If you’ve taken a peek at the ‘Beyond a dream’ video we released last week (you haven’t? Well, you really should!) you may have noticed a far-away figure on the beach at sunset, collecting mysterious objects and placing them in a big fluttering bag.

Well, that figure is me (Nadia), the beach is Lambert’s Bay and the objects I was collecting were depressingly mundane: discarded plastic bottles, cooldrink cans, polystyrene cups and chips packets, mostly.

You see, Guillaume and I had taken a walk earlier that morning to suss out the surf, when the dismal state of the beach punched us right in the gut. It was literally littered with litter (how’s that for a tongue-twister?). So, we decided to buy some big plastic bags at the local Spar and conduct a spontaneous clean-up. To make it a little more fun, we made sure it coincided with a sunset stroll and were blessed with the most intensely beautiful display of deep orange, red and pink spread out across the sky.

By the time we’d filled two bags to the brim, night had fallen and the beach was still far from clean. It left me feeling a little helpless. A feeling I’m sure many of you can relate to in this world gone completely crazy.

Whether it’s crazier than at any other point in history or we just have more access to information about the state of places and people far beyond the borders of our comfort zones, I don’t know. But an air of helpless seems to reign.

How are we ever going to fix this? I guess the short answer is: we aren’t.

But we don’t really want to believe that do we? So, let’s not. Let’s keep doing what we’re doing. Let’s be the beach cleaners (even when the litter is never-ending), the kind ones (even when it’s easier to be nasty), the laughers (even when it makes more sense to frown), the artists, the questioners, the protectors, the gardeners, the lovers, the raisers of conscious kids, the pursuers of dreams for a better world…

Our friend and Volume 1 contributor, Ronel, posted a quote by comedian Patton Oswalt on Facebook the other day that made everything inside of me go YES!

It read:

“So, when you spot violence or bigotry, or intolerance, or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think: ‘the good outnumber you and we always will’.”

Let’s not forget.

Which brings me to the next point… If you know of or are involved in any sort of charity/action to make the world a better place/movement for change, why not share the details with us?

I find that many people have a desire to get involved with something, but don’t really know where to start looking.

To kick things off, here are a few places/organisations we think are doing great work and always need new volunteers/donors:

Help2Read – A fantastic school-based literacy program. Ideal for people who are freelancing or have time during working hours to go to a school and spend half-an-hour twice a week helping a child shake off his/her fear of reading… and eventually even develop a love for it.

CleanC – If the beach clean-up idea tickles your fancy, this organisation has monthly events all along Cape Town’s coastline that you can join.

The Haven Night Shelter – If you were around for our launch last year, you may remember that we requested everyone to bring a blanket to the event, which they wouldn’t mind us donating to charity afterwards. Well, all those blankets went to The Haven Night Shelter in Napier Street. This is just one of the 15 Haven shelters across Cape Town. Ways you can get involved include: volunteering your time – another friend and Vol 1 contributor, Karen, helps out with dinner prep every now and then – donating cash/blankets/clothes etc, buying a bed or even employing/training someone from the Haven.

Harvest of Hope – When you sign up to receive a weekly/bi-weekly batch of delicious, fresh organic veggies, you are not only making a healthy lifestyle choice, but also supporting a network of urban farmers based in home and community gardens throughout the townships of Cape Town.

Greenpop – You know that saying, ‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now’? Well, this Cape Town-based NPO has taken it very seriously, having planted 66 000 trees in three Southern African countries over the past six years. So, if you’re passionate about greening, there are quite a few ways you can help out – sponsor a tree, sign up as a volunteer or head to one of their events (Hogsback Festival of Trees is coming up in September and seems like loads of fun!)

The Cape Leopard Trust – This predator conservation work group is dedicated to various research and education projects throughout the Western Cape. As the name suggests, their work mainly focuses on the highly endangered and super rare Cape Leopard.  There are a number of ways you can help out as an individual, but perhaps the simplest is to ‘Adopt-a-Spot’. This programme allows you ‘time-share’ in one of the leopards under research for a period of one year. The cost of adopting a spot is just R500 per annum. In return, you will receive a digital gift certificate and the Cape Leopard Trust will send you photographs and news on our leopards on a quarterly basis.

TEARS – At the point in your life where there’s just too much love in your heart and you need to share it with a pet? Adoption is always a good idea! Not only will you be bringing endless joy to an animal who’s probably experienced far more trauma and rejection than any creature ever should, you also won’t be spending nearly as much as you would when purchasing a dog/cat from a breeder. You can visit TEARS in Noordhoek for a tour of their premises and to meet all the sweet pups and kitties. Take note that the kennels and cattery are in two different locations, but still pretty close together. Since there are always hungry mouths to feed, take a packet of dog/cat food along as a donation.

Thanks so much to Hi-Tec for kitting Nadia out with a super cosy 3-in-1 Lady Lally jacket and Guillaume with a pair of badass Plantation Boots from the all new Carrick collection, as seen in the photographs above.

Words: Nadia Krige
Photos: Nadia Krige & Guillaume Marais