Climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity, and Earth Day presents a unique opportunity for engagement with our youth in South Africa who lack a clear understanding of what climate change is, and the challenges and entrepreneurial opportunities it presents in the Green Economy.
It is apt therefore that the 2021 Earth Day theme is Restore Our Earth, which focuses on natural processes, emerging green technologies and Innovative thinking that can restore the world’s ecosystems. It is through climate change education and awareness of opportunities in the green economy that our youth will be enabled to Restore Our Earth. As EarthDay.org says, “When life around the world returns to normal, our world cannot return to business as usual. We have the ability to make a difference in every industry, but that can only happen when we work together.”
According to the World Banks population estimation, Africa will have half the world’s youth population by 2050. Our youth today are therefore the catalysts that will define ‘caring planet awareness’. Young people will establish sustainability foundations and it will be on them to build a new world that is reflective of the soul of the earth. It starts here, in our own country, South Africa. It is one of the most unequal societies in the world with a 0.66 Gini coefficient, and worse a 50% youth unemployment stat. The nation is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in Africa; 11th globally. Environmentally resource challenges have prevailed for decades, largely a result of extreme climates. 50% of our wetlands have been lost; a third of all our food is wasted, of which 44% is fresh produce.
Someone needs to step up and do more to support mitigation and adaption efforts and to introduce new thinking and energy around environmental sustainability. We believe wholeheartedly that the youth can be inspired to lead the way, which is why Primestars and YouthStart, in collaboration with Sanlam, Omnia, Sasria, Clicks, Safripol, PAMSA, Allan Gray Orbis Foundation , Zutari, RPC Astrapak, (among others) have launched Step Up 2 A Green Start Up.
Cultivating the values and knowledge of what sustainability is about is critical to what we do in our youth programmes. Primestars has a hybrid approach to learning and we extend our edutainment offering face to face in Cinema and In-schools in combination with digital, online and WhatsApp platforms. They go on to enter the ‘Green Challenge’ in which they are inspired to find entrepreneurial business opportunities in the green economy, top teams are supported through a bootcamp and awards.
This programme will be engaging with South African youth on the fundamentals of the climate emergency and entrepreneurship. They will be guided to identify opportunities in the green economy and alerted to climate and environmental literacy. Step Up 2 A Green Start Up will introduce the youth to new skills and help them develop the competencies required to create green businesses no matter what sector they choose to enter In the world of work. “We are hoping that Step Up 2 A Green Start Up will create leaders who will speak out and in turn educate those who will follow them, and who will become gainful employers in a circular, lean, inclusive and clean economy,” says Martin Sweet, Managing Director of Primestars.
A unique aspect to Step Up 2 A Green Start Up is that it is designed to motivate for ecopreneurs, those who understand the need for sustainable thinking, using technological innovation to unlock job creation potential in the green economy. We believe that the combination of a green economy transition and entrepreneurship support will pave the way to a thriving South African society. It will unlock enormous economic value, it will change lives and improve the wellbeing of thousands of individuals.
It’s time for everyone to step up, to make change possible. We urge everyone to follow our lead and join Planet Earth’s Support Crew, and encourage entrepreneurs to join our efforts. Get involved … be part of this wonderful energy. Young People are saving the world and we encourage you can join them because you deserve better.
It’s time to Step Up. It’s time to make a change.Follow us on Twitter Instagram and Facebook @primestarsSA Get involved today and donate funds towards supporting a young South African Ecopreneur to join Planet Earth’s Support Crew, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.