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biowatch appeal judgement expected today

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2007-11-06 09:32

pic:manataka.orgpic:manataka.orgFinally, the anticipated judgement in the Biowatch appeal against the order to pay Monsanto’s legal costs will be delivered this morning at 10am at the Pretoria High Court.

The outcome of this case has enormous consequences for the influence of genetically modified food in this country, and will set the standard for other environmental groups across the country that battle against monolithic giants like Monsanto in the future – will they be able to do so without fear of bankrupting themselves first?

We first reported on the appeal on 23 April 2007 – [high stakes on biowatch appeal] and [we’re still holding thumbs for biowatch] when we were rather mystified at the order by Judge Dunn for Biowatch to pay Monsanto South Africa’s legal costs, based on the premise that Monsanto was forced to come to court to protect its interests...

transgenic unpopular trees?

Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2007-10-25 17:41

I’m disturbed. It seems that scientists have now stuck a rabbit gene into poplar trees turning them into super trees that can suck up and destroy toxic chemicals from the air.

A philosophy professor at the University of Washington where the experiments are being performed reflects that "this is a real dilemma for the environmental community."

Essentially, I’m with those who worry about the unknowns. Yes, these are non-edible transgenic plants. But just because they’re not obviously entering our food chain doesn’t make them okay. We’re talking mutant trees here. And what about the effects these trees will have on the ecosystem in which they are planted? The trees are unique for being able to remove and destroy "several of the most widespread and dangerous pollutants", but it is this very versatility that could also cause problems – the rabbit enzyme’s flexibility could mean that it is able to affect the trees and other organisms in unforseen ways.

What is more disturbing is the subtle power

our 11th hour

Submitted by turbosprout on Fri, 2007-09-21 09:53

Last night we got to see the Natural & Organic Product Exhibition's preview screening of The 11th Hour which has blown us away and really driven home the message that we need to act now at this, the Earths 11th Hour, before it's too late to save our planet, the human species and all the other species we are dooming with our current way of life. It is no longer about preserving life as we know it - there is too much that sucks about our present condition. This movie makes the point that we need to re-invent life as we know it: our current systems will have to be re-designed and re-engineered to be sustainable.

The opening sequence was very emotive. A view of the beginning of human life, a foetus developing in the womb, overlayed with the sound of a human heartbeat, then into a series of shots conveying...

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uranium rd & other green events

Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2007-09-12 10:01

Uranium Road. Lift the lid on the closed world of nuclear in SA revealing secrets and greed. Uranium Road is a 53 minute documentary, based on the book by Dr David Fig. It presents SA nuclear programmes, showing how the nuclear industry creates closed cliques of the powerful and fundamentally undermines the democratic principles of our young democracy. Screening in Jhb, 14 Sept at 12h00 at Atlas Studios, cnr of Frost and Owl Streets. Contact Jenny Hunter on 011 648 0367 or

Workshop: diet & allergies; a holistic perspective. Many of our food addictions are allergy based, and many of our irritations in mind (depression) and body (fatigue) are allergy based. Join an exciting interactive workshop to look at how to repair our immunity so we can be less susceptible to allergies. Sept 22 Sept, Synergy Centre in Jhb, 9.30am-2.30pm.

nuclear power to get a caning

Submitted by turbosprout on Wed, 2007-09-05 17:50

I wish the above read "nuclear power to get a canning", but it seems the government's nuclear plans will not be abandoned without a fight from concerned citizens, NGO's and community groups. Enter CANE - the Coalition Against Nuclear Energy, a group that is banding together to do something about Eskom's intended rollout of 10 new conventional nuclear reactors and its long-term plan to rollout 24 Pebble Bed Modular reactors on several sites around the country.

Those in the coalition are concerned about the unnecessary and heavily subsidised costs, nuclear safety and the unsolved problem of long-term spent fuel storage.

Seven sites have been chosen for new nuclear reactors in the Northern, Western and Eastern Cape, while Pelindaba in the North West Province has been offered nuclear enrichment facilities, nuclear fuel fabrication and nuclear smelter plants. Various areas around the country have been identified for...

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the great bin walk

Submitted by sproutingforth on Sat, 2007-08-11 19:29

If you happen to pass two Capetonians pushing a wheelie bin en route along the Cape peninsula, they’re not one of the many destitute; they are in fact braving the wind and rain to raise awareness about the waste issues in Cape Town – their mantra: reduce, re-use or recycle our rubbish.

Ray Chaplin, for whom this is not the first mission to raise awareness – he also rode across South Africa for 41 days in support of BEN (Bicycling Empowerment Network) – and his friend, Mary Murphy, also an environmentalist from Full cycle, pushed their bin from the city bowl to Hout Bay on Thursday, continued on to Noordhoek yesterday, and today trekked further to Constantia...

