Earth Day was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson as a day to observe environmental degradation, legislation and what was happening around us to destroy the Earth. However this idea was first pioneered by John McConnell in 1969 at a UNESCO Conference in San Francisco.

This Earth Day, Miss Earth South Africa in association with Consol celebrated the important day through an extensive alien vegetation clean up both in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Regional finalists of the Miss Earth South Africa in association with Consol joined the team from The Vineyard Hotel and Spa in celebrating with a clean-up and alien plant removal at the Silvermine Conservancy.

In Johannesburg the Gauteng regional finalists joined hands with the community to clean up the Bloubos Spruit in south of Johannesburg. They were joined by the local ward councillor of ward 43, Cllr Sergio Dos Santos and Member of Parliament, Mr Manny De Freitas.

An extensive growth of invasive alien vegetation has grown over the past few years with no removal or action having happened. The beautiful suburb of Mondeor was chosen as Miss Earth South Africa’s head office is based in the southern suburbs of Johannesburg. Through close consultation with the City of Johannesburg’s City Parks, the removal of alien vegetation took place, a clean-up of the area as well as the cutting of the knee length grass in the area. The day was filled with fun and lots of hard work. The organisation has pleaded for the public to each play a role in leading South Africa and finding the small ways in which they can uplift the areas within their direct communities.

National director Catherine Constantinides said, “We should be making every day an Earth Day through our actions in our daily lives. On this 42nd Earth Day, I challenge everyone to show a commitment to protecting; the air we all breathe, water we all drink, and the land we borrow to sustain us. We must share common ground and work together so we can recommit ourselves to implementing policies which restore our ecosystems, reduce pollution, and meet our environmental challenges while strengthening and growing our economy.”

We cannot look at someone on the other side of the boat and say “Oh, your end of the boat is sinking.” As residents of the Earth, we are all in this boat, and we must lead the world in maintaining a vibrant, thriving and healthy ecosystem.” Miss Earth South Africa are planning an extensive roll out of tree plantings nationwide with the regional finalists for National Environment Week in June.

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