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Media Release: SANParks raises its voice on World Environment Day

Date: 5th June 2014

People across the globe are celebrating the World Environment Day (WED) today, 5 June 2014, under the theme "International Year of Small Islands Developing States (SIDS)”. The slogan this year is "Raise your voices, not the sea levels" and that is exactly what South African National Parks (SANParks) is doing across the country.

Given the enormous challenge of climate change and the resultant devastating effects of global warming on the environment, the theme this year, International Year of Small Islands Developing States aims to encourage a greater understanding of the importance of SIDS and the urgency to help protect the islands in the face of growing risks and vulnerabilities, particularly as a result of climate change. 

Reynold Thakhuli, SANParks Acting Head of Communications said the WED 2014 will shine the spotlight on SIDS and their development challenges and successes. “Climate Change is foremost among these challenges as global warming is causing ocean levels to rise”. 

South Africa is home to 3,650 km of coastline and our coastal human settlements are the most vulnerable to an increase in sea-level rise. With climate change expected to increase both the frequency and intensity of storms, the South African coastline will become increasingly vulnerable to storm surges, coastal erosion, sea-level rise and extreme weather events.

“We all experience the effects of climate change in one way or another, and we should collectively work together to find solutions for a more sustainable future while helping to protect not only our immediate environments but our oceans and biodiversity as well”. 

SANParks has joined the global movement in a series of events across all its national parks, keeping in line with the UNEP requirement SANParks will this year host a number of eco-friendly activities. 

Augrabies Falls National Park is visiting the local schools, many of which are surrounded by water, to educate the children on the environment and importance of WED.  

The Kruger National Park is celebrating WED with the Keep Kruger Clean Campaign which will include several schools visiting the park from the neighbouring villages.  

Mountain Zebra National Park is visiting the local Carinus Primary School, to interact with the learners and educators on the WED theme, with a special emphasis on climate change, sustainable consumption, waste management and the degradation of natural resources.

Table Mountain National Park is hosting Water’s Edge Pre-primary School at Boulders where the focus is: Save our penguins.

Golden Gate Highlands National Park is visiting Impucuko Primary School to discuss Environmental Issues and fire awareness and to give the children a fire demonstration.

And finally Garden Route National Park is kick-starting its long-term environmental education strategy targeting young people. Educators in Knysna will be trained to equip youngsters with the necessary tools in environmental education and learners from the South Cape College will be linked to eco-business opportunities in the area.

“These events stress the importance of ‘Connecting to Society’ and forging partnerships that are mutually beneficial to the communities and SANParks. By educating the community we can realise not only our responsibility to care for the Earth but also that we can become agents of change”, stated Mr Thakhuli.

Join SANParks in this bold initiative and make the decision to become more aware of issues related to climate change and rising sea level. Visit any of the participating parks celebrating the day on 5 June 2013 to learn more about how to “Raise your voices, not the sea levels”.  

Issued by:
South African National Parks (SANParks) Communications
Tel: 012 426 5170  

Media enquiries:
Gabrielle Venter
Manager: Media & Stakeholder Relations, SANParks
Tel: (012) 426 5065; Cell: 083 825 9735
Email: gabrielle.venter@sanparks.org 

OR

Reynold Thakhuli
Acting Head of Communication, SANParks
Tel: (012) 426 5170, Cell: 073 373 4999
Email: rey.thakhuli@sanparks.org

 

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