The Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Alderman Patricia de Lille, today launched the Cape Town Climate Change Coalition’s “Climate Smart Cape Town Campaign.”
The aim of the campaign is to highlight actions that Capetonians can take to reduce carbon emissions. The campaign recognizes that the climate crisis is our joint responsibility. Real solutions can only come when addressed by everyone – from the public sector to business, from NGOs to civil society and academia. Climate Smart Cape Town brings the facts about the climate crisis into the mainstream and engages the people of Cape Town in conversation about how to solve it. The campaign encourages citizens to discover the truth about climate change and take meaningful steps to bring about change.
Said Alderman de Lille: “One of the objectives of the campaign is to ensure an understanding of climate change in order to determine the future development of the City. If we carry on in ‘business as usual’ mode in the knowledge that climate change impacts, including increased droughts, storm surges, sea-level rise, and increased floods will be a reality in future decades; we will be rightfully accused of negligence by our grandchildren. And so we will be looking to build a more compact and resource efficient city and to use the energy behind this campaign to create awareness and robust discussion.”
The Climate Smart Cape Town Coalition consisting of 23 partner organizations that initially came together to support Cape Town’s bid to host COP 17, is driving the campaign. Even though the bid was not successful, and COP 17 will be hosted in Durban, the partners remain committed to continuing the strong network and the resultant benefits such as knowledge sharing and capacity building with respect to climate change.
Said the Mayor: “The coalition partners have worked together for some months around climate change issues, aiming to enhance our understanding about climate change and positioning Cape Town as a leading city and global player in the field. Since the launch of this coalition in March this year, the work of the coalition has gone from strength to strength, demonstrating a degree of collaboration around climate change at local level unprecedented in Africa and perhaps in the world.”
Said Cape Town Tourism CEO, Mariëtte Du Toit-Helmbold: “Climate Smart Cape Town is about building partnerships with the people of Cape Town. Together we can create a city that is future-fit; one that is a beacon of excellence when it comes to responsible living and climate awareness. We have examined our sustainability, and across the city we are redesigning our systems to be most effective with least energy. We urge you to become part of the conversation and join us on the journey to making Cape Town a truly responsible and aware city.”
The coalition has identified the importance of taking full advantage of South Africa hosting the world’s biggest climate change meeting – and one of the most significant world meetings of all time – the 17th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP 17, which will be held in Durban in November and December 2011.
The campaign consists of three primary areas:
1. A communications campaign aimed at enhancing levels of climate change literacy among all Capetonians.
2. An Inspiring Change gathering at the Cape Town International Convention Centre two weeks prior to COP 17, and linked to a major Green Expo, where people from Cape Town can join in three days of dynamic challenging debate integrated with a number of educational and entertaining activities in and around Cape Town, focusing on Climate Change issues.
3. COP 17 in Durban, where Cape Town will have a significant presence, demonstrating the seriousness of the city’s intentions, its support for a positive and constructive outcome of the high-level processes, and its willingness to partner with global agencies and other players to invest in significant local action in Cape Town and the Western Cape around climate change adaptation and mitigation measures.
“We are taking the opportunity at COP 17 to position Cape Town as a leading global climate change city, moving towards greater efficiency to lower our carbon footprint in combating climate change, becoming a safe city through building resilience, and adapting to natural disasters associated with climate change, and finally demonstrating that we are a caring city through acting primarily in disadvantaged communities to build resilience, recognizing that climate change impacts most severely on vulnerable and marginalized communities,” said Aldermann De Lille.
At the launch, the coalition partners also presented how they plan to leverage the momentum around South Africa’s hosting of the Climate Change Convention Conference of Parties (COP 17) to make Cape Town a resource-efficient city.
The Climate Smart Cape Town Campaign is action-oriented with a slogan calling on Capetonians to “Take Action.”
The following slogans will be used to create awareness of six important actions that residents can take:
Biodiversity: Conserve nature. Green spaces cool the city.
Water: Save water. Or climate change could mean we have none.
Electricity: Save electricity. Don’t give climate change more power.
Transport: Take the bus now. Or take the heat later.
Cycling: Let’s clear the air. Cycle to work.
Recycling: Recycle. We don’t need another mountain.
Everyone can be involved in the Climate Smart Campaign. The website and blog ( www.climatesmartcapetown.co.za ) will ensure that Capetonians are up to speed with the latest information with regard to climate change. Everyone in Cape Town can “take action” and can write their own “take action” slogans and post it on the website. Capetonians can keep up-to-date with the latest news and happenings by following the Climate Smart Cape Town Campaign on Facebook ( www.facebook.com/climatesmartct ) and Twitter @ClimateSmartCT.