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devils on horseback and patented pigs

Submitted by turbosprout on Wed, 2007-08-08 22:10

The earthnotes festival came to an end today, but if you didn't get your dose of enlightened documentaries there are some screenings coming up shortly by Safeage and While You Were Sleeping that are not to be missed.

While You Were Sleeping are screening The Devil Came on Horseback, a documentary about the tragedy taking place in Darfur. If, like me, you are uninformed on the genocide perpetrated by the Sudan government on its citizens here is your chance to learn more and perhaps make a difference. I was interested to learn that there is a South African Sudan Divestment Campaign launched by a local NGO, Shikaya. See While You Were Sleeping for more details.

The Devil Came on Horseback will be shown at the Labia on Orange cinema in Cape Town on Sunday 12 August at 6.15pm, on Monday 13 August at 8:30pm and on Tuesday 14 August at 8:30pm.

Safeage are conducting a workshop on GMO's, Patents and Poverty on the morning of Thur 16 Aug and they'll be screening Patent for a Pig featuring my favourite GM company, Monsanto. It seems rBST and GM maize, canola, cotton etc aren't enough, Monsanto are also trying to get a grip on pigs by patenting...

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become a freegan

Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2007-07-16 14:11

The word 'freegan' is an amalgamation of the words 'free' and 'vegan'. Vegans avoid products from animal sources or which have caused harm to animals. Freegans go one step further by trying to avoid abuse to humans, animals and the planet.

Sweatshop labour, rainforest destruction, global warming, displacement of indigenous communities, air and water pollution, eradication of wildlife on farmland as 'pests', corrupt dictatorships, open pit strip mining, oil drilling in environmentally sensitive areas, and child slavery are just some of the many impacts of the seemingly innocuous consumer products we buy every day.

Freeganism involves a total boycott of an economic system which is creating these detrimental impacts. 'After years of trying to boycott products from egregious corporations, many of us came to realize that the problem isn't just a few bad corporations but the entire system itself. thus, instead of avoiding purchase of products from one bad company only to support another, we seek to avoid purchasing altogether to the greatest degree we are able.'

Freegans employ alternative strategies for living, based on non-participation in the conventional economy, minimal consumption of resources, and embracing community, generosity, social concern, cooperation, and sharing in a society based on materialism, moral apathy, competition, and greed.

Find out about freeganism: a site dedicated to revealing human over-consumption and waste

An excerpt from: 365 ways to change the world, by Michael Norton, available at your nearest book store.

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walmart movie screening tonight

Submitted by turbosprout on Thu, 2007-06-28 11:18

If you're interested in the way large corporates shape our lives and what we can do about it then go along to the screening of Walmart - The High Cost of Low Price being shown by Permacore at The Door in the Floor, Observatory, Cape Town. It's showing tonight at 7pm and you can get something to eat if you go earlier.

This is the movie that prompted Wal-mart to do something about its poor image and paint itself green. However the fundamental issues raised by the movie will need more than a green paint job to be addressed. Walmart has been criticized for its anti-union stance, employee relations, foreign product sourcing, treatment of product suppliers, environmental practices, use of public subsidies, impact of stores on local economies, and security policies. [source: wiki]

Walmart is the world's largest...

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nuclear reactor on your doorstep?

Submitted by turbosprout on Wed, 2007-06-13 14:20

Eskom and the government are stepping up their efforts to roll out nuclear power stations. Will you stand up and be counted or tell your children or grandchildren that you were too busy, couldn't have been bothered, didn't understand what was at stake etc? Even if you are undecided whether you are pro- or anti-nuclear please register as an Interested and Affected Party by sending one email and join in the debate.

I am the first to admit I don't completely understand all the issues at hand, but I do know that the focus of the Government / Eskom is unbalanced and they need a good dose of public opinion to redress that. Look at this graph:

eskom energy budgeteskom energy budget

The budget for nuclear is 1333 times greater than the budget for renewable energy production! 6 billion to nuclear, 4.5 million to renewables.

So what can you do?

1) Register as an Interested and Affected Party by sending one email.
Subject: Interested and Affected Party
Body: Please register me as an Interested and Affected Party

2) Make a submission to parliament by sending another email by this Friday 15 June.
Subject: Submission on Nuclear Energy
Body: (insert your comment here)

If you want to remark on the negative aspects of Nuclear Energy, here are some primers:
- there are serious health risks associated with operating nuclear reactors or living close to them [Environment South Africa
- long term storage of radioactive waste is problematic [The Antidote]
- pro-nuclear pundits are only telling one side of the story [The Antidote] [Environment South Africa]
- risk of nuclear terrorism and nuclear weapons proliferation [The Antidote]
- mining uranium produces dangerous radioactive mine and mill tailings [The Antidote]
- cancer, birth defects, miscarriages, groundwater contamination are all associated with uranium mining [The Antidote]
- nuclear power is expensive, dangerous, dirty, not renewable and NOT the solution to global warming [The Antidote]

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