[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Going green is the way forward. The Constitution states that ‘Everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and to have the environment protected for the benefit of present and future generations…’ With every right comes a responsibility and it is the responsibility of students to protect the environment for future generations.
There are a myriad of ways in which students can make a positive impact on the environment. The focus however needs to be on creating sustainable economic development and decreasing our environmental footprint.
The Department of Environmental Affairs’ stated goal is to establish a ‘sustainable economically prosperous and self-reliant nation… by managing its ecological resources responsibly…’ How can students be part of this? Renewable energy is a relatively new and exciting field for students to study and conduct research in.
Given South Africa’s energy shortages, renewable energy is a great way for South African students to tackle one of South Africa’s strategic weaknesses and conserve the environment at the same time. The Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES) at Stellenbosch University is one example of South African students getting involved with the environment. The South African Renewable Energy Technology Centre (SARETEC) and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) is another. Science and engineering offer students the opportunity to create original solutions to problems specific to South Africa.
There are also ways to make a positive impact on the environment without a science or an engineering degree.
There are plenty of ways that individual students can get involved and make a difference by reducing their environmental foot print.
Recycling is one of the simplest but most important means of conserving the environment. Rhodes University is running a great recycling initiative that employs previously disadvantaged people – the Masihlule Project. This project both protects the environment and uplifts those in greatest need.
Alternative means of transport help to solve the problems of carbon emissions from vehicles, congestion on the roads and parking shortages on campus. UCT’s Green Campus Initiative launched RideLink, a car pooling system to reduce the number of single-person car usage. It uses UCT’s Vula online system to connect potential carpooling buddies. BikeLink is the complimentary programme to make UCT’s campus friendlier to cyclists.
It’s awesome to see SA universities doing their part for the environment. How is your university going green? Comment below and share your story![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]