The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) joins South Africa and the global community in celebrating the annual World Environment Day today which will be hosted by Canada.
On this day, which has been celebrated since 1972, people are organizing community clean-ups, collecting and safely disposing litter and garbage, planting trees, teaching children to love nature and instilling values of cleanliness in them, and pledging donations to save endangered wildlife such as the rhino.
These activities and values are embedded in this year’s theme: ‘Connecting People to Nature’ which at its core challenges people to reflect on how their lives are intimately linked to nature, and their wellbeing and survival and that of future generations is dependent on respecting flora.
Studies that have been commissioned by the United Nations show women and children, especially those living in rural areas or poverty-stricken neighbourhoods, are the main victims of lack of sanitation and environmental degradation such deforestation and drought that has been triggered by climate change as they have to spend many hours walking long distances to collect firewood and water. This results in children staying away from school to help their mothers and poor health for both mother and child.
For its part, FEDUSA will deploy its resources and organise its research output and policy in a way that supports the new climate change agenda. Worldwide, just under 900 million people lack access to safe water that is free from disease and industrial waste. The result is one of the world’s greatest health crisis: 4 500 children die from waterborne diseases more than from HIV-AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.
A robust economy depends on water and so does a thriving ecosystem. Water has become an extremely precious commodity and a crucial essential that affects us all, from the women who spend hours a day fetching water, to political battles, melting ice peaks and rising sea levels.
“With level 4 water restrictions now in place in the Western Cape for example, the poor and middle class households will once again be on the receiving end with high water costs implemented, whilst the agriculture sector may be facing job losses as farmers likewise struggle with water supplies and face stock losses as well,” says FEDUSA Vice President for Development Jacques Hugo.
‘FEDUSA will lobby government and international organizations for the channelling of further means for research into the environment – and energy sectors in order to accumulate enough capital for the development of alternative energy, energy optimization and the reduction of greenhouse gasses”.
Hugo added that the union federation resolved at its Congress in 2016 to launch further initiatives, that will make its headquarters CO2 neutral and advocate that South Africa should adopts a target of at least 50% of electricity supply from renewable energy by 2030.
FEDUSA is the largest politically non-aligned trade union federation in South Africa and represents a diverse membership from a variety of sectors in industry. See www.fedusa.org.za for more information.
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FEDUSA Vice President : Development