sproutscout's blog

the intrepid bee-keeper

Submitted by sproutscout on Wed, 2011-10-05 11:36

Peter Clarke demonstrating different types of honeyPeter Clarke demonstrating different types of honey

“It’s been my experience that beekeepers grow old”, says 90 year old Peter Clarke to the crazy folk who have decided to attend his bee-keeping course. He can’t explain why it happens, all the stings , all the goodness of propolis and raw honey, but most of the beekeepers Clarke knows live well into their 90s. And thus he introduced to us one of the many things we could look forward to by the end of the class in May next year.

For now I’ll tell a story to illustrate a few safety tips. I think this should be the beginning of every beekeeping course – though my class learned these lessons the hard experiential way. This is the story of our first ever ‘suit-up’, after weeks of talking and learning about it – our first ever interaction with the bees:

add your voice to plan joburg’s future

Submitted by sproutscout on Wed, 2011-09-21 07:25

“Have you seen a firefly lately?” asked City of Johannesburg’s MMC for Infrastructure and the Environment, Clr Roslynn Greef, as one of her opening statements for the environmental themed week of the City of Johannesburg’s Growth and Development Strategy 2040 planning and consultation leg. It was an interesting way to introduce the week and draw attention to issues of environmental quality. Fireflies, as beautiful and magical as they are, are also an indicator of air quality.

Through a series of themed weeks the Joburg City Council is re-examining its policies and getting feedback from citizens and key stakeholders, on all matters from resource sustainability to the environment, to what makes a city liveable. This week (19th-23rd) is environment week, and the following is economic week – we encourage all Joburg Sprouts to make their voices heard. Be a part of the process by exploring the sites, attending the events that you have interest in, and adding

project 90x2030 youth forum: inspiring behaviour change 101

Submitted by sproutscout on Mon, 2011-09-12 11:12

Project 90x2030 Youth ForumProject 90x2030 Youth Forum

Toward the end of August the Project 90x2030 youth forum met to present their views on environmentalism to key delegates involved in the COP 17 negotiations and in the realm of sustainability in general. The process funded by the Goedgedacht Forum, and is the beginning of a dialogue between youth and environmental leaders. I was lucky enough to be included in the process that involved story rather than statistics, heart rather than head, and provided room for personal and collective introspection. The journey took an already active and diverse group of young leaders to Grahamstown during the arts festival, the leafy reflection spaces in Observatory, the revolutionary streets of Melville and the roaring spaces of the Johannesburg Zoo.

During this process the youth participants hoped to inspire action among the delegates attending. Most people know about climate change. Most people, however, do not act on this knowledge. Most continue in their daily lives, and treat the outcome as inevitable. So the key question for the youth group was: how to create a message that inspires action rather than complacency, that changes ways of being in the world, instead of merely creating awareness. The Project 90x2030 team that guided us through the process helped us to create a message that inspired action. We hope that the methods that we stumbled upon are the

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changing the realm of the possible: yvo de boer on cop 17

Submitted by sproutscout on Mon, 2011-08-22 09:44

Yvo de Boer before working at KPMG Photo: Simon WedegeYvo de Boer before working at KPMG Photo: Simon Wedege

Yvo De Boer, the Special Global Advisor on Climate Change and Sustainability for KPMG, and the ex- executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Converntion on Climate Change (UNFCCC), briefed the media this week ahead of COP 17 happening in Durban at the end of the year. He gave insight into the business perspective of climate change issues, environmental management and green branding.

de Boer on COP 17
For de Boer the key issue at COP 17 will be that of the future of the Kyoto protocol. It seems that climate negotiations cannot continue without a universally accepted agreement stipulating targets for countries and measures to monitor the environmental behaviour of countries.

The Protocol has been a stumbling block with regard climate negotiations since its inception in 1994. The key issue is whether emissions targets should

blue buck participants provide inspiration for (young) environmentalists

Submitted by sproutscout on Wed, 2011-08-17 10:10

Following the write-up of themes arising out of the BlueBuck Network Youth Summit, I thought I'd let you know about the young participants involved in the summit and the innovative organisations represented. Some have already been covered in the green youth, my post for youth day, and this post is an interesting addition that will hopefully be useful for any aspiring [young] environmentalists.

