Durban Youth For Climate Action

Youth 4 Climate Action March

Memorandum presented to the Department of Mineral Resources Regional Office in Durban.

By the Youth of Durban together with Oceans Not Oil, Earthlife Africa Durban, South African Youth Climate Change Coalition, South Durban Community Environment Alliance, WildoceansSA, FrackFreeSA, People’s Climate Durban, 350.org, Youth for MPA’s and Extinction Rebellion South Africa.

15 March 2019

The issue of climate change has become an urgent crisis and we the youth are demanding action from the Department of Mineral Resources. We are marching along with thousands of other young people across the globe, united by the fact that we all share the same future. We want to enjoy life as you have, and let our children and grandchildren enjoy the all of the amazing natural world. We want to have a fun, friendly future and that is why we are freeing our voices. Listen to us today! We can no longer sleep walk into environmental collapse. We are here to tell you to “WAKE UP”. We have listed our demands, which you should heed as we will inherit what you put into place today.

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We demand an end to all fossil fuels!
South Africa has committed to significantly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. We demand no more new investment into coal. Burning coal for electricity is a chief cause of devastating climate change and mining coal harms the youth in surrounding communities. We demand an end to oil and gas exploration off our coast. We are marching because we want to live in a world where our oceans don’t need saving. We do not want oil companies destroying our future! Exploring for oil and gas risks our entire coastline and could have devastating impacts on marine life, and on our tourism and fishing industries. Think of the people and planet before profits.
We demand renewables!
We demand youth employment in development of the renewable energy sector, rather than the fossil-fuel sector. This must happen immediately. Gas is methane, which is worse than carbon dioxide for our future. We demand clean, safe, carbon-free renewable energy to stop climate change.
No more destructive extraction!
We demand that you leave the Karoo Basin and KwaZulu Midlands alone and do not frack these lands.Fracking pollutes the water, a precious resource – water is life! Fracking causes climate change by releasing greenhouse gases. We demand clean water tables. We demand the implementation of rehabilitation of the land, rivers, seas and society after all mining. There are more than 6,000 mines that require rehabilitation through the government willpower. We demand these are attended to immediately. They produce acid mine drainage and its effects are devastating as it leaches into aquifers or flows into rivers and streams. It sterilizes soils and contaminates food crops, puts plants and animals at risk, and is dangerous to human health. Destructive mining has traumatized a large portion of our fellow South African youth in the rural areas and we will not let them suffer in silence!
Take Responsibility and help us save the future!
South Africa has a high carbon debt! We are emitting twice the global average of greenhouse gases per person. We are the 14th most carbon polluting Country in the world and number 1 in Africa. We value education that is why we fight so hard for it. When expert people who come out of the education system and advise us about the dangers of climate change we listen, as we the youth of today understand the value in education. That is why we demand that all Department of Mineral Resources projects align with the latest and best science and that the Department of Mineral Resources commits to solving the crisis by implementing urgent, deep cuts in emissions. South Africa is an arid country, we are prone to the effects of climate change and will feel double the stress due our geography and history. The wrath of these subjects is coming to school South Africa, but we the youth are the only ones who will be really taught a lesson. Our future is in your hands – don’t steal it from us.
We demand dialogue!
The reality is that Africa is made up largely of a youthful population, yet the will and presence of that fact is not represented in most decision making structures of government. Youth are able to bring innovation, energy and, more recently, academic support to these decision making structures. This is why we demand to have a bilateral avenue of communication opened with the Department of Mineral Resources and affiliated government representatives in the near future to deliberate and hopefully realize our demands.