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Chiponda – an environmental and climate justice advocate in the extractives sector

By Business Reporter – Friday 6 March 2020

WOMEN IN MININGPROFILES – HARARE (Mining Index) – LORRAINE Chiponda is an environmental and climate justice advocate with vast experience in the extractives sector with a particular focus on mining.

Chiponda is the Africa Coal Coordinator for the International Coal Network, a network of African organisations working to push back on coal developments and see a Just Transition towards renewable energy and sustainable economies.

The mining sector is one of the highest energy consumers, and fossil fuels driven energy systems are a threat to climate justice as Africa is currently facing numerous climate induced disasters, which include droughts and cylones.

To combat the climate crisis and limit global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius, Africa should push forward a global agenda that stops the proliferation of coal projects as the effects of climate change driven by burning coal will disproportionately impact Africa in comparison with other regions of the world.

Lorraine works to unite different struggles of coal resistance in Africa and ensure cohesion between different regional campaigns with the same goal of advancing renewable energy, stopping coal developments and getting justice for communities and workers already impacted.

Through this work, Lorraine has interacted with organisations, groups and individuals from different countries in Africa affected by and/or faced with the threat of coal developments and those doing work on renewable energy such as South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Botswana, Morocco and several others.

She has done environmental justice work in Zimbabwe under Natural Justice, working at the interface of environmental law and human rights law and carrying out community-centred legal empowerment using various legal empowerment methodologies as well as research, within communities hosting mining projects.

Lorraine facilitated the development of tools for use by grass-roots groups and individuals that seek to remedy environmental justice concerns. Penhalonga and Marange communities developed their own community-led environmental audits and community protocols and these are now being replicated in different mining-affected communities in Zimbabwe.

Lorraine holds a Master of Science in Development Studies from Women’s University in Africa with the Dell Campo Award and Best Student Award. She also holds and a Social Science Degree majoring in Psychology from the University of Zimbabwe.

As Africa is experiencing the devastating impacts of climate change and energy poverty the mining sector should embrace renewable energy. Further investment in coal projects carries a great risk of remaining with stranded assets as the world moves towards renewable energy. ENDS//  

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