top 10 news stories for 2009

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2009-12-29 13:46

2010 is virtually upon us, but before we allow the new year to sweep us back into the swing of things, it's a good moment to reflect on the past year and what news stories were most popular with our readers.

1. is Woolworths just another bad egg?
So there you are; surrounded by posters of poultry basking in their freedom, your conscience and shopping experience clean because you are promised that the eggs you are buying came from free-range chickens. If chickens could smile, I’m sure we would be confronted by an enormous picture of a splendid beaky grin.

2. you can recycle tetra pak!
I have to confess to sending various irate messages to Tetra Pak over the last year about their apparent lack of recycling facilities in Cape Town, or the country for that matter. The perception out there, despite their very obvious drive to recycle overseas, is that one can't recycle tetra pak, and there are a fair amount of them if you consider things like fruit juice, some olive oil, long-life milk and custard all come in these containers – they heap up over time!

3. the unhealthy truth: how our food is making us sick
Robyn O'Brien is an American mother. She is also a mother of children with allergies, something American (and South African) children appear to be suffering from at an alarmingly increasing rate. And Robyn wrote a book about why. Her delvings have led to her being called the 'Erin Brokovich of the food industry' because she exposes the hidden dangers in the apparently 'safe' ingredients we feed our children and families.

4. rawlicious - our top 5 recipes
Radically radish, the 2-tone sunrise smoothie, wild mushroom soup, brazil nut milk, Thai coleslaw and lemon tart with a twist (it's raw!) are what you can expect from Peter and Beryn Daniel's raw food recipe book entitled Rawlicious. We fell on this book when it arrived. It really re-inspired us to eat more raw foods.

5. an alternative lifestyle in jo’burg – thea holm shows us how
Thea Holm, environmental educator, lives in a low-impact, environmentally friendly way on the banks of Hartbeespoort dam, just outside Johannesburg. “We must get the word out that we are now on limited time to prepare the damage caused by our everyday life styles, and it is not the responsibility of governments and industries, it is you and me, our actions placed the industries and chose the government of the day in the first place; each one of us must make this now our responsibility.”

6. eskom vs the california option - there is an alternative to the price hike There is a very valid alternative to the one Eskom is offering us. A company called Smart Green Prosperity, led by John Joslin, delivered a presentation to NERSA about Eskom's application for a tariff increase arguing that: Eskom could reduce the annual expenditures by most customers, avoid building many new coal-fired power stations, increase the use of renewable energy, cut down millions of tonnes of CO2 emissions...

7. stop battery farming for laying hens
If you're not already aware of Activist's newest campaign, then now is the time to sign the petition pressuring Pick n Pay, Shoprite Checkers and Spar to follow Woolworths' lead and immediately stop selling battery eggs.

8. no 'holy cows' for Backsberg

I like Michael Back from Backsberg Estate. Really, you can't help but respond to someone who looks a little like the nutty professor and spouts irreverent yet totally honest and unconventional thoughts on just what he has done on the Backsberg estate to make it the only carbon neutral wine estate in the country, and the third in the world.

9. a revolution in straw - staying in elands bay
We recently spent the most beautiful weekend in winter in Elands Bay on the west coast. And whilst I share this with some reticence (Elands Bay can do without a stampede) I do think that sharing our hideaway (join the strawrevolution at one boom straat elands bay) is something anyone who appreciates anything built sustainably will appreciate!

10. farming for the future – revolutionary or smudging the push for organic? Woolworths has recently made public their pioneering of a new method of farming fresh produce. It's called 'farming for the future', and there's a lot of talk about improving the soil and plant health, preserving water, protecting biodiversity and being kinder to the environment.