Like many children, Nick Fordyce grew up obsessed with animals and eventually channelled this passion and desire to help conserve our natural world into completing a BSc in ecology and then a master’s in environmental law at the University of Cape Town.
His first professional role was project manager of the Liesbeek maintenance project, which focuses on the ecological rehabilitation of the Liesbeek River (managed by Friends of the Liesbeek). He then took up the post of urban greening programme manager with The Greenpop Foundation, a role that focused on urban greening projects in low-income areas in Cape Town. In his current job with GreenCape, he works in the communications team on a broad range of green economy projects in renewable energy, water and sanitation, electric mobility, sustainable agriculture and the circular economy.
With South Africa being a dichotomous country, both economically and socially, Fordyce believes that the pursuit of a sustainable, green and circular economy will radically address these challenges in a meaningful way. His work as chairperson of Friends of the Liesbeek — although primarily related to the ecology of the Liesbeek River — enables him to work with a diverse range of stakeholders to help inspire innovative approaches to complex issues. He adds: “We need to be innovative in the way we tackle problems in our society. For example, we can attempt to restore the river environment as much as we like, but it will be fruitless if we do not simultaneously work to reduce poverty and unsustainable urban design, amongst other things.” Environmental work can be emotionally taxing and Fordyce encourages people to take time to reconnect with nature. Sustainability is about taking responsibility for how we live — it is not only beneficial to the planet, but invariably also beneficial to our physical and mental health.
“Intuitively, living in a sustainable way just makes sense. I believe it is also the only way to address and overcome the imbalances in our global society.”