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greening it up–thurs 02 aug 07

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. []

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]

eco-fashion – what’s gracing our ramps

Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2007-06-20 11:36

pic:pingmagpic:pingmagThere is a new generation of designers in South Africa who are taking the environment seriously. They’re using organic and recycled materials, and keeping their chemical usage and waste to a minimum.

But they’re not exactly front page news…yet. South Africa isn’t on the cutting edge of green, even though we’re becoming a lot more ‘green aware’. It’s such that Woolies can introduce their organic clothing range, using cotton that is only 5% organic, and we all swoon with pleasure (that’s 5% more than we were getting!). I must add that I succumbed to a pair of socks that are 100% organic, and there are also socks made from 100% bamboo!

The ‘No KAK’ fashion show: (don’t you just love the Afrikaans language and its ability to say what you couldn’t say in a million years in English!) designs to save our environment, made a huge impact at the last natural and organic products exhibition . Young designers will again enter environmentally friendly designs this year in support of the growth of a cleaner textile industry in SA – something to look forward to – shows like this can only encourage ethical, eco-friendly design using organic materials.

There are already prominent eco-friendly designers in the country…

greening it up – thurs 12 apr 07

Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2007-04-12 11:55

under threat - Cape floraunder threat - Cape flora SAfricans register the world’s highest score for concern about global warming. A global opinion survey on the effects of climate change established that 82% of SA respondents say that are ‘very concerned’ or ‘somewhat concerned’ about global warming. [M&G] More than two-thirds of the world’s people are worried by global warming, although Americans are among the least anxious even though their nation is the top source of greenhouse gases. [reuters]

CT’s business must reduce power use by 2010. The City of Cape Town’s energy and climate change strategy is undergoing changes to its energy and climate change strategy, which will see businesses and industry having to cut electricity consumption by 10% by 2010 and municipal buildings and operations by 12% by 2015. CT is the first SA city to develop an energy and climate change strategy. [IOL]

No more space for waste in CT. Do you recycle your paper, cardboard, tins and glass? Do you have a compost heap or worm bin? CT is facing a major crisis in managing the growing mountain of waste the city generates. At the current rate, all rubbish dumps will be full within the next 3 to 5 years. [IOL] Find out more about how you can recycle and where [urban sprout]

It’s in the air that we breathe. Six air quality monitoring stations have been launched in the Vaal triangle in a bid to monitor harmful substances in the air. Industries have been urged to co-operate, by providing information about their emissions and the government intends to clamp down and put an air quality management plan into place. [IOL]

CT looking at green building guidelines. The City of Cape Town has had a workshop with local building experts to begin work on green building guidelines – great news for those wanting to build with straw bale, cob, adobe, earth bags etc. The group is also looking at grey-water, pv panels, wind power and passive solar elements. Permacore, who has been asked to help with greening urban landscapes, is looking for examples of new or retro-fitted green building examples. Contact us if you know of any.

greening it up – fri 30 mar 07

Submitted by sproutingforth on Fri, 2007-03-30 13:01

SA guilty of over-packaging It’s time we started dealing with the huge environmental issue of over-packaging in South Africa. The government has finally come clean and admitted that not a single bag has yet been recycled – remember our mention of a possible 'plastic-gate' scandal [greening it up] but more importantly we need to address the need of supermarket chains to wrap, coat and seal everything in plastic. [pretoria news]

DharaviDharaviMumbai’s green lung stops it choking to death on its own waste Dharavi may be one of the world's largest slums, but it is by far its most prosperous - a thriving business centre propelled by thousands of micro-entrepreneurs who have created an invaluable industry - turning around the discarded waste of Mumbai's 19 million citizens. A new estimate by economists of the output of the slum is as impressive as it seems improbable: £700m a year. [observer]

CO2 isn’t the only culprit It appears that, despite CO2’s tendency to hog the limelight, there are other chemical culprits responsible for global warming. There’s no doubt it’s the most important greenhouse gas, but other gases account for about 40% of the greenhouse gas radiation sent back to Earth. [livescience]

Africa hardest hit by global warming Many parts of Africa, the world's poorest continent and the least to blame for the fossil-fuel pollution that powers global warming, will be the hardest hit under almost any scenario – a massive report to be unveiled next week, reveals. [IOL]

cycle tours and critical masses

Submitted by turbosprout on Sun, 2007-03-11 22:27

I took my 16-month old son for his first look-in at the Argus Cycle Tour earlier today. Or the "Arduous", as my wife called it. We went down to the Kendal Road offramp at the M3 and joined plenty of other spectators to gawp, chirp and hurl encouragement at the cyclists. My son was gob-smacked. He's seen, maybe, 20 bicycles in his short life. Today was definitely cyclist overload - I've never known him sit cemented to one spot for so long. He had a grand view from the embankment and he was totally transfixed and amazed at the colourful cyclists zipping past.

