Small steps and the bigger picture

The first ‘Good for Namibia’ project – the ‘Sew Good’ women’s group, embodies the grassroots approach in three ways. Firstly, it addresses the need for the most disadvantaged members of our community – often those most affected by environmental degradation, climate change, and other linked issues – to increase their incomes; learn useful entrepreneurial skills; and plan for the future through a sustainable business model.Secondly, the items created by the group (and by others I hope to assist in the future) are made in Namibia from locally available recycled materials. Therefore the profits remain within the communities that make the products and the transportation costs (actual, and in terms of the negative impacts of fossil fuel-use and pollution) are kept to a minimum. Lastly, of course, by upcycling waste the projects will contribute towards reducing pollution in our country and beyond.

This waste – primarily plastic bottles and fast-food containers – was photographed in Windhoek last week. It has collected in a rainwater channel and will block the drainage eventually, when – as we all fervently wish – it rains in a few weeks. The flooding that will then ensue as the flow backs up will inundate housing upstream, often in areas where newer, low cost housing has been constructed and informal settlements proliferate.

Local activism plays a role in advancing the goals of the global environmental movement too and so it is gratifying to see that Windhoek will host its first organised march against climate change at the end of this week.