Save a Fishie One Beach Clean-Up at a Time
In the series of articles by our Youth Newsroom reporters, Akhona Xotyeni reports on the 18 year old climate activist Zoë Prinsloo.
Zoë Prinsloo, an 18-year-old South African youth climate activist and the founder and owner of Save a Fishie, is someone one would describe as a local champion for change. She has witnessed the negative impact of climate change and human related behaviour on South African oceans and their aqua life and decided to do something about it.
From the age of 10, Prinsloo was already involved in beach clean-ups and joined the Bothasig Girls Guide. Even though when Prinsloo began the clean-ups it was only herself and a few others, she was still determined to do the little she could. Five years ago, Prinsloo decided to start hosting her own beach clean-ups and today many community members have also been encouraged to join.
Prinsloo explains that her inspiration to be involved in beach clean-ups came from seeing the amount of litter found in our beaches. As a result of that, she also started her own business which sells eco-friendly products. The business sells sustainable products such as straws, toothbrushes, travel mugs, earbuds etc., which Prinsloo hopes can encourage people to choose to use less plastic and non-recyclable products.
Over the years, Prinsloo has witnessed the true reality and state of our oceans and how detrimental human actions have been for life underwater. One of the moments Prinsloo found profound and life changing for her activism was during a clean-up whereby she noticed a moving plastic bag with a trapped fish inside it. Her immediate reaction was to set the fish free, but moments later sadness and reality kicked in for the young activist once she realized that if she had not been there that day, the little fish might not have made it out alive.
The story of Zoë Prinsloo is a true reflection of the “Think Big, Act Local” slogan which is popularly used in the Green Movement. As a delegate at the 2019 United Nations Youth Climate Summit, an entrepreneur and an activist, Prinsloo has proved to many young South Africans that they also can become leaders of today.
In a country where one of its most prominent industries, fishing, has become strained, and human related behaviour has proved to be amongst the many threats posed to the aqua life, it is important for the government to step-up their enforcement of anti-pollution regulations and campaigns in order to save livelihoods and regulate fish availability.