Dr Hayley Clements – Champion for the Natural Environment!

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Dr Hayley Clements is an interdisciplinary conservation researcher at Stellenbosch University’s Centre for Complex Systems in Transition, and recipient of the Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer Grant (JWO). Dr Hayley Clements is leading a project entitled ‘Quantifying the Biodiversity Planetary Boundary for Africa’.

Let’s get to know Dr Hayley Clements a little better!

If you had a theme song, what would it be?

Stay Alive by José González

What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?

Arriving in the USA at 21, with almost no money and a non-refundable flight booked back to South Africa a year later out of Brazil

If Mars was liveable, would you accept a one way ticket there?

Definitely not – Earth is easily my favourite planet!

If you were given one thousand acres of land what would you do with it?

Grow organic veggies on a portion and let nature do its thing on the rest (and build my parents a cottage – they’ve been hinting at this for years!)

Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer? 

Are people allowed to be both?! Probably a gatherer.

How many pairs of shoes do you own?

Maybe 10 – my new mission is to have as few as possible but my hiking shoes just aren’t great for cocktail parties and nothing beats ugg boots when you’re camping in winter!

If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?

Probably pesto pasta – I have a very limited cooking repertoire!

How would people communicate in a perfect world?

With compassion

When you have 30 minutes of free time – how do you pass it?

I go for a nature walk

If you woke up to 300 unread emails, how would you prioritise which ones to answer?

I’d probably decide it was time for a new career! Great advice someone once gave me is that emails are not your to do list, they are someone else’s to do list – start your day with your own to do list.

Where do you go and what do you do to find peace and recharge?

Running in the mountains (there are plenty of those here in Cape Town)

If you could write one new law that everybody had to obey, what would it be?

Don’t take more than you need.

What, if anything, have you ever re-gifted?

I regift things all the time in support of a circular economy!

What is the most interesting thing you have seen or read this week?

New research finds that reptiles and birds cry tears that our similar to our own … amazing!

What skill or craft  would you like to master?

Pottery – I’d love to make all my own plates and cups!

What would you say are some small steps that people can take to improve their relationship to the environment?

Eat less beef and pork and more local produce and things that come with less packaging; buy things that last and mend them instead of throwing them away; fly less, slow down and go for walks; let your garden be wild and indigenous!


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