Y is for You Are Not Crazy, You Can Change the World


Sometimes I get caught in a funk or a slump and in the immortal words of Dr Seuss, “Unslumping yourself is not easily done.”

I get all “Poor me, I can’t save the rhinos or end world poverty! Why do I even bother?”

I know my answer, because if enough people bother we can unslump the world, even if it is just our small part of it.

SeussThis week I was astonished at the BIG things people have done. Some of them I know and some I don’t, but the point is they all come from my neck of the woods.

My weekly knock-and-drop arrived on Friday. I usually dump in it straight in the recycling bin before ten tons of advertising falls on my dislocated toe.

I didn’t on Friday. I didn’t because my friend, Heather Oosthuisen has done a BIG thing and was on the front page.

She was appalled by the commercial dumping of building waste in her neighbourhood parks and the decrepit state they were in, with vagrants and muggings to add some spice as well.

She did not go home and shake her head and say, “Well what could I do about it?”

She did something.

When the city council told her they no money, she went out and got donations from private companies and individuals. Enough to resuscitate one of the few green areas in the city where people can walk their dogs, take a picnic or mountain bike through green pathways.

CircusThen of course the circus has come to town and the Boswell Circus’s mistreatment of animals is well known.

In the old days it was the Boswell Wilkie Circus until the Wilkie side decided that using animals was inhumane.

So many people I know turned out in force to oppose them over the last week and this weekend. Bronwyn Feldwick-Davis, my school friend, was one of them.

Jason Drew_PictureFinally the man I don’t know, but wish I did, Jason Drew.

What do poo, mosquitoes and abattoirs have in common?

Well, Jason Drew obviously, but it is what he does with them that is so fantastic. He completes the value-chain or Simba’s circle of life.

He makes the last link in the food chain where most humans tend to lose the plot.

Let’s start with the Lord of the Flies…

After visiting an abattoir in the Middle East Jason was shocked at the amount of blood and gore that was thrown away, more than that the sheer number of flies feeding on it was a revelation.

Most of us would have lost our breakfast, but he is made of sterner stuff and his brain started ticking over.

He started a business called Agri-Protein with the University of Stellenbosch. Very simply he buys all the blood and guts and feeds it to fly larvae.

Fish farmThey recycle it (I don’t want to know the details) into useable protein for animal feed, at a fraction of the cost of existing natural resources.

It is mostly sold off to fish farms to replace fish meal and might make a difference in the state of our over-fished seas.

Then we have the blood suckers…

Jason is involved in an English company called Oxitec. They breed sterile male mosquitoes. Yes, my skin is crawling.

Mosquito Isolated on WhiteWhat is so cool about these little chaps is that they are sent out to places where malaria and dengue fever are rife.

Their sterility does not negatively affect their sex lives and the local ladies love them. Then the next generation just doesn’t hatch.

It’s a lot cheaper and better for the environment than pesticides.

He’s just sold something like 30 million of the little buzzers to Brazil so that no soccer fans succumb to anything other than footie fever during the World Cup.

And for last, I have saved the poo…

Many of our communities are without piped water and sanitation. So, Jason erected a number of porta-potties in the locations around Stellenbosch.

cup-of-coffeeThen he (well probably not him personally) collects their contents and turns it into liquid fertiliser.

This is sold to coffee farms in Kenya.

Next time you sip your coffee think of that! It much cheaper than other alternatives and apparently grows pretty good coffee beans.

The point is that you can do something.

Just stop whining and use your noggin.

You might even get rich.


Check Jason Drew out on Ted.com

Visit his blog on: jasondrew.blogspot.com

Or find more about him from this article on ITB Digital

8 thoughts on “Y is for You Are Not Crazy, You Can Change the World

  1. Just discovered you on the A-Z Facebook wall. Great post, very inspiring! I love examples of individuals who got up off their butts and changed the world. Gets me moving!

  2. That is SO COOL I hate waste and must try find out if local abattoirs are following the same sensible course. I have a nasty feeling we ship 99% of our animals abroad for slaughter. And I REALLY must research whether midgies can be sterilized, I could become the patron saint of Scotland. Great post!

  3. Arghhhh – I live in South Africa too so lots of your post is known to me. However the blood thing and porta potties got to me….Great post Victoria Bruce. I love writing your name!

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