South African Eco Organisations to Support in 2020

South African Eco Organisations to Support in 2020

Trizanne BarnardFebruary 24, 2020

Trying to decide which environmental organisation to support in 2020? Here is a list of organisations who are tangibly making a difference in the environmental sphere – and could use as much support as possible to continue effecting change.

For many of us, taking action sounds like exhausting work. Humanity is in an end-of-life crisis, writes Leonie Joubert - and she should know, she’s uncovering all the latest news about it on a daily basis. The world is en route to ending not with a bang but a yawn. In the face of the truly astounding environmental changes coming our way, it seems easier to ostrich ourselves in the world of entertainment, daily work, and small daily struggles rather than own up to our part in the climate crisis.

But here is an easy and effective way to be better than that. The organisations and teams on this list have devoted themselves to fighting this environmental battle, and all we need to do is support them. I challenge you – as a 2020 resolution that you actually keep – to choose one organisation from this list and actively boost their work. Sign up, volunteer, donate, attend or work with these organisations.

Greenpeace SA

Greenpeace Africa has a focus on South Africa as the largest emitter in all of Africa, amounting to 40% of emissions. They work closely with affected communities to highlight how dirty coal impacts on water access and air quality. Passionate volunteers for Greenpeace lead their own campaigns to ask local businesses to phase out of single-use plastics, and work closely with other environmental groups to keep the environmental movement vibrant.


Greenpop is an award-winning registered NPO working to restore ecosystems and empower environmental stewards. They do this through reforestation, urban greening, sustainable development and environmental art projects across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Since 2010, Greenpop have planted over 115,000 trees and inspired over 132,000 active citizens across South Africa, Zambia, Malawi, and Tanzania. They believe planting trees can help save the world. But context is key: they plant trees in existing, degraded forest ecosystems across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Ocean Pledge

Ocean Pledge is an ocean conservation initiative concerned with the critical gap between awareness and action when it comes to single-use plastic in our oceans. The initiative encourages individuals to commit to one single action toward ocean preservation by signing a pledge.

They also run a Restaurant Programme that is based on supporting a zero waste to land-fill system. This means creating a shift away from today’s throw away culture where not a second’s thought is given to the items we throw away after a few minutes' use resulting in overflowing landfills and oceans full of trash. Ocean Pledge implements the programme via a set of criteria which gradually phases out single-use plastic at participating restaurants.

Project Noordhoeked

Project Noordhoeked is a non-profit project that aims to keep Noordhoek clean and safe, spreading awareness of the effects of single-use plastic. What’s more, it’s created jobs for many unemployed residents in Noordhoek and its surrounds.


SANBI, the South African National Biodiversity Institute, monitors the status of South Africa’s biodiversity. The National Biodiversity Assessment (NBA) is the primary tool for reporting on the state of biodiversity in South Africa, and is used to inform policies, strategies and activities for managing and conserving biodiversity more effectively. Over 470 individuals representing about 90 organisations collaborated on the NBA over 4 years, and the result is a synthesis report, seven technical reports, datasets, maps, supplementary materials and popular products. This short film features four young scientists from SANBI who share their role in developing the NBA.


SANCCOB is the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds. Their work includes rescue, rehabilitation, chick rearing, oiled wildlife preparedness and response. They also offer education, training, research and employ conservation staff to be penguin and seabird rangers in the Western Cape, in colonies that are under the protection of conservation authorities.

The Chick Bolstering Project is a multi-partner project working to save the endangered African penguin, through hand-rearing abandoned and weak chicks, and rearing chicks from eggs. SANCCOB has successfully released more than 7,000 chicks back into the wild since 2006. Independent research confirms that the survival rates for these hand-reared African penguins are similar to that of naturally-reared birds. There are several fundable components to the project, including costs to rescue and rear chicks during periods of mass abandonment.

Sea Change Project

Sea Change Project is a community of scientists, storytellers, journalists and filmmakers dedicated to raising awareness of the beauty and ecological importance of South Africa’s kelp forest. They use media advocacy to protect the South African marine environment. Inspired by daily contact with The Great African Sea Forest, their goal is to have it declared a UNESCO Natural and Cultural World Heritage Site.

Craig Foster and Ross Frylinck founded the Sea Change Trust in 2012, a South African NPO. They support the call to sustainably increase South Africa’s marine protected areas (MPAs). My Octopus Teacher is a feature documentary that captures the story of Craig Foster’s year with a wild octopus. He followed this individual animal for most of her life – something that has seldom been achieved in the wild, let alone underwater. The film is due for release in 2020.

Sustainable Seas Trust

Sustainable Seas Trust is a non-profit organisation that supports and connects communities across Africa through research, education, enterprise development and growing awareness about ocean conservation and plastic pollution.

They also build networks for sharing information and support focused on waste management. Through their events and projects, the African Marine Waste Network, Hope Spots and Marine Education, they are bringing like-minded and passionate people together, locally and internationally, to manage the issues of plastic waste in Africa.


Thrive is an organisation that strives to unite communities in Hout Bay through environmental awareness projects. They encourage every individual to make a difference that will benefit their community, enhance their lives and provide sustainable solutions to the issues threatening the environment. Thrive believes that together, we can impact the destiny of our nation by working to preserve our unique heritage. Our diversity is what makes us strong.

Sustainable Communities empowers Hout Bay communities through:

  • growing their own food using unutilised land and open spaces, while composting all organic refuse to enrich their compost and worm farms

  • fighting alien vegetation and restoring the natural environment to its pristine condition

  • recycling and upcycling waste and goods

  • water efficiency

  • energy intelligence


WESSA (the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa) is a South African environmental organisation that supports high impact environmental and conservation projects. They implement effective environmental, sustainable tourism, education and youth development programmes throughout South Africa, and activate a wide range of local initiatives for the environment.

EEESAY (Entrepreneurial and Environmental Empowerment for South African Youth) is a WESSA partnership with Teach A Man To Fish. This intensely practical project provides 6,000 learners from 40 schools in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape with an opportunity to gain practical business skills. The learners set up and run an educational and environmentally sustainable enterprise at their school.

Source: Facebook, Treeshake.