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Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2007-05-29 12:43
The slogan for this year’s World Environment Day, on the 5 June, is Melting Ice – a Hot Topic? The UN has chosen to focus on the effects that climate change is having on polar ecosystems and communities, and the resulting consequences around the world.
WED came on the scene in 1972, established by the UN to raise awareness of green issues and to pressure politicians to deliver on environmental pledges. It’s taken a long time for climate change to finally arrive on the international agenda, but only public support will affect political action.
The mend of the world is now. What is your resolution for this World Environment Day? Here are a few you can choose from:
• I will use hemp or cotton bags and thus reduce my intake of plastic bags
What are you doing to help combat global warming? Let us know.
Submitted by sproutingforth on Fri, 2007-05-25 09:27
Head off down to the International Convention Centre this weekend in Cape Town for The Good Food & Wine Show that started yesterday.
Not only is the food and wine showcase bigger and better than last year, with a range of local and international celeb chefs to introduce you to the latest global trends in good taste, but this year there is a really strong focus on organic at the Organics Pavilion, which will launch the Organic Freedom Project and play host to some of the world’s leading organic experts. There's a fabulous organic market that promises organic bites and the finest organic coffees, and a whole new range of organic products!
There’s also a new Coffee Theatre which promises to host the first ever National Barista Championship and the Savanna Light On Your Marks, Get Set, Cook! Show, hosted by Justine Drake the editor of Eat In - have you voted for the ‘best organic producer’ category in this year’s Eat In RMB Private Bank SA Produce Awards?
Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2007-05-21 13:44
Pax Afrika is an unruly teen who just happens to have been chosen by the spirits of the Ancestors to save the world. And boy, does it need saving. The environment is ravaged by global warming and over-industrialisation, plants are virtually extinct and animals have mutated into nasty monster beasts. If that wasn’t bad enough, the evil corporate industrialist, Maximilian Malice, controls the city, forcing people to buy stuff and pretend to be happy. It’s up to Pax to solve the mystery of his missing dad, find the mythical lost city of URBO (or Universal Repository of Bio-Organisms, a travelling DNA library) and restore the future!
For more go to www.urbo.co.za and check out Pax in action every Friday on SABC3 at 3.30pm.
What inspired you to go eco? Pollution in iKapa is seriously out of control...
Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2007-05-17 09:26
Under a programme, led by the Clinton foundation, Johannesburg is one of fifteen cities around the world to begin cutting carbon emissions by renovating city-owned buildings with green technology, with the potential to reduce energy use by 20% to 50%.
The initiative was announced yesterday as part of a climate summit hosted by Bill Clinton in New York City this week at which more than 40 of the world’s biggest and most polluted cities have been discussing ways to tackle climate change.
The makeovers will include replacing heating, cooling and lighting systems with energy-efficient networks; making roof white or reflective to deflect more for the sun’s heat, sealing windows and installing new models that let more light in; and setting up sensors to control more efficient use of lights and air conditioning. [forbes]
Buildings are among a city’s worst culprits in contributing to emissions – often as much as 79% of a city’s total carbon count. The chairman of the Clinton Climate Initiative said cities and private building owners would like to build and renovate with more energy efficiency, but often cannot put up the initial costs.
The partnership that involves Clinton’s private foundation, four of the world’s largest energy service companies and five of the biggest banks - Citigroup Inc., Deutsche Bank AG, JPMorgan Chase & Co., UBS AG, and ABN Amro - is contributing 5 billion dollars to help combat global warming.
"They're going to save money, make money, create jobs and have a tremendous collective impact on climate change all at once," Clinton said in a statement.
The energy savings are expected eventually to offset the costs of the programme, although a time frame has yet to be announced. With the money from the banks, cities will get the green technology at no cost. The programme assumes that cities already have money in their budgets set aside for building operations and will pay back loans, plus interest, through the energy savings that the projects achieve over several years.
The other cities are: Bangkok, Berlin, Chicago, Houston, Karachi, London, Melbourne, Mexico City, New York, Rome, Sao Paolo, Seoul, Tokyo and Toronto. [inquirer]
Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2007-05-16 12:21
Driving all the way to Stilbaai on a windswept, rainy morning that just happened to coincide with the first day of a long weekend was probably not the best idea with an infant on board, but there you go – parents of infants don’t always make ideal decisions (I am a good mother, I am a good mother).
But the stay on Wild Olive farm was well worth the over four hour drive. The farm lies just outside the little seaside village of Stilbaai, off the N2 between Mossel Bay and Riversdale, on the banks of the Goukou River.
Owners Hazel and Alan are recent advocates of permaculture and not only cook as much as possible with their organic home grown vegetables and salads from their Farm Kitchen, which produces some of the most scrumptious food imaginable and is a wonderful haven when it’s raining, but they also supply guests and Stilbaai with produce.
The farm offers a number of accommodation options...
Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2007-05-15 09:19
Prince Charles is apparently putting the final touches to an eco-friendly B&B, a royal retreat open to paying guests at Llwynywormwood Estate in Wales.
Already nicknamed C&C’s B&B (Charles & Camilla – get it?), the chance of a stay in a royal residence will probably result in a tourist boom to the area and will pave the way for other eco-friendly B&B standards.
“Sewage will be recycled through a reed bed and guests will be able to dine on organic food with fruit and vegetables grown in the kitchen garden.
Furniture will be made from oak and fir trees from the Royal landlord's forests and underground tanks will collect rainwater. Heat from a woodchip burner will be conserved by insulating the building with hemp and sheep's wool.”
