South Africa

Maverick Citizen: Generation Green

We have the fire to ignite global change

Monique Rodgers (Photo: supplied)

Greta Thunberg’s generation is making the most noise about the environment, and 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 twentysomething South Africans with a higher than average eco-IQ and asks them to share their visions for a greener future.

Mindfulness teacher Monique Rodgers, 27, strikes a pose for conscious yoga

I’m an entrepreneur. I’ve been teaching yoga and mindfulness, which has been my means of travelling, for the last four years. I’m currently in the process of starting up a social enterprise which will be rooted in SA. An initiative that will get people moving, connecting and actively participating in the upliftment in local communities.  

I became eco-aware roughly 12 years ago, in a high-school assembly. My best friend gave a talk on water scarcity. This was the pinpoint little moment I became only remotely aware of humanity’s impact on the planet. I’d say I became actively aware five years ago when I learnt about food sustainability. I learnt about the massive impact of the food industry, and achievable alternatives and solutions. Learning how to make small changes in your own life is incredibly empowering. 

I think that people want to be inspired rather than told what to do or how to live. It’s best to live in a way that encourages change.  

Future forecast 

I see South Africa progressing massively in the next 20 years. I’m an optimist. Yes, the vision is highly optimistic but it is totally within the realm of possibility. We’ve got enormous potential. 

We’re a generation absolutely thirsting for a revolution. There’s a fire within us and we’re teeming to channel it. We have the fire, we have the tools. 

I see education and empowerment initiatives, projects and programmes being started up by corporates and middle and working class. We have the capacity and power. We’re not victims of our government, we have the power to change what we want to be changed. This is in the simplest terms. I’m aware that some things lie slightly out of our capabilities and capacity but there are things we can do and change.

Now, we need leaders. We need you. We can all be doing more within our respective industries and workplaces.

2020 green vision

I’d like to see South Africa embrace more zero-waste days/challenges. Ideally, recycling needs to be incentivised. The concept of recyclable items being exchanged for food or supermarket vouchers is an option worth exploring. More importantly, zero waste must be at the forefront of our brains, the driving force behind our actions and decisions. 

More cafes, restaurants, supermarkets could offer lower prices and incentive programmes for reducing takeaway containers and single-use plastic. I know this is a small place to start but the most essential thing is awareness. 

We might not counter the repercussions of our actions but our eyes can be opened, we can take responsibility for our actions. We can take a little step back and apologise and change the energy of our actions. We can evolve into an aware and positive army.

Honestly, I’d like to see SA leading the reuse and recycle revolution. I want First World countries looking at us  and thinking, “Flip, look at SA go!”

We need bigger corporations to become more active in this way. We need banks, chain supermarkets and fuel stations and their competitors. They have the capacity to make a huge impact on consumer decisions. We need to call on them and challenge them to step up. We need to challenge ourselves to step up. It’s all of our responsibility. We’re all in the same boat. Together is the only way. MC

Golden Wild Yoga 

Absa OBP

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