By Meggan McCarthy, Sarah Botha & Marelize Dyosop
Pic by Sophie Marcus
Rhodes Environmental Week ran from 12 to 16 May promoting environmental education and creating broad awareness about environmental justice. Lectures and activities were held covering various relevant topics, including businesses’ role in ending poverty and promoting a sustainable environment.
The annual bio fuel race, held on the Great Field on Wednesday 14 May was envisaged to be a fun activity, putting the potential of an alternative propulsion fuel on show. Kyle Langley, the event’s organiser, was disappointed by the small student turnout. “I’m quite bleak at the lack of attendance but life goes on. The [poor] response to the race may be because of the lack of advertisements as well as the tuts and tests on in the afternoon,” he said.
The Rhodes Organisation for Animal Rights (ROAR) was very involved in the week, persistently seeking to emphasise the link between animal rights and care for the environment.
Animal rights activist, Les Mitchell, told Activate about the feeding of grain crops to animals being raised for human consumption, and explained that the subsequent implications of this on both the environment and the world hunger crisis were severe. Kathryn McConnachie, ROAR chairperson, said that the fundamental message that ROAR is trying to communicate to the student body is that “the biggest way to reduce your carbon footprint is to change your diet”.
The week was concluded with a well attended march for environmental justice on Friday 16 May. The march was held in light of concern about the Makana Municipality’s environmental policy, specifically its refuse removal strategies. The demonstrators collected rubbish along the march route and took it to the City Hall.
May Campbell, Green Revolutions and Social Solutions (GRASS) treasurer, said that people marched because they demanded “equal environmental rights for everyone”. Campbell said that the township is littered with tonnes of rubbish because the necessary rubbish removal systems are non-existent, whereas proper services are provided to Grahamstown’s more affluent areas. According to Campbell, the march sought to make evident the importance of “equality for everyone with regards to rubbish removal”.
Campbell said that the week had been a success. “We had a good number of people attending the lectures, our main aim was to create environmental awareness and I think we achieved that,” she said.