My DOT Star of the week is Stefanie Swanepoel. She is the founder of Ecobrick Deep South in the Cape Peninsula, South Africa and is helping people in the city reconnect with their impact on and their reliance on nature. Stefanie is also a director of The Beach Co-op – an organisation focused on eliminating single-use plastics from the economy.

DOT Star Stefanie Swanepoel

DOT Star Stefanie Swanepoel

“My work as in the field of sustainable development, and climate change adaptation, has made me realise that people, particularly those living in cities, are increasingly disconnected from natural systems. And we are relatively unaware of how reliant we are on these systems for our water, our food, our clean air, and our relatively stable climate. To bring about a “re-connection” we need to appeal to people’s sense of logic, intuition and emotion. Ecobricking is a great intervention point because the simple act of filling a plastic bottle with one’s own waste raises awareness of the level of plastic waste produced in the household, which leads to shifts in buying patterns, and increased advocacy and agency at the individual level. Ecobricking, while an interim measure until these plastics are banned or made recyclable, is a revolutionary act that shifts people in a way that reading about the issue doesn’t.”