Astrid Fourie leads the Eco Gecko Club. Ridgeway Independent pupils have made vast strides in 2018 in their determination to educate people on climate change and help the environment. Photo supplied.
Date: 03 February 2019 By: Jo Robinson
Last year, in September, the Ridgeway Independent School joined the global Rise for Climate Change event. This was not a once-off event for Ridgeway, but rather an ongoing project to educate children and adults alike about the impact of global warming and climate change.
Astrid Fourie organised that very successful project which put Louis Trichardt on the global map of schools fighting the activities that drive global warming. She is the leader of the school’s Eco Gecko Club. She said then that “…right now, our planet is in crisis. Our world is actually sick and running a very high fever. It is estimated that, by the end of this century, we will be two degrees warmer.”
Astrid said that 2018 had been a great year for the Ridgeway Eco Gecko Club. “We launched the first ever climate change event in this region. We twinned with a school in Brazil to globalize our effects in creating a cleaner and greener environment. Then we finished the year with our Vertical Green Wall Project - a vertical garden using green, plastic two-litre bottles.”
Ridgeway is not going to slow down on this subject and Astrid lauded this country for its stance on climate change. “I stand firmly behind South Africa’s permanent representative to the United Nations (UN), Ambassador Jerry Matjila. Climate change will ultimately cost South Africa billions of rands. If not addressed, it will lead to the destruction of South Africa and the destabilization of the African continent as a whole. We need to make a change now. I firmly believe in the education of our children and our communities to create a cleaner and greener environment.”
Ambassador Matjila said this past Friday, at the UN Security Council’s open debate on addressing the impact of climate-related disasters on international peace and security, that “South Africa has with very great concern noted the erratic nature and veracity of natural disasters. It is clear to us that climate change is a global sustainable-development challenge that can only be addressed realistically if we do so collectively, and through a rules-based multilateral regime that is based on science, equity as well as differentiation of action and support between countries with very different national circumstances. Climate action needs to be scaled up dramatically, while protecting and furthering the development gains of developing countries and eradicating poverty.” He went on to say that “Africa, therefore, stands in full solidarity with other regions similarly affected by natural disasters, such as those highlighted in the concept note prepared by the Dominican Republic. We remain firmly committed to addressing climate change and responding to natural disasters at a national, regional and international level. We look to the UNFCCC [United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change], its Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement for policy direction and leadership on climate change and also refer to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.”
Many people say that climate change is a myth. Astrid explained that this is not true. “Let me first differentiate between global warming and climate change. Global warming is the increase of the Earth’s temperature due to greenhouse gases. This leads to climate change, which is a long-term change in the Earth's weather patterns. It is not a myth. It is getting hotter. We feel it every day. The weather patterns have changed. You just have to watch the news to hear of the various weather disasters to hit - from Tsunamis to droughts to wildfires. South Africa is experiencing long-term droughts, erratic rains, severe heatwaves and dry spells. The impacts of climate change will affect every aspect of our economy and will affect the vulnerable most severely, leading to an increase in diseases, starvation, poverty and a lack of energy and water. Agriculture and fisheries will also be affected by drought and an increase in acidity levels in the waters. Tourism will be affected as ecosystems begin to die out because of increases in temperature or lack of food supplies. The list goes on. Each area will impact on the next.”
If any local businesses want to join this global movement, of which Louis Trichardt is very much a part, contact Astrid Fourie at Ridgeway Independent School at 015 151 0111.
Jo joined the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror in 2018 pursuing a career in journalism after many years of writing fiction and non-fiction for other sectors.