green times receive wessa media award

The editor of the online environmental newspaper, Elma Pollard, received a 2011 WESSA award in the category Media and Journalism last night, 18 August at the Silverleaf restaurant, Kirstenbosch gardens during a celebration of the 85th birthday of the Wildlife and Environment Society of SA. The award reads: “for her outstanding work in the field of environmental education as a reporter, editor, writer, activist and avid recycler. Through the Green Times she has encouraged and motivated many in the South African context to live more sustainably, by making green information freely and inspirationally available to the community.”

This year her work for earth had come of age – as it is 21 years since she took up the calling of educating the public via environmental journalism in the newspaper arena. That was when she started her first green column, Nurturing Nature, in the Eikestadnuus newspaper in Stellenbosch, where she grew up. Therefore she was thrilled to receive this award from WESSA at such an appropriate time. “I hope to have reached the maturity to know that all recognition is a gift and a reward is pure grace,” she said.

Elma is deeply aware of the power of the written word and was dedicated from the start to use journalism to help create awareness and know-how regarding living and working in line with the earth’s carrying capacity. “Newspapers craft the minds of the nation, so what we write is a massive responsibility. What people read daily determines how they think and ultimately how they behave. What future would we like to create? Therefore what are we going to write and read?” This was the seed of her service media dream, which also drove her second environmental column, this time “Green Living,” in the Bolander newspaper.

journalism from the heart

“Journalism from the heart comes from such a deep place that you are not able or willing to keep it at a distance, so it compels you to get involved. Hence I became an activist, organising a recycling depot, training teachers in waste minimisation, composing and vegetable gardening and simply promoting the earth on various platforms over the years.”

Environmentalists often find that constructive news about their work is not regarded as newsworthy enough to be published in the newspapers. Ironically, what could be more important news than saving the earth? Hence it was time to start a dedicated green newspaper as a platform for all good green actions and role-models who are driving the transformation of our society towards a sustainable future.

Green Times was born in December 2008 with funding from a distant German relative’s estate, with the vision of imbedding sustainability thinking and a solution-focused can-do attitude in its readers. Green Times sends a free, weekly e-newspaper to national subscribers, sharing stories of folk worthy of emulating - pro-active role models of green leadership, innovation and dedication towards a just and caring society.

write for earth

Elma also trains up eco journalists via the Write for Earth course. Her students and a host of volunteers across the country attend green events from the website’s very active Green Calendar, write stories and help drive the green agenda into their communities. She encourages anyone who’s bored with life, or needs new meaning and energy, to join this initiative and help craft a better world. “We have found this is the best anti-depressant ever. So many volunteers are healing themselves by finding and following their passion,” she said.

Robert Genn said: “When creative folks begin to see their work as service, they gain fresh power to do well and perhaps greatly. It is the internal recognition of a higher calling. When we produce work for charity, as unsolicited gifts, with a sense of mission whether commercial or not, or merely for the joy of honouring the gifts of our environment, we begin to extract our true power.”

Elma thanked WESSA, her first role-model and teacher, and their thousands of volunteers, for 85 years of looking after the earth. She calls them “the mother-ship of conservation work and awareness in South Africa. I honour you and I am deeply honoured to be recognised by you today. I trust we will work more closely every year, as together we can all make a greater difference.”


Green Times editor Elma Pollard with 50-50 presenter Braam Malherbe and WESSA CEO Mumsie Gumede at WESSA's 85th birthday celebration at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.

1 comment:

  1. Well done Elma! The world needs more people like you to inform, educate and motivate us to change what we are doing in order to change the damage to our planet and environment.
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