Archbishop Bishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has urged western countries to join the fight for a legal binding deal on climate change at COP 17 saying both the rich and the poor are prone to its effects, saying climate change is a big enemy that no country can fight alone, hence the need for all nations to stand together and speak with one voice.
Speaking during the Interfaith Rally that also marked the launch of the COP 17 held at Kings Park Stadium in Durban South Africa, yesterday, Tutu said:
“I want to tell you that this is our home (earth), whether you are rich or poor we both belong to this home, if you destroy it is not only Africa that will suffer, don’t be cheated you will also be affected”
“For your own sake, we are inviting you who are rich to come on our side and fight climate change. God created us to be a family, we are all members of the human family lets care for one another as members of the same family”.
The highlight of the rally was the handed over of over 200,000 petitions signed by concerned Africans to South African Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa.
Receiving the petitions from Desmond Tutu, Molewa thanked the Faith Based organizations for organizing the Inter-faith rally and for considering taking a leading role against climate change.
She said faith based organizations are the most indispensableelement in the great fight for climate change.
“It is in such difficult times like this that we invite divine intervention, as the incoming COP president I make a commitment that your petitions will be taken seriously and will get the attention they deserve,”. Said Molewa.
Youths from different parts of the world gathered at the stadium in their large numbers to have their voice heard. They brought the petitions in a wooden ark led by a team of cyclist who cycled 1078km for 17 days from Mesina to Durban.
The event was spiced with presentations from athletes who are also environmental campaigners Lewis Pugh and Braam Malherbe.
There were also musical performances by Black Mambazo Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Arno Carstens and HHP.
The youths braved the rains, and danced as nobody’s business to the tunes of Chaka Chaka who took the audience by storm with her old renditions in the likes of Winkomboti and other reggae tunes originally performed by Bob Marley and Lucky Dube.
Nnimmo Bassey, a Nigerian poet was the last to speak and strongly emphasized on the need for the parties to make a deal that will help change the current climate situation.
“We want something tangible to be done out of the COP 17 or else Africa will be cooked and flied. We will not leave until something has been done” said Bassey.
Bassey who works for Environmental Rights Action (friends of the earth) said In Africa everything is possible, giving examples of the end of South African apartheid era in 1994 saying in the same manner climate change will be won in Africa.