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Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2007-09-17 10:02
Protecting the ozone layer. Yesterday was the International Day for the protection of the ozone layer - a rather unobtrusive celebration for an issue that is still significant. This year marks the 20th anniversary to control the production and the use of ozone-depleting substances. As a result of the protocol, there was a 90% drop in the 1986-2001 period in the global use of CFCs. However, developing countries have only decreased their use of CFCs by 15% with some alarming repercussions. [stat.si] [buanews online] [UN environment programme]
Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink. Never a truer word said in jest. Whilst the Cape’s dams may be overflowing and residents have, no doubt, already thrown caution to the wind and foregone all water saving initiatives, Limpopo’s dam levels are causing concern. They have decreased at an alarming rate due to low summer rainfalls and 25% of 44 major dams are below the 40% mark. [IOL] And in Gauteng, some rivers in and around Jo’burg are so toxic, they could kill you - the Cheetah bridge in Alexandra shows E.coli levels of 2,4-million per 100ml, 240 times the acceptable level of 10 000 per 100ml. [IOL] [read further]
Submitted by sproutingforth on Fri, 2007-08-24 10:18
Biofuel the reason for escalating food prices? The global demand by wealthy nations for ‘environmentally friendly’ biofuels [urban sprout] could be partially to blame for the rise of food in South Africa by almost 14% in the last year, according to analysts at the National Agriculture Marketing Council. [IOL]
Africa prepares for the impact of climate change. Nepad's environmental action plan states: "Africa is characterised by two interrelated features: rising poverty levels and deepening environmental degradation ... poverty remains the main cause and consequence of environmental degradation and resource depletion in Africa. Without significant improvement in the living conditions and livelihoods of the poor, environmental policies and programmes will achieve little success." [M&G]...
Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2007-08-02 14:09
Cape Town starts to mainstream recycling – at last! With the pressure mounting due to a shortage of landfill sites, CT starts a ‘separation at source’ initiative in certain areas on 13 August that will help reduce the 6000 odd tons of waste the city produces a day. Clear plastic bags, delivered to your door, will cater for dry waste – paper, cardboard, plastic containers, bags, bottles, glass and tin cans. [capetown.gov]
No more blackouts for sunny SA. If we took a leaf out of Israel’s book – almost every home is equipped with solar panels for use in heating water – we wouldn’t be facing further threats of blackouts from Eskom. Harnessing solar power, in a country that has more than its fair share of sunshine, makes more sense than nuclear power. Yet, to date we’ve committed R12-billion on the design and construction of the PBMR – nuclear energy which is neither clean nor cheap! [cooltech.iafrica] A surprise, then, that Eskom is spearheading a solar water heater drive. [urban sprout]
Death to Ronald McDonald. Proposed food regulations could see a major clampdown on junk food, and include banning adverts, cartoons and toys aimed at enticing children to eat junk food and unhealthy snacks. These same proposals also aim to put a stop to fake nutrition claims. [IOL]
Join Jeff as he jaunts the Atlantic. Jeff Barbee has taken to the seas to raise awareness for environmental matters. On this very special trip the photojournalist is working with scientists and researchers, covering airport construction on St Helena, efforts to save rare and endangered species, and tracking bird migration routes, pollution levels and many more exciting projects. He wants to get a million hits to his website. [jeffbarbee]
Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2007-07-25 12:22
Sasol reduces its impact on the environment. Sasol’s nitrous oxide (N2O) abatement project will convert the greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide, into harmless nitrogen and oxygen gases. As a result, the project will earn Sasol a significant number of carbon credits, which they intend investing in local community-based sustainable development projects. Sasol expects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to about a million tons of carbon dioxide a year. If it’s possible to congratulate an oil company for green measures, then this is the time to do it! [sagoodnews]
Green scorpions poised to pounce on Mittal. The government has released a damning report detailing environmental legislation contraventions and non-compliance at ArcelorMittal's Vereeniging plant. Their main contraventions include dumping of hazardous waste on a prohibited site and significant pollution of surface and groundwater with phenols, iron, oil, fluoride and other hazardous substances. [IOL]
Which cars damage the environment the most. The Swiss government has decided to name and shame by drawing up a list of about 6 000 cars, ranking them on the damage they cause to the environment. According to the list, the least polluting car is Toyota's Prius, with 76 points. Among the worst polluters are the Nissan Patrol (919), the Ford Transit (858) and the VW T5 (842). [swissinfo.org]
British consumers won’t pay more tax to help the environment. In a reflection of the attitudes expressed in the recent survey by HSBC that developed countries are less concerned about global warming than developing ones, 50% of Brits are not prepared to help combat environmental issues. [IOL]
Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2007-07-04 11:04
SA – increasing pollution and declining air quality. SA’s 2nd national State of the Environment’s 800-page report has just been released by the national department of environmental affairs and tourism, and it isn’t pretty. Despite SA having made ‘significant progress’ in environmental management, natural resources are being exploited in an unsustainable way, water quality is declining as is the aquatic ecosystem’s health, land degradation continues, and commercial and recreational fish species are overexploited. [IOL] Time to start taking action! For more about The SA Environment Outlook 2006 report.
