Earth Hour 2012 Is In Your Hands

Sep­tem­ber is Clean-up SA Month which means our focus is once again on stay­ing green, recy­cling and sav­ing our beau­ti­ful plan­et. Talk about sav­ing the envi­ron­ment often becomes so emo­tion­al­ly charged and the scale of the prob­lem is so enor­mous that it leaves one feel­ing help­less and exhaust­ed. This time how­ev­er there is some good news.

Did you know that South Africa has the sec­ond high­est plas­tics recy­cling rate in the world (with Aus­tralia com­ing in first), or that our coun­try recov­ers one mil­lion tonnes of paper each year? 

Anoth­er bit of good news, accord­ing to the World Mete­o­ro­log­i­cal Organ­i­sa­tion and the UN Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­gramme, is the fact that the hole in the Ozone lay­er has stopped grow­ing and is show­ing signs of healing.

It shows that our efforts do count and this means that it is time to start dou­bling our efforts,” says Tony Rubin, Maropeng man­ag­ing director.

We still have a long way to go but it is good to know peo­ple are get­ting involved in try­ing to lessen the country’s car­bon foot­print,” he says.

Most peo­ple think of recy­cling or being envi­ron­men­tal­ly respon­si­ble pure­ly in terms of col­lect­ing plas­tic, paper, cans and glass and putting these in the appro­pri­ate recy­cling bins. Recy­cling our waste prod­ucts is of course vital­ly impor­tant, how­ev­er there are many oth­er ways to lessen your per­son­al, the country’s and final­ly the planet’s car­bon footprint.

By sup­port­ing shops, organ­i­sa­tions, busi­ness­es and hotels or resorts that recy­cle and are envi­ron­men­tal­ly respon­si­ble, you not only become part of the process of help­ing the envi­ron­ment, your sup­port also helps to cre­ate a demand for these prod­ucts or places and in so doing, you help to cre­ate and strength­en the cycle of social and envi­ron­men­tal responsibility.

Some­times it’s just about the choic­es you make about where to stay on your next busi­ness trip or hol­i­day that can make a dif­fer­ence,” says Rubin. For instance, by choos­ing to vis­it a Fair Trade Tourism (FTT) – Cer­ti­fied des­ti­na­tion the next time you trav­el, you will be giv­ing back to the envi­ron­ment as well as doing your bit for your social respon­si­bil­i­ty sim­ply by being there and, you will be hon­our­ing the peo­ple and places that made your hol­i­day or trip hap­pen,” he explains.

FTT-cer­ti­fied busi­ness­es are com­mit­ted to fair wages and work­ing con­di­tions, fair pur­chas­ing and oper­a­tions, equi­table dis­tri­b­u­tion of ben­e­fits and respect for human rights, cul­ture and the envi­ron­ment. Maropeng, who received their FTT-cer­ti­fi­ca­tion last year, is in fact a good exam­ple of this, vis­it­ing here, besides step­ping in the foot­prints of our most ancient ances­tors, also means that you are help­ing to sup­port the local com­mu­ni­ty as well as the environment.

Why not do your bit to help les­son South Africa and the earth’s car­bon footprint?

  • Sep­a­rate your waste prod­ucts. Even if you are not able to deposit these at a recy­cling depot, you will be help­ing those mak­ing a liv­ing from col­lect­ing recy­clable waste as well as the environment.

  • Buy recy­cled prod­ucts. Show your com­mit­ment to sus­tain­abil­i­ty by buy­ing recy­cled prod­ucts, this not only helps the envi­ron­ment, it also helps to increase the local demand for recy­cled products.

  • Stay at FTT-cer­ti­fied des­ti­na­tions when you travel.

  • Sup­port small and local enter­pris­es when and wher­ev­er you can.

Let’s all con­tin­ue to work togeth­er and sup­port each oth­er in sav­ing and pro­tect­ing our pre­cious resources and trea­sures for our future gen­er­a­tions,” says Rubin.