World Environmental Day is an annual event that is aimed at stimulating global awareness of environmental issues and to enable everyone to realise not only their responsibilities, but also their power to become agents of sustainable and equitable development.The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) defines the Green Economy as one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.
On the 5th of June 2012, the Northern Cape Provincial Department of Environment and Nature Conservation (DENC) in partnership with SKEP stakeholders, various Namaqualand Eco-Schools and members of the public hosted a successful celebration of World Environmental Day in Springbok united in the theme Green Economy: Does it include you?
Boasting more than 150 people in attendance, the day was kick started with a captivating early morning march from the centre of Springbok town. Here DENC HOD, Denver van Heerden and DENC MEC Sylvia Lucas who were at the forefront of the crowd and guided by the choreographed parade display of police officers from the Vioolsdrift South African Police Service (SAPS) Station, led the masses towards the hall of Springbok Sports Ground.
Upon arrival at the Springbok Sports Ground, Les Abrahams the director for environment empowerment services in the Northern Cape Province welcomed all present. MEC Lucas delivered a keynote address in which she spoke enthusiastically about the province’s plans towards creating a green economy, upcoming green initiatives and establishing green industries in Namaqualand. “Ons het een van die mooiste omgewings, maar kan ons dit bewaar soos ons Skepper dit aan ons gegee het? “said MEC Lucas.
Echoing the theme of the day, MEC Lucas encouraged the youth present to strive towards making the Northern Cape Province the cleanest, the greenest, and to reposition the green sector to fight against poverty and socio-economic challenges.
Other activities at the hall included a puppet show, a dance performance, a poem read to the audience by a school learner, and the opportunity for all present to engage with the assortment of environmental exhibitions on display at the hall.
The aim of the exhibitions was to increase environmental awareness, to give acknowledgement to the people of the Succulent Karoo for their sustainable actions towards the environment, and to promote and advocate partnerships which will ensure all organizations and people to enjoy a safer and more prosperous future through supporting local communities to make links between biodiversity conservation, development and the green economy.
This event showcased that World Environmental Day is one of many opportunities for SKEP stakeholders to make every day a World Environmental Day, and that it is critical for the SKEP partnership to work in a co-ordinated manner to empower the people of the Succulent Karoo to play an active role in protecting the environment.