Sowing Seeds of climate resilience
Climate change is upon us and people across the globe are feeling the impact of it as rising temperatures, drought, severe storms and flooding become a new reality.
Finding ways to mitigate climate change and help people become resilient to its effect on their lives, is becoming more important than ever before, particularly since the outbreak of Covid-19 led to millions of people losing their livelihoods through lockdowns.
One of the ways to help the most vulnerable is to create food security, particularly in areas with high levels of unemployment.
Cape Town-based NPO SEED, based in Mitchells Plain, facilitates a Resilience Training course, which it believes helps people become resilient to not only climate change, but also joblessness and the feeling of powerlessness felt by those caught up in a cycle of poverty.
The Seeding Futures Youth Resilience Programme teaches, among other things, the basics of Permaculture.
Director, Leigh Brown, is passionate about doing something to assist young people on the Cape flats where almost 70 percent of them live below the poverty line, creating a conduit to crime and gangs.
SEED has been in operation for 20 years, and operates out of Rocklands Primary School.
“The focus of Seeding Futures is to help learners find their strengths, what they CAN do in the world and where they fit in the world, leading them to green opportunities, while at the same time strengthening their climate resilience,” she said.
Brown said permaculture is a resilience-based approach, which had huge potential to change lives.
“One of the Permaculture Design principles is that the solutions can be found in the problems. So when we see high youth unemployment coupled with the need to grow resilience in our cities and settlements … we see opportunity."
One of the learners, Lance Solomons said the course brought into focus the social issues faced by his community, and how they can be solved by growing food and saving seeds.
“So by finding these things, power can be put back into people’s hands, that is for me the biggest inspiration I am getting,” he said.
The 15-week program covers Applied Permaculture Design, Personal Resilience, Urban Regeneration, Organic Production and includes a job placement in a local green business.
Independent evaluators did a survey of students who had done the course and found that a third of them said it had equipped them to deal with pandemic, while some used their new-found confidence to venture into online business, and shaping their future.
Brown said it was vital that people come to understand the importance of localised food production.
Learner Justin Francis said in the same way that one seed can start a forest, one person on the course could plant a seed in his or her neighbourhood and inspire hope.