Cape Town is referred to as the most biodiverse city in the World, with over 70% of the flora being endemic to South Africa. Cape Town is experiencing rapid urban migration with the resultant high levels of poverty and unemployment. As a conservation organisation, the challenge is how do we work to protect this critically threatened region, while at the same addressing the social issues that the city is faced with?
It is widely understood that we will not work to protect something if we do not understand it. CTEET has made it our mission to reconnect children and youth to the wonders of nature, and expose them to the wide range of job opportunities that exist within the environmental sector. We work to show our children the value of our biodiversity, introducing them to the amazing diversity of species that exist in our nature reserves. We believe that the excitement of seeing a chameleon for the first time, figuring out how everything is interconnected, or learning about the life found in our wetlands can be the spark to change a child’s life.
Once that spark is ignited, we ensure that their passion for the environment can be nurtured. This is achieved through sustained contact with the children through school visits and programmes, participation in action days or by joining our Conservation Leadership Programme. For those most passionate about the environment we facilitate their entrance to the Green Economy through our various training and development programmes – our ‘Crèche to Career’ model.
The challenges we face are not unique to South Africa, as illustrated by the Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These SDGs are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity and CTEET’s various initiatives link to a number of these goals.