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WATCH: Covid-19 and the crisis of climate change

Published Jun 10, 2020

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CAPE TOWN- South Africa celebrates its National Environment month in June, however the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent effects have been a primary concern for government, corporates and citizens.

A Stellenbosch University (SU) professor specialising in Sustainable Development Law and Climate Law, says that solutions to combating Covid-19 need to be aligned to those of climate change.

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Professor of Law and Director of the Development and Rule of Law Programme (DROP) at SU, Oliver Ruppel says that while the Covid-19 crisis is prevalent now, the climate change crisis has been an issue for many years.

“With the Covid-19 crisis, the government had to immediately react. We can learn from this going forward, because it will show us that we can’t wait to act until a crisis overcomes us,” said Ruppel.

While dealing with one crisis is bad enough, both Covid-19 and the increasing climate change slows economic growth, exacerbates social inequalities and harbours the risk of violent conflicts among others.

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“Therefore, I advocate, solutions to Covid-19 need to be aligned to those of the climate crisis for a transformation towards more sustainability, resilience, equity, and justice,” he said.

In his research Ruppel examines the interface between economic growth, human well-being and environmental sustainability and protection.

“If we want to tackle a problem as huge as climate change, every human being has the responsibility to be involved,” he said.

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