This Global Just Recovery Gathering hotspot was situated in a small town, Klerksdorp-South Africa. Even though we are in a small town we felt fortunate to be connected in the Global Event. Even though the technology gave us a bit of challenge at the start, the whole team of participants got excited to be carrying discussions with individuals in different global locations via Zoom. The quiet, neat, and spacious venue made us all comfortable and ready to listen. The online event was being broadcast via Zoom, enabled by a projector and amplified sound.
Our group was diverse, even though the majority was youth. It was an honour to have 66-year-old Mr. Tshediso Mosia as one of the participants. The calm and very attentive old man had his small booklet and pen, taking notes as the panelists took centre stage in the online discussions. Mr. Mosia later expressed his sentiments on how he was moved by the session that highlighted ‘The billboard That Breathes’. The event session described the project that was carried out in Lucknow, India in a bid to measure air quality and to create awareness on air pollution. The billboard is a giant lung Installation that reacts, in real-time to the environment. While the transformation depends on the air quality, audiences can see a live real-time reading of the AQI (air quality index). After it was installed, it turned black within 24hours, showing grave effects of pollution. This resonated well with Mr. Mosia’s and local residents’ air pollution reality in the predominantly mining town of Klerksdorp.
We also had a couple participants from Uniting Abilities – a local organised group that represents the disabled community in Klerksdorp. Even though our group was just below 30 in total, we felt that it was inclusive and representative of our community.
What was most memorable was the feeling of being connected to people from different locations, backgrounds, cultures, beliefs, expertise, and educational backgrounds. Despite the social distancing measures, we were observing because of the covid-19 pandemic, the technology made us feel united as we watched one session after the other.
During the small lunch break discussion, we had amongst ourselves as a group, the majority expressed appreciation at how the different sessions enlightened and educated them. Apart from the serious discussions, we were graced with cultural musical performances on the event that enabled us to refresh and recharge.
The Global Just Recovery Gathering gave us an opportunity to reconnect, learn and re-focus, especially considering the impact we have felt from the impacts of covid 19. It also gave us an opportunity to discuss the various challenges we have experienced during the covid-19 period in carrying out environmental campaigns and mobilising the masses. We are eternally grateful to 350.org for affording us this opportunity to be a part of this amazing experience.
Brighton Phiri – Nu Climate Vision. South Africa, Klerksdorp.