At Maropeng we take environmental conservation very seriously. Our Earth is precious and delicate, and it’s the only home we have. On April 22 every year we celebrate World Earth Day by reflecting on the many ways we contribute to a cleaner, greener, more sustainable planet.
Our impact on the environment is significant. Air and water pollution, poor farming practices, deforestation … these are just some of the human activities that are destroying our planet.
Thanks to these activities, the global environment has changed substantially over time, and predictions are that it’s only going to get worse.
But it need not all lead to doom and gloom. There is still time to make a positive difference and turn things around.
“All we need to do is think carefully about our ecological footprints, both as individuals and as organisations,” says Maropeng MD Tony Rubin. “At Maropeng we are focused on carrying out business practices that promote environmental sustainability. These don’t need to be major initiatives – every little bit helps. Like planting indigenous plants, trees and grasses; using compostable cups in the Tumulus and Market Place restaurants; recycling our waste … there are many ways we make a difference.”
The regular stability testing in the Sterkfontein Caves is another example of sound environmental sustainability practice.
“With the number of visitors that pass through the caves – more than 100 000 per year – there is bound to be some disturbance of the natural environment,” says Tony. “Every five years we carry out stability tests, primarily to check that the caves are safe for visitors, but also to assess the impact that the visitors have on the environment within and around the caves.”
The last stability tests were carried out earlier this year and the caves were recently reopened to visitors.
How can you help to save the Earth?
There are many ways that we can help to preserve our planet, and like the Maropeng examples cited by Tony, these don’t necessarily require massive changes.
“Think a little bit about your ecological footprint,” he says. “How often do you eat meat? Do you buy local brands when you shop? How do you get to school or work every day? Do you recycle? And now think about how you can change your footprint in some small way to make a big difference.”
You can find out more about our impact on the environment by visiting the permanent exhibition at the Maropeng Visitor Centre.
For more information on World Earth Day, visit www.earthday.org.