Given the dire need for sustainable thought and action in order to create the future that our planet and its communities desire and deserve, the simple truth is that environmental education should be a top priority for all young people. We hear every day about a new or different threat to South Africa’s incredible natural heritage, from climate change and rising poaching levels that threaten to wipe out entire species, to a national and international water crisis that, if left unchecked, has the potential to wreak massive environmental, social, and economic devastation.

To succeed in addressing and eventually reversing these environmental crises – which there is no doubt we must – we have to build solutions on the foundation of education. Our country desperately needs a new generation of environmental leaders and champions, young people who recognise that building a better tomorrow begins with protecting and preserving natural resources today. More importantly, we need the next generation of South Africans not only to understand the many challenges we all face, but have the knowledge, insight and will to lead the way in finding innovative solutions to address those challenges.

Lapalala Wilderness School is helping to nurture this vital new generation of environmental leaders by exposing large numbers of our country’s youth to the wonders of nature and instilling in them a deep desire to protect that wonder and restore and rebuild the land’s once vast natural capital.