Thabo Mthembu

Thabo Mthembu challenges our old ways of thinking. As a researcher in the Living Planet Unit at the Worldwide Fund for Nature he is constantly trying to change the way people look at climate change and renewable energy, working with the private sector, government and civil society to find the best ways to realise South Africa’s full energy potential. No stranger to a challenging debate, Mthembu once shared the podium with former president Thabo Mbeki, discussing how to combat energy poverty and the future of renewable energy within South Africa’s infrastructure expansion programme. He found his passion for renewable energy while doing his master’s in Global Studies in Germany but it was in India that he became inspired by the way even the most impoverished citizens were using innovative energy techniques. He just hopes his research will one day help South Africa to shift to a low-carbon economy. — Caroline Cowan