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greening it up - climate change curriculum, anti-gm prince, sa enviro journalist of the year, worthy rockers and more

Submitted by turbosprout on Fri, 2008-10-10 10:42

Nic - Feedback, Monica - Mindshift, Prince CharlesNic - Feedback, Monica - Mindshift, Prince Charles
Climate Change Curriculum Western Cape Minister of Environmental Affairs and Development, Pierre Uys, announced on Monday that a special curriculum tool for teachers to educate about climate change has been developed. The pilot programme was launched this week with a training session for a core group of teachers across the province and includes a teacher's resource book. Climate change and environmental issues will form part of the school curriculum from next year. [sustainable home 4 all]

Prince Charles attacks GM Giants The Prince, shaking off a barrage of scientific & political criticism earlier this year, has made his most anti-GM speech yet. He delivered a video speech - the Sir Albert Howard Memorial Lecture - to an Indian pressure group Navdanya, at the invitation of renowned food activist Vandana Shiva.

"The reason I keep sticking my 60-year-old head above an increasingly dangerous parapet is not because it is good for my health," he said " but precisely because I believe fundamentally that unless we work with nature, we will fail to restore the equilibrium we need in order to survive on this planet", the Prince said. He cut to the chase by highlighting the suicides of Indian small farmers many believe were due to a failure by Monsanto GM Cotton Bollguard. [the independent]

For other matters royal, see the Queens windpower record over at Treevolution.

Mindshift Editor is Environmental Journalist of the Year Monica Graaff, editor of ITWeb's Mind Shift magazine, has been named the SAB Environmental Journalist...

earthlings - make the connection

Submitted by turbosprout on Wed, 2008-10-08 09:52

Earthlings is apparently the most shocking movie to be seen about society's abuse of animals. It's also compulsory viewing for those concerned with animal rights and also those that suspect there is something wrong with our use of animals as "factors of production". I've not yet seen Earthlings, but those whom I've spoken to about it were very disturbed by what they saw and urge everyone to do the same. We have an inkling of the atrocities that are committed so we can enjoy our consumptive lifestyles, but most of us push these uneasy thoughts to the furtherest reaches of our consciousness and just pretend it doesn't happen.

Earthlings was screened last Friday at the Labia on Kloof and because of demand will be screened again from this Friday the 10th. See here for more details.

"This is the single most powerful and informative movie about society's treatment of animals. A must see for anyone who cares enough to know"
- Woody Harrelson

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sa's first green blogger meetup

Submitted by turbosprout on Mon, 2008-10-06 09:55

Green bloggers in Cape Town are getting it together to meet up, thanks to Juliana Rotich of Global Voices Online (she's paying a special visit to SA), so if you're based in the Mother City, have a blog and have something green, environmental or organic to say then come along this Saturday and meet your fellow green bloggers in the flesh!

When: Saturday, October 11th, 2pm
Where: Obz Cafe, 115 Lower Main Road, Observatory

There's also an African green mapping initiative launched by Rory, and of course there will be lots to talk about.

Juliana thought we might like to plant some trees too, so if you have suggestions of a school or community project, perhaps in / near Obs then put your suggestions up on the wiki.

RSVP by putting your name on the wiki to know how many to expect.

Spread the word...

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president gets on his bike

Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2008-09-22 09:32

Whilst our country’s president has been sent packing, President Lee Myung-Bak exhibited the type of humility seldom seen by leaders anywhere and rode his bicycle to work this morning, whilst commuters took public transport for free, in South Korea’s bid to help the environment.

Today is World Car Free Day – an annual global movement to encourage us to try and live without cars. It’s become a tradition in a number of cities to celebrate with street parties, mass bicycle rides and free public transport. The idea behind it is to show “… how liveable modern cities can be when free from the noise, stress and pollution caused by cars”. Around the planet, there are an estimated 600 million personal vehicles driving around. Each litre of petrol used by a car produces 2.3 kg of carbon dioxide; the average 4x4 or bakkie emits around 8.2 tons over a year…

gm foods labelled soon

Submitted by sproutingforth on Fri, 2008-09-19 13:06

The Department of Trade and Industry has handed down a ruling for mandatory labelling of genetically modified foods in South Africa.

From now on, you have a choice as to whether or not you want to buy GM, but better still, you will actually know which foods contain GM.

The ruling came after a clause about labelling, which had been removed from the draft Consumer Protection bill last year, was reinstated. SAFeAGE has been lobbying for two years to have this clause reinstated; one that gives shoppers the right to choose once the Bill is implemented.

At the moment no GM foods on the market are labelled as such. The Bill will mean that GM food can be tracked from farm to fork, linking any long term issues with GM food directly to the parties responsible.

The only downside to the exciting ruling, is that “our multinational-friendly, people-unfriendly department of Agriculture” (to quote the ethical blog) remains responsible for determining the thresholds and technical requirements of the new regulations. We need to remain vigilant, in other words...

