Based in Johannesburg, Marloes Reinink is the founder of one of South Africa’s most successful green building consultancies – Solid Green Consulting. She is also one of the founders of the online green education portal GreenED and is South Africa’s ambassador for the Living Building Challenge.
We try our best to encourage people to go green, but sometimes it feels like emptying the ocean with a teaspoon. For my own good mental health, the next step to do better for the planet was to become a vegan – not eating meat and dairy is definitely lowering my footprint.
1. Where do you go for inspiration?
I get a lot of inspiration from visiting conferences. In the last couple of years, I have been to the US to the US Green Building Conference, which is huge – about 15 000 attendees, and such a huge exhibition. It is always very inspiring to see how things are working in the US and how we are actually not that far behind in South Africa. Early next year I am going to Seattle to the 2019 Living Future Conference, organised by the International Living Future Institute – I hope I come back glowing with inspiration!
2. What do you think is the most urgent global environmental challenge facing us?
There are too many: food security, global warming, disastrous weather events, plastic in the oceans, overpopulation, loss of biodiversity and more! We try our best to encourage people to go green, but sometimes it feels like emptying the ocean with a teaspoon. For my own good mental health, the next step to do better for the planet was to become a vegan – not eating meat and dairy is definitely lowering my footprint.
3. What is the most useful tool that helps you every day?
The world wide web and internet! There is so much information and knowledge at our fingertips! And it allows me to work from anywhere in the world. And it connects me with people all over the world.
4. What do you feel is the biggest issue in the green building industry that we have to overcome?
There are a couple, but I think one big issue is that the time available to design a building is so short, and often does not involve all professionals on the team. This means often the biggest “mistakes” are made in initial design stages. In an ideal world, designing a green building would include collaboration and innovation early in the design stages.
5. When was the last time you were scared? What scares you?
What scares me sometimes, and I try not to think about it too much, is that I find it incredible how quickly we are able to destroy the planet. I’m afraid to see what the planet will look like in 50 years’ time. Even though I believe humankind will find a way to keep their existence, the majority of the world population will be negatively affected by the degradation of our planet.
6. What are you reading?
To be honest, when I read, I read to relax and get my mind off work and everything else. I love good books, and there are too many to mention, but they have very little to do with work.
7. What achievement are you most proud of?
Founding Solid Green and the fact that we are now one of the leading sustainability companies in the country!
8. What is the best part of your workday?
Definitely the mornings. I usually go to the office at 7:00 and spend the first hour either going for a run or doing some yoga; then I’ll start working around 8:00. I really cherish this as it relaxes me and I can start the day healthy.
9. What is a message you would like to shout from the rooftops/put on a billboard? Something you wish everyone could know and take to heart.
“Can we please all care for our planet!!” There are so many things that we need to change, and not all of us have to do everything, but if everyone can do something – minimise/recycle your waste, eat vegetarian one day a week, minimise consumerist behaviour, stop using straws, take short showers – whatever you think makes a difference. But we have to start caring about our planet.
10. What is a nifty, ‘sustainability hack’ that you use in your daily life to live more environmentally friendly?
My “One Green Planet – Food Monster” recipe app – FREE! And it keeps on giving great vegan recipes.