Meet climate activist Jade Bothma from Cape Town, founder of eco-NPO Oceano Reddentes. Jade shares her passion for living a greener life
The eco-hero of the moment has to be Greta Thunberg, the diminutive schoolgirl from Sweden who has set the world alight with her forthright, no-nonsense climate strike campaign.
Her global followers, dubbed the Greta Generation, are, like her, too young to vote but they are taking a stand and facing up to the inconvenient truths of the climate crisis. Eco-activists around the world have rallied around Thunberg’s #FridaysforFuture and #ClimateStrike hashtags.
Generation Greta: Jade Bothma, founder Oceano Reddentes
“When I was seven years old I started an eco-club at my school,” says Jade Bothma, 14, the founder of Oceano Reddentes, a non-profit aiming to “save the ocean one piece of plastic at a time”.
Bothma started her non-profit when she was 13 after watching Chasing Coral, a Netflix documentary about the bleaching of the coral reefs in the Great Barrier Reef.
“I really wanted to do something to help but there aren’t really coral reefs in South Africa. But I would find lots of plastic when I was surfing and I started making eco-bricks for five minutes every time I went to the beach. Oceano Reddentes grew from that simple decision. Then I got my school involved and my vision is to build a home out of eco-bricks for someone in need.”
Oceano Reddentes hosts beach clean-ups in Cape Town and gives talks and workshops to learners around the problem of plastic pollution.
Jade received a Commonwealth award from Prince Harry and Meghan in Cape Town on September 24, 2019.
“The plastic that we collect is part of ongoing scientific research into what type of plastics we’re finding on our beaches,” says Jade.
“I would love South Africa to acknowledge the youth climate marches that we do every term. If the youth are standing up, then you know that we know that there is a problem and the big corporates are too scared to admit it.”
How do you live eco-consciously?
“We have our own compost bin at home and recycle at home as well,” says Jade. “I wouldn’t say I am zero-waste nor plastic-free but we try to cut down on the amounts of plastic we use in our house every month.
“Eco-bricking is a great way to show us what plastic we are using and we are slowly eliminating these types of plastic. We try to find alternatives to everyday things like, Stasher bags, reusable shopping bags, our own water bottles, bamboo coffee cups, bamboo straws, cardboard earbuds, bamboo toothbrushes, toothpaste bites, shampoo bars and locally made ocean-friendly sunblock that comes in a tin. We buy cooldrinks in cans instead of plastic bottles.”
What have you given up for the environment?
“The first thing I gave up was plastic straws, they are completely useless and the easiest thing to give up,” says Jade.
“Then we gave up plastic bags, plastic water bottles, toothpaste tubes and other things. There are so many alternatives to plastic bags. Plastic bags are killers and are ingested by thousands of marine animals every year.
“We are slowly trying to cut down on meat.”
Jade’s natural habitat
When she’s not at the beach you’ll find Jade zero-waste shopping at Shop Zero in Woodstock or Wild and Waste Free in Glencairn.
“We also like to shop at Food Lovers. It is the first South African food retailer to ban straws and the plastic bag in their stores,” says Jade.
“My favourite beach is probably Windmill Beach because it’s amazing for snorkelling and diving. I love Water’s Edge, a little beach on the coastline near Simon’s Town. It’s where I saw my very first gulley shark!”
“My eco-crush? Leonardo Di Caprio.”
To read the full story on Daily Maverick see Meet your eco-heroes
Green Route ZA is the A-Z of eco-conscious living
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