Get into the summer groove with a cool new weekend must-do
Free Renewable Energy Festival in Cape Town
10 reasons to get amped for this inaugural edutainment day in the Green Point Urban Park
The first-ever Cape Town Renewable Energy Festival looks to put the power back into the hands of the people this Saturday, 8 February 2014 thanks to a collaborative effort from the World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa (WWF-SA), the City of Cape Town and the Alternative Information Development Centre (AIDC). Hosted at the incredibly beautiful and appropriately sustainable Green Point Urban Park, the free edutainment day invites the average Joe to get the facts – not the partisan perspectives – about climate change, alternative power sources and more through panel discussions, seminars, documentary screenings, invention showcases and interactive exhibitions.
In a nutshell, it’s the closest thing you’ll find to Renewables for Dummies, only instead of labouring over a 300-page book, you can get a quick, fair snapshot of the alternative energy landscape in a gorgeous setting and with the help of some of the most prominent players in the industry.
Not your concern, you say? Think again. Climate change and rising electricity prices affect everyone, and it’s your right to know how. This is your opportunity to learn more, to figure out how renewable energy can offer solutions in your community and to discover how you can bring about change and take action.
And even if you’re already deeply enmeshed in the renewables conversation, this is a perfect chance to engage with the public and to accost the policymakers who matter with tough questions.
Plus, the organisers have an impressive line-up of live music on the bill, and there’s a food and craft market as well as a playground and interactive science centre for kiddies on the cards. So bring a blanket and spend the day not only basking in the summer sun, but also figuring out how it can create jobs and save you money.
10 REASONS NOT TO MISS THE 2014 RENEWABLE ENERGY FESTIVAL IN CAPE TOWN
1. Get schooled – the festival is a FREE crash course in renewable energy. Get all the basics and learn about all the issues that impact you, like climate change and rising electricity prices, in a single day. Through debates, forums, exhibitions and documentary screenings, the first-of-its-kind event is giving the man on the street as well as students and learners the chance to get a straightforward, bird’s-eye view of the renewable energy, global warming and coal power debates in South Africa and beyond. Click here for the full programme.
2. Enjoy a MAHALA day of fun in the sun with the whole family. It’s not all about education at the Renewable Energy Festival; there’s also set to be a host of entertainment fit for the entire clan. The Gugulethu Tenors, Afro-folk band Hot Water, stand-up comedian Nik Rabinowitz and electronic act Matthew Gold and the Kiffness are scheduled to sound off throughout the day. And kiddies can bounce about at the Green Point Urban Park’s eco-friendly playground or get involved at the uber cool interactive science centre.
3. Check out the showcase of super cool domestic energy appliances. Want to see what a bicycle-powered smoothie maker looks like? Keen to watch someone use a clean cookstove to conjure up some delicious nosh? This is your chance to see what renewable energy-inspired inventions are out there and your opportunity to get a handle on what green appliances you can use in your everyday life.
4. Take decision-makers to task in intimate Q&A sessions. With key players leading more than 10 discussions, panels and breakaway sections, the festival is giving the public rare access to the people who influence and shape policy. Speakers like Dinga Sikwebu of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and City of Cape Town Head of Energy and Climate Change Sarah Ward will be responding to the tough questions and countering your very own incisive arguments.
5. Learn how to finance your own renewable energy project. Whether you’re an individual homeowner keen on solar panels, a community-based organisation looking to bring more efficient power production to the residents you serve or a small business passionate about going green, you can get the skinny on the tools making renewable energy more affordable. Emergent Energy CEO Frank Spencer leads a talk on ‘A Citizen’s Guide to Financing Renewables’ at 3:40pm.
6. Peruse craft market stalls jam-packed with beautiful upcycled products. As the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. The festival’s craft market gives a platform to artisans who have taken this mantra to the next level. Scope out gorgeous bits and bobs made from the unlikeliest of sources.
7. Find out how you can affect change. Policymakers can be as elusive as the great and powerful Wizard of Oz. This is your chance to discover how you can throw back the curtain and hold these big cheeses responsible. At the festival, there will even be an activation wall that you can sign to demand that government invests more time and effort into making renewable energy a priority.
8. Help create thousands of jobs and grow our economy. South Africa is outsourcing much of the manufacturing work that comes with renewable energy production to international companies. By educating yourself and advocating a more local approach, you can be part of a movement that fights unemployment and gives decent jobs to people who need them.
9. Delve into the social ownership controversy. If you’re already involved in all the power chatter, you’ll no doubt be familiar with the issues surrounding the nationalisation and redistribution of energy. The festival takes a closer look at this idea through two mini-lectures and a panel discussion. The collection of sessions starts at 1:30pm.
10. Get the skinny on renewable energy job opps. If you’re a student or are aspiring to enter the renewable energy field, don’t miss the WWF-SA’s young professionals talk about ‘The Climate Job Ecosystem: from Secondary to Graduate to the Workplace’. The discussion begins at 1:20pm.