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greening it up – mon 19 mar 07

Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2007-03-19 15:13

Hottest winter since 1880. The world has experienced the warmest December to February period on record, according to the NOAA (US National oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) – 0.72 degrees above the 20th century mean. [newscientist]

”Non-GMO verified” set to become an industry standard in the US. A number of organic farmers, producing organic milk, have found that their feed is ‘contaminated’ by genetically modified organisms, and have begun the process of seeking a new “non-GMO verified” certification. Why? By telling consumers loud and clear which products are GM-free, organic-food producers will give them one more reason to choose organic. [Time]

Environment-friendly school funded by Oprah. The Seven Fountains Primary School in Shayamoya, a remote town in KwaZulu-Natal, was funded by Oprah Winfrey, designed using environmentally responsible principles oprah celebrating at seven fountainsoprah celebrating at seven fountainsand was built with community participation. The school features some innovative green design ideas. As water supply to the area is irregular there is a rain water harvesting system and a water pump powered by children playing on the see-saw and merry-go-round.

They also use solar power and have a garden supplying vegetables for school meals. The school cost R12m, which is in line with the KZN Education Dept's budget for a school of this size.

"The Seven Fountains School is an example of what schools in SA can become," said Oprah.[M&G]

greening it up – tues 13 mar 07

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2007-03-13 10:12

Sudan red: Sunday Times was right Despite Robertsons claims in national adverts and statement last week that the Sunday Times report was ‘misleading’ and that its product was 100% Sudan free and safe to eat, a third screening by the Sunday Times has proved that it is indeed contaminated with a banned chemical dye. [sunday times] For a list of the six contaminated products [sunday times]

What’s so special about organic food is often asked by those that claim they’ve been eating ‘ordinary’ food for years, and that the demand for organic is nothing but a passing ‘fad’. But research is slowly revealing the effects of small quantities of pesticides over time. [ethical co-op blog]

Green, the main battleground for the next UK general election. Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Miliband and David Cameron are all placing unprecedented emphasis on the environment as they set out their plans to combat global warming in a frantic race for Westminster. [the independent]

Pelindaba nuclear plant workers were exposed to radiation. The issue of compensation for former workers who fell ill, allegedly due to exposure to harmful nuclear waste, is underway. [IOL]

greening it up – mon 12 mar 07

Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2007-03-12 13:57

Eskom-free, carbon-free energy right on our doorstep? Jan Human, the Somerset West electrician and inventor, has invented a hybrid battery, which can charge and discharge simultaneously, and which cuts energy use by up to 27%. His invention could revolutionise energy use, cut climate-changing carbon emissions, and save us all from Eskom. [IOL]

EU to switch off energy inefficient lights within 3 years. The European Union has decided that all its states will use energy efficient lighting by 2010. [engadget]

Water restrictions on the cards - South Africa’s dams are at dangerously low levels, and the agricultural sector has warned of massive crop failures due to late rains and isolated drought conditions. [IOL]

Rietvlei a health risk, after scorching temperatures result in ‘an explosion of algal activity’ The glue/green algae that has exploded onto the Rietvlei Wetland Reserve in Cape Town could be toxic. [IOL]

Students choose to eat organic - a Scottish university is the first higher education body in the UK to give fresh and organic produce to its pizza-and-beer guzzling students. [sunday herald]

greening it up – wed 7 mar 07

Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2007-03-07 13:43

Organic food breaks into the UK top 100 brands A survey in Feb revealed that while the mega-brands of fizzy drinks, chocolate and chips are still at the head of the industry’s ‘top 100’ grocery league table, organic is getting a look in. The brand ‘Innocent’, the real-fruit smoothie, came in at no 63 with sales up 140%. [the guardian]

UN launches a global e-waste initiative to tackle the growing mountain of electrical and electronic waste. The world’s annual volume of ‘e-waste’ is projected to exceed 40m tonnes in the near future, and the decreasing cost of replacing computers, cell phones and other gadgets means more and more on the rubbish dump. [bbc]

But what is SA doing about recycling its e-waste? eWASA met in Greyton, Western Cape to discuss a blueprint for an e-waste management system in the country, late last year. They released e-waste legislation in SA. Also have a look at the eWASA website. Pikitup launched an e-waste recycling initiative in Johannesburg in October last year, offering electronic equipment pickups at garden sites across the city. [] And footprints in Cape Town is doing a stirling job at recycling e-waste as well as other recycling. Not sure what Durban is up to?

organic farming will reduce global warming

Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2007-03-05 15:33

Organic is good for the climate, says a FiBL (Research Institute of Organic Agriculture) press release, after Biofach - the world's largest trade fair for organic farming and food - met in Nuremberg last month.

