Maverick Citizen

This week in civil society: Planning for the restoration of Earth, a sustainable grant system and the end of South Africa’s ‘book famine’

By Christi Nortier 19 April 2021

There will be three days of climate action in the lead-up to annual Earth Day on Thursday 22 April. It serves as a world-wide moment to pause and take stock of the progress on climate action. (Photo: information-age.com/Wikipedia)

This week, activists around the world will focus on planning their climate crisis action for the next year and beyond. In South Africa, a coalition of civil society organisations will plan a campaign to increase and extend the Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress Grants. in addition, activists will discuss their court challenge to end South Africa’s “book famine”.

There will be three days of climate action in the lead-up to the annual Earth Day on Thursday 22 April. It serves as a worldwide moment to pause and take stock of the progress on climate action. 

On Tuesday 20 April, the observation will begin with a youth climate summit focused on panels, speeches and discussions. The following day, there will be a multilingual virtual summit where activists will discuss the role of education and educators in creating climate education. Earth Day itself will be marked by a global online event focused on this year’s theme – “Restore Our Earth”. The event will focus on solutions – from reforestation to citizen science. This can all be accessed here from 20 April onwards.

epa07439395 Some of the hundreds of youths protest on the lawns of the Union Buildings as part of a global protest action to highlight climate change, Pretoria, South Africa, 15 March 2019. The protest part of the global, The Youth Strikes for Climate movement, is holding protests in 51 countries today. (Photo: EPA-EFE/Laird Forbes)

The rest of the week…

On Tuesday 20 April, there will be a People’s Assembly organised by the #PayTheGrants Campaign of the C19 People’s Coalition. The virtual event will serve as a space to plan a path towards extending and increasing the Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress Grants and campaign for a Universal Basic Income. The discussion begins at 2pm here.

On Thursday 22 April, researchers from the Human Sciences Research Council and the University of Johannesburg will present and analyse their latest research on how South Africans feel about the suspension of some rights during the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent state of emergency. The Dullah Omar Institute will facilitate the discussion during a virtual event here at 2:30pm.

World Book and Copyright Day will be observed by millions of people in over 100 countries on Friday 23 April. The day is set aside to pay tribute to books and authors and encourage reading. 

(Photo: shutterstock/Wikipedia)

In South Africa, human rights activists and researchers will discuss why South Africa’s outdated Copyright Act is an affront on the rights of people with visual disabilities and the “book famine” it has caused. Fewer than 0.5%. of published material is available in accessible formats for people with visual impairments in South Africa. BlindSA and SECTION27’s legal challenge to the Act will also be unpacked. Register here to attend the webinar here at 11am on 23 April.

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Meanwhile, the role of local government and the importance of the public’s watchful eye over it will be discussed by Corruption Watch, the Dullah Omar Institute and the South African Local Government Association. Tune into the virtual discussion here at 11am.

Later that day, researchers, activists and politicians will discuss how the current conflict in Cabo Delgado can be resolved. The webinar is organised by Centro Para Democracia e Desenvolvimento Mozambique, a civil society organisation “working on deepening democracy and development in Mozambique”. Tune into the discussion here at 3pm. DM/MC.

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