Towards a Greener Future: UCT Summer School Jan 2020

The University of Cape Town’s annual Summer School programme, now celebrating its 70th year of existence, provides the single biggest opportunity for the public to enjoy the knowledge resources of the university.

From 6 to 25 January 2020, the precinct of the university’s Middle Campus will be transformed into an open community space where an array of over 120 short courses and lectures on everything from popular science to climate change, music to current affairs, social issues and politics will challenge ingrained assumptions and provide enlightenment on key debates.

The UCT Summer School programme 2020 has developed a cluster of courses and lectures dedicated to the essential conversations that we need to be having around the environment and climate change, from a global perspective down to the realities of living in a water scarce Cape Town.

Climate Change and South Africa: Impacts and Responses, a short course presented by climatologist  Dr Peter Johnston,  from the 13th  to 15th  January will present the scientific basis of global warming and climate change with special attention given to the impact on South Africa. The course present the mitigating alternatives to coal energy and the implications in the short and long term, as well as the adaptations that will be required by all of us.

Bringing the topic even closer to home will be Associate Professor Gina Ziervogel  who will present, The Cape Town Drought: Lessons Learned, on the 16th and 17th  of January. These two lectures will look back at the Cape Town drought and the build-up to “Day Zero” and look forward to what lessons can be learned in order for Cape Town to become a more adaptive city.

Introduction to Green Building Design, presented by Songo Sokhululeka Didiza, CEO of Green Building Design Group  is of interest not just to building professionals, but to anyone interested in the latest sustainable trends in the building space. From the – 7th January the course will highlight legislation pertaining to green building, user based incentives for carbon reduction, and the latest knowledge and experience in the development of world-class innovative and sustainable green building design solutions.  

Apart from these scientific approaches to climate change, UCT Summer School also challenges you to think differently with courses that approach the issue from atypical perspectives.

Wilder Lives is a lecture presented on January 10th by Professor Duncan Brown, the Centre for Multilingualism and Diversities Research, and Department of English at the University of the Western Cape. In this talk, Professor Brown asks if “thinking wild” can provide new ways of engaging and being human in light of the fact that humans, as a species, have single-handedly destroyed our planet’s ecosystems in the short space of a few hundred years.

In an innovative look at how science fiction can guide thinking around the challenges of climate change, Professor John Higgins, Fellow of the University of Cape Town, presents Catastrophe! Science Fiction and the Sustainable Development Goals. This course, between January 6th and 10th uses four key science fiction texts, as well as a range of writings on climate change, ecology and the history of political thought to bring an outlier perspective the climate change discussion.

For the full UCT Summer School program visit

Tickets are available via webtickets.

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