By Ramatamo wa Matamong and Joseph Bushby – Alex Pioneer / Winelands Echo*
DURBAN, Dec 8 – (TerraViva) After winning the award for best stand at the exposition outside the climate conference, Cape Town’s striking entry is continuing to score big in terms of the number of visitors per day.
Outside the distinctive building made of green and black milk crates and recycled wood, there is a solar-powered stove putting the Durban sun’s rays to good use boiling water and cooking meals. Groups of visiting school children circle the perimeter, exclaiming over the lettuce and spinach growing in recycled two-litre bottles.
The building’s design keeps the interior cool without the use of electricity-hungry air conditioners, and members of Cape Town’s ClimateSmart team are taking advantage to discuss how to carry the project forward.
Cape Town’s stand won top prize after assessment by a panel of four judges drawn from various environmental organisations.
“ClimateSmart deserved this acknowledgement as they were harnessing all the power needed for their stand through a wind turbine and solar panels,” said judge Pippa Walker, from the Event Greening Forum.
“They also used plastic bottles and crates to build the walls and the roof of their stand (an innovative example of how one can recycle materials). They did so with no need for sophisticated air conditioning.”
But the team responsible is not resting on its laurels.
“Honestly, the work doesn’t end here,” says Stephen Granger, Green Campaign Manager for the City of Cape Town. “We didn’t build the four walls just for somewhere to meet people, but we built a stand that could tell a message.”
Stephen Lamb, who built and co-designed the stand agrees. “The most important thing is to think about poor people, those who are most affected. The stand can become a creator of climate jobs. In building the stand, we employed and transferred skills to local people. We’ve also used local material,” he said.
“With the support and a mandate from the government, we would like them to try and apply this. It cost literally nothing. It comes from the Mother Nature with love. The scaffolding is the only material that is not natural. This can be converted into a day care centre, an environmental centre or a mobile clinic of some sort.”
Lamb said there has been interest from the office of the mayor in Cape Town which should ensure the stand’s life extends beyond its exhibition at the conference.
* Community media coverage of COP 17 is being supported by the Media Development & Diversity Agency of South Africa, which is promoting the participation of local journalists through a programme of training and reporting on climate change.