Editorial: 15 years of greening the future of South Africa benefit everyone

The news cycle can be unrelentingly brutal and we can forgive readers for thinking South Africa has little good news to offer. But it is important to maintain perspective, and to see this country and its people in all their dimensions and complexity.

Our Greening the Future Awards, in its 15th year, are an opportunity to do just that.

This Mail & Guardian flagship project celebrates the individuals, the communities, the nongovernmental organisations and the corporates who fight every day to deliver a greener future – from those who focus on planting the first seed to those who ensure that the entire forest is healthy; from those who build tiny little pieces of technology that shift the world to those who inspire communities to be the next generation of green game-changers.

They are the people who will move us towards a sustainable future by finding the ways of bridging the myriad challenges and obstacles.

Our focus this year is on water. This year will be remembered as one of the worst drought years in living memory.

Although El Niño is a global climate phenomenon, South Africa’s status as a semi-arid country means that we have a particularly hard time when he comes around.

This is true for Southern Africa. Coupled with the incremental creep of climate change, this year has been … dry.

But in all of that, there are shining oases of hope – the projects, big and small, that make us use, save, recycle and reuse water smartly. Some projects do so tangentially, by addressing conservation, biodiversity or green innovation holistically, and others deal directly with water.

All of them are worthy of acclaim. We congratulate the runners-up, and the winners. The work they all do has a cumulative affect that not only benefits the water, and the air and the trees and the sky – it affects everyone.

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