Thursday the 24th of July, marked the 100 days countdown to the start of the Last Desert Race in Antarctica. It also marked the start of my fundraising campaign in support of Greenpeace Africa linked to my participation in the race.

As stated before, going to Antarctica is about much more than running in the snow. I am dedicating my participation in the race to the work of Greenpeace Africa. Working closely with the Greenpeace Africa fundraising and media teams, we are using my participation in the race to implement a fundraising campaign in support of its core activities and raise awareness about its key priorities and campaigns in Africa.

Climate change is one of the biggest threats mankind has ever faced, particularly in Africa. Africans are not responsible for climate change; the industrial nations are the worst offenders. But it is Africans who will pay the heaviest price. The global energy sector is the worst offender, creating almost 66 percent of all greenhouse gases.

In South Africa, where we are faced with a major energy supply problem, the government’s answer to this problem seems to be the building of more coal-fired energy stations. This solution only serves to worsen the problem.

South Africa has abundant solar resources that could revolutionise the way energy is produced in the country. It is the third-best solar location globally as it has one of the highest and most stable solar radiations in the world. According to the Advanced Energy [R]evolution, Greenpeace’s energy blueprint for a sustainable future and green development, 49% of South Africa electricity can be produced from renewable sources by 2030, increasing to 94% by 2050, while at the same time creating around 150 000 new jobs in the energy sector in the next 20 years. The report shows that renewable energy is mature, ready for implementation, and can be deployed on a large scale.

Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, already generates over 25% of its electricity from renewables, and is aiming for 80% renewable energy by 2050.

I recommend that anyone interested in promoting renewable energy and/or  still needs convincing about the true potential of renewable energy in support of South Africa’s long-term energy requirements, should read the Greenpeace article, “Renewable Energy Myths – 6 myths about renewable energy, blown away”.

The funds raised linked to my participation in the Last Desert Race will go towards the installation of solar energy in an underprivileged South African community. Our aim is to raise R250 000, but hopefully we will raise much more than that.

As part of its Climate and Energy work, Greenpeace Africa is planning to retrofit solar power in a community. Using solar panels and energy efficient lighting, Greenpeace Africa hopes to improve the lives of this community. Greenpeace Africa is placing heavy emphasis on community engagement in the planning and implementation of the project, and will host workshops on solar and climate change.

This will be held with local authorities and community members to ensure that the community is part of the installation and maintenance process. With community engagement already in progress, it is only a matter of time before Greenpeace Africa can announce more details and ground break on “switching on the sun in South Africa”.

My fundraising campaign forms part of Greenpeace Africa’s broader efforts aimed at raising awareness and support for its work. It has recently launched a membership drive designed to bring together ordinary South Africans who have a common passion for the environment to investigate, campaign and lobby for a sustainable balance between humans and the environment. In order to maintain its independence from governments, corporations and political parties, Greenpeace only relies on donations from individuals to carry out its work.

My fundraising campaign starts today, 24 July 2014, and will end on #givingtuesday – 2 December 2014, which is an annual global campaign aimed at promoting philanthropy.

To make a secure online donation via GivenGain, please click here.

I’m excited about my participation in the Last Desert Race in Antarctica and the challenge of raising R250 000 for Greenpeace Africa, and encourage you to make a contribution in this regard!

Follow updates about my preparations for The Last Desert Race, and work with Greenpeace Africa, on Facebook and Twitter, and via Greenpeace Africa’s various online platforms.