Last night I attended the media launch of the SOA 2012 – Africa’s First Annual Sustainability Summit – which is to be held in Cape Town from 22-28 October this year. This ground-breaking event is set to be something quite special and I would encourage all South Africans to attend and get involved in positive change going forward. The launch was held in the Two Oceans Aquarium, at the V&A Waterfront; a surprisingly amazing venue. Imagine speakers doing their thing with a backdrop of sharks, rays, turtles and a host of other fish cruising by. Superb, calming and quite surreal.
50 “Change Agents” will be sharing their experiences and driving the agenda for sustainable change in South Africa, on our continent and around the World. The message is incredibly inspiring. Speakers at the launch, introduced by the charming Afrika Melane (MC) were, amongst others: Deon Robbertze (SOA Founder), Jason Drew whose is brain full of astounding facts and figures about mosquitoes(!), Nicola Robbins who shared incredible insights on how humans are change-resistant, Cormac Cullinan (environmental lawyer and writer) who spoke about the rights of all in the world (rivers, animals, mountains,etc) not just us power hungry humans.
Interspersed amongst these hard hitting engaging speakers were entertainers who kept us enthralled and brought some drama and even a lighter side to the occasion: Mbali Vilakazi who spoke her dramatic prosaic words from the heart (“is there a xhosa word for climate change?”), Nicki Jackman aka MafAfrika who dropped in from Planet #% for a visit (wow!) and finally Mark Sampson whose unique brand of humor was hilarious and engaging.
The energy used for the launch was produced by the Darling Wind Farms, which epitomized the SOA ethic of making change happen, the wine was from Backsberg’s “Touching the earth lightly” range, in recycled plastic bottles. A great start to what looks to be a very promising and exciting event in October 2012.
Here is a bit more info about Sustain Our Africa:
What is Sustain our Africa? It is collaborative sustainability communications platform that acts as a catalyst for change. By cultivating awareness, showcasing inspirational stories and hosting practical tools for change SOA aims to build an abundant, resilient Africa that can deliver ENOUGH. FOR ALL. FOREVER.
Sustain our Africa will create the platform for lively debate and problem solving by accessing the most highly specialised and passionate professionals across all fields of the sustainability landscape. The reason these sustainability strategists, environmentalists, provocative entrepreneurs, civil society activists, water specialists, documentary makers, communication experts, waste and recycling gurus, biomimicry advocates and corporate social investment experts are uniting on one platform is to identify and address the complex issues facing South Africa and Africa as a whole. This is in order to create a future economy founded on sustainable solutions.
The dialogue will be led by CHANGE AGENTS who have the expertise to guide us towards a sustainable future. It is time for change in the way we think, the way we live and above all in the way we do business and how we measure growth and value.
One short piece from Mbali to end off with:
Central to our search for a new way of being present, together and responsible on this earth is this reminder:
“Listen. See. Think. Speak. Do. Be. Differently”
The ordinary, the everyday and the most vulnerable among us.
Here is a short video clip giving a simple yet powerful message about SOA and it’s aims.
For more info on the Summit go to the SOA website: www.sustainourafrica.org