The Young Reporters of the Environment (YRE) program, which supports young people to take action against environmental issues by highlighting local environmental injustices and best practices through writing, photography, and video journalism, is led nationally by the Wildlife and Environment Society of Southern Africa (WESSA) and regionally by the South African Education Project in Phillipi.
The YRE initiative's first workshop was held on May 13th, 2023, at Sophumelela High School, where 25 learners attended. The workshop included discussions about environmental issues in their community, and learners were shown pictures that represented local environmental problems. Through group discussions, learners provided their opinions about these environmental issues.
The social, economic, and political challenges facing the area were recognised as the root of the environmental degradation observed. SAEP representatives addressed the students, providing insight into various Environmental Acts and the Bill of Rights that enforce a clean and safe environment as a basic right. The students' eagerness to participate in more YRE workshops and learn about environmental issues was a positive outcome of the event. The students demonstrated enthusiasm, a desire to learn, and the ability to identify environmental issues, which was a great success.
The YRE program's ultimate goal is to ensure that these young people are advocates for the environment by creating a better understanding of their natural surroundings and taking appropriate and responsible action. The program has since proved to be a success, and it is our hope that more young people will take an interest in the environment and thus become more involved in protecting and preserving our planet.