About The Bluebuck Network

Recently formed, the BlueBuck Network provides critical links between environmental youth groups around Southern Africa. The idea was initiated by students from

how to be a pragmatic anarchist

Submitted by sproutscout on Wed, 2011-08-10 17:04

Another Lunch Is PossibleAnother Lunch Is Possible
1. Because there is enough for everyone
2. Because sharing is more fulfilling than owning
3. Because corporations would rather see landfills overflow than anyone get anything for free
4. Because scarcity is a myth constructed to keep us at the mercy of the economy
5. Because a sunny day outside is better than anything money can buy
6. Because no one should have to do without food, shelter, entertainment, and community
7. Because life should be a picnic, but it only will be if we make it happen

So read the seven reasons to get involved in the Really Really Free Market on a pamphlet distributed by a group of pragmatic anarchists at said market on the last Saturday of July. I heard of the event via a friend on facebook, and was at once excited by “a day of giving and receiving gifts”. I could bring what I had to share, peruse through what everyone else had bought, and co-mingle with some like-minded souls in the sunshine.

The excitement subsided, however, as I started thinking of the measly (well, non-existent) gifts I had to offer. I don’t have much at all to my name, and little still to give away. It seems, given the small turn-out at the market on Saturday, many people had the same thought, which deterred them from attending. What a sad pity, where so many people don’t realise how much they have to give, in terms of talents, time, skills and old junk lying around the house. What follows is a ‘How to guide’ of attending an anarchist market: read, digest, gather, and get out there.

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being an african environmentalist - reflections from the bluebuck youth summit

Submitted by sproutscout on Mon, 2011-07-25 13:08

The Brass Wood-Screw -Photo: Jonathan JonesThe Brass Wood-Screw -Photo: Jonathan Jones
The BlueBuck Network held its first annual Youth Summit in Grahamstown recently, attracting young environmentalists throughout Southern Africa. Emily (aka SproutScout) was challenged and inspired as she travelled to Grahamstown to get a feel for the green youth.

“Can anyone tell me what this is?,” asks Lawrence Sisitka, holding up a small nail-looking object between his thumb and forefinger. “A brass wood-screw,” he answers after a few seconds of silence from the unhelpful audience. “I live a fairly sustainable life,” he elaborates “I grow my own food, I harvest rainwater, I husband cattle; yet I still rely on these tiny objects for functioning in every-day life.” Sisitka uses the example to challenge the audience; to illustrate the nuts and bolts of what a 'green lifestyle' would look like. This simple wood-screw

crocheting oil spills and living our art

Submitted by sproutscout on Wed, 2011-07-13 09:29

Masibambane Place MatMasibambane Place Mat

Grahamstown National Arts Festival is a time for late nights, soaking up all the Glühwein and all that’s cultural, and being generally frivolous and indulgent. For some, however, this is also a time of reflection. The artists’ imaginings of the world are reflected back to us and we catch a glimpse of what is, and what can be. For many artists Festival is a time for celebration of the arts, but also a time for introspection, for a re-evaluation of their art and its space in society. They are given a platform to display and delight, and through this help the audiences and themselves contemplate the place of art, to contemplate the flux of its dynamic form.

For Bronwen Salton, a Fine Art Masters student at Rhodes University, Festival offered up just such a place. It was a platform for her to explore a novel medium: plastic crochet. It was a space to negotiate how the techniques she employs can be transferred to the Grahamstown community. It was a time in which she could re-examine (and in so doing help us to re-examine) the notions of what ‘fine-art’ is, to whom it is applicable, and how it can recognize and respond to the problems the world faces.

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explore the oceans at the national arts fest

Submitted by sproutscout on Thu, 2011-07-07 19:13

Curtain of Crocheted CoralCurtain of Crocheted Coral

Slip into a small room in the corner of the Rhodes ELRC to find a momentary escape from the chatter and buzz of national arts fest, and explore the coral reef and ‘marine life’ you find yourself surrounded by. This exhibition, Reflection Synthetic, a collaboration between Simon Max Bannister and Woodstock Art Reef Project (WARP) explores the beauty of coral reefs, and craftily demonstrates the threats that reefs face.

a green guide to grahamstown festival

Submitted by sproutscout on Tue, 2011-06-28 18:15


It's that time of year again to bundle up, brave the cold, and devour the cultural feast South Africa has to offer at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival. This year it seems that environmental consciousness has seeped into some of the performances and workshops, creating an interesting place to explore the arts and the environment. What is collectively on our minds and in our hearts looks to be reflected on stage in some of the festival spaces.

A particularly interesting space you should explore is the Re-imaginings Forum, at the Environmental Learning Research Centre (ELRC) on Rhodes Campus. The space is set up to enable us to

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