This former Miss Earth South Africa and multi-award winning social entrepreneur is determined to see economically viable, visible, action on the African continent that contributes to food security and prosperity for both people and planet. (Image: Catherine Constantinides)
Climate change activist and executive director of Miss Earth South Africa, Catherine Constantinides, been recognised as one of the Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans for 2014.
The newspaper’s initiative recognises the most influential young people under 35 in the country and includes young South Africans from the fields of arts and culture, business and law, civil society, education, health, film and media, politics and government, sciences and technology, sport, and environment and conservation.
A passion for sustainable development
Having travelled across the world to share her passion for sustainable community development, Constantinides has shared platforms with heads of state, activists, international business moguls, celebrities, sports stars and freedom fighters, ensuring that the views of Africa’s youth are included in the global conversation on the continent’s development.
Constantinides has more than a decade invested in creating awareness around climate change, sustainable development, agriculture and women empowerment in schools and rural communities. With her team, she consults with government and the private sector across the continent.
“As a passionate African I believe that the challenges our people face across Africa need to be addressed urgently in order to look at more sustainable ways to uplift and grow the continent. Moving Africa forward requires addressing skills shortages, educational transfer and an aligned focus on the development of the continent’s agricultural sector and food security programmes. If we do not urgently address climate change and the effects – which we can already see taking place – including displacement of people, water challenges, climate refugees and the food crisis, we further cripple the development of our individual countries and continent,” she says.
This former Miss Earth South Africa and multi-award winning social entrepreneur is determined to see economically viable, visible, action on the African continent that contributes to food security and prosperity for both people and planet.
“While I am sincerely honoured that my environmental efforts have been recognised and to have been included as one of the Top 200 South Africans, my work is far from done. Until local policymakers, businesses, environmental experts, educators and communities can agree on a strategy to turn challenges into opportunities, we will always need to fight for the environment. I strive for an environment that is safeguarded and an Earth that does not need protecting,” she says.
The Archbishop Tutu African Oxford Fellow has received a number of other accolades; in 2013 she was recognised as a Standard Bank Top Young Female Entrepreneur; recognised as a South African Youth Entrepreneur at the South African Premier Business Awards hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry, Proudly SA and Brand South Africa; and received a Mail & Guardian Greening the Future award for her Generation Earth initiative.
About Miss Earth South Africa
The Miss Earth South Africa is a leadership programme that aims to empower young South African women with the knowledge and platform to create a sustainable difference in combatting the destruction of our natural heritage.
The programme helps to create an awareness of sustainable development, the environment, wildlife and the conservation of South Africa’s natural legacy, and ultimately the preservation of Earth.