Meet Preshantha Naicker, beauty pageant turned climate advocate

Preshantha Naicker a former participant and semi-finalist in Miss Earth SA and Miss India SA in 2014. Preshantha is a postgrad student, completing her masters in the field of Environmental Sciences, at the School of Agriculture, Earth and Environmental Sciences. Interestingly, her thesis is focused on “The Evaluation of local climate change projections and public behaviour towards adopting approaches at a household level that integrates adaptation and mitigation in urban areas. The case of Durban in the eThekwini Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal Province”. Her wish is that her research will have a positive impact on students and the state of climate change affairs in the City of Durban.

Preshantha believes that urban areas are the driving force for change and the most susceptible to climate changes. “The local municipality is, at this time, very instrumental in integrating its Durban Climate Change Strategy effectively” she mentions. As part of her postgraduate studies, Preshantha interns with the Impact Assessment and Planning division of Environmental Resources Management South Africa (Pty), based in Durban. She is part of the Climate Change Cultural Heritage/ Archaeology, Energy and Climate Change and Impact Assessment Technical Committees at ERM SA.

As a Climate Reality Leader trained by Former US Vice President Al Gore in Johannesburg in 2014, Preshantha gave a presentation on climate change and waste management at a local primary school in Durban. She got kids from grades 4 to 7 to participate by showing them objects made from recycled waste, and she emphasised how important it is to recycle and utilise waste as efficiently as possible. Preshantha also planted 10 indigenous trees with the students and got them involved with Mpact Limited, a recycling company in Durban that educates students on the need to recycle waste efficiently. She notes that it was a very rewarding experience, and one that drives her to continue her work in addressing climate change.

An African Climate Reality Leader from South Africa, Preshantha Naicker 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.