Greenhouses in the sky. In a fantastic new take on farming, Dr Dickson Despommier introduces the concept of vertical farming in glass covered skyscrapers in the heart of cities made of titanium oxide-plated glass with giant solar panels, hydroponic irrigation systems and an abundant variety of crops. This creation of a sustainable urban environment uses no fossil fuels and leaves no carbon footprint; waste water can be used and purified into drinking water and the need for toxic pesticides will be eliminated. We like it! [IOL]
McDonald’s recycles cooking oil to power its delivery vehicles. McDonald’s says it could save 1.5 million gallons of petrol by converting the cooking oil from its 1,200 restaurants in Britain into biodiesel, and that by switching their fleets to biodiesel they will prevent the emission of 1,675 tons of carbon per year. Hmmm, at the same time their switch to a mix of rapeseed oil and Spanish sunflower oil (imported) for cooking has caused a nationwide shortage of rapeseed oil as they ‘pretty much buy up the whole crop’. [greenbiz]
Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2007-07-02 10:24
London is carbon crazy. The consciousness about carbon is sky high in the UK capital. From the bid to provide ‘carbon footprint’ labels on all consumer goods; Walkers Snacks carbon labelling on its products; the announcement by Tesco in January that it would assign a carbon label to every product on its shelves through to Marks & Spencer’s plans to be carbon neutral by 2012. Even the Mayor, Ken livingstone, has vowed to reduce the city’s carbon emissions by 60% within 20 years. [joel makower]
Al Gore comes up with a solution for global warming. After criticism for outlining the problem of global warming without providing a solution, Al Gore has published ‘the only approach that will work’, which says that the next president must quickly conclude a new and tougher climate change pact (than Kyoto) by the end of 2009. [NY times, page 2, moving beyond Kyoto] Gore takes the bull by the horns when he asks if the US is so scared to lead the crisis that they insist that other countries carry the same load when they have contributed almost nothing to the crisis?
Crisis as Mt Kenya rivers dry up. Rivers that once roared with copious amounts of water are now silent, managing only to limp downhill. Residents of Kirua, Mbari, Nari and Rurii now walk for kilometres in search of water. As glaciers recede due to global warming, the rivers are drying up. [eastandard]
Uganda bans plastic bags. Since yesterday, Uganda has issued a ban on plastic bags to cut down the stinking piles of rubbish that litter its dusty capital and other urban area. What to use instead – banana leaves – the traditional material for carrying goods. Uganda’s ban follows a similar ban on Tanzania’s Zanzibar islands last year. [IOL]
Submitted by turbosprout on Fri, 2007-06-22 17:02
South African co-founder of Freeplay named as one of 2007's six Principal Voices. Rory Stear founded Freeplay Energy in 1995 and since then through the Freeplay Foundation has distributed more than half a million self powered radios in developing countries.
