Advice from Miss Earth South Africa semi-finalist Jamie Cloete
By Sumitra Naidoo
This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 10 of VARSITY News.
Miss Earth South Africa is more than just a beauty contest. It is a leadership programme which teaches young women about what their impact is on the environment and how to become changemakers within their communities, in order to combat the destruction of our environment. With their knowledge, they educate communities around them on how to live more sustainable lives.
I spoke to UCT alumni and Miss Earth semi-finalist, Jamie Cloete, on how students can live more eco-friendly lifestyles and make their lives a little greener. Here are some easy tips which Cloete mentioned for students to implement:
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A Women’s Day Beach Cleanup in collaboration with @saveafishie @capetown.cares @the_pact_official @visions_of_change @missearth_sa These organizations are doing incredible work. It was an eye – opener to see the amount of litter we picked up in just 2 hours. We need to change and make more environmentally conscious decisions, so that future generations can experience clean beaches. #WasteStopsWithMe #leaveonlyfootprints #MissEarthSouthAfrica #ecowoman
- Putting plants in your apartment/room/house
We are living in a modern, urban time, and this comes with many environmental pressures such as air pollution. Including small pot plants in your living space provides many benefits to both humans and our environment. Cloete noted that there are certain plants that we can have in our home to purify the air from toxins, dust and germs. Some plants that purify the air are: Mother in Law Tongue (Snake Plant), English Ivy and Aloe Vera.
- Starting a compost heap/bin
This tip is well-suited to students who have an outdoor area such as a yard, lawn or garden, as the heap or bin needs to be connected to the earth so that worms and insects can break down the compounds. Starting a compost heap or bin reduces waste that goes into the landfills. This is a naturally occurring process that breaks down kitchen and garden waste, turning it into organic and nutrient-rich soil that improves the growth and health of your plants.
- Participating in Beach/Street Clean- ups
You can start a beach or street clean-up with a few friends or join the many clean-ups which occur on most weekends. Additionally, next time you visit the beach bring a bag with to pick up litter. Cleaning the beach and streets of litter saves the lives of marine life and wildlife, as well as restores the creature’s habitats and keeps our earth clean.
- Make use of re-usable items
Often when we order take-away food, it comes in plastic containers that cannot be recycled. Take and make use of re-useable straws, mugs, plates & bowls with you when ordering take-aways. Bringing your own re-usable straw, coffee mug or bowl with you is a better option. Additionally, re-use glass containers. Cloete mentioned how she turned a honey jar into a smoothie or juice jar instead of throwing it away completely. An important tip to implement during the COVID-19 pandemic is making use of re-usable masks, or make a mask instead of using the disposable ones. Disposable masks are littering our earth and causing danger to our marine and wildlife.
- Reducing your meat intake
Living in a braai culture can make it difficult to go completely meat-free. Cloete suggests that the simplest way to do this would be to cut out one type of meat or, alternatively, dedicate one day a week to being meat-free. Meat is also a very expensive product in South Africa so cutting down or buying veggies instead will benefit you in more ways than one.
Finally, in her closing remarks, Cloete stated that, “If each of us do a small thing to save the earth, together we are making a big difference. There is no planet B and it is up to us now to make small changes so that future generations can experience a clean and healthy environment”.
Readers can follow Jamie’s journey on Instagram @itsjamiecloete as well as keep up to date with Miss Earth South Africa @missearth_sa.