climate change

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green office week: top tips for greening your office

Submitted by turbosprout on Tue, 2011-04-19 12:03

flat screen monitors, office plants, smiling workers... it's green office week: pic - green path guideflat screen monitors, office plants, smiling workers... it's green office week: pic - green path guideGreen Office Week (GOW) [18 - 21 April 2011] is an initiative started by Dictum, a South African specialist publishing company, in 2010 (incidentally they also initiated National Bosses Day back in 1990).

Focus days
This year Green Office Week has four focus days, which I think is a good idea:

Mon 18 - Make it happen Monday
Monday is all about printing and paper use.

Tue 19 - Choosy Tuesday
Focus on getting and using greener office supplies and equipment.

Wed 20 - Wattage Wednesday
How to reduce your energy consumption

Thurs 21 - Thoughtful Thursday
Think about how to use technology to reduce your environmental impact. You can of course think about other non-technocentric ideas on Thursday too!

Great office greening resources
There are some excellent resources for greening your office. One of the best we've come across is the Project 90x2030 Green Your Office Toolkit, a 48 page (3.8 Mb PDF) download, with case studies and local examples. It provides action sections covering Energy, Water, Waste and Travel and P90230 have also developed an online office audit tool which you can use to record your impacts and view actionable suggestions.

The Green Office Week website has a really good, concise 8-page Green Office Action Plan (GOAP) download (355 Kb PDF) which has many tips and ideas spanning seven areas: Paper, Energy, Water, Green Purchasing, Waste, Carbon Footprint, Green Events. There is also a download by GOW outling the aims, simple tips for each day, getting buy-in from co-workers, and info for the boss.

In keeping with the focus days, here are urban sprouts top tips for Green Office Week for Printing, Office Supplies, Energy and Technology.

Printing (or not)
If you're going to download the resources above (they're worth keeping close at hand) you'll want to consider the best way to print.

Rethink
The average UK office worker prints out an estimated 1500 sheets of paper each month, most of which is discarded within 2 days and some of which is reprinted. When it comes to printing, the first thing is to


the night the lights went out in orlando

Submitted by sproutscout on Fri, 2011-04-01 09:30

earth hour 2011 orlando stadiumearth hour 2011 orlando stadiumThe lights went out at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Saturday, as they did in many iconic buildings worldwide, in honor of Earth Hour. The WWF concert was the first publicly celebrated occasion of Earth Hour in Johannesburg, since its inception in Australia 2004. As Dr Morne Du Plessis (WWF SA CEO), Amos Masondo (Johannesburg Mayor), and Matshidiso Mfikoe (member of the mayoral committee for environment), ceremonially pulled the plug at the stadium, the grammy-award winning Soweto gospel choir were ushered on stage to perform. The hoards were kept away from the free concert by the threat of rain, but those who did arrive were thoroughly entertained. The act was soon joined by the Bala brothers and Vicus Visser (dubbed South Africa’s very own Justin Bieber) and his brother, who gave the audience much to wave their candles to.

But what of the electricity used to entertain the crowd while the stadiums lights were off? And the electricity used to set-up the big screen, and the lighting and TV screens in the VIP marquee? As Maseda Ratshikuni, head of cause marketing at Nedbank argues, it is not the amount of electricity one uses during the hour per se, but rather the amount of awareness raised, that will ultimately decrease the amount of electricity used in the city. Most hard-core may environmentalists criticize this statement, but he may make an important point.

Earth Hour after-all was started

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earth hour this saturday

Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2011-03-24 15:24

Earth Hour has come around again – the largest voluntary action in the world, entailing over 1.3 billion people switching off their lights for an hour in support of the environment.

When: Saturday evening, 26 March between 8.30 and 9.30pm.

Table Mountain in Cape Town will join other world icons like the CN Tower in Toronto, the Golden Gate Bridge and Empire State Building, and even London's Eye by switching off all lights for the hour.

Find out what's happening in...


green roofs

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2011-03-22 10:12

Love this pic. It's one of a series of such pictures on Inhabitat.com - well worth a look-see. It appears that Norwegians, at any rate, have been planting greenery on their roofs for years...

