Connecting people and planet through collaboration
Environmental sustainability is not a new concept. It is bandied about in so many facets of our daily lives – from retail packaging to advertising and branding. Private sector boardrooms and government offices worldwide make a lot of noise about it. At some level we know it’s important, but do we really know what it means?
How is environmental sustainability achieved on a practical level?
Durban falls within an important global biodiversity hotspot that has a variety of important plant and animal species that have been impacted by climate change, alien invasive species, and urbanisation. If it is not looked after there will be a massive impact on future species.
Back in 1982, the City mapped out more than 94 000 hectares of green spaces in the Durban Metropolitan Open Space System – D’MOSS – to protect this biodiversity and its associated ecosystems, while at the same time offering social and economic benefits for its citizens.
Having identified these areas, the City now has the opportunity to conserve many of South Africa’s threatened ecosystems and species and help the province and the country in meeting biodiversity conservation targets.
It is all very well having green spaces, but these need to be managed within complex urban ecosystems. This is where the small but impactful NPO, Green Corridors, steps in. Funded through several investors, including the City’s own Economic Development Unit, the organisation works towards the sustainability of these green spaces in collaboration with communities in and around them.
“One of the most important premises from which work is understanding that planetary health is interconnected and that people are a vital part of the ecosystem,” says Susan Dlamini, Project Manager at Green Corridors. “Everything we do is motivated by how the natural environment can be protected or rehabilitated and used in a way that it can thrive and help people thrive.”
“Our team has collaborated on programmes that look for economic, educational or social opportunities, ways to help communities thrive in balance with the habitats around them.”
Programmes include improving green spaces through the removal of alien plants and litter and clearing of these areas for multiple uses such as education and recreation and tourism.
In 2019, 45km of trails were maintained for both biking and walking; over 6 000 people made use of Green Corridors facilities which are community-managed with the support of the NPO and over 50 small tourism businesses.
High on the Green Corridors agenda is the waste management in these spaces, and how to change the narrative from waste being something that has little or no value, to it being a resource to be reused and repurposed as part of a bigger circular economy.
For example, Green Corridors’ community-managed litterbooms, set up on tributaries, close to informal settlements, that feed the Umgeni River and trap bulk plastics. This is removed from the waterway, sorted, and transported to a beneficiation centre where research is done on how to best use the waste “resource” so it can circle back into the economy to benefit the people and the environment.
Green Corridors is always on the look-out for local and international private sector partners to collaborate with.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Visit durbangreencorridor.co.za or email firstname.lastname@example.org