By Babalwa Nomtshongwana
Sustainable living in townships bags UCT student top award
UCT student Megan Lukas recently won a top award at the Green Talents award ceremony in Berlin. Green Talents honours 25 young scientists from 21 countries and this year it attracted 602 applicants from 95 countries. The focus of the awards was “Sustainable Production and Consumption”. Lukas is currently studying towards her PhD in Environmental and Geographical Sciences. Her research focus was “Human connection to the environment in an under-resourced township setting regarding pro-environmental behaviour, sustainable living and place attachment.” She was able to identify self-motivated groups that are working to promote sustainability in impoverished townships in Cape Town.
Lukas believes that pro-environmental activities should be recognised in the global south, and that groups working toward sustainable living should be recognised. Furthermore, she believes their examples should be used to inform decisions about achieving sustainability and improved well-being in townships. Lukas has expressed her support for sustainable cities and has identified a form of African urbanism, characterised by the ways in which individuals and households forge and sustain association networks within a context of material scarcity and the failure of formal institutions. Winners of the Green Talents award are invited to return to Germany the following year for a fully funded research stay at an institution of their choice.