am more upset with. Those who have fallen for
the denier propaganda, those who choose to be willfully ignorant, those
who understand this issue and throw their hands up in a fit of lazy
despair or those who are as cognitive as I am to the urgency of this
issue yet continue living day-to-day feeling self-satisfied with their
recycling, electric car, voting record or some other equally inane
lifestyle modification while waiting for society to hit the tipping
point so they don’t have to actually put their values into practice
(which despite my recent life changes still more or less includes me).
All that said…

There is a path forward.

But every day
we delay the path forward includes fewer of us. Build community, build
resilience, work for food security, think regeneration, plant food
producing trees, think perennial food production, turn your waste
products into resources, eat food that does not mine the soil and is
locally produced, eat meat that is grass fed in a holistic or
intensively rotated (ideally holistically grazed in a silvopasture )
that is used to provide nutrients to vegetation, get to know a farmer or
become one yourself, park your car, do not vote for anyone who either
ignores climate change or says we can have our cake and eat it too, quit
your job if it is fossil fuel related (it is better than losing it…
which you will), stop buying shit, stop buying expensive cars and overly
large houses and then complain that local planet saving food costs more
than Costco. Stop buying things that are designed to break and be
disposed-of, let go of this society slowly and by your own volition (its
better than being forced to do it quickly), Rip up your lawn and plant a
garden with perennial veggies, fruit bushes, fruit trees and nut trees.
Learn to compost your own poop (it is easy and doesn’t stink). Buy an
apple with a blemish, Get a smaller house on a bigger lot and regenerate
that land, Plant a guerrilla garden on a city road allowance. Return to
the multi-generational house, Realize that growth has only been a thing
in human civilization for 250 years and it is about to end and make
preparations for this change. Teach this to your children. Buy only the
necessities, don’t buy new clothes-go to the thrift store. Don’t use
single use plastic or if you do re-purpose it, Unplug your garberator
and compost everything, Relearn old forgotten skills. Don’t let yourself
get away with the argument that the plane is going there anyway when
you book a holiday. Understand that there is no such thing as the new
normal because next year will be worse, Understand before you make the
argument that we need to reduce human population … meaning the
population elsewhere… that it is not overpopulation in China or India
that is causing the current problem… It is us and our “western”
lifestyle, Understand that those that are currently arguing against
refugees and climate change are both increasing the effects of climate
change and causing millions of climate refugees… which will be
arriving on Canada’s doorstep because Canada, due to our size and
Northern Latitude, will on the whole have some of the best climate
refuges. Understand that the densification of cities is condemning those
in that density to a food-less future. Stop tolerating the middle
ground on climate change. there is no middle ground on gravity, the
earth is round, and we are on the verge of collapse.

There is a path forward.

But every day
we delay the path forward includes fewer of us. Build community, build
resilience, work for food security, think regeneration, plant food
producing trees, think perennial food production, turn your waste
products into resources, eat food that does not mine the soil and is
locally produced, eat meat that is grass fed in a holistic or
intensively rotated (ideally holistically grazed in a silvopasture )
that is used to provide nutrients to vegetation, get to know a farmer or
become one yourself, park your car, do not vote for anyone who either
ignores climate change or says we can have our cake and eat it too, quit
your job if it is fossil fuel related (it is better than losing it…
which you will), stop buying shit, stop buying expensive cars and overly
large houses and then complain that local planet saving food costs more
than Costco. Stop buying things that are designed to break and be
disposed-of, let go of this society slowly and by your own volition (its
better than being forced to do it quickly), Rip up your lawn and plant a
garden with perennial veggies, fruit bushes, fruit trees and nut trees.
Learn to compost your own poop (it is easy and doesn’t stink). Buy an
apple with a blemish, Get a smaller house on a bigger lot and regenerate
that land, Plant a guerrilla garden on a city road allowance. Return to
the multi-generational house, Realize that growth has only been a thing
in human civilization for 250 years and it is about to end and make
preparations for this change. Teach this to your children. Buy only the
necessities, don’t buy new clothes-go to the thrift store. Don’t use
single use plastic or if you do re-purpose it, Unplug your garberator
and compost everything, Relearn old forgotten skills. Don’t let yourself
get away with the argument that the plane is going there anyway when
you book a holiday. Understand that there is no such thing as the new
normal because next year will be worse, Understand before you make the
argument that we need to reduce human population … meaning the
population elsewhere… that it is not overpopulation in China or India
that is causing the current problem… It is us and our “western”
lifestyle, Understand that those that are currently arguing against
refugees and climate change are both increasing the effects of climate
change and causing millions of climate refugees… which will be
arriving on Canada’s doorstep because Canada, due to our size and
Northern Latitude, will on the whole have some of the best climate
refuges. Understand that the densification of cities is condemning those
in that density to a food-less future. Stop tolerating the middle
ground on climate change. there is no middle ground on gravity, the
earth is round, and we are on the verge of collapse.

Links to learn more:

Watch Greta Thunberg‘s TED talk

Fridays For Future

Why are thousands of kids striking from school?

My generation trashed the planet. So I salute the children striking back

Young climate strikers can win their fight. We must all help

It’s no longer climate change, it’s environmental breakdown

IPCC Report

Cape Town Climate Strike 15th March

Extinction Rebellion South Africa 

Here are some general guidelines:

1. Fridaysforfuture want you to only strike in a way, that you feel safe with.
2. Many Fridaysforfuture strikers have a police approval for their strike.
3. It is common for these approvals to only allow for a quiet, sitting protest.
4. Fridaysforfuture are unlikely to be able to provide legal support if there are problems, so FFF advises strikers to liaise with local NGOs. These NGOs usually know local lawyers, who are well versed in protest situations.
5. We are a peaceful and quiet striking organization, but unfortunately we have already seen examples in some countries, where some individuals or organizations try to join a strike for the purpose of causing trouble. Please take care and priorities your own safety. *https://fridaysforfuture.org/