The S. Africa Climate Action Partnership Blogs In
Wow!Ã‚Â Live Earth was quite an experience.Ã‚Â
The Climate Action Partnership's journey started with a 27 hour train trip from Cape Town to Johannesburg, enjoying the slow pace and the scenery as we chugged through the Karoo, calculating our carbon footprints, learning about climate change, and catching up on sleep and gossip.Ã‚Â In Johannesburg the pace picked up, and my colleague, Sophie Susman, and I were thrown into the backstage world of entertainment.Ã‚Â The ideal is to rush around with a clip board looking frantically busy, and then to hang around the Hilton business centre at night drinking strong coffee and freaking about logistics - Angelique Kidjo doesn't have enough pages in her passport! Baaba Maal's group doesn't have the right visas! Pull some strings!
And then it was 07/07/07 - that magical day that we had all worked so hard for.Ã‚Â We set up our Climate Action Partnership (CAP) exhibitions - one in the eco-village and one in the VIP area (neatly positioned between the door and the free bar) - and they looked great, and the CAP folks manning the stalls looked fantastic in their woolen CAP berets.Ã‚Â Working our personal carbon calculator with the crowd that night was as much of a learning experience for us as for the audience. I did not know that there are people out there who have monthly household electricity bills of R4000 (they even heat their garages!) and carbon footprints of more than 200 tons/year (by comparison, my house is 17 tons/year).Ã‚Â I realized that we were preaching to the right crowd.
The show itself was amazing; with a range of exciting African and international acts to rock the crowd, live feed from the other concerts and powerful short clips on climate change, messages from Al Gore and the stars.Ã‚Â While the audience loved the show, the climate change message was not as easy to swallow.Ã‚Â It is challenging to get people to change the way they live, and every step forward counts. Each person at the concert, people reading the papers and watching SABC2 (and 2/3 of the world's population) now know that climate change exists.Ã‚Â Every person that came past our CAP exhibition now knows that they have a carbon footprint and that their electricity consumption and vehicle contribute to global warming.Ã‚Â And many of the people we connected with have influence.Ã‚Â I made a great connection with Angelique Kidjo, and my colleagues connected with the South African Stars Zola, Vusi Mahlasela and Danny K.
This is the beginning of a new and exciting collaboration between the conservation and entertainment worlds in South Africa on issues of climate change and the wider South African environment.Ã‚Â Possible next steps to maintain and expand the movement started by Live Earth include a youth expedition across South Africa to make conservation sexy and mobilize youth into "careers for the future" (conservation careers, particularly those linked to technology and adaptation for climate change). The youth are our future, and without them on board there will be no future.
We would like to thank Live Earth for making an impact in South Africa. For making people aware of climate change and for giving us a chance to put Africa's environment - on which we all depend - on the front page.
Climate Action Partnership