World Environment Day 2024

This year, World Environment Day happens to fall exactly a week after our country’s national election. The election results have initiated a new style of government in our country and reveal a desire for transformation of the status quo. With this in mind, XR Cape Town would like to take this World Environment Day to highlight one of our core demands: that world leaders, particularly our new government, tell the truth about the climate crisis and declare a climate emergency. 

Even as our political parties are negotiating the specifics of the coalition government, floods are devastating the Eastern Cape, the Western Cape is experiencing both powerful storms and fire-fuelling winds, a tornado has ripped the roofs off houses in KwaZulu Natal, Zambia continues to experience the drought that President Hakainda Hichilema declared a national disaster earlier this year, and India is facing a deadly and “unusually severe” heatwave, all of which is just a sample of the most recent catastrophic weather events. 

Yet none of the parties that won significant votes in our election propose sufficient solutions to the climate crisis. The ANC has already been criticised for energy plans “favouring coal and gas over renewables”, while the DA has been described as having “no clear vision for the country’s energy future”. The EFF has favoured Floyd Shivambu, “a ‘big coal proponent’”, to be “made finance minister”, and the MK has been described as “in bed with coal lobbyists”

Without environmental health, there is no human health. If politicians do not take the wellbeing of the web of life into consideration as they develop well-intentioned policies meant to alleviate poverty, starvation, lack of education, and ill-health, it will all be for naught if climate policy is left by the wayside. Therefore, as these parties begin to reach an agreement on the makeup of our new government, XR Cape Town urges them to keep the climate crisis in focus as we enter a new political era, to start the just transition of moving to a renewable energy infrastructure, to acknowledge the severity of the crisis and the suffering already resulting from climate change, and to declare a climate emergency. 

Read the full press release here