South African National Parks' Kudu Green School Initiative tackles climate change
23 July 2012 | News story
The model incorporates the entire school and its surrounding community in improving livelihoods and sustainable use of resources while incorporating lifestyle choices.
Maria Moate, CEC Member, SANParks National Coordinator for South Africa
Kudu Green School Initiative is a SANParks’ environmental education initiative involving learners in a climate literacy programme. The sustainability projects initiated include greening projects, technologies project and behavioural changes. The model incorporates the entire school and its surrounding community in improving livelihoods and sustainable use of resources while incorporating lifestyle choices. SANParks can offer an innovative best practice to the new IUCN Strategic Plan focal area on climate change.
In the coming decades, scientists expect climate change to have an increasing impact on human and natural systems. In a warmer world, accessibility to food, water, raw materials, and energy are likely to change. Human health, biodiversity, economic stability, and national security are also expected to be affected by climate change. Climate model projections suggest that negative effects of climate change will significantly outweigh positive ones. The nation’s ability to prepare for and adapt to new conditions may be exceeded as the rate of climate change increases. IUCN has defined a new strategic focus on climate change and SANParks contributes through pioneering an effective community and youth outreach and action.
Despite the fact that Climate Change is talked about widely, there has been no corresponding evidence of the increase in public climate science awareness and understanding with no corresponding increase in positive public attitudes and opinions about climate science. Raising awareness about climate change or simply knowing will undoubtedly under-prepare a young nation facing an uncertain future. A dedicated educational programme is recommended to encourage active participation in biodiversity matters that relate to climate change.
Advocating for changes in lifestyle and behaviours that favor resource conservation can contribute to climate change mitigation. Mitigation measures can also have other benefits for society, such as water, energy cost saving as well as health cost savings resulting from reduced air pollution. The most vulnerable people are in general the poor, since they have less knowledge and institutional capacity to adapt and their livelihoods are often dependent on resources that are linked to climate. By involving schools and their communities in promoting nature–based solutions to climate change will enhance both the climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies and thereby increase the literacy level.
South African National Parks (SANParks) as a Conservation Agency is not immune to the changes taking place in the climate and has taken an initiative to help improve climate science literacy. The Kudu Green School Initiative (KGSI), a SANParks environmental education initiative, is such an initiative which seeks to address this demand. By involving schools and their communities in climate mitigating projects such as recycling, tree planting and wise resource use, it is hoped that this will in the long term heighten the level of awareness and interest in conservation and climate literacy amongst urban learners and encourage them to pursue conservation and climate - related careers whilst assisting them in responding to local environmental challenges that affect their schools-communities and help them adapt to climate change.
For more information, contact Maria Moate at email@example.com