By ORTHALIA KUNENE, a South African writer and grass roots activist in her community
The fight against climate change is not only a struggle to keep our planet liveable. For many women, rising temperatures can be a direct cause of violence.
Understanding connections between heat and violence is increasingly important as we witness the warming of our planet, and anticipate more intense and longer-lasting heatwaves.
In most parts of South Africa, temperatures already often exceed 40°C.
While violence in South Africa has often been attributed to its unique historical, social and
economic characteristics, the potential contribution of physical environmental factors, such as heat, has largely been ignored.
But a study using data from all 1158 police wards in South Africa documented higher levels of violence, including homicides, during periods of high temperature.
In Tshwane, Gauteng Province, a study assessed five years of temperature and crime data – and found that the number of violent crime incidents was about 50% higher on high-temperature days, compared with low-temperature days and with random days selected from the dataset after the warmest and coldest days had been extracted.
Another study in the same area noted seasonal patterns in crime, with violence most frequent in the summer months.
Francina Nkosi, national coordinator for Women Affected by Mining United in Action (WAMUA), says: “Around the world, climate change-induced crises have been shown to worsen violence Read the rest of this entry »