Posts under ‘Up to date news – Enviro & Conservation’

Mapitso Thaisi ‘ #MySchoolRecycles’ Campaign

Friday, June 26th, 2015

World Environment Day was a busy day for me as a Miss Earth South Africa Regional Semi-Finalist. As I went from one school to the next ‘Greening Young Minds’ through tree planting and waste management education.

At Brandwag Primary School, I was welcomed by a group of 304 learners who waited in the school hall. I had a presentation prepared for them on Miss Earth South Africa and the national projects that we were currently doing at schools to get the learners excited about recycling. Through the preparation of this presenation, I also learnt something new about where our waste goes and shared this information with the learners on landfills and how each day as we throw away more waste, our landfills are actually getting smaller and smaller!


The learners were given an opportunity to share ideas of how we could reduce waste at their school and I was surprised at the intelligent answers these young boys and girls gave. They spoke about having school projects such as competitions where each class should recycle as much paper as possible. Others thought of bringing different dustbins at the school for plastic, paper, cans and glass. These different bins would then be taken to the factories were they would be recycled.


The learners were introduced to a campaign called #MYSCHOOLRECYCLES which I hope to further introduce to other schools in the local Welkom area to get more primary school learners  in a spirit of recycling.











It was a very educational morning with the learners which I thoroughly enjoyed. I am pleased to say that I had a very productive, green National Environment Day !



Green Kisses,

Mapitso Thaisi


Mapitso Thaisi ‘Greening Young Minds’

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

On World Environmental Day, as a Miss Earth Regional Finalist, I had an opportunity of planting ten fruit (peach) trees with 50 Grade 8 and 9 learners from Kutlwanong High School in Odendaalsrus Free State. It was a cold morning, but all of us – the teachers and external stake holders that were present and the learners were excited to celebrate the day and join in on the tree planting.  It was amazing to see how this one event added so much joy to both the learners and the teachers.

  • The learners, staff and stakeholders were given a presentation about Miss Earth South Africa as well as the work the organization does to advocate for sustainable green development.
  • Furthermore , the learners, staff and external stakeholders present were taken through the steps of the tree planting.
  • The learners were then educated on the role trees play in the environment
  • The learners then had an opportunity to name their trees at the end of the tree planting and were assigned the responsibility of watering the trees daily in order to see them grow and be able to enjoy their fruits.The event was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone that came and the trees have now added to the rich green biodiversity at the school. The tree planting has also given the learners precious fruits which they now look forward to with excitement for the coming warmer seasons.

“We as a school commend Miss Earth South Africa for the beautiful work they do, thank you for adding joy and greener energy to our learners and educating us on this special day”  Said the School Principal.

By Mapitso Thaisi : Miss Earth South Africa , Free State Regional Finalist

Mapitso Thaisi “Empowering Sustainable Gardening in Communities’

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

 During the World Environmental Week, as a Miss Earth  Regional Semi-Finalist for the Free State Region, I had the opportunity of starting a new food garden with the Siyazehzela People with Disabilities. This organisation seeks to empower community members with disabilities with the platform to also become independent within their communities. They advocate for the rights of people with disabilities and their comprise of a group of men and women with different abilities. Their aim is to start many projects in the community to help their organisation grow and in the long term bring together more stakeholders and people to work together on community projects targeted mainly towards the youth with disabilities.

The group had long wanted to start a food garden, but due to financial constraints and lack of education and motivation were not able to initiate the project.  Thanks to the support from Miss Earth and the motivation of sponsers of seeds, we were able to help this organisation with starting something that they can now own for themselves. As a Miss Earth Regional Finalist, I look forward to supporting this organisation to further grow beyond measures.

By Mapitso Thaisi : Miss Earth South Africa Free State Regional Semi-Finalist

Nombuso Mnikathi: Africa Day after Xenophobia unrest

Friday, June 19th, 2015

This years theme for Africa Day is ”We Are Africa – Opening the doors of learning and culture from Cape to Cairo”.  This is a declaration and celebratory statement of pride also a call to action for individuals and groups from all backgrounds and walks of life to join the movement for change.  Africa Day presents an opportunity for South Africans to reconnect and recommit themselves in support of all government interventions to develop a better Africa and a better world.

