January 2019
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KZN Going Green - Gayle Adlam


KwaZulu-Natal is going green. In line with global impetus it is abundantly clear that awareness of factors such as climate change, environmental degradation, finite energy and water resources as well as food security is necessary. Consequently, the public sector, the private sector, as well as civil society, have many new initiatives underway. These initiatives are evident in innovative recycling, more green spaces, green buildings, renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, as well as in environmental and social programmes.

South Africa’s hosting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, known as COP17, in Durban in December 2011 has done much to raise awareness of the importance of going green. In his address at the conference, President Zuma pointed out that Africa had abundant renewable energy sources and that these needed to be harnessed in building an inclusive and sustainable green economy. He said, “The world has gathered in Durban because of the realisation that we have to respond urgently and adequately to climate change.”

Flagship Solar Power Plant
This occasion also saw the launch of a flagship solar power plant in Hazelmere, KwaZulu-Natal. Speaking at the launch President Zuma said, “We are happy that the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government has made a strategic decision to begin positioning itself for renewable energy production in South Africa”. He added that the solar plant was expected to improve the lives of both the people of Hazelmere and of those from its surroundings areas. The partnership between Soitec and eThekwini Municipality, which resulted in the solar plant, was also designed to include skills development in which the local community will benefit, especially the youth.”

Green Economy Research Conference
In this spirit, the provincial Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDT) hosted its first Green Economy Research Conference at the Durban ICC in 2012. The aim of which was to promote economic activities that promote sustainability whilst protecting the environment.

Frikkie Brooks, from the KZN Planning Commission, said the province had put plans in place for a growth and development strategy for 2030 that would push to achieve seven goals around a green economy including job creation, environment sustainability, and human and community development. Brooks added that South Africa had the potential to come up with solutions that could also assist other African countries.

Speaker, Catherine Sutherland of the UKZN School of Development studies emphasized that “The costs and risks associated with business-as-usual is becoming too high, and South Africa is following leading global economies in embracing a greener economic paradigm.”

Green Initiatives
A number of projects may be identified around the province which clearly indicate that KwaZulu-Natal is undertaking “business-unusual” methods and supporting the call for green initiatives.

Gayle Adlam

Gayle - 09:26:23 @