Maverick Citizen


Generation Green: 20-Somethings share their 20:20 eco-vision for South Africa

Visual communications student Masego Morgan, 23. (Photo: Lauren Thomas Film)

Greta Thunberg’s generation is making the most noise about the environment right now. But they are frustrated that they seem powerless to implement the changes they’d like to see. Most of the world’s politicians are old, male, ponderous and conflicted by their relationships with the fossil-fuel industry. Young people all over the world are adapting their lives and business ideas to be the change they want. South Africa is no exception. In this series, Maverick Citizen profiles 20-something South Africans with a higher than average eco-IQ and asks them to share their visions for a greener future.

Visual communications student Masego Morgan, 23, looks to the future of sustainable style…

I became eco-aware at a young age because my parents are pretty eco-aware (possibly in 2007 when An Inconvenient Truth came out), I think my brother and I just took their eco-consciousness to the next level.

I use Instagram to talk about my journey to become more eco-conscious and share different things I learn and do, mostly to do with fashion but also some lifestyle choices. I share my outfit of the day (OOTD), where I state where or how I acquired garments to promote buying ethically and sustainably made clothes or wearing preloved clothing.

My friend Stella Hertantyo and I have launched cnscs_ to promote sustainable style. cnscs_ is inspired by the friendship and conversations Stella and I had over the past year. We went from being internet friends to IRL (in real life) friends during a time where I felt pretty alone in my perspective on sustainability in my day-to-day life.

We wanted to create a space for people like us to learn about sustainable life/style and the nuances while trying not to add to people’s eco-anxiety. We aim to give sustainable suggestions that are somewhat accessible and remind people that the best place to look for sustainable alternatives is probably already in their cupboards.

Future forecast

If our government takes climate-change seriously and starts investing in eco-friendly systems by the end of 2020, I predict a bright future. But looking at the rate we’re going, I feel naive about being hopeful.

The environments will get worse for those in lower-income areas and marginalised people because environmental racism is real and a very obvious one in our country because of the continuing effects of apartheid. Just a reminder that lower-income people contribute the least to our country’s carbon-footprint out of necessity, using public transport, reusing items and recycling for income. When we hit the day of no return, then everyone will start feeling the effects of climate change. Those who can will leave for places that are more comfortable. 

2020 Green Vision 

I would love and hope for South Africa to become carbon-negative and for the effects of apartheid to not be perpetuated. To me, sustainability is inclusive, ethical and environmentally friendly.

In order for us to succeed we have to realise that environmental issues intersect with so many issues marginalised people face today. We need to listen and learn from indigenous people, like the San, and pay them for their knowledge.

We need to tackle the problems that marginalised people face while we tackle climate change, otherwise, we’re just building the same system we have now, just with greener energy.

I would like public transport to be safer, more efficient and accessible (for all) so that it is the more economical and convenient choice.

I want our education system to be fixed, possibly free for all.

I want young students to learn about farming and composting, about indigenous plants and their uses, for everyone to learn about menstrual health and sexual and reproductive health so that all period-having-people have access to sustainable sanitary wear for free if they can’t afford it. I want the public healthcare system to be fixed and more efficient.

I want to see our agricultural sector strengthened and our electricity to be green energy. Environmentally friendly housing to be built for those in need. For more investments into our arts and culture, to protect our arts and cultures. There are so many ways that we need to be greener and many challenges we have to tackle.

My personal dream is to help local (mainly fashion) brands become better (low-impact and ethical) versions of themselves so that they can sell overseas at high prices (which are affordable there), but have local (more accessible) prices so that South Africans can support South African brands. When you do this you’re supporting our economy, not just one designer, but the whole supply chain. MC


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