Leading from the front in the fight against environmental catastrophe

 

There are parts of the Garden Route that don’t feel too green anymore. The beauty of the area has attracted more and more holiday-makers over the years, causing guest houses to spring up everywhere. And while the flora is what made the coastal meander so popular to start, some business owners aren’t willing to rely on it alone to keep travellers interested. Many have built their lodgings up beyond extravagance. But there are places keeping the spirit of the forest alive.

Olivia Lawrence runs Wild Spirit Backpackers. She’s a lover of the wilderness and all things in it. So she and her colleagues have chosen not to follow the trend of more is better, promoting conscious consumerism and ethical tourism. They’ve created an environmentally-friendly space that rewards guests for taking care of their surrounds. Travellers are encouraged to trade in a few hours spent gardening or clearing alien vegetation for a wholesome meal.

“Whether it’s turning off the tap while you brush your teeth or growing your own food garden, every single person has the power to live a more sustainable life,” says Lawrence. Wild Spirit is founded on the principle of leading from the front, which challenges a prevailing and flawed response to the global environmental crisis: What difference can one person make? The sad truth is that we’ve already locked our planet into years of damaging change, because of our actions so far. But together we can decrease humanity’s carbon footprint and slow the juggernaut. It’s up to us to preserve South Africa’s world-renowned greenery.