It also acknowledges the progress that we, as Africans, have made, while reflecting upon the common challenges we face in a global environment, and brings together the continent to collectively address the challenges it has faced, such as armed conflict, climate change, and poverty.

Earlier this year, however, a string of deadly Xenophobic attacks shook the streets of South Africa, resulting in hundreds of displaced foreigners finding shelter in makeshift refugee camps, while thousands more returned to the native countries. This after angry mobs in various townships in Durban vandalized foreign owned (spaza shops) businesses, looting and settling alight dozens.

Africa has faced greater challenges than the issues that triggered these senseless xenophobic attacks. Though inequality, lack of job opportunities and distribution of resources are evidently serious concerns for the continent, killing one another is not the answer!  The existence of the OAU (African Union) indeed plays a vital role driving the process of unity and solidarity, in the quest for social, economic and sustainable development for all African countries.  Now more than ever, drastic measures need to be taken by the leaders of our respective countries, to dowse out the flames of turmoil that threatens to suffocate the future of our beloved Africa.

We have so much to be proud of and to celebrate, Africa has taken great strides even in the global economy; we cannot afford to take 10 steps back because of futile behaviour of a small minority.  We Are Africa – We Are One.


Celetia Reinders: World Environment Day 2015 Celebrations

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

“There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth- we are all crew.” – Marshall McLuhan

On Friday 5th June, I had the  privilege of celebrating WED 2015 in style with some of South Africa’s most influential and inspirational people. Monte Casino Tsogo Sun welcomed us with open arms- and champagne and canapes! Thank you for making us all feel green and glam.

The evening was opened with a most educational speech by Catherine Constantinides. Ella Bella then taught us how to look through “green glasses” and make more eco-friendly choices. Cecilia Njenga of United Nations Environment Programme, had us on the edge of our seats with her environmental knowledge.  The guests also included members from UNEP, Lead SA and Mr Yusuf Abramjee, the Miss Earth South Africa family and many other change agents.

The theme for World Environment Day 2015 is how the well-being of humanity, the environment and economies ultimately depends on the responsible management of the planet’s natural resources. “Evidence is building that people are consuming far more natural resources than what the planet can sustainably provide.”

What an unforgettable evening! I will definitely be even more eco-conscious from now on. It was an amazing privilege to be invited to such an amazing event.


Andrea von Gunten: A day in the life of the Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers (CREW) team

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

On the 10th June 2015, the CREW team, as we like to call ourselves, set off on a two week trip across South Africa. Well just about. This very important trip would include planning meetings with three volunteer groups in George, St Francis and Port Elizabeth, fieldtrips with these volunteer groups, an environmental education programme with a group of children in St Francis and then ending off in Durban for our Annual CREW Strategic Planning Session.

What is CREW?

CREW, the Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers, is a programme that involves volunteers from the public in the monitoring and conservation of South Africa’s threatened plants. In doing so, CREW aims to capacitate a network of volunteers from a range of socio-economic backgrounds. The programme links volunteers with their local conservation agencies and particularly with local land stewardship initiatives to ensure the conservation of key sites for threatened plant species.

Why is CREW so important?

South Africa has a significant number of the world’s plant species and is the only country with its own plant kingdom and 3 of the world’s Biodiversity Hotspots. Of the 20 456 plant species in South Africa, 2577 (13%) are threatened with extinction and a further 2232 (11%) are considered near threatened, data deficient or rare endemics.

This means that 1 in 4 of South Africa’s plants is rare or threatened. For most of these species there is no recent information about how the populations are doing in the wild. As a country we urgently need to keep track of our plants so that we know how to conserve the unique diversity that we have. Information collected by CREW volunteers helps prioritise which species are in need of conservation attention. CREW data is also used during the EIA process to influence development decisions and is used in fine scale conservation plans which help municipalities determine which areas should be allocated to conservation in their integrated and spatial development frameworks.

Our trip started off on a high note as we discovered 8 special species all with a red list status and endemic to ONE locality in the WORLD. Some of these species have one or two populations left in the wild and it is of utmost importance that we try our best to ensure their existence. Extinction is occurring at an alarming rate all over the world as we lose species to land degradation, habitat loss, climate change, deforestation, agriculture and the list goes on. Some of the important work we do with CREW includes: Surveying remaining patches of natural area for threatened plant populations, actively adopting key sites for conservation of threatened plants, working with landowners, demographic monitoring of certain populations on an annual basis and conducting awareness activities with the youth in different areas or communities.

