By now, we’ve all (hopefully) accepted the scientifically established fact that human-caused climate change is real. In September last year, the world’s leading climate scientists issued a dire warning: what we’re doing currently isn’t enough for us to meet our target of 1.5C of warming. With this comes the growing emotional toll — even panic — about the impending consequences of climate change for the Earth and all that inhabits it. But there are ways to mitigate its impact.
In South Africa, there are several environmental organisations that work to reduce the impacts of climate change and strengthen South Africa’s communities and biodiversity. These organisations are involved in conservation projects that protect vulnerable communities, creatures, and ecosystems. Some of these belong to the Climate Action Partnership. Here are some of these organisations and more.
BirdLife South Africa
As its name suggests, BirdLife South Africa aims to conserve birds, their habitats, and biodiversity using scientifically-based programmes. The NGO has a number of projects targeted at specific provinces, but also nationally including projects to conserve estuaries, forests and the Karoo. Find out how to donate to or support the organisation here.
Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA)
Encouraging people to care for the earth, WESSA implements environmental, ecotourism, education, and youth development programmes nationally. This means improving the school curriculum through education for sustainable development and providing skills training, creating job opportunities and sustainable livelihoods in local communities. WESSA’s environmental initiatives are about the restoration of ecosystems. It also encourages responsible tourism and improved management of our coastline. Get involved with WESSA.
Wilderness Foundation Africa (WFA)
WFA is a conservation and leadership organisation. Its work involves protecting and sustaining wildlife and wilderness through integrated conservation and education programmes. WFA plans and manages the wildlands. This increases the knowledge and uplifts the lives of citizens who are historically disadvantaged. Here’s where you can find more information.
Endangered Wildlife Trust
The Endangered Wildlife Trust works to help safeguard threatened species and ecosystems in southern Africa with the vision of helping humans and wildlife prosper in harmony. Its projects target helping all sorts of endangered species from vultures to rhinos, with various conservation programmes at targeted habitats. Find out how to support the organisation.
Botanical Society of South Africa
Established at Kirstenbosch Gardens, the Society assists with its development, as well as the development of other eight National Botanical Gardens. It is especially committed to conservation of a unique wild flower heritage beyond the Gardens through conservation and education programmes, projects and initiatives. Get involved here.
Centre for Environmental Rights
Based in Cape Town, the Centre for Environmental Rights is a non-profit organisation and law clinic. It’s made up of a group of activist lawyers who help South African communities and civil society organisations realise the Constitutional right to a healthy environment by advocating and litigating for environmental justice. It runs various programmes to do with corporate accountability, mining, pollution, transparency, water, and wildlife. Find out more about the work the Centre does and how you can support it.
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) South Africa
WWF does a whole host of things. The conservation organisation’s mission is to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and forge a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. This, by conserving the world’s biodiversity and ensuring the sustainable use of renewable natural resources. Join the organisation and get involved.
Wildlands Conservation Trust (Wildtrust)
This non-profit organisation works to conserve the natural heritage of the country. Wildtrust We works for the places, the safety of threatened species — and conserving and restoring the ecosystems in which they can thrive —, and the upliftment of people and communities. Show your support for this important work.
It’s true that the biggest offenders are large countries and corporations, but if we all do something small to combat climate change we can start an environmental revolution.
Featured image via Geograph