Romario Valentine, an 11-year-old eco-warrior from Umhlanga, Durban, has a deep-rooted passion to protect and preserve our planet.
Echoing Dr Wangari Maathai’s mantra ‘To the young people I say, you are a gift to your communities and indeed the world. You are our hope and future.’
Proving that you’re never too young to make a difference, Romario has received international recognition for his environmental efforts.
An impressive resume
To date Romario has done over 250 beach cleans and planted/sponsored over 455 trees in 31 countries around the world.
During the covid lockdown in 2020, with the support of his fans, family and friends he launched a crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy to support 900 endangered bird species for Umgeni River Bird sanctuary in Durban. Read More.
In, 2021 Romario launched his second campaign on BackaBuddy, for the completion of an aviary for 90 abandoned African Grey parrots for Birds of Eden, Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape. They are the largest free-flight sanctuary in the world, which includes their free-roaming forest primate sanctuaries in Western Cape and Ballito, Durban. Read more.
Romario made history by becoming the youngest Ambassador for Ocean Sole, a Kenyan company that recycles flip-flops that wash ashore.
He has represented South Africa on a panel at The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and has appeared in multiple media publications including 50/50, Extreme E’s Virtual Series Launch, National Geographic Kids, Global Citizen to name a few.
To inspire the next generation of nature lovers, Romario enthusiastically launched his first book in September 2022 titled ‘Protect our Planet – Take action with Romario’. The comprehensive guide focuses on key environmental topics – from recycling and reforestation to pollution solutions and climate change. Read More.
“I have always been passionate about nature and biodiversity. However, when I was 6, I participated in a school play as an orca. I did research with my mother and discovered the damage pollutants were doing to orcas and other marine species. I realised this could lead to their extinction and cause an imbalance in the ocean’s ecosystem. I embarked on a mission to clean the beach at least once a week ever since.” – says Romario
Crowdfunding this Christmas
This Christmas, Romario who has been chosen as 2022 BirdLife SA Owlet laureate, is championing conservation efforts of seabirds such as albatrosses, petrels and penguins, which all play a vital role in the marine ecosystem.
Currently, BirdLife South Africa is on a mission to eradicate rodents wreaking havoc among bird species on Marion Island. The sub-Antarctic island is located South East of Cape Town in the Southern Indian Ocean. Birds such as the albatross – wandering, sooty, grey-headed and petrels are on a rapid decline.
It’s believed that stowaway mice in the 19th century from sealers and whalers’ ships infiltrated the island. These invasive predators have now started eating seabird chicks therefore not allowing them to reach adulthood. The adult birds are affected too not only by the mice but climate change and other human activities. Due to the severity of the infestation, the adult birds have not adapted any defences against these predators.
Since the launch of the campaign, over R1400 has been raised with contributions from 5 donors which will save the bird species on Marion Island from extinction and restore the ecosystem by eliminating the menacing mice.
“With your help, you can be part of this legacy, to restore the beautiful seabirds and other biodiversity on Marion island . When we take care of nature. We take care of ourselves.” – Romario
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Romario has raised a total of R56 000 on BackaBuddy to support the natural environment since 2020.
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South Africa’s leading crowdfunding platform, BackaBuddy has supported more than 10 000+ individuals and charities in setting up fundraising campaigns for medical fees, tuition and various causes in South Africa. The platform has thus far risen over R360 Million.