Meet Hugh Tyrrell – Designing Behaviour Change for the Greener Good!

Hugh Tyrrell grew up in a seaside village on the warm sub-tropical South Coast of KZN. Now he runs GreenEdge Communications, an independent consultancy working with business, non-profit and government organisations. He was founding editor of EarthYear  and  ReSource national magazines and has convened several environmental journalism conferences. A long-standing member of the Institute of Waste Management, he is a leading specialist in designing behaviour change and communication programmes to increase participation in recycling. Hugh is founder and vice-chair of TreeKeepers Cape Town. He is married with two children and lives in Cape Town. 

  • What are you most passionate about?

Family. Friends. Forests. Estuary fishing.  Jazz-fusion.  Doing what I can to contribute to nature’s beauty, complexity and abundance.

  • What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?

Probably deciding to be dropped off alone on an uninhabited tropical island in the Great Barrier Reef and living off fish, coconuts, potatoes, onions and cereal for two weeks.

  • What makes you angry?

Arrogant, egoistic, disrespectful, despotic politicians

  • If you inherited an acre of land what would you do with it?

Grow nuts and olive trees that I can sit under and enjoy in ten years time.

  • Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer? 

Hunter (after fish), but learning to gather the harvests that I have sown.

  • How many pairs of shoes  do you own?

About six or seven. Mostly wear only one  or two.

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

Durban curry. Or fresh fish fillets lightly fried then drenched with lemon juice.

  • How would people communicate in a perfect world?

A lot less social media. A lot more human face-to-face connection. Being fully present for one another.

  • What do you work toward in your free time?

Relationships. Writing more. Tending the compost and veg garden.

  • If you woke up and had 300 unread emails and could only answer 30 of them, how would you choose which ones to answer?

First ten is people I know and care about. Second ten is clients and business partners. Third five  is useful news. Fourth five is inspirational and future change stuff.

  • Name three things in nature you find most beautiful.
  1. The inter-relationships amongst all living beings in an ecosystem.
  2. The timelessness of nature’s unfolding. No clocks needed.
  3. The slow incoming tide of a Wild Coast estuary
  • Have you used plastic bags for your shopping in the last two weeks?


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

Make compost from your food and kitchen scraps and garden trimmings and grow vegetables with it. A direct and nourishing connection with nature’s enduring cycle of transformation.



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