The retreat will use lime on the ceilings and walls, and trees will be re-planted using maps from 1909 – the estate was largely abandoned and ruined until the Prince bought it earlier this year. Definitely not your average B&B![icnetwork]
Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2007-05-08 11:22
WC response to climate change – a website. Did you know that the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning has a website containing a host of info about the province’s Climate Change Response Strategy and Action Plan? It’s a little dry, but very informative. [wc-climatechange-response]
Shortage of land for burial – a grave issue. The burial rate in eThekwini is as high as 700 a week, as more SAfricans die of HIV and Aids. The city is looking at the possibility of burying people for a period of 10 years, and then exhuming the bodies and having them cremated, to create space – at least 16 of the 22 cemeteries are already full. [IOL]
Plastic waste: more dangerous than global warming. Plastic is a bigger danger than global warming, or at least it is in the immediate sense, considering it is snuffing out the lowest common denominator in the food chain, says Neil Seldman, a waste recycling expert and president of the Institute for Local Self Reliance, an organisation with a long track record of promoting sustainable communities. [greenbiz]
Australia faces climate change disaster. A record drought–now in its sixth year–is forcing Australia to consider drastic action to preserve its dwindling water supplies. Two rivers that feed the Murray-Darling basin in south-eastern Australia are so low that they barely have enough water for drinking supplies.[greenfuture]
10 reasons why the greening of business will be an enduring issue. For those of us who have been toiling in these fields for a long time, the greening of business is viewed as an "overnight success story" that was twenty years in the making. [joelmakower]
Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2007-05-03 20:06
Wave energy project for the west coast. Finavera Renewables, through its wave energy division, plans to build a phased 20MW wave energy power plant off the west coast of South Africa for a total investment of more than US$40 million (R283 million) over five years. The project will generate more than 30 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per month, saving US$2 million per year in fuel and avoiding approximately 20,000 tons of CO2 emissions.[sagoodnews]
The Sun goes green. The UK tabloid, better known for its page 3 girls, homophobic views and inciting hatred, has jumped on the green bandwagon. We're not sure whether to laugh or to cry. Spreading awareness of climate change and green issues is a good thing. Suggesting you’re "saving the earth" because some of your readers will change their light bulbs is a sham.
Will honey prices rise in SA? It seems that the price of honey in this country may rise as an indirect result of the death of millions of honey bees in the USA over the past 6 months. [IOL] The exact cause of the deaths remains a mystery – scientists have disputed the cell phone link [evening sun] and claims of a fungus that could be playing a part seem pretty tentative. [latimes] We've already covered a lot of bee news. [urban sprout]
5 reasons to buy organic – if you need them. Aside from the obvious – organic foods are free of toxic chemicals, pesticides, insecticides and other additives – there are a couple of goodies here – you’re encouraging manufacturers to re-think their strategies for producing products, and you’re protecting the environment. [hippyshopper]
Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2007-04-24 11:11
Why is sugar bad for us?
William Dufty, in his book ‘Sugar Blues’ has a lot to say on the subject of why sugar is bad for us. According to him, refined sugar is lethal. Sugar actually drains and leaches the body of precious vitamins and minerals through the demand its digestion, detoxification and elimination make upon one’s system, because sugar is what nutritionists term ‘empty’ calories.
Taken every day, sugar produces an over-acid condition. This requires more and more minerals, such as sodium, potassium and magnesium, to rectify the imbalance. Finally, in order to protect the blood, so much calcium is taken from the bones and teeth that decay and general weakening begin. [nexus magazine]
He goes on to explain that the whole body is affected, including the nervous system and organs governed by it, such as the small brain.
It has been proved that:
Why is there so little evidence out there, and why aren’t we made aware of the detrimental effects of sugar? Most scientists achieve very little without a sponsor, and most research on nutrition is funded by the very producers of the food that we eat. Who would benefit from research about the detrimental effects of sugar?
Sugar pushers, who have an obviously vested interest in your consuming sugar, tout the low calorie content of sugar. Low calorie sugar might be, but nutritious it is not. All foods contain some nutrients in the way of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins or minerals, or all of these. Sucrose contains caloric energy, period.
The ‘quick energy’ claim – the same one that drives children literally up the wall – is based on the fact that refined sucrose is not digested in the mouth of the stomach but passes directly to the lower intestines and into the bloodstream – in other words, fast.
What adds to the confusion is the many terms used for sugar.
Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2007-04-19 10:19
No clear solution to massive disposable nappy problem. Studies show that an infant goes through between 7 000 and 8 000 nappy changes before starting potty training. World Watch estimates 450 billion disposable nappies are used each year and contribute nearly 77 million tons of waste to landfills. A disposable nappy takes around 500 years to degrade.[sustainableisgood] There are alternatives to disposables. [revenge of the cloth nappy]
Yahoo! to go carbon neutral by the end of 2007. In a bid to fight global warming, the internet giant will reduce its energy use and invest in emissions-fighting projects, so that by the end of the year it can call itself completely carbon neutral. Yahoo! has already begun looking at projects in which to invest in the wake of measuring its carbon footprint. [yahoo] The big search engines are now warring on the green front, as Google already boasts a massive rooftop solar installation [urban sprout] and free bicycles for employees. [urban sprout] For more on Yahoo’s green policy [joel makower blog]
Cloned meat and milk about to become a reality? It’s possible that a bill pending in the California Legislature will undermine the FDA’s recently announced draft ruling that meat and milk from cloned animals is safe for human consumption. [urban sprout] If passed, any cloned food would have to be very clearly labelled. Organic farmers and supporters were clearly visible at a news conference last week carrying placards that read ‘Not Milk – Cloned food is coming but you can stop it.’ Let’s hope they can! [IOL]