Eco-Youth Award Finalists – Meet tomorrow’s leaders


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As tomorrow’s leaders, these Eco-Youth finalists are already taking positive action to change hearts and minds about Green Economy and  sustainable development in South Africa. This award recognises ‘an individual of 26 years or under who can show that their actions have protected, preserved or improved the Earth’s eco-systems and natural resources’.




Alyssa Carter has successfully raised funds to help save the rhinos in South Africa, demonstrating that no matter how small you are, you can make a big difference!

Alyssa Carter – Alyssa’s Save The Rhinos Fund

After hearing about rhino poaching in Grade 1, Alyssa decided that she wanted to do something. Aged 6 and a half, she began to sell chocolates to raise funds to buy trained sniffer dogs for the South African National Parks. Since May 2013 Alyssa has raised over R300 000, and handed over her first two sniffer dogs to the Marakele National Park in May 2015.

Alyssa sells chocolates and various other items to students and teachers at her school every Friday. She has raised awareness about the plight of the rhino through addressing schools, companies, a golf day, Anglo American’s Enterprise Development Conference, and various other events.

Now 9 years old, she has been interviewed on several radio and television programmes in South Africa and the USA.

Her campaign has raised awareness around the world, with financial support coming in from every continent. Alyssa has received several accolades and awards as recognition of the effort she has put in and the difference she has made. She is the only person ever to be given the prestigious title ‘SANParks Rhino Champion’.

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Alyssa with a home-made Rhino Poster


Alyssa and a Sniffer Dog

Alyssa and a Sniffer Dog


Alyssa sells biscuits and chocolates to raise funds for Rhino Conservation

Alyssa sells biscuits and chocolates to raise funds for Rhino Conservation




Building a network of game-changing souls, fighting for passion and a bright future for the souls to come!

Blake Anthony Combrinck – Knobs&Tassels

Growing up on a 2 400 Ha nature reserve instilled in Blake a bond with nature and an understanding of the complexity of a healthy eco-system.

As a young entrepreneur, he seeks to make a positive difference through awareness and mutually-beneficial partnerships with eco-minded organisations. These include solar panel manufacturers, rock paper manufacturers and artists that create reclaimed furniture ranges, upcycled artworks, clothing and even building rubble homeware. He consistantly educates collaborators, clients & the surrounding community in terms of humanitarian and environmentally conscious living.

Blake manufactures furniture and items using discarded pallets. Through Knobs&Tassels, he inspired artists to think eco-logically and to consider the repercussions of their actions on their environment. He has also produced a clothing range that repurposes old military uniforms into trendy, highly wearable apparel.

 “The kind of collaborations we are pursuing, goals we are setting and the creed we hold to, has the potential to empower myriads of individuals who were once destitute,” says Blake.



Blake turning discarded wood into shelving units, planters and furniture



Artist Holmes being interviewed about his journey from poverty to fulfilling his dreams



Ryan (10) learning to be an art entrepreneur. the Primal Herd Project reuses discarded cattle skulls and leftover paint to make contemporary art.

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Courtney is a powerful young voice helping to educate South Africa’s future leaders about environmental challenges and solutions.

Courtney Gehle

Courtney is a powerful young voice helping to educate South Africa’s future leaders about environmental challenges and solutions.

As a student at the University of Pretoria (UP), she founded The Greenline, an organisation that connects disciplines, raises awareness and creates environmental consciousness among her peers.  She also helps organise UP Green Week and UP Arbour Week.

In partnership with various UP groups to ensure environmental sustainability of campus, Courtney has helped to roll-out a campus recycling programme, added Green portfolios in all residences and trained Green House Committee members.

Passionate about Climate Change mitigation, this [21 year old] works closely with NGOs such as, SA Climate Action Network and FossilFree SA. She organised a widely-publicised Global Divestment Day event and also takes a hands-on approach to assisting schools with their Eco-Clubs and recycling programmes. courtney.gehle


Courtney at a tree planting ceremony in Mamelodi


Courtney represented South Africa at the 11th Annual Conference of the Youth in Paris

Adding her voice for Climate Change action

Adding her voice for Climate Change action

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“By engaging students, corporates, & NPOs, my passion translates to action for environmental justice through education, dialogue, science & community work.”


Kirtanya Lutchminarayan – Green Shift Africa

From Belgium to China to her native South Africa, Kirtanya focusses on empowering people to bring about active environmental change. As a Green Matter Fellow and Masters student in Marine Biology at the University of Cape Town, she has established a series of projects and facilitated partnerships between UCT and WWF, Greenpeace and Fairtrade SA.

She co-founded Green Shift Africa, an NPO that works towards a Green Economy; co-founded the UCT Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign with; initiated the EcoFuture Community Food Dome Project, is actively involved in GCI projects, and is a past Secretary of the BlueBuck Environmental Youth Network.

She is part of the organising team for the first African Student Energy Youth Summit, represented SA at the World Student Environmental Network Summit in 2014, attained first place at the United Nations Ocean Teacher Academy 2016 training in Belgium, after presenting SA’n environmental data to international scientists. This energetic Eco-Youth finalist helped Greenpop plant 1 000 trees at Hogsback last year and facilitated environmental education classes in Chinese schools during an AIESEC volunteer exchange programme in 2013.GreenMatter Article

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Kirtanya focusses on empowering people to bring about active environmental change


Kirtanya - BlueBuck Summit

Kirtanya at the Blue Buck Summit – she is a past Secretary of the BlueBuck Environmental Youth Network


With GreenMatter fellows

With GreenMatter fellows. Kirtanya is a Masters student in Marine Biology at the University of Cape Town

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Marshall Rinquest is leading his community towards a brighter, equitable, integrated and more sustainable future.

Marshall Rinquest – Greyton Transition Town

Raised in Greyton, Western Cape, a young Marshall spent much of his childhood walking in the surrounding mountains. Now 26, he is Director of Greyton Transition Town and leader of its Eco-Crew Club.

As an official mountain and fynbos guide, with qualifications in permaculture, he shares his passion with youth and adults through leading hikes and establishing successful school vegetable gardens that yield produce for feeding schemes and local markets.

As bass guitarist for South Africa’s only Afrikaans reggae band that played at the 2010 Fifa World Cup and part-time presenter for SABC, this extra ‘street cred’ encourages youth to forsake local gangs in favour of joining Eco-Crew.

Marshall was nominated as a United Nations-sponsored ambassador for Sustainable Communities and attended a climate reality conference led by former USA Vice President Al Gore.

His gentle, humorous and humble nature endears him to all he meets, motivating them to tread on earth with a lighter footprint.

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Marshall is Director of the Greyton Transition Town and head of the Eco-Crew programme



Engaged in conversation at a conference


This base-guitarist has serious street cred with local learners and encourages them to join Eco-Crew instead of local gangs