A sustainable solution

13 April 2015

Guy Cunliffe
Green Campus Initiative

"I applaud the Senate's resolution for the Rhodes statue removal. But, given its prime position on campus, what – if anything – should take the statue's place?

"The removal of Rhodes presents us with an opportunity to do something different. Instead of celebrating another person, we could use the space to acknowledge a principle that is fundamental to today's UCT, through appropriate artwork and symbolism.

"One such principle is sustainability. Often this is considered in terms of recycling, energy–intensity and carbon footprints. But we can go further. Inequality, by nature of the disproportionate well–being it brings to different people, is not sustainable. Thus, the issue of sustainability is itself another branch of greater social transformation. At a time of reflection upon our heritage, curricula and social norms, we ought to consider how we can transform UCT's campus to better reflect the needs of the community, both of today and of the future.

"One idea is to have a tree: it could be built from recycled material or other reusable items to symbolise growth and future sustainability. Or, if the ground could accommodate it, why not replace the statue with an indigenous tree that could symbolise growth and potential?

"There is scope within the broader transformation discussion for changing the status quo of energy systems and consumption– based 'capitalist' lifestyles, that have their origins in Western and European cultures – another feature of colonialism, courtesy of Cecil John Rhodes and others."

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Monday Monthly

Volume 34 Edition 03

13 Apr 2015

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