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water is the lifeblood of the country

Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2011-05-19 11:13

The unofficial water bailiff of Gamkakloof Dam in the Karoo speaks out. A beautiful film by green renaissance.

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i can't believe i still have to protest this ****

Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2011-04-20 09:31

One of a series of pictures you can view of Earthlife Africa's recent nuke protest outside the Japanese Consul in Pier Place, Cape Town on Monday.

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.

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

activists: diarise two events

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2011-04-12 10:32

Film: Gasland: this week at UCT. Don't miss the chance to see this documentary.

Dates: Tuesday 12th and Wednesday 13th April
Time: 5pm
Venue: Studio 5, EGS (Environmental and Geographical Science) building, UCT upper campus

Demonstration: Unplug Nuclear! No Nukes in Africa

Date: Monday 18 April 2011
Time: 12am – 2pm
Venue: Pier Place, Heerengracht Street, Cape Town

Join Earthlife Africa. 25 years since Chernobyl. Action near the Japanese Embasssy in Cape Town. In support of the 'Fukushima 50' – 4 teams of 50 workers who are almost certain to die from their work in helping stem the ongoing radiation. We also aim to express our condolences regarding the impact on people in Japan by the tsunami and the ongoing nuclear disasster.

For more, contact


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...

why the imminent fracking in the karoo IS your business

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2011-03-22 10:17

What has fracking (hydraulic fracturing for natural gas) got to do with water? The answer is 'everything'.

This came as something of a surprise to me, sitting virtually in the front row of the independent movie house, the Labia, in Cape Town last night, craning my neck at a rather delicate angle (the lesson here is, get to the movie house early if you want a good seat) to watch the movie Gasland, screened by the ngo While you were Sleeping.

fukushima disaster reiterates nukes are not green

Submitted by turbosprout on Mon, 2011-03-14 14:28

Thirteen nuclear reactors sited within 130km of the epicentre of a seismic event measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale. It's got to be a recipe for disaster, right?

That 53 nuclear reactors were constructed on an island with a history of seismic activity will probably stun and amaze our grandchildren. The Darwin awards provide many testaments to human stupidity, but who are the real fools for letting politicians gamble away our future by allowing the construction of nuclear "facilities"?

A sobering thought to think that Milnerton, the centre of it's own seismic event in 1809 is a mere 12 km away from Koeberg.

There are three operating nuclear "facilities" (pending disasters: de-pending on timescale for them to become disasterous) near the epicentre of the Sendai Earthquake (Japan's worst earthquake, and apparently of the five most powerful in the world since modern records began in 1900):

  • Fukushima I (Fukushima Dai-ichi) complex comprises 6 reactors, run by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) in the town of Okuma.
  • Fukushima II (Fukushima Dai-ni), is 12km to the south in the town of Naraha and Tomioka, comprises 4 reactors, and is also run by TEPCO.
  • Onagawa nuclear power plant is located in the town with the same name, operated by Tohoku Electric Power Company, and comprises 3 reactors.

Together, these three plants with their 13 reactors, have a capacity of 10 298M MW (nearly a quarter of SA's total electricity capacity). Koeberg by comparison has a capacity of 1800 MW).

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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

do we want the karoo to look like this?

Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2011-02-14 10:05

It isn't news that Shell is targeting potential untapped shale gas reserves, in South Africa - Shell applied in December to explore 90,000 square kilometres -- twice the size of Denmark -- for gas deposits in the clay-like shale rock of the arid central Karoo.

However, what might be news, is the effect this could have on this beautiful inland region. 'Fracking', a term used to describe hudraulic fracturing where gas is extracted by creating fractures in rocks, blasts water, sand and chemicals deep underground to force rock cracks and free trapped gas...

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