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Be the change – for nature, for you

It’s easy to think of legacy as something of powerful leaders and great organisations, as the longstanding history of achievement by others. Legacy is not a word we often apply to ourselves. But we can all make small changes to #BeTheLegacy.

We can all make positive changes to #BeTheLegacy

In the spirit of 100 years of Mandela’s life and the theme #BeTheLegacy, together with WWF celebrating 50 years in South Africa, we reflect on how our small positive actions add up to become our shared big wins.

Here are 11 ways to be the change for a better world for all:

  1. Appreciate nature – to appreciate something we first need to notice it. Nature is not out there, it is all around us. And we need nature more than it needs us. It is the air we breathe, the plants and trees that provide oxygen and shade, the water we drink and the clouds that bring rain. The thing with appreciation is that once we are aware of something, we tend to take better care of it.

  2. Enjoy the great outdoors – get outside into nature and breathe it in, it is free after all. Go for a walk or sit under a tree. It is good for us too: fresh air, vitamin D from the sun, and space to feel inspired. Join a group or organise a walk and take others with you to experience the natural world up close.

Be in nature - it is free after all.

  1. Savour your food – nature is ever present in our food. It is the goodness that went into growing delicious, nutritious fruit and vegetables. It is the soil, sunshine and water, and the creatures that contributed to pollination and the others that are part of the wider food chain of life. We must taste it, savour it and appreciate everything we eat.

  2. Don’t waste food – check your fridge or cupboard regularly to stay on top of the freshness of your food and get creative to use what you have or give it away to someone who needs it more.

Fresh produce at a local food market
Buy local and seasonal food, and only buy as much as you need.

  1. Value your water – this vital resource may be free, but it is certainly not a never-ending flow on-tap. Water comes from nature. We must value it and use it wisely. We can reduce our use of it too with less flushing and shorter showers.

  2. Use a bucket to flush it – the water scare in the Western Cape has resulted in most homes having a bucket in the shower to catch and reuse shower water for flushing the loo. It is just a waste to be flushing away perfectly good drinking water. As those living in the Cape have shown, if everyone does their part we can collectively reduce our water use.

Buckets in the shower - a daily reality for Capetonians living the 50 litre life.

  1. Find alternatives to unnecessary plastic – whether plastic bags, coffee cup lids, stirrers or straws, we can choose non-plastic replacements to prevent these single-use plastics being whipped up by the wind and dumped into drains, canals and rivers, eventually polluting up our precious oceans.

  2. Pick up litter where ever you are – we can all create a positive habit of picking up pieces of litter, be it a sweet wrapper on the floor or a neighbourhood pavement or plastic debris on our beaches.

Mandela Day is the perfect opportunity to give of your time and get stuck in with a number of different activities.

  1. Gift what you don’t use – whether its sharing food or clothes we no longer wear, buying toiletries for those who need them or donating a blanket during the cold winter months to a night shelter or an animal home, we can all support in some way. Our small actions really do all add up.

  2. Give to a good cause – the environment is a big place and many of our country’s social and environmental challenges are both complex and inter connected. This is why our monetary donations, no matter how big or small, can contribute to the work being done by organisations such as WWF. Be a changemaker and SMS WWF to 42030 to donate R30.

  3. Offer your time – there are many ways to give and the giving of time is one of the most needed. This is what the 67 minutes of action is about. You could offer your professional skills to support the outreach work of WWF’s Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative or volunteer at a children’s home, animal shelter or community activity. It is through our shared humanity that we are reminded of our responsibility to do what we can to make this world a better place.

Be giving what we can, using what we have, repurposing and passing on what we don’t use and making the most of what is abundantly supplied by nature, we can all make positive changes to #BeTheLegacy #ForNatureForYou

Sue Northam-Ras Photo
Sue Northam-Ras, WWF Communications Co-ordinator

Sue believes in making information valuable by writing and shaping content in a way that gives it meaning. She packages the environmental content for WWF South Africa.

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