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guilt free green rides

Submitted by sproutnewb on Mon, 2011-03-07 10:25

Green Cab FleetGreen Cab FleetThere is always something worth seeing and experiencing in Cape Town, the only problem is you often have to travel far distances to get there and those carbon emissions aren’t doing any good to the environment. Foreign tourists, in particular, have been limited to joining a tour group or hiring their own car to get around the peninsula. Never fear though, because now you can get from A to B guilt free. Thanks to The Green Cab, you can visit the V&A waterfront, the Cape Point nature reserve, Simonstown, Chapman’s Peak and several other destinations without adding as much to your carbon footprint.

The Green Cab provides Cape Town’s first responsible tourism transport and tour offering with eco-credentials. Their vehicles are fuelled with


10 things you never knew about the 2011 budget

Submitted by turbosprout on Thu, 2011-02-24 16:08

Pravin Gordhan - SA's Finance MinisterPravin Gordhan - SA's Finance Minister1. The levy on non-renewable (including nuclear) electricity, will be used to... fix potholes!
Well, partly. A portion of the levy applied to electricity generated from non-renewable and nuclear energy sources, which increases from 0.5c/kWh to 2.5c/kWh from April 1st, will be used to fix the roads that have been damaged by coal hauling trucks.

Huh?! So the money intended for renewable energy projects will be used to fix the potholes created by coal fired energy! The irony is going to kill me...

Another example of full cost accounting not being factored in to the price of dirty coal electricity - the cost doesn't include the cost of dirty air, the cost of treating lung diseases, or... the cost of repairing potholed roads. For that, thank you Eskom and your complicit big business users, the tax payer will foot the bill!!

2. A carbon tax is now firmly on the table
Not quite a fait accompli, but the government is considering a carbon tax. A discussion paper entitled Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions: The Carbon Tax Option was published for public comment in December 2010. Comments are due by the end of February 2011 and the features of this proposed tax and a schedule for its introduction will be announced in next years budget.

3. An energy-efficiency institute will be established using money from the world cup
This is good news! Many people have been arguing how Eskom


nedbank opens branch driven solely by wind power

Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2011-02-10 10:36

In the middle of the informal settlement of Du Noon, close to Blaauberg in Cape Town, a branch of Nedbank, now derives all its energy from wind turbines – the first in the country.

Nedbank are also behind the billboard that combines solar panels and a wind turbine in Athlone (you can see it rather prominently from the N2), bringing electricity to a youth and family development centre there.

Whilst my reaction to the impetus for the branch in Du Noon is a little sceptical (we are to admire their efforts to bring banking to the formerly disadvantaged, where they charge them royally for it), what it does do is place the possibility in the minds of many who will read about (and see) the use of wind power as reliable and sustainable renewable energy. If a bank branch can make it happen, then so can the average home, eventually...

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sustainable.co.za online calculator launched (and reviewed)

Submitted by turbosprout on Thu, 2011-01-27 14:19

sustainable.co.za calculatorsustainable.co.za calculatorI've been looking forward to the launch of sustainable.co.za's online calculator since I first heard that it was in the pipeline a few weeks ago.

Online calculators of the carbon variety have been around for quite a while and vary in their suitability to the SA energy scenario and ease of use. It seems like quite a tricky piece of software to nail down properly and I still think there is room for SA's carbon calculators to improve.

That said, the sustainable.co.za calculator is a bit different to a carbon calculator. It measures how much electricity you can save by calculating the energy expenditure of your old high-consumption lighting and

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the state of the air out there

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2011-01-18 10:18

A friend of mine, who lives in Hong Kong, got the following via email the other day:

API ALERT - Causeway Bay Roadside

The Average Pollution Index at the Causeway Bay Roadside air quality monitoring station is 178. The air is hazardous. We recommend that you avoid roadside situations and refrain from vigorous outdoor exercise.

The contributing pollutants are:


green trends for 2011

Submitted by turbosprout on Wed, 2011-01-05 09:51

nanobreweries set to trend this year in the USnanobreweries set to trend this year in the US

JWT - one of the world's largest advertising agencies credited with firsts like creating the first global ad agency network (by 1930 they had branches in 30 countries), employing the first female creative director over a century ago (1908), and creating the first television advert back in 1939 - has produced its annual trendwatching report: 100 Things to Watch in 2011.

They take a stab at predicting what will trend this year - companies, events, artists, products, cities etc. And they have a track record - looking back at the 2010 report - of at least getting some of their predictions right. Perhaps because of their standing their predictions even become self fulfilling...

Now we know who to thank for Lady Gaga.

I scanned their list of trends for signs of environmental/green/eco trends set to feature this year:


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