I was also captivated. There is something stirring watching a mass of humanity pursuing a common positive purpose. It made my hair stand on end. I am so not a cyclist, my distance record (when I used to own a mountain bike) was a whopping 20 kilometres, but today I decided that the Arduous is something I need to do at least once.

It's interesting that the Cape Argus, the world's largest individually timed cycle race, grew out of a protest ride in 1977 called the Big Ride-In to draw attention to the need for cycle paths in Cape Town.

In London I encountered the Critical Mass, a collective of mostly cyclists (but also includes rollerbladers, skateboarders, wheelchairers) that get together on the last Friday of the month for a massive cycle around central London. It's quite something to see a group of around 300 self propelled people zooming past to loud music and a police escourt.

I think we need a Critical Mass Cape Town (it would be the first in Africa). It would be really cool, in fact I'd even buy a bicycle to join in. Goodness knows there are plenty of causes to cycle for, not least of which is that we still don't have any cycle paths in Cape Town...

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greening it up – fri 9 mar 07

Submitted by sproutingforth on Fri, 2007-03-09 09:32

Guerilla bagging takes world by storm. Over 1 million plastic bags are consumed per minute globally & marine wildlife mistakes plastic bags for food. Now, pods all over the world are sewing bags made out of old duvets and curtains, whilst having fun drinking wine and meeting new people, before giving them for free, guerilla style, outside supermarkets. []

A new website called SwitchPlanet provides a marketplace for recycled goods to stem our addiction to buying new. [greenoptions] Don’t forget freecycle – your trash is another person’s treasure. There are groups in Bloem, CT, Durbs, Jozi and PE, and it aims to give things away for free to save our planet from landfills. []

Biofuel that grows like a magic mushroom? We questioned biofuel’s contribution to a greener planet [greening it up]. Now an Israeli scientist may have discovered an alternative to corn and soy – a GM mushroom. To GM or not to GM...[treehugger]

In the face of the departing honey bee.The catastrophe of the loss of honeybee colonies around the world, some say as a direct result of global warming, spells immediate bad news for agriculture, who rely on the bee as a natural pollinator. So what does business do if its key service supplier folds? [greenbiz]

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?

greening it up – tues 6 mar 07

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2007-03-06 10:32

Put it on, pronto! A condom applicator was named the most beautiful object in SA at the Design Indaba by the Dutch designer Jurgen Bey. The condom applicator invented by Willem van Rensburg and designed by industrial designer Roelf Mulder, helps one get it on easily and fast and was designed to help AIDS prevention. But the best is the comments posted on []

Are biofuels the answer? They’re all the rage lately and SA is no exception in joining the rush. But is it the answer? The planet is struggling to provide enough food for its population as it is, and already there are fragile ecosystems being destroyed by the dash into biofuels. In West Africa, the biggest new cause of deforestation is the conversion of land into biofuel crop production. [greenfuture]

And now the green-vehicle angle – what about a compostable car? No really, a car you could throw onto the compost pile out back and dig in with your vege peelings? Apparently not as far fetched as it sounds. Mercedes have a concept car they’re calling RECY, presented in December at the SA Auto Show’s Design Challenge. Hmmm []

Whilst we’re out on a limb here, an ex-defense minister of Canada has advocated that UFO’s can solve climate change and is calling all governments to immediately disclose any alien technology they’ve been hoarding. He must know something we don’t? [hippy shopper]

greening it up - fri 02 mar 07

Submitted by turbosprout on Fri, 2007-03-02 13:04

Anyone smell a plastic-gate scandal? We've been paying levies on plastic bags for close on four years during which the Department of Environment Affairs has been receiving R20 million a year to set up plastic buy-back centres across the country. According to Environmental Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk, "the [not for profit] company has established over 10 buy-back centres nationally".

4 years. R80 mil. 10 buy-back centres (anybody seen them?). Does not compute. Cost to the environment? [IOL]

Woolworths have pulled some lines of pet food from their shelves after they were found to be contaminated. Their branded dry dog and cat food contained traces of ethylene-glycol, a type of coolant, apparently originating from a supplier in Europe. [IOL]

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]

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