For more about GM foods on urban sprout

Visit the SAFeAGE website

save the wild coast petition

Submitted by turbosprout on Fri, 2008-09-19 12:41

Pic: Sustaining the Wild Coast: Current dune mining operations near Richards BayPic: Sustaining the Wild Coast: Current dune mining operations near Richards BayPrevent open cast mining on the pristine wild coast. If you feel this is important, please sign this petition straight away as it is going to be submitted today, 19th September.

For more info see the Sustaining the Wild Coast website

From the email doing the rounds:

The South African Department of Minerals and Energy has handed the rights to destroy the pristine Transkei coastline to an Australian mining company. As is usual in underhand deals like this, jobs are promised to the locals to minimise opposition, when in actual fact the locals will be left with the legacy of the destructive effects of open caste mining for generations, and the promised jobs will go to skilled outsiders.

Locals have seen through the charade, and local leaders, such as AmaMpondo king Mpondomini Sigcau are mobilising against the deal. There's a good chance of it being overturned, as the extent of the local opposition has caught Mineral and Energy minister Buyelwa Sonjica by surprise, and she has since claimed that "a mistake was made, of not consulting properly, not by us as a department, but by MRC. We need to correct that".

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care2 make a difference: send an e-card for peace

Submitted by turbosprout on Fri, 2008-09-19 10:13

pic: care2 peace day cardpic: care2 peace day cardCare2 have recently spruced up their website to give it a more 2.0 webby look and I must say that it is really cool. If you ever need to send someone some smiles over the miles with an online greeting card (you get to save trees, postal services energy and money at the same time) take a look at care2's e-cards. They're funny, serious, poignant and some have brilliant animations and audio. You'll also be subscribed to their up to date campaign alerts so will increase your awareness of environmental and social issues in other parts of the world (mainly the US).

Sunday 21st September 2008 is International Day of Peace so is a good time to reflect on the relative peace we have in this country, the progress we have made since 1994, and to think of those in conflict areas around the world who aren't as fortunate: Zimbabwe, Palestine, Sudan, Tibet, Burma, Iraq, Afganistan, Georgia...

It's a given that there is still much healing to be done in our own land, and racial and ethnic (zenophobic) tensions are still a worry, but perhaps we can also stop for a minute and count our blessings and celebrate and be grateful for the abundance we have.

Why not try out your e-card savvy by sending a peace day card to someone you're thinking of?

Peace be with you as you imagine, then create a new world where we can really make a difference.

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an ‘aviation estate’ for malmesbury

Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2008-09-17 11:45

You’ve scraped together your life savings to buy a farm just an hour’s drive outside of Cape Town, nestled in the foothills of the Paardeberg mountains. You’ve joined a community of farmers who revel in the peace and quiet, the sedate, unhurried lifestyle that brings one close to nature and to what matters in life. You’ve an enviable lifestyle, and friends and family head off to join you over weekends, only too glad of a space in which to rejuvenate.

And then someone comes up with a marvellous idea that puts paid to your gentle way of life. They propose an aviation estate just outside the nearest town for leisure flying enthusiasts.

Sound like a bit of a mare? An aviation estate (let’s call it what it is – an airport for light aircraft) has been proposed for just outside Malmesbury...

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the amazing green race

Submitted by turbosprout on Tue, 2008-09-16 11:59

Wits students are on Day 4 of a three week long drive to go greener. Organised by student organisation Roots and Shoots and in conjunction with the Biological Society (Biosoc) of the University of the Witwatersand, they are running a project that aims to get students to participate in a race to decrease their ecological footprints. Enrollment took place last week and The Amazing Green Race is now firmly in swing! Participants receive daily SMS's and emails showing how to live in a more sustainable manner through easy-to-follow tips. They are also planning to award prizes for the greatest ecological footprint reduction and lowest carbon footprint at a celebratory after-race party.

Events are planned for the 23rd Sept, where there will be talks by academics and professionals in the climate change and environmental fields, and the 3rd October when the three week race will culminate in a picnic party prize fest.

They've also got a nifty go green quiz you can take to assess your footprint and a cool promo video to check out over here.

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seven deadly myths of industrial agriculture

Submitted by turbosprout on Mon, 2008-09-15 11:01

We regularly trawl second-hand bookshops for bargains and recently we picked up this gem of a book: Fatal Harvest - The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture. It is quite a tome, but a very interesting and alarming read. I'm slowly making my way through it, dipping in to it now and then, but it will probably take a few months to complete. The book details the destruction of eco-systems and biodiversity by the global industrial farming complex and also presents a new vision for 21st century food systems. The contributing authors include a healthy dose of journalists, professors, legal experts, directors of NGO's and food activists, Vandana Shiva amongst them. Here are some pearls of wisdom from a section called Corporate Lies: Busting the Myths of Industrial Agriculture.

Myth One: Industrial Agriculture Will Feed the World
World hunger is not created by a lack of food but by poverty and landlessness, which deny people access to food. Industrial agriculture actually increases hunger by raising the cost of farming, by forcing tens of millions of farmers off the land, and by growing primarily high-profit export and luxury crops.

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