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This podcast series is made possible by JoJo - for water, for life

This podcast series is made possible by JoJo - for water, for life

How to be an eco warrior

“Our Mother Earth is on fire, and we have to stop her from burning…because [she] is in our hands, we have to take her.” This was the message youth climate activist, Yola Mgogwana presented to President Cyril Ramaphosa and a delegation of the United Nations Population Fund at a climate change symposium in 2019. She was twelve years old, at the time, but already an old hand in addressing large crowds about the devastating impact climate change is already having on young and poor people in the global south, and the urgency with which our leaders have to act to reverse its effects.

 

A resident of Khayelitsha township, in Cape Town, Mgogwana is a member of the African Climate Alliance, a movement of youth climate activists holding leaders and big industry to account for their role in environmental degradation and its social impact on poor and vulnerable people. Yola comes into this climate activism work through an extracurricular environmental education programme facilitated by the Earthchild Project. Xoli Fuyani, her mentor and coordinator of the Earthchild’s’s environmental education programme is passionate about helping young people to connect the dots between self-love and an appreciation for the natural environment. Theirs is a holistic approach. “We believe that the way that we treat ourselves and the way that we speak to ourselves, what we put in our bodies, has the same impact as the way that you treat your natural environment” says Fuyani of the programme which teaches life-skills such as yoga, mindfulness and organic gardening in the environmental education it delivers to foundation phase through to high school learners in Cape Town’s disadvantaged schools.

 

Through a schools club programme, Fuyani uses worm farms, schools-based recycling projects and community gardening to develop an understanding of how climate change underpins the extreme weather events like the devastating seasonal floods and city-wide drought events that hit township settlements like Khayelitsha especially hard. But more than that, she supports township-dwelling young people like Yola to define for themselves what it means to be an eco-warrior on their own terms, and to self-actualise the change they want to see in the world through small-scale local projects and participation in global solidarity movements.

 

The relationship between Yola, Xoli and the over 3500 learners initiatives like the Earthchild Project has worked which exemplifies how young people and adults can work together to secure the future inheritance that youth climate activists all over the world are fighting for.

 

 

For Water For Life – The water podcast tells the extraordinary stories of ordinary people who have made it their life’s mission to preserve, purify and protect South Africa’s water resources. This podcast series is made possible by JoJo – for water, for life.