“Wealthier people are prepared for the changes coming. But everyone who is poor and under educated don’t know what crisis we’re in – and they are the ones who will be affected by it.”
Colleen Pietersen started TLC Outreach Projects, a non-government organisation in Table View, Cape Town, 23 years ago.
Their main focus is providing education to recovering drug addicts and felons to help them adjust back to society.
“If we can ensure proper education we can raise the awareness around climate change. These people have no idea why our weather is unpredictable, and when you live in a shed you are dependent on a stable and predictable climate.”
South Africa is particularly vulnerable to climate change, and the country has already endured wildfires, drought, and intense storms that threatens Cape Town residents.
People Face Starvation Threats due to Climate Change
After many years in the community, Mrs Pieters is scared of how climate change is affecting those living in townships.
In 2019 Cape Town was close to reaching “Day Zero”, where the city’s water taps run dry. The city has lived through a drought many times and they’re used to saving water.
According to scientists, the residents will continue to live under the threat of water shortage.
Mrs Pieters says that already people are now struggling with the consequences of climate change. She explains how farmers cannot produce enough food, and how many people go hungry as they can’t afford to buy.
“A couple of years ago it was really bad, many people didn’t even have water to drink, and mothers couldn’t supply and feed their kids. It is just awful.”
There are New Dangers
South Africans aren’t just living under the threat of extreme heat and drought.
As the Arctic melts, there is a new climate crisis that threatens Cape Town residents, sea levels are rising. Mrs.Pieters has noticed how the shoreline has changed over the last years, and how dangerous it is.
“I see kids walking to the beach on hot days, and since the ocean is rising, it’s no longer safe for them. We have had a lot more drowning accidents in the last couple of years, and I don’t believe that is a coincidence.”
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