Background:

The Direct Democracy Forum (DDF) take the environment very, very seriously.

One of the big environmental issues of the century is global warming.  We are not competent to judge the global warming debate.  Scientific evidence suggests global warming is happening and this will effect our oceans, our weather patterns, our agriculture and probably our food security.  If nature is the primary cause we cannot fool ourselves we can reverse the forces of nature.  For those who believe climate change is man-made and pollution based, while we may not know enough to be able to agree, we can agree that  man’s activities pollute our environment and we should remedy that.

Regarding global warming, if we cannot reverse global warming we must accommodate it. The logical strategy is to assess the effect of global warming on our lives and develop the means to cope with its impact in the short and the long term.  But first we must clean up our environment.

Strategies:

Cleaning up the environment.

Air Pollution:

In 2007 South Africa’s Eskom was ranked the second-largest power producer in the world – in terms of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. South Africa was placed eighth overall in a ranking of countries by CO2 emissions (See here).

A DDF administration will place greater emphasis on ‘clean’ energy, relegating fossil fuels to a secondary role, extending the life-span of our coal reserves and spreading the effect of pollution from coal generated energy over time.  The goal would be to have a smaller CO2 footprint at any given time than if we relied extensively on coal.

To this end the DDF will:

  • accelerate use of electric power in public and private transport
  • accelerate development and use of hydrogen fuel cells in transport and general use
  • accelerate development and use of heat-pump technology
  • accelerate wind, tidal and off-shore energy generation
  • install solar geysers in every household in the land.
  • turn South Africa into a giant solar energy grid.

In this respect our goal will be a clean air environment on our roads, work places, recreation and home spaces.

Water Pollution:

There are some very serious problems with water in SA.  

  • First is its scarcity.  We are already using just about all the available water resources so we need to find ways of cutting back on water usage.  One of the most obvious ways of doing this would be to cut back on coal-fired energy generation. The massive investments Eskom has in these plants are in our opinion, strategic errors, undertaken for short-term gain and doing nothing to address the future needs of SA. 
  •  Our water is seriously contaminated.  Acid mine drainage (AMD) is a major pollutant of much of our groundwater and if we want to have a sustainable agricultural economy and potable water into the future, we need to address that problem both for the past and the future.  
  • We also have to ensure that we make better use of our existing resources and need effective purification of waste water at municipal level and massive re-cycling for industrial purposes.  This is extremely serious as toxins associated with eutrophication are finding their way into the food chain.  Eutrophication is the ‘killing off’ of oxygen dependent life forms in dams and other stores of water from pollution, particularly but not limited to untreated or inadequately treated sewerage.  Some of these toxins are linked to cancer and other medical conditions.  It is currently believed that about 1/3 of our annual store of water is eutrophic so this is not something to take lightly.  But wait, there is more.  For the same price you also have  significant Endocrine Disrupting Chemical (EDC) pollution from intensive animal husbandry using growth hormones. EDC’s have the potential to alter the gender of the human foetus.  We are probably only scratching the surface.
  • A DDF administration will also invest heavily in water desalination.  This will not only provide additional sources of water but could be used to retrieve much of the contaminated ground-water.that is so problematic and the recovery of water from man made aquifers..  

This is a massive problem that presently is largely being swept under the carpet.  The DDF will address these issues head-on.

Noise abatement:

We are living in a time of ever increasing urbanization with increasing noise pollution.  The DDF will rely extensive on alternate fuels (hydrogen fuel cells) and electric motors for public and private transport, heavily penalise unnecessary and noisome noise-making.  Noisy vehicles, Taxi hooters, noisy in-car sound systems, noisy and annoying neighbors are just a few of the obvious causes of noise pollution.  The DDF will encourage by all means possible a culture of respect and consideration for all others about us, and noise abatement and public peace will be one of its primary means of achieving these objectives.

Litter:

People litter and largely do so with impunity.  The DDF will impose meaningful penalties that will substantially reduce the inclination to litter.  This includes private citizens dropping sweet wrappers in the streets to households dumping garbage in the streets to businesses and other organizations dumping their waste materials in non-designated dumps without the resources needed to deal with the waste.

Waste Disposal and Recycling:

It isn’t enough to to simply impose penalties.  It is also necessary that adequate systems and processes and resources exist for waste disposal and recycling.  The DDF are not convinced that adequate resources exist in SA at present.

The DDF are engaged with experts in the field to determine what is sensible and necessary for appropriate management, recycling and disposal of waste.  We believe that this will not only save needed resources and diminish the waste footprint in our society but will also be a significant source of employment in the country. 

There is a saying – waste not want not.  We believe there is truth in that.