The lighter our farming systems tread on the Earth, the less severely climate change will develop.

Organic farming fertilises soils with composted harvest residues and animal manure. This saves 50 to 150 kg, depending upon the crop, in synthetic nitrogen fertilizer per hectare which would otherwise need to be produced using non-renewable fuels.

Worldwide, 90 million tonnes of mineral oil or natural gas are processed to nitrogen fertilizer every year. This generates 250 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.

With their low-impact methods, organic farmers boost soil fertility and the humus content of soils. The result is that the greenhouse gas CO2 is returned to the biomass of the soil.

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greening it up – wed 28 feb 07

Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2007-02-28 10:59

Why you should be buying organic or rBST-free milk. If you’re not already doing so, there are very good reasons to buy rBST-free milk (Woolies & Pick ‘n Pay produce rBST-free milk). Despite Monsanto’s “study” showing no difference between milk from rBST-free cows and those injected with the hormone, a scientific study by the Physicians for Social Responsibility has shown that the hormone poses risks to animal and human health. [organic consumers] Read a brochure released by the group [know your milk]

SA’s ‘revolution in transport’ announced by the Transport Minister, now standing in for the Health Minister as she recuperates in hospital, outlines the R-billions soon to be injected into the public transport and infrastructure system to prepare for 2010 – but not a word about green alternatives or an endeavour to cut carbon emissions.[M&G]

greening it up – fri 23 feb 07

Submitted by sproutingforth on Fri, 2007-02-23 13:36

compost loo with a differencecompost loo with a differenceCape Town in the poo Compost loos should be high on your list of 'must haves' if you live in Cape Town, as the city commits a further R1-billion on treatment plants over the next five years to avoid a sewage crisis – most of the city’s waste-water treatment plants are probably working beyond capacity, which means effluent is leaking into the environment ‘at many plants’ [M&G]. Translated: that means its seeping into underground water reserves.

Where to find a compost loo? There are two types of composting toilets – those that complete the composting process ‘in situ’ – and those that use a ‘bucket and chuck it’ system. And you’ve a number of other choices as well. See: [enviroloo] [Rota-Loo, Dryloo, WHW Dry Toilet & The Earthmill organic toilet] and [ecosan waterless toilets]

greening it up – mon 19 feb 07

Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2007-02-19 14:45

Organic industry booming – 75 million acres of farmland are now organically certified worldwide. IFOAM presented the latest stats and emerging trends last Friday that also show that organic products offer attractive opportunities for producers in developing countries. [organic consumers]

SA is headed for a heat wave – the central parts of the country will be very hot this week and parts of the coast will also be very uncomfortable. [IOL]

Avaaz leads the way in ‘climate wake up call’. The new MoveOn-style group that will mobilize members all over the world to take action on global issues, is airing a TV ad to petition World leaders. The ad shows world leaders snoozing in their bedrooms, while climate disaster rages outside and urges them to "set binding global targets" for carbon emissions. It began airing in Washington on 6 Feb and will also show in Paris, Berlin and Delhi.[avaaz]

buying organic clothing - one of the best things you can do for the environment

Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2007-01-17 11:51

Bono, his wife, & designer Rogan GregoryBono, his wife, & designer Rogan Gregory Increased environmental concerns worldwide have not escaped the notice of the fashion industry, which has been fast incorporating organic materials into its designs. Materials like hemp and bamboo are coming on strong, but organic cotton is by far the fabric of choice for most green clothing designers. According to Organic Exchange, a non-profit committed to expanding the use of organically grown fibres, global retail sales of organic cotton products increased from $245 million (R1.76 billion) in 2001 to $583 million (R4.2 billion) in 2005.

The problem with traditional cotton - by far the most used clothing fabric in the world constituting a $300 billion (R2,17 trillion) global market - is that producers use liberal amounts of insecticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers to grow it. Analysts estimate that cotton crops use about one quarter of all the agricultural insecticides applied globally each year. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, seven of the top 15 pesticides used on U.S. cotton crops are potential or known human carcinogens.

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earth artists outing

Submitted by turbosprout on Tue, 2006-12-19 12:24

The simple, but intriguing invitation printed on brown paper leaflets and distributed at organic and health shops around Cape Town suggested this might be an open garden day with a difference.

And although the "earth artists unplugged open garden festival at valley house" in Constantia had some visitors that were obviously part of the mink and manure set I found Jenny Louw, winner of Top Billing Landscaper of 2006, to be refreshingly different.

I identified immediately with her gardening philosophy outlined in her information pamphlet and reiterated by her during the tour of her incredible garden:

"Our approach has been one that combines what we call intelligent, emotional and spiritual gardening... it is about the hundreds of different magical processes, cycles and events that take place around us all the time."

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