On 14th January 2009 a tree planting event was held in the settlement of Cosmo City, North West of Johannesburg, South Africa. Through a partnership with Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA) and 65 Pan African delegates from British Council’s Interaction leadership programme, 65 trees were planted at homes in Cosmo City through FTFA’s Trees for Homes programme.
"Trees are an efficient and simple way for us to sequestrate and store carbon, thus contributing to reducing our impact on climate change," says FTFA founder Jeunesse Park, who was honoured with the 2007 UNEP Sasakawa Award for Climate for her efforts to improve the quality of life for disadvantaged South Africans and to combat climate change.
Cosmo City, coordinated by the Gauteng Provincial Government and Johannesburg City Parks, is the first mixed use and integrated housing scheme with fully subsidized (“low-cost”), partially-owned (“credit-linked”) and bonded houses. With houses being built at an average rate of 400 a month, those presently residing in nearby informal settlements of Zevenfontein, Riverbend and the Cosmo Farm will be housed in Cosmo City. Beneficiaries have already begun moving into their homes while major construction activities are taking place and the area needs greening to enhance quality of life and for the social, environmental and economic benefits this will provide.
About the British Council:
Climate change is the first truly global issue to confront mankind; no country or individual can afford to ignore the well-documented scientific warnings. Our science programme in South Africa is comprised of the following thematic areas of work: Climate Security and Environment; Science Communication
ZeroCarbonCity was an exhibition programme commissioned by the British Council globally which ran from 2004 – 2007 and to address the effects that climate change has on the lives of ordinary people. It was a global British Council campaign launched to raise awareness and stimulate debate about climate change and the energy challenges faced by the world’s greatest cities. The exhibition is supported by a selection of wrap-around events that include creative science/education products, graffiti and puppetry workshops as well as Dancing on a Volcano, a performance arts production.
The International Climate Champions (ICC) programme http://www.britishcouncil.org/climatechange-climatechampions.htm which was launched last year in the Western Cape in South Africa, involves people of school age, selected to help spread the word about climate change and to get others involved . The ICC initiative is part of our Low Carbon Futures programme of activities engaging young people, local partners and influencers around the world to build understanding of and action on climate change. The programme will see youth participating in a variety of activities: workshops on global warming, climate change and renewable energy, field trips, debates, school project initiatives and selected youth have attend international conferences in London and Kobe Japan. It is an extension of a successful British Government climate change initiative that has shown how effective young communicators can be in engaging the media, their peers and the public. We are working with in-country partners, initially the G8+5 (Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, UK, USA) during 2008, to help set up Climate Champion initiatives. Other countries will follow on later.
The British Council is committed to improving, managing and measuring our environmental impact. We are implementing an Environmental Management System (EMS), ensuring that we attain accreditation ISO14001 and that resources are in place for sustainability. We are adapting the EMS for overseas offices, setting and monitoring minimum standards to help us meet the high standards that we promote through our initiatives under our Low Carbon Futures programme, for more information, please visit: http://www.britishcouncil.org/lcf.