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Nozipho Mkhabela

2019 intern.

Nozipho Mkhabela believes learning and sharing knowledge and skills with others are the best way to create positive change for our planet.

With this as her inspiration, she completed her Master of Science degree in Environmental Science at the University of KwaZulu-Natal before being placed as a Geographic Information System (GIS) Technician intern at Irvin & Johnson.

We asked Nozipho to share more of her story:

What motivated your career choice?
I have participated in initiatives like beach and park clean-ups since high school. So, the decision to study Environmental Science was an easy choice.
What do you hope to gain from the internship?
So far I have enjoyed the exposure, experience and confidence that come with such a practical internship. In my current role, I look forward to learning more about how the marine sector uses GIS and discovering how it can enhance sustainable fishing and aquaculture operations.
What excites you the most about the internship?
In the past I have mainly been involved in terrestrial projects and the chance to shift my focus to the marine world is exciting because I am learning a lot about what is being done in this area regarding business and environmental protection and how I can assist in the adoption of sustainable operations.
What do you think is the biggest environmental issue the world is facing right now?
With all the environmental laws we have in place to steer economic activities towards conservation-led outcomes, there is still a lot of misunderstanding between Environmental Impact Assessors and construction teams. These are based on the perception that the former group are a barrier to the work of developers. The reality is that we should all take care of nature so that nature can take care of us. We should be working towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
What contribution do you wish to make to the well-being of people and nature?
My hope is to use and share the knowledge I have gained with others so that we can enhance the health of our natural resources for the benefit of people and nature. By working together, we stand a chance at safeguarding our shared interests.
If you had a chance to change one thing in the world, what would it be?
Everyone has the potential to make a profound difference to improve our environmental health, through whichever aspect speaks to them most. I would encourage people not to let fear or insecurity hold them back.
Who do you admire the most and why?
I greatly admire my Master of Science degree supervisor for his intelligence, encouragement and resilience.      
What role do you think your generation could play in creating a better world for all?
My generation should learn to be honest, real and fearless. We will see progress when we encourage one another to put humility before money and/or status. We need to embrace diversity and be ready to set our own standards, which will facilitate holistic progress.

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