Student climate activist challenges Dept of Environmental Affairs

Young people around the world are following the lead of Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg by boycotting Friday classes to protest leaders' inaction over the climate crisis.

Now it's the turn of local learner Raeesah Noor-Mahomed.

The 17-year-old Parktown High School for Girls pupil posted a video on Instagram ahead of her first Friday protest, issuing a challenge to the Department of Environmental Affairs.

The young activist explains why she's been spurred into action after being aware of the climate crisis and attending protests for some time.

At the beginning of the year with the Australian fires and the floods in Indonesia the situation was looking so dire. With the Australia fires, South Africa's got a very similar ecosystem... If a fire like that breaks out here, like the Knysna fires which have happened, we simply do not have the economy to recover from that.

Raeesah Noor-Mahomed, Student climate activist

I was wondering, if I know this then surely the Department of Environmental Affairs must know this too and I couldn't understand why they weren't doing anything.

Raeesah Noor-Mahomed, Student climate activist

Noor-Mohamed says the department has been in contact with her and agreed to a meeting, but she insisted she wanted to meet with Minister Barbara Creecy herself.

They replied and said they want to set up a youth dialogue and invite activists from around the country... I replied that while a youth dialogue is important and it is important to be engaging, discussions must be accompanied by action.

Raeesah Noor-Mahomed, Student climate activist

If it is not treated as an emergency, how can it be solved like it is an emergency? Once we are seeing that they are doing something about it then I will know that I have been successful.

Raeesah Noor-Mahomed, Student climate activist

Asked if her schoolwork will suffer as a result of her Friday boycotts, the student says she has been working very hard and complete strangers have also offered their help in the form of free tutoring.

To listen to the complete conversation, click on the link below:


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