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A groundWork Special Report


groundWork is a non-profit environmental justice service and developmental organization working primarily in Southern Africa in the areas of Climate & Energy Justice, Coal, Environmental Health, Global Green and Healthy Hospitals, and Waste. groundWork is the South African member of Health Care Without Harm and Friends of the Earth International.

Standard Bank campaign graphic

Standard Bank, pull out of financing the proposed Thabametsi and Khanyisa coal power stations

Thabametsi and Khanyisa cannot become a reality without banks. The planned coal fired power stations cannot come into existence without the financial support of institutions like Standard Bank. We call on the decision makers at Standard Bank to do the right thing, and stop the funding of coal, which results in air pollution and negative health impacts.

groundWork with many community people and NGO's are challenging the injustices of coal. Please take time to support this call TODAY.

Sign the petition here.

December 3rd, 2018 marks the 34th Anniversary of the Bhopal Gas Disaster.

The International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (ICJB) needs your help to showcase the hypocrisy of Dow Chemical.

It's easy to participate. All you need to do is log on to any social media account you have (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram), and post about Dow Chemical. We have provided a series of sample posts/tweets that you can use.

See all the suggested posts/tweets here.

Governments and corporates ignore calls for no more carbon

03 December 2018 - In July this year, scientists from leading climate institutions warned of “the risk that self-reinforcing feedbacks could push the Earth System toward a planetary threshold that, if crossed, could prevent stabilization of the climate at intermediate temperature rises and cause continued warming on a ‘Hothouse Earth’ pathway even as human emissions are reduced". They emphasise that cascading feedbacks – where crossing one tipping point sets off the next – may be triggered at between 1.5° and 2°C warming above pre-industrial temperatures. This is runaway climate change leading to unliveable ‘hothouse earth’ conditions.

Warming is now at over 1°C above the 1850-1900 average. If pre-industrial is taken to be 1750, as used to be the case, warming is now at 1.2°C. This is already dangerous climate change: people are experiencing extreme heat, drought, hurricanes and floods; and some critical tipping points may be tipping but we won’t know for certain until after the event. The impacts at 1.5°C will be much more severe, particularly for the poorest half of the world’s people, and the impacts at 2°C exponentially more severe, as International Panel on Climate Change Special Report on 1.5°C, published in early October, has shown. The collapse of agriculture is already threatened in some regions – notably in Africa, including the Western Cape – and the collapse of global fisheries from ocean warming and acidification, as well as industrial over-fishing, is in process.

Read the full media release here, issued on the occasion of the UNFCCC COP 24 Gathering in Katowice, Poland, 03 - 14 December 2018.

Zero Waste (Recycling) Exchange for Government Officials

20 November 2018 - On the 21 and 22 November groundWork and South African Waste Pickers Association (SAWPA) are hosting a government officials zero waste exchange in Vaal triangle. Drankenstein, Matjhabeng, Big 5, Emfuleni, Metsimaholo local municipalities in collaboration with South African Local Government Association (SALGA) as well as Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) are convening to share ideas on how the Polokwane Declaration of 2000 as well as the Waste Act 2008 can be best implemented in different municipalities.

The exchange is the first of its kind, groundWork has sourced funding to make this municipal exchange a reality. groundWork has been working primarily with informal workers also known as waste pickers from various cities and towns in South Africa. As groundWork, we felt that the work has been done with waste pickers and now it is time to engage with municipalities; that is how the idea of this exchange came about.

Read the full media release here.

FG Landfill Site to Shutdown Finally

“Miracles never cease, thank goodness” - Sharon Tiepelt, Community Member.

19 November 2018 - Interwaste which operates the FG landfill site in Midrand has lost an appeal to continue its operations. Acting minister of environmental affairs Derek Hanekom confirmed the fate of the problematic landfill late on Monday. The JSE-listed waste management group launched an appeal after a ruling in February last year that it should cease operations at the site. The landfill site which is near Olifantsfontein in Midrand has been given 10 days from 3 November to cease operation.

Read the full media release here.

United in the Fight Against Fracking

18 November 2018 - We the people and organisations from the Karoo met from the 16th - 18th November in the Wilderness to discuss our response to the increased push for fracking in South Africa.  We were joined by community people from throughout South Africa and international and national NGOs.   

We remember the families that have lost loved ones in the October 2018 fires in the George area.  We recognise that the severity of these fires, like the ones in California are because of climate change.  We also recognise that despite this reality, the South African government, and the Ministry and Department of Environmental Affairs continue to facilitate the extraction of fossil fuels, despite the overwhelming evidence and call by various international bodies such as the International Panel on Climate Change and the International Energy Agency that we need to get to zero carbon emissions urgently.

Read the full text of the statement here.

The Cooperative and Policy Alternative Centre and South African Food Sovereignty Campaign call for emergency sitting of Parliament to consider UN climate change report

12 November 2018 - The Cooperative and Policy Alternative Centre, through and with alliance partners in the South African Food Sovereignty Campaign issued a media release on 23 October 2018, in the form of an open letter, calling on President Ramaphosa to convene an emergency sitting of Parliament to consider the recently released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

The report draws attention to the rapidly changing science on global climate change. It also underlines the imperative of bringing down carbon emissions to prevent catastrophic climate change through a 1.5°C overshoot. The report is clear that we are running out of time and decisive leadership is needed over the next 12 years to prevent such a dangerous shift in the Earth's climate.

Read more here.

Court victory for South Africa’s protected areas in Mabola case

Montane grassland in the Mabola Protected Environment

Montane grassland in the Mabola Protected Environment.

08 November 2018 - Today, the North Gauteng High Court set aside the 2016 decisions of former Mineral Resources Minister Zwane and the late Environmental Affairs Minister Molewa to permit a new coal mine to be developed in the Mabola Protected Environment near Wakkerstroom, Mpumalanga.

The case was brought by the coalition of eight civil society organisations challenging a range of authorisations that have permitted an underground coal mine in a strategic water source area and a protected area.

The Mabola Protected Environment was declared under the Protected Areas Act in 2014 by the Mpumalanga provincial government as part of the declaration of more than 70 000 hectares of protected area in the Mpumalanga grasslands. This followed years of extensive research and planning by a number of government agencies, including the Department of Environmental Affairs, the South African National Biodiversity Institute and the Mpumalanga Tourism & Parks Agency.

Read the full media release here.


For more news and our news archives click here, or here to access our collection of media items.