The heavy rains in April left a trail of destruction, with over 400 people dead, countless missing, and thousands of homes destroyed. About 400ml of rain fell in one night, causing large scale flooding and mudslides. Scientists believe that as a coastal city with a subtropical climate, Durban can expect more of these intense storms and floods, a sea level rise, extended periods of drought, and loss of biodiversity because of climate change.
These incidents will threaten food security, the availability of clean drinking water, and will push vulnerable communities into further poverty and hardships. Internationally, countries including South Africa, have committed to reducing their carbon footprint to enable a reduction in global warming by 1.5 degrees. Scientists believe this is what is required to reduce global warming, reverse climate change, and allow the Earth to recover. A concerted effort to live more sustainable lifestyles is required by all sectors of the community to enable this change to take place. Through its Paris Agreement Compliant Climate Action Plan, Durban has already solidified its commitment to a 1.5 C world, because that is what science is telling us we need to do.
In this regard, eThekwini seeks to scale up local level climate change action as part of the Economic Recovery Plan of the Municipality, opening opportunities for green recovery. Key interventions are already being implemented and include the City’s Transformative Riverine Management Programme and associated circular economy industries. These create job opportunities for income, while protecting residents from the impacts of climate change.
Below are some ways to reduce your carbon footprint and live greener lifestyles:
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle –Reducing your refuse will result in less rubbish being dumped in landfill sites and a cleaner environment. Make it a point to recycle and reuse plastic, glass, cans, and paper.
Plant a water-wise garden – Reduce consumption of water by planting a garden that does not need to be watered often for it to grow beautifully.
Reduce reliance on coal fired energy – Renewable energy is the way to go. If you can afford it, go solar. Although the initial outlay may be expensive, the long-term saving makes up as you will save on electricity chargers.
Plant a food garden and make your own organic compost using vegetable peels and garden refuse.
Businesses could also look at greening their processes and reducing their carbon footprint and impact on the environment.