Catherine Constantinides on leaving nothing but footprints
Being a seasoned traveller has allowed me to see the world and experience the way other people live. I’ve been given a small glimpse of the daily challenges people face in remote places. The globe is interlinked and I’ve grown to understand how each thing relates to and impacts on the other. Every action creates a greater ripple, sending me into a tidal pool of experience, wonderment, love and passion for humanity – and, most importantly, my connectedness to this magnificent place we call home: planet earth.
It’s critical that every person understands what they can do to make a difference, since we’re part of a collective. I’m privileged to do what I do as an international climate activist, human rights defender and nationbuilder. My primary objective is to bring about change. To do this, I ensure that I live like a conscious consumer every day. Each time I travel, I make an effort to plant trees to counteract my carbon emissions. I pack only what I need and travel with #Mysamsonite because it’s light, efficient and a brand of conscience when it comes to greening.
Most people think my journey started when I became Miss Earth SA, but it actually began long before that, when I was a young student immersed in social justice issues within the communities that surrounded me. I spent every spare moment engaging community members on the ground, understanding the plight of our people and planet.
The Miss Earth SA leadership programme is now a well-established environmental education programme for young South African women. It aims to inspire environmental change, encourage climate dialogue and, above all, trigger behavioural change and a shift in mindset.
Every day we’re learning new ways of reducing our impact on the earth, from the way we shop and consume to the demands we make of manufacturers and suppliers. We’ve forgotten how important our money and purchasing power are when it comes to communicating what we want and what we’ll pay manufacturers, suppliers, developers, chain stores and outlets.
We all have an immense responsibility and role to play right now. How will you endeavour to leave only footprints and touch the earth lightly, while at the same time making an impact and creating a legacy for generations to come?
WE’RE CONTINUALLY BOMBARDED WITH ECO AND SUSTAINABILITY MESSAGES. HOWEVER, THESE ISSUES ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER
Catherine Constantinides is the woman behind Miss Earth SA and all its good works, as well as a speaker, a Mandela Washington Fellow, an ecopreneur, a food security advocate, a humanitarian and an Archbishop Tutu African Oxford Fellow. 9ou’ll often find her, sleeves rolled up, leading the charge in tackling global climate and humanitarian issues.