More than 90% of South Africa’s electricity already comes from dirty, dangerous coal. So really, every time we use electricity, we are burning coal.

But burning coal is one of the most destructive practices on the planet: polluting our air, wasting our precious water, damaging people’s health and contributing to climate change. In fact, medical professionals call the health impacts of coal ‘the silent epidemic’, and Eskom already uses 10 000 litres of water per second for its coal-fired power stations.

Sadly, this has not stopped coal expansion in South Africa, as Eskom and the South African government build two of the biggest coal-fired power stations in the world (Medupi and Kusile).

We need more safe, affordable electricity, but it should come from renewable energy instead of coal. By building new coal-fired power stations, we are being locked into a dirty future for generations to come.

But we also know what the solution is: shifting away from coal and towards renewable energy and energy efficiency. A global anti-coal movement is growing and gaining momentum as we move to turn the tide. We’re also starting to see governments and international finance institutions like the World Bank begin to turn their backs on coal.

Today, activists are standing up in South Africa for a shift away from coal to clean renewable energy, which will create jobs, preserve our water resources, protect people’s health and ensure a sustainable future. We believe that it is time to unplug South Africa from coal, and to switch on renewables instead – this country has some of the best solar and wind resources in the world. Today we’re heading to Gandhi Square in Johannesburg to take a massive interactive photo to show our commitment to a renewable future.

It is not yet too late to create change – but we do need to act now. So I’m inviting you to stand with us to celebrate the power of this growing movement against coal.

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