Culture and Community

2020 has been one for the books. With the year drawing to a close and the festive season upon us, we’ve chosen to end off this year’s cycle of newsletters with a topic that will hopefully uplift and inspire us all. This week, we look at Culture and Community and its importance in bringing the heart to our ‘hearts and minds’ approach to sustainability.

Photo credit: Bioregional Australia

We believe that sustainability is holistic and should capture the heart as well as the mind…as a way to inspire people to be involved in sustainable change. One Planet Living puts soft principles like Health + Happiness and Culture + Community on an equal footing to the more immediately tangible principles like Zero Waste, Zero Carbon and Sustainable Water.

To make meaningful, long lasting impact, we need to foster a culture of sustainability.

Picture credit:

One Planet Living makes it simple to go about doing this. Whether an individual or a business, here are our ideas for bringing Culture and Community to life in your sustainability journey:

1. nurture our local identity and heritage
2. empower communities
3. promote a culture of sustainable living

Photo credit: — Durban City Hall
Photo credit: — ‘art deco’ in Durban

Nurturing local identity and heritage

To nurture our identity and heritage, we must celebrate it. Durban is a cultural and historic melting pot of art, fashion, architecture, cuisine and language.

Our ethnic diversity of Indian, European, Coloured and Zulu people add to the richness of our cultural fabric. But what makes the KZN province even more unique is that we have the highest population of rural Zulus and the highest concentration of Indians outside of India. Our White population is of European descent and make up 4% of our population; while Coloured citizens are one of the most mixed in its ancestry of Europeam, Indian, Khoisan, Mauritian and St Helenian people.

Photo credit: — Zulu ceremony at Phezulu Cultural Village
Photo credit: — Indian spice shop at Victoria Street Market

Be a tourist in your own city this December. Our built environment, cultural locations and open spaces are all part of Durban’s legacy and form an integral part our lives today. Why not discover Durban’s history on foot? Durban Walking Tours do walks through some of the most historical parts of the city — like the CBD, the Point, Victoria Embankment and Florida Road. What better way to learn more about your own city than in the company of a few new people, who may also improve your happiness levels by becoming friends?!

Photo credit: — ‘Point Walk’

Volunteering is also a way for us to nurture our heritage. Think about a cultural or open space you’d like to adopt in your local community. Look out for organized events or even take the lead in organizing your own clean up event at a community park or garden. One Change SA is a good source for updates on sustainability projects and events taking place in Durban.

Get involved with your local community or join a club to network, expand your creativity and gain new insights from community leaders. Check out the local newspaper or do a quick online search and you’ll find groups as diverse as ‘The Art Deco society’, ‘KZN Cat Club’ and even ‘The Live Poets Society’.

Empowering communities

One Planet champions and businesses recognize that a vibrant and resilient local community is just as important as its internal community. Investing in local communities through personal time, employee time or training initiatives goes a long way in increasing the capacity of local communities to address challenges, develop and maintain their own identity and shape their own futures.

Old Mutual’s Green Hands Trust CSI initiative appears to be a great example of empowering local communities. The initiative was set up for staff to work alongside their own communities, addressing a range of issues and ultimately creating self-sustainability within these neighbourhoods.

Photo credit: Old Mutual — ‘Green Hands’ outreach initiative

On the topic of empowering local communities… Durbanite Norma Young recently published her book titled We Need More Tables. This insightful book is for everyone — it offers guidance on finding a balance between alleviating poverty, yet maintaining a measure of the privilege one may have been born with. This book could not have come at a more appropriate and pertinent time in our country. Here is Norma in a recent SABC interview.

Promoting a culture of sustainable living

One Planet champions cultivate a culture of sustainability among friends, family and colleagues, and One Planet businesses cultivate a culture of sustainability not only amongst their employees but also amongst customers and suppliers.

As a business, aim to continually improve your on-site operations and engagement on sustainability. Encourage your staff to contribute ideas regularly and train and incentivize staff to lead more sustainable lives on a personal level.

Clothing brand Patagonia is one of the world’s most sustainable outdoor clothing brands. A brilliant way that they’ve chosen to promote a culture of sustainability is by teaching consumers how to repair their own clothing and belongings. They offer workshops to anyone — for clothing and belongings that do not even have to made by Patagonia — that’s true commitment.

Photo credit: — Patagonia repairs workshop

Some of us will be out and about this December, so let us also promote sustainable living by supporting local vendors and creatives at Durban’s markets.

A few on our list are:

Market 031 — Durban North
Victoria Street Market — Durban Central
Warwick Market — Durban Central
Shongweni Farmers and Crafts Market — Outer West

For the coffee lovers out there, support ‘coffee with a cause’ when you’re next heading out for a cuppa. These local coffee shops are giving back to their communities or worthy causes:

Ubunthu Ground Cafe — Hillcrest
Marilyn’s Tea Garden — Kloof
Pilgrim’s Rest Tea Garden — Crestholme/Inanda

Lastly, engage with friends, family, colleagues and customers on positive and negative environmental and social impacts of consumption and the benefits of a sustainable lifestyle. “It’s not enough to live green if you don’t preach what you practice”. Here are some fun ways to teach your friends about sustainable living.


What we’ve learnt at Bioregional SA is that it takes just one champion to lead the way in making a sustainable change. Our hope for 2021 is to attract more of those keen champions to One Planet Living — as an easy and attractive way to go green. We look forward to building on this global sustainability movement.

Happy holidays, everyone!



Part of the ‘One Planet Cities’ project, funded by KR Foundation, with five cities piloting an online platform to make sustainability action planning easy.

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One Planet Cities Durban

Part of the ‘One Planet Cities’ project, funded by KR Foundation, with five cities piloting an online platform to make sustainability action planning easy.