Janet Botes, the creative environmentalist from South Africa

Driven by her love for the natural environment, its visible fragility and the dire need to preserve it, Janet Botes is a creative visual artist focusing on our connection to life while challenging the environmental crisis that we all face today.

In her perspective, we have known about the real and damaging issues facing our planet for far too long now without doing anything to improve them. This paradigm has inspired her to use natural surroundings and resources in her work to help people appreciate the environment while spreading positive and thought-provoking awareness. Janet always had a creative background and went on to study Graphic Design at Vaal University of Technology in Vanderbijlpark, South Africa, where she was born and raised. Her focus was on ‘Green Design’, a field in which she obtained her B Tech qualification (Cum Laude) and worked for a few years in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town. Her graphic design focused around ecology, conservation and environmental issues. Eventually her creative passion took over and she began to freelance in 2009 while becoming involved in a variety of different projects. Since that time, she has given numerous workshops, created design and art for clients and private projects, worked in galleries while organizing exhibitions, and travelled with the Global Nomadic Art Project.

Her interests stem from an outdoorsy childhood, exposed to the natural and not so natural elements. She became aware of some of these issues as a teenager, noticing a lack of insects attributed to the use of pesticides while growing up in a polluted part of South Africa due to nearby industrial factories producing steel, petroleum and petrochemicals. Her green creativity stems from her love for the natural environment and the need to save it.  Further particular interests vary greatly and continue to inspire her original work. These include small scale farming and local food production.

She has recently gone vegan and sees it as one of the key solutions to the disastrous consequences of animal agriculture on climate change. Janet proudly stands for reforestation, community development, eco-education, and any campaign that opposes pollution whether it be banning plastic, supporting the use of hemp, cleaning drives, recycling initiatives, and especially factories not complying with legislation or taking responsibility. She believes simply that in today’s society every household should be equipped with their own solar panels to generate their own renewable energy while delivering extra energy back to the grid. Lastly, she is outspoken and loudly opposed to fracking in the Karoo and nuclear energy in South Africa, as these are themes she would like to communicate and promote in her upcoming work.

By promoting these simple but efficient views of sustainability in her life and in her work, Janet plays an important role as a Climate Leader who is influencing more and more people through visual communication every day.

Notable projects Janet has organized or been a part of include:

  • Co-organizing informal Land Art Gatherings in Cape Town since April 2014 and recently in the Garden Route – people are welcome to join in creating art from their surroundings while also collecting rubbish. To take part or find out more, https://web.facebook.com/capelandart.
  • In 2012 she initiated and co-organized the green art exhibition, titled (Eco)nversations. This event was held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) and sponsored by National Geographic Channel 281 along with Green Expo. The artworks explored ecology and biodiversity in a way that acknowledged the impact on the environment and our connection to the natural world.
  • The Human Earth Exhibition series, initially conceptualized by Janet and during the years as a participating artist. To view the exhibition, http://www.humanearthexhibitions.com/.
  • A org campaign to connect the dots between different places impacted by climate change in Cape Town, took place on Blouberg beach with Table Mountain in the background.
  • Since 2013, Janet has committed to a volunteer run initiative known as Site_Specific which encourages land art in South Africa. She volunteers on the Karoo Geoglyph Project: sitespecific.org.za/karoo-geoglyph.
  • Supporter and volunteer of Green Peace and the WESSA (Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa.)

Through visual communication and her passion for the environment, Janet is dedicating her life’s work to create, educate and influence the world with a positive environmental outlook.

If you’re interested in following Janet’s creative mind more closely, please visit her website www.janetbotes.co.za, her blog www.artlovenature.co.za or tune into her featured videos through www.vimeo.com/janetbotes.

As a Climate Reality Leader from South Africa, Janet Botes is part of a dynamic group of world-changers shaping the conversation on climate in forums ranging from family dinners to international summits. Together they are building a 21st-century movement for solutions to tackle climate change and foster environmental sustainability in Africa and world-wide.