I feel privileged to be part of such a dynamic and passionate team, that is CREW. We are all working towards the same goal and that being the preservation of our natural environment. Conservation is just one aspect of this goal and it is something that is very close to my heart. Having studied a BTECH in Nature Conservation, I have made it my life goal to protect and conserve our remaining biodiversity in whichever way I can as well as creating awareness through being a role model to the people around me. I feel it is so important for us as Miss Earth SA Ambassadors to integrate our work with our MESA green journey and to form partnerships with organisations striving towards the same goal. Working in the conservation field I aim to shed light on conservation issues that really matter by using the Miss Earth South Africa programme as a platform to do so. My CREW team has been so supportive of my green journey thus far and I want to thank them for their continued support.

Rachel Giddy: Hout Bay beach and Ikhaya LeThemba in Imizamo Yethu CleanUp with CleanC, KFM and Lead SA

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

The Western Cape Miss Earth SA Semi-finalists teamed up with KFM, CleanC and KFM to do our bit in keeping the environment clean and glistening!

We spent our Saturday morning in the sunshine – making new friends and keeping our surroundings clean. It  was a great group effort as we picked up litter on the Hout Bay beach, and then at Ikhaya LeThemba in Imizamo Yethu, doing our best to make it as spotless as Mother Earth intended.

Allesandri Pereira – A vegetable garden at Padi Primary

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

A veggie a day keeps the doctor away

Being able to help someone is an advantage and a privilege we all have. Working together to create a better future for tomorrow is a necessity. I have a huge passion about helping others and it has been something I wanted to do since I was a little child. It breaks my heart to see other people living a life that we as humans take for granted.

Me working together with one of the pupils planting the seedlings.



I decided to do a vegetable garden at Padi Primary school, because the children there don’t get enough food to eat and come from very broken backgrounds. It warms my heart when I go to bed at night knowing that these children will have something to eat and that I could make a difference. A lot of people think Miss Earth SA is a beauty pageant and it gives me great pleasure to prove a point to them that what we do here at Mesa is because we have a passion, a dream and a green heart.

Giving my presentation on Food gardens and the importance of it.






Life is short. Believe in yourself, laugh loudly & be happy. Love courageously, let this go and live your passion. It is not about inspiring them but about being inspired.   Two Happy Padi Primary school children.

Celetia Reinders: Tekkie Tax Day 2015

Saturday, June 6th, 2015

“Tekkie Tax is a fundraising campaign for a group of 15 national welfare organisations who joined forces for a BIG campaign with a BIG impact.” The groups who benefit from this initiative is animals, children, disability, education and basic family care.

This year I supported animal welfare and bought my funky shoelaces from the Bloemfontein SPCA. I jazzed up my Tomy Tekkies on this special day, which took place on Friday 29 May.

To support and celebrate the day further, two of my fellow Potchefstroom semi-finalists joined me for a visit to the local SPCA. Monique, Allesandri and I had so much fun playing with and washing these furry friends, the ones which can not fend for themselves.

Tekkie Tax aims to reach out and help all animals, from domestic animals to abbatoirs and everything in between. Let us make the world a better place for animals and attend to environmental issues in this sector. Animals are an issue that I feel very strongly about, and I am a proud supporter of Meatless Mondays.

Tekkie Tax really DOES want to make (the entire) world a better place. I’m so glad that I played my part today by simply wearing and showing off my comfy and colourful footwear.



Celetia Reinders: World Penguin Day 2015

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

World Penguin Day is celebrated on April 25, 2015. To celebrate and share the love for these adorable animals, we decided to create some awareness and fun within the grade 4 Baillie Park classroom.

“It’s practically impossible to look at a penguin and feel angry.” – Joe Moore

The annual northward migration of penguins is on or around April 25th. We learnt some fascinating facts such as the size and weight of the smallest and biggest penguins, where penguins live and what they eat.

Each learner had the opportunity to colour in a picture of their own huggable little friend. The children had a lot of fun decorating and naming their penguins. The pictures were printed on the back of used paper. This is also to keep our Pledge made on Arbor Day as sincere and legitamate as possible.

“I drew mine a bow tie! His name is Charles.” -Hugo.

It was a pleasure working with such optimistic and hopeful young people.