“We all need a healthy Earth to support our jobs, livelihoods, health & survival, and happiness. A healthy planet is not an option — it is a necessity.” – Earthday.Org

Every year, 22 April is observed as Earth Day across the globe. This year, Earthday.Org’s theme for Earth Day is ‘Restore Our Earth’™, which focuses on natural processes, emerging green technologies and innovative thinking that can restore the world’s ecosystems.

‘Restore’ is a call to action. The theme implies that we cannot simply resign ourselves to the notion that mitigation or adaptation are the only ways to address climate change and other challenges facing Earth. Each one of us has the responsibility to be proactive in bringing about restoration – not just because we care about the natural world around us, but because Earth is our home.

Every aspect of our lives is impacted – either positively or negatively – by the eco-system within which we find ourselves – whether that be your yard, your house, the street or neighbourhood within which you live, your town, country or continent and ultimately, your planet. Your environment either enriches your life and enables you to pursue and reach your life goals – or it hinders you and keeps you from fulfilling your potential.

This simply means that one cannot ignore your environment. Even if one is not someone who is naturally inclined to care deeply about all things green and this planet we call home, one cannot deny the reality that remaining apathetic will, ultimately, affect us all.

Proud of my Town
As an urban planning social enterprise, Ranyaka is in its very essence an organisation committed to co-creating places where people can prosper. In our work as the implementation agents for the Nedbank Proud of my Town initiative, we come across many eco systems that are in need of restoration – towns and communities with immense inherent resources and great potential, but that are not reaching this potential because of eco systems that are either broken or in a state of disrepair.

Whilst these eco systems do not only refer to the natural environment, pollution, neglected green spaces, food insecurity, reckless waste disposal that becomes a health hazard and physical risk; and lost opportunities due to a lack of knowledge around the income-generating possibilities that exist within the green technology space do all contribute to a scenario where communities do not thrive as they should.

For this reason, programmes such as Fix My Space and Land and Property form an integral part of the Ranyaka framework.

Where to start
Tackle your front yard. Your street. Talk to your friends, family and neighbours. Arrange clean-ups. Clean up street corners and create sidewalk art using natural elements. Recycle – or get creative with recyclable materials. Become an anti-pollution activist. Teach your children to keep their rooms tidy and clean, not to litter and to volunteer for projects that make a difference. Join local clubs that clean parks, rivers and trails – and plant trees. Learn to grow a vegetable garden or participate in local gardening clubs. There is a wealth of information out there once one takes step one!

Ranyaka will soon be publishing our very first Fix My Space e-Booklet. We will be making this booklet available widely and freely – and we will be inviting you to contribute even more ideas and share your success stories on how you positively and pro-actively transformed your space and brought restoration where there was disrepair.

Earth Day Toolkit
EarthDay.org has also put together a toolkit of useful information and highly practical action plans that any group of individuals or community action team can implement to proactively work towards restoration of Earth. Themes covered in the toolkit range from clean-ups, sustainable food practices, and climate literacy to useful tools and template posts for raising awareness on social media. Read more here.

Share your stories
Tell us about initiatives you have launched or that you participate in to clean up your community, grow your own food and create beauty! Send your stories and photos to stories@ranyaka.co.za. We would love to hear from you, learn from you, share your news and encourage others to do the same!

Credit: EarthDay.org