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World Earth Day 2024 Matters In South Africa

  • EDITORIAL
  • 3 min read

The first Earth Day on 22 April 1970 mobilised millions of Americans from all walks of life to birth the modern environmental movement. 120 million Americans – 10% of the U.S. population at the time — took to the streets, college campuses and hundreds of cities to protest environmental ignorance and demand a new way forward. Since then, Earth Day has evolved into the largest civic event on Earth, activating billions of people across 192 countries to safeguard our planet and fight for a brighter future.

Southern Africa is home to myriad conservation projects working hard to raise environmental awareness and make a positive impact on our planet.

The Cape Town Environmental Education Trust (CEET) has made it their mission to reconnect children and youth to the wonders of nature and expose them to the wide range of job opportunities that exist within the environmental sector. They work to show children the value of our country’s biodiversity, introducing them to the amazing diversity of species that exist in the Cape’s nature reserves. They believe that the excitement of seeing a chameleon for the first time, figuring out how everything is interconnected, or learning about the life found in our wetlands can be the spark to change a child’s life.

CEET nurtures this connection to nature through sustained contact with children through school visits and programmes, participation in action days or by joining their Conservation Leadership Programme. For those most passionate about the environment, CEET facilitates their entrance to the Green Economy through various training and development programmes – their ‘Crèche to Career’ model.

Lessons in Conservation was founded in Pretoria in 2018 and has subsequently expanded across South Africa and into the rest of Africa. A youth-led organisation, they strive to leave our natural world in a better place than they found it. As a group of young people, bound together by a common love for children and wildlife, they are taking responsibility for our future.

By exposing children to the beauty that remains within the landscapes of this beautiful continent, Lessons in Conservation hopes to create young ambassadors who will defend their heritage long into the future, using the mantra ‘Serving to Save’.

The Precious Tree Project (PTP) was established out of the long-term observation and recognition of the very real need to address climate change and the state of our natural environment. It was clear to the founders that they needed to focus on the regeneration and regrowth of existing endemic and indigenous forest patches along the Garden Route. The organisation has subsequently ‘branched out’ into a range of tree-planting initiatives for private land-owners, schools, corporate companies and small businesses.

“These three organisations are just some of the environmentally-focused Beneficiaries that our customers help fund every month with their card swipes at our partner retailers,” saysNaeema Alexander,who looks afterCSI Implementation at MySchool/Woolworths. “Customers can help fund by signing up for a MySchool card online and nominating them as Beneficiaries. Each time they swipe that MySchool card – or linked WRewards card – when they shop, Woolworths will donate to their chosen Beneficiaries, at no cost to them. Every swipe contributes towards helping maintain our planet’s biodiversity, preserving endangered species and raising awareness – and actively doing something about – crucial environmental issues”.