Climate Strike march from Hanover Street to Parliament to hand over a memorandum. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)
Dear Mayor Dan Plato, 

If you were to call the mayor of Chico in Butte County, California, and ask him why his city had declared a climate emergency and followed that up by asking the mayor of Paris exactly the same question, here’s what you would be told.

Chico witnessed the most destructive wildfire in the region in its history and it was this that forced the declaration of climate emergency.

The mayor of Paris will tell you that he did so because the French capital experienced such a prolonged heatwave that temperatures were sent soaring to 47°C. Something had to give.

It is now common cause that the months of June, July and September have been the hottest experienced on earth in four centuries.

The earth is heating up quickly and alarmingly; it is doing so faster than anyone projected. As temperatures continue to surpass those that were recorded as highs, over a very long time, a whole host of serious problems are materialising and impacting adversely on inhabitants.

The mayor of Ottawa also had a compelling reason for declaring a climate emergency in Canada’s capital. It was the destructive tornadoes that tore through the region on one hand, and the massive flooding that occurred on the other that prompted him to declare climate emergency in Ottawa.

Noosa in Queensland, Australia, was also forced to declare a climate emergency because intensifying weather events had significantly increased the dangers of coastal erosion and the inundation of properties through rising storm surges.

The actual destructiveness of storms and fires that cities are now witnessing and the sweltering heat of recent summers in places that never experienced that before, are three dangers causing climate activists to take to the street in numbers never seen before.

The pressure being applied by today’s youth on city officials is building up rapidly across the world.

It is, therefore, better to anticipate what is coming and deal pro-actively with it rather than to allow that pressure to build up into a destructive storm also.

The writing is on the wall. Cape Town must also declare a climate emergency without a moment’s delay.

Tomorrow will be, not may be, too late, Mr Mayor, and then how will you face the rage of the city’s inhabitants?

* Farouk Cassim, Cope.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

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Cape Argus