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the cardboard house and diy water recycler

Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2007-11-08 11:32

There are some amazing design concepts out there if you know where to look that fulfil some radically yawning gaps in the market and put most of us to shame for their ability to position lateral thinking right at the fore of going green. Best of all, they’re not expensive.

Two such designs are very different but I’ve stumbled on both of them at the same time, so thought I’d bring them to your attention in the same blog, even though they’re not essentially related – other than making green more accessible.

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greening it up – tues 30 oct 07

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2007-10-30 08:47

Climate change – it’s NOT all doom and gloom. A new book – ‘the Geography of Hope’ is written by author Chris Turner who believes that most of the environment movement has been spreading the wrong message. It is time to shift from despair to dreams. [treehugger]

GM: is the UK government colluding with biotech companies? Despite their claim to neutrality over GM, it appears that ministers of the government provide at least £50m a year for research into agricultural biotechnology, largely GM crops and food and field trails for modified potatoes. Contrast that with the £1.6m given last year for research into organic agriculture and a very public promotion of everything environmentally friendly and things start to look decidedly deceptive. [environment.independent]

SA considering desalination? A recent press article debates the expense of desalination (converting seawater into drinking water) as a solution for water shortages on the horizon for South Africa. But I have to question the merits of yet again tampering with nature – if we were meant to drink sea water, would it be salty? [IOL]

Climate change ministers – a new position in government?. A UK parliamentary committee has called for a cabinet rank climate change minister to manage its conflicting climate policies. A sign of things to come? [IOL]

green your water

Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2007-10-17 13:31

Our water supply was never supposed to be under threat. Water is meant to be in plentiful supply but our abuse, misuse and waste of water has meant that our water resources are currently under extreme stress, and the advent of global warming indicates that it is set to get worse.

Succumb to a green gadget

greening it up – mon 17 sept 07

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]

greening it up – mon 03 sept 07

Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2007-09-03 10:03

pic:nduma river lodgepic:nduma river lodge2025 - the year we run out of water. The WWF has warned that South Africa’s demand for fresh water will exceed its supply by 2025 and that we should be taking urgent and immediate action to stave off massive social, economic and environmental damage. This formed part of a statement at the launch of the WWF Sanlam Living Water Partnership in CT on 28 August – a partnership to promote wise management of the country’s marine and freshwater resources. [WWF]

SA’s forest fires – forestry’s own 9/11. Over the past 25 years, forestry has lost an average 14 000 hectares of trees a year to fire. This year – 84 000 hectares have already been lost in the Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and the Cape - and the threat of fire is far from over. [IOL]...

A closer look at China’s contamination scandals. Since March, exports ranging from contaminated pet food to toothpaste containing an...

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greening it up – mon 02 july 07

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]

greening it up – thurs 14 june 07

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]

greening it up – thurs 22 mar 07

Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2007-03-22 12:58

A safari in the heart of the urban jungle? A group of Dutch and South African artists have pioneered a new kind of wild adventure by inviting guests to camp in the heart of Jozi's city centre. Organisers of the experimental "Cascoland" project hope their campsite in one of the city’s roughest areas will curb crime and help smash barriers between rich and poor as well as black and white. [reuters]

Fluoride in our water – only 37% of us say ‘no’ The government controversially plans to dose public drinking water supplies with fluoride, although these plans have now been delayed, pending further research – including the effects on human health and the environment. [IOL] Fluoride has been tied to bone cancer, lower IQs and osteoporosis, so why is it being added to water? [prevention.com] If you drink it, you are running the risk of all kinds of toxic actions – an interview with Dr Arvid Carlsson. [fluoride action network] And an interesting read [vernoncoleman.com]

Pollute the stratosphere with sulphur compounds – a radical end to global warming? James Lovelock spoke at the House of Commons last week about the world having ‘passed the point of no return’ but despite the doom & gloom there was a ray of hope (what’s a little acid rain between countries) - a little depraved or far-fetched? Read for yourselves [times]

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]

rietvlei eco-disaster cleanup

Submitted by turbosprout on Tue, 2007-01-02 16:59

pic: Rogan Ward, Cape Arguspic: Rogan Ward, Cape ArgusAn estimated 60 tons of fish have been removed from the Rietvlei Wetland Reserve near Milnerton / Table View, Cape Town since Christmas, after dying as a result of a lack of oxygen in the water.

Acting reserve manager, Dalton Gibbs, says the quality of the water will be tested tomorrow and on Thursday and the reserve may be open by this weekend.

Gibbs said the samples would determine if there were any specific pollutants in the water that has caused the massive die-off, which started early on Christmas Day.

However, Gibbs suspected that it was a case of the vlei having reached a point where it could absorb no more of the high load of organic pollutants that flowed in from the storm water drains.

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