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Green Is The New Black

Yolanda Thein | Founder, GreenGroves (she/her)

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For dedicating her time towards protecting one of our most precious ecosystems

Yolanda is a model turned sustainable digital creative, who advocates for mitigating the use of single-use plastics from our daily lives. But you’ll most likely find her talking about mangroves, or more specifically: GreenGroves, an organisation that she founded, to raise awareness of nature’s natural solution to the climate crisis… mangroves. Yolanda, inspired by coral reefs, wondered what other ecosystems could help us in the climate fight. That brought her to mangroves, which, like coral reefs, need restoration efforts because of the severe degradation and destruction of these ecosystems by humans. 

So she founded GreenGroves, an organisation that brings together a coastal community of students, residents and volunteers for beach clean-ups and planting mangrove propagules. The organisation’s wider goal is to get as many people as possible on board to reduce, reuse, replant, and restore, all changes that we need to move towards more sustainable lifestyles. But her focus remains on getting people to come together to restore mangroves, and GreenGroves prioritises peer-to-peer education at their community-led events. 

Forget trees—for a moment—what’s so special about mangroves and why should everyone learn about them? Mangroves store twice as much carbon as the rest of the rainforests on the planet. They’re the most reproductive ecosystems and can help us absorb all the carbon industries and human activities have emitted. Found along tropical and subtropical coastlines, their thick roots and surrounding vegetation trap sediments, metals, and other contaminants, and ensuring that water quality is maintained. They also have the potential to hold sediments that float upstream, protecting fragile environments like coral reefs and seagrass beds bellows. And they also serve as soil stabilisers and tidal buffer zones as temperatures and sea levels rise because of global warming.

All of this means that mangroves can help us: trap carbon, provide sustainable jobs for coastal communities, provide a refuge for coral reefs from ocean acidification, provide a breeding ground for fish and crustaceans, slow the rising of sea levels, protect human communities from storms, and much more. In fact, coastal wetland protection is one of the top climate solutions identified by Project Drawdown (led by another Green Warrior), which means that Yolanda’s efforts are incredibly important, and effective. 

Instagram | GreenGroves 

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