​Slice of Life: Green is the new black

As a 28-year-old green engineer, I stood up in front of hundreds of professionals at a conference and was asked to contextualise green-building principles in Nigeria.

One of the delegates stood up: “I don’t understand,” he said. “I don’t understand why Africans should care about green buildings. Should I care?”

“Yes, you should care,” I answered.

I told him that, environmentally, Africa will bear the brunt of buildings that are not engineered with energy efficiency, resource efficiency and environmental responsibility in mind. I said our economy, as a continent, is dependent on the primary economic sector, which is not as resilient as it needs to be against the temperature degree change that we are trying to offset.

I said the green economy, according to the United Nations, has the potential to generate millions of green jobs in a continent rife with unemployment. Economically, green buildings have lower operational costs, which means greater profit margins for African companies trying to navigate economic instability.

It costs more to live, work and play in a building that is not green, I said passionately – because I so want to see this continent become all that it is called to be.

As he sat down again – I promise I didn’t plan it – the power went off and the auditorium was plunged into darkness. “This is why you should care,” I commented. “This is why Africa should care.” –  Vere Shaba, one of the Mail & Guardian’s #200Young South Africans for 2017, as told to Sihle Manda

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Sihle Manda
Sihle Manda is a senior reporter at the GCIS. He previously covered local government and investigations at The Mercury, The Star and the Mail & Guardian.

Related stories

Artificial intelligence is already responding to our needs

Engineering students are best prepared for the shift in gear, but they will need to learn to change lanes

Engineering slips out of gear at varsity

Walter Sisulu University wants to reprioritise R178-million that it stands to give back to treasury after failing to spend it

Slice of life: ‘People have more compassion’

You know, this coronavirus thing, I just feel, if South Africans can stick together, we’ll get through this

Slice of life: Living her own life again

'It was hard to survive without performance'

Slice of life: Sanitiser feeds family

This week, a man tells his story of how he has prioritised selling his hand sanitiser for the last month

Slice of life: The powers of crocodile meat

With my generation, we don’t have that much knowledge. But if you talk to our grandfathers they will tell you this...

The PPE scandal that the Treasury hasn’t touched

Many government officials have been talking tough about dealing with rampant corruption in PPE procurement but the majority won't even release names of who has benefited from the R10-billion spend

ANC still at odds over how to tackle leaders facing...

The ANC’s top six has been mandated to work closely with its integrity committee to tackle claims of corruption against senior party members

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday