'Enough is enough'
Cavin Rowayi is an environmentalist, archaeologist, cartographer and community developer who recently completed a degree in Environmental Sciences and Archeology at the University of Botswana. In an interview ahead of the GEF Assembly, he shared the roots of his passion in environmentalism.
Where did your interest in environmental issues begin?
My love for the environment began back in 2011 when I started my undergraduate program and became a member of the University of Botswana Wildlife, Environment and Conservation Society. In 2017 I registered an NGO based in Gaborone called Green Habitat Botswana which has a focus on biodiversity conservation, environmental education, and community development.
You completed university studies in both environmental sciences and archeology. That’s such an interesting combination. What does one subject have to do with the other?
Both disciplines look at what the environment offers and how it can be reconstructed and conserved for the future generations. Overall, the relationship between environmental science and archaeology is one of mutual enrichment. While environmental science provides context and data for archaeological interpretations, archaeology offers insights into the historical dynamics of human-environment interactions that can inform our understanding of today’s environmental challenges.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on an initiative to reduce greenhouse gas production in landfills by recycling food waste into organic compost. This is also a project that helps the local and global environment and also alleviates poverty by creating employment and improving food security and production.
Since this project began, we have prevented 4,500 tons of waste from ending up in landfills, employed close to 50 local people, and also educated close to 2,400 students and teachers in Gaborone. We have partnered with 10 private companies to be able to implement this project.
What message do you have for today’s political and business leaders?
Enough is enough. We have talked, debated, and researched about the environment for far too long, with too little action backing this up. It is time to focus on results and implementation.
What are your interests outside your “day job”?
I enjoy camping, mapping, traveling, and sharing community stories. I hope to pursue a master’s degree in environmental law and policy.
What are you looking forward to at the GEF Assembly?
This will be my first time attending any GEF event, and I am looking forward to meeting other youth across the world working on projects that are aligned with biodiversity conservation, environmental education, and climate change. By the end of the Assembly I would love to have broadened my network and created relationships well outside my current circle. My hope is to one day have this event be hosted in my country, so that all the leaders can come and witness the effect and impacts of climate change first-hand.