"Self-sustaining technology provides practical alternatives to unsafe and unhealthy forms of lighting such as candles and kerosene. It can dramatically reduce the number of trees felled for firewood. It can also displace dependence on disposable batteries that take 50 percent more energy to build than they can ever produce, are unaffordable for most people on the planet, and invariably end their life in landfills polluting the earth," says Rory.
South African Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) rules GM seed company Monsanto South Africa must withdraw its misleading advert. Mark Wells complained about an advert in the February You magazine featuring the heading "Is your food safe?" and contained an image of...
Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2007-06-21 12:01
10 years to save civilization. Six American scientists have issued an unambiguous warning to the world about the threat of global warming (not that we haven’t already been warned by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – IPCC but considering the results of the recent G8 summit, it was obviously only luke warm!). A new report, headed by James Hansen, a leading expert for climate change science, is predicting that the nations of the world have a slim 10 year window to put some radical changes in place, or face catastrophe. [consciousearth]. View the complete report on the NASA website
SA’s R400bn nuke plan. If you weren’t already convinced that we’re being led a merry dance with Eskom’s proposed nuclear programme, think of the amount it’s going to cost us, the taxpayer – R400-billion. And that won’t even solve the energy crisis we now face. [IOL]
Algeria develops solar power. Holding a mirror up to South Africa’s nuclear energy plans, Algeria is planning to use its hot southern desert to develop solar power both for domestic use and export by 2015. [IOL]
Wind –powered cell phone charger a reality. A tent-mounted cell phone charger prototype has been designed for the Glastonbury festival, commissioned by the UK-based communications company Orange. Okay, it is a little bigger than the charger we're used to. [treehugger]
Submitted by turbosprout on Mon, 2007-06-18 11:16
Horse drawn cart journey comes to an end. Here's a story that I find awesomely inspiring. Suz Philips took to the road on a cart drawn by 15 year old horse (called Hercule Peroit) and her 83-year-old mum driving the support car (33 year old Datsun) full of lucern to raise money for Aids orphens! They managed to cover the 842 kilometers from Cape Town to Knysna in three weeks (must have been the scenic route, not the N2!) and cope with wheels falling off, attacks by Alsatians and adverse weather. More on [IOL]. Donations can still be made to Eden College (encouraging eco entrepreneurship and sustainable community wealth) and Home from Home (building a network of homes in communities, for each one to provide a family structure for the children in its care).
UK organic sales break through the 1 billion pound mark. But farmers are struggling to keep up, which is causing the growth of the organic market to slow, says a consumer report issued by UK retail magazine The Grocer. It said that overall sales of...
Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2007-06-14 12:46
Organic market set to grow 30% annually over the next 4 years. The SA Retail Industry Forecast (2007-2011) report provides research and analysis of the retail industry. One of the key findings is that the organic food market, the fastest growing segment in the food sector after baby food, will grow by 30% per annum over the next four years (2007-2010). The report looks at several retailers, including: Pick 'n Pay Holdings Ltd, Massmart Holdings Ltd, Woolworths Holdings Ltd and Shoprite Holding Ltd. [researchandmarkets]
New energy law on the cards for the WC. If legislation goes ahead there could be a range of incentives, tariffs and tax breaks for using renewable energy across residential, commercial and industrial sectors, including residents who produce their own renewable energy to feed back into the national grid. Way to go green, Western Cape! Time to get solar powered heating for water. South Africa burns coal for over 90% of our electricity - the seventh highest per capita emitter of carbon in the world. [M&G]
SA landfill unauthorised. Marthinus van Schalkwyk announced that almost half of the landfill sites around the country are unauthorised and need to be closed, particularly as 58 of these are ‘hazardous’ (he didn’t define hazardous, but one can assume he meant dangerous to our health and the environment). He also said that 45% of South Africans have no access to domestic waste-collection. [M&G]
SA water treatment plants ‘in crisis’. About one third of SA’s 1000 water treatment plants are in crisis, according to the director-general of the department of water affairs and forestry, Jabu Sindane. What is most disturbing is that no intervention or response has been communicated to Sindane. [IOL]