Romario Valentine, a 10-year-old environmental activist and artist from Umhlanga, Durban, was heartbroken by the recent floods that wreaked havoc on Kwa-Zulu Natal, claiming the lives of 443 individuals, and affecting the livelihoods of 40 000 others.
‘Disillusioned’ by the number of pollutants that spewed out of the ocean, Romario, who is currently on his school holidays, made his 220th beach clean-up, alongside concerned residents.
Observing the sheer volume of plastic at his feet, Romario, who is wise beyond his years, wants to remind South Africans of the reality of climate change, and the consequences we face as a society if we don’t ‘act now.’
“We all need to come together to slow down the effects of climate change which causes land degradation, floods and forest fires.
We need to create a better sustainable future. To plant trees, protect existing forests and habitats for endangered species, recycle, reuse and only buy the things we need when it comes to plastic products and other non-biodegradable products that are filling landfills.
Just like trees give us food and shelter. So do the oceans. Most litter thrown on land goes into the seas and oceans polluting our waters, destroying important life like turtles, sharks and coral reefs.
We are the change that we seek. When we take care of nature. We take care of ourselves. It is important for our survival.”
Romario wants to encourage our leaders to improve our disaster preparedness, and make environmental education more accessible to young students.
“Leaders need to build proper houses on better land for those who have been displaced by the floods and find innovative ways to prepare for natural disasters.”
“I think more children need access to environmental education. Children are the future and can help make a change.”
A Rising ‘eco’ star
Passionate about birdlife, marine and wildlife conservation, climate change, and deforestation, Romario has dedicated the last 5 years of his life to protecting our planet, and has become a rising star in the conservation space.
- Romario dedicates his birthday every year to a ‘green cause’ by launching a crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy in lieu of gifts. In 2020, Romario raised over R30 000 to support the Umgeni River Bird Park during the lockdown. In 2021, He raised almost R25 000 to plant 350 trees in Kenya, and built a bird aviary for abandoned African Grey Parrots to keep the endangered species safe. Read More.
- Romario recently made history by becoming the youngest Ambassador for Ocean Sole, a Kenyan company that recycles flip flops that wash ashore by transforming them into vibrant colourful marine and wildlife sculptures with the help of local artists.
- In June 2021, Romario was selected by the UNCCD “United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification” to highlight climate change and land degradation to represent them at their Desertification and Drought Day.
- As a respected voice, Romario has appeared on 50/50, Extreme E’s Virtual Series Launch and has featured in National Geographic Kids, Global Citizen, and appeared as one of 35 activists in What a Wonderful World a book by Leisa Stewart-Sharpe and Lydia Hill.
Follow Romario on Twitter for updates / @ArtistRomario
21 Simple Ways to Be More Eco Friendly in 2021 | GreenMatch
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