June the 6th marked World Environment Day. What exactly does that mean and how does it affect you and me?

Well, one way of looking at it is like saying ‘I will be aware of the environment once a year.’ Another way of seeing it is to be more aware of the Earth and what we are doing to it at a catastrophic and fast accelerating rate. With awareness there is knowledge but knowledge means nothing without action. I may be knowledgeable about the state of the planet but does that help the planet? It also does the Earth no favour by recognising her once a year. What about the other 364 days?

In my motivational talks I often refer to the wonderful lessons from nature. A basic one is that all species contribute to the survival of other species; the honeybee and the flower is an easy one to understand. All species that is, except us humans. Unfortunately, we act as if with blinkers on, taking as much as we can as quickly as possible. If we truly love our children it is vital that we express that love by teaching and showing them the immense value that our natural environment offers us for free. I don’t just mean the value of the air, the water and the boundless energy of the sun; I also mean the priceless value of being ‘in’ nature, being a part of the system. Appreciating the value of something should be an experience, not only the beauty we may see on Natgeo Wild. The real experience of walking barefoot along the seashore, hiking along a mountain path, or simply sitting quietly on a park bench cannot compare to books or television. We need to reconnect with the Earth and show our children why she needs to be protected.

In natural systems, you are either an asset or a liability and if you are a liability, you are the first to go; in the interest of the herd or pride or pack. All too often, we think we are above it all, but we are not; we are not exempt from this fundamental principal and it is long overdue that we accept that and change our behaviour. Is that possible? I believe so, because we, as individuals can change if we understand the need to change. Again, another profound lesson; evolution only happens because of change. It was Charles Darwin who said; “It is not the strongest that will survive, neither the most intelligent, it is the one who most accepts change.”

As the proud MyPlanet Ambassador and founder of the MyPlanet Rhino Fund, in excess of R250, 000 is being raised for rhino conservation monthly. Not by me, but by the countless shoppers who swipe their cards. This is such a simple, efficient and effective way to make a positive difference to the environment every time you shop. There are countless beneficiaries that are benefitting the environment, from marine initiatives to botany to birds and animals. Please get a card in any Woolies store, select a beneficiary that resonates with you, and be part of the solution towards a sustainable future. #DOT and Do One Thing.