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sa blog awards 2009 - lets hear it for green blogs

Submitted by turbosprout on Wed, 2009-03-18 13:05

Today is the closing day for nominations for SA Blog Awards 2009! If you haven't already made your mark you should check it out and nominate your favourite blog in one of the many different categories. This year there are twenty four. We obviously have a keen interest in the "Green Blog" category and are glad that this looks set to be a permanent feature of the Blog awards (it wasn't always).

Here are some of the great green blogs that you can take a look at (if you're not following them already) that are looking for nominations.

Mother City Living
Carbon Copy
Relax with Dax
Tracy Stokes
Landscape Design
Brixton Broads
The Art of Engineering

and then don't forget to nominate urban sprout while you're at it!

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get a look-in on accredited permaculture training

Submitted by turbosprout on Fri, 2009-03-06 16:25

that swale's coming on nicelythat swale's coming on nicelySEED is running a 20 day train the trainer accredited permaculture course which started in mid Feb and finishes next Friday (the 13th). If you're interested in permaculture the cool thing is that Sean Spender, who is attending the course, is giving a blow by blow account of what each day covers on his blog over here.

He got as far as Day 11, so we're hoping he gets the time to keep on with the blogging, even in retrospect. I know that the projects you have to do on the permaculture course can be pretty hectic, so he's probably out somewhere doing a baseline map or reading up on SA windbreak and medicinal plants! But it's a cool resource to check out with some great pics (they also visited the Hout Bay Green Faire last Saturday)

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hout bay green faire this weekend!

Submitted by turbosprout on Thu, 2009-02-26 11:50

Last year's spring green faire was really great - authentic green stallholders in an outdoor setting with perfect weather, good food, lots to see and talk about plus activities for the kids. We were hoping this would become a regular event and now it's back, just in time for the end of summer.

Looks from the programme that there is even more lined up including demo's on grey water systems, solar and wind power, eco-building, growing your own food and my personal favourite - compost toilets (using a compost loo for two weeks is definitely not an experience you forget!).

Water saving shower heads, making biodiesel from cooking oil, eco-awareness raising cinema, puppet edutainment for kids and music courtesy of Jamie Jupiter are some of the things you can look forward to. Here for more details.

The Green Faire will be held outside the Hout Bay Community Cultural Centre, (the old Bowling Club) adjacent to Hout Bay common and market on Baviaanskloof and Main Rds. Adults R20, kids under 10 free, Gates open from 9am to 6pm. This ‘Faire’ is a fundraising and awareness raising event, held in the spirit of community.

More info here

turning trevor green

Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2009-02-11 23:45

Well I'm obviously a little disappointed that Trevor Manuel was wearing a red tie this afternoon and that he failed to step out in green. Whilst I may fault his dress sense, though, he has delivered a solid and practical budget focussing on addressing poverty alleviation, creating jobs and maintaining "a sustainable debt level".

Last year - probably because we were in the midst of Eskom chaos - the Finance Minister waxed lyrical on climate change, emissions, energy efficiency, eskom, the environment, the treasury dept's carbon footprint etc. This year he had far less to say in his speech - it almost appeared he did not want to draw too much attention to the environment. But if you study the Treasury's Budget Tax Proposals 2009 document over a third of the main proposals outlined relate to environmental taxes or incentives.

There is no mincing words here: "Climate change requires both global and domestic policy responses. Internationally, government is playing an important role in the post-2012 Kyoto Protocol negotiation process. At the domestic level, environmental challenges likely to be aggravated by economic growth if natural resources are not adequately managed include excessive greenhouse gas emissions, large-scale release of local pollutants that result in poor air quality, inappropriate land use that leads to land degradation and biodiversity loss, deteriorating water quality and increasing levels of solid waste generation. While everyone feels the effects of environmental degradation, the impact of such deterioration on poor communities, particularly those sited near industrial areas, is often severe."

Environmental taxation / incentives include:
- Implementation of the electricity levy of 2c per kilowatt hour announced in the 2008 Budget will raise R 2.78 billion.

recycled flip flops

Submitted by turbosprout on Thu, 2009-02-05 14:08

I didn’t know this, but apparently thousands of flip flops, discarded by their former owners, wash up on the African shoreline – an environmental disaster for the marine ecosystem, as well as an eyesore on the beaches, many of which are sites of natural beauty. Hatching turtles find their already precarious journey into the sea littered with flip flops that prevent their reaching their destination.

An organisation called UniqEco chose to see the flotsam as a resource for the coastal communities of Kenya, and is working with the locals to collect and recycle discarded waste on the beaches. From this, they make an incredible range of unique accessories and jewellery. The jewellery alone is worth taking a look at – some beautiful stuff (but available online for dollars, I’m afraid). Take a closer look via [greatgreengoods]

fourways green market opens

Submitted by girlsprout on Mon, 2009-02-02 14:19

fourways garden pavillion green marketfourways garden pavillion green marketSaturday proved to be the perfect day for the launch of the Fourways Garden Pavilion Green Market in Johannesburg, as a week of torrential rain finally gave way to some sunshine.

After struggling to find parking in the busy Leaping Frog Centre, I was greeted by a wonderful, bustling little produce market in the nursery, with stalls selling all sorts of delicious goodies. This was the first market of its kind that I’ve been to in Jo’burg, and I found it to be an incredibly relaxing little slice of all things natural in the middle of the busy city.

The organisers wanted to keep things simple for the launch, but the variety of things on sale was very effective. There was a stall selling a wide variety of organic veggies grown on a nearby farm in Fourways, and a baked goods stall providing a host of delicious breads, croissants, brownies and other treats, which I’m told can be ordered in wheat- and gluten-free varieties.

a convenient truth documentary review

Submitted by Dax on Thu, 2008-11-13 12:34

This was an amazingly uplifting documentary to watch. A Convenient Truth is about a city in Brazil called Curitiba, which is one of the most livable cities in the world. They look at various aspects of the city and show how they made them not only environmentally friendly and people friendly but also without using much money. Their ideas have since been used in various cities around the world.

I won't go into great detail but here is summary of some of the things I remember. The public transport system uses buses, which have their own dedicated lanes. This results in a bus stopping at the bus stops every minute (in the CBD). It's the quickest way to get around so 60% of the people travel only by public transport. The municipality pays people who live in the favelas (like our townships) for their (separated into recyclable and non) refuse with bus tickets. This has resulted in the whole city being cleaned up by people collecting refuse to hand in for bus tickets. They also employ homeless people to sort the recyclables which are then compacted and sold. The money is used to pay the homeless people and provide them with education and training so that they can find proper employment.

greening it up - climate change park, manganism victims, low quality fuel, obama serious on climate change

Submitted by turbosprout on Thu, 2008-11-13 10:14

namaqua national park: pic - SANParksnamaqua national park: pic - SANParksClimate Change Park for SA.
The Namaqua National Park has acquired another 36 000ha of land on the West Coast and is now SA's fifth largest park. It is also SA's first park which will be designed to give species a better chance of survival in a warmer, drier future. By ultimately extending the park to include mountainous land, the park will stretch from sea level to an elevation of around 1 700m and would allow plant and animal species to migrate to different altitudes in response to a drier, warmer climate.

"There may be other national parks where this climate change accommodation could take place, but this is the first one consciously designed with that in mind," said Paul Daphne, SANParks managing executive of park operations. [IOL]

Manganism victims were "pressurised"

Suspected manganese poisoning victims were allegedly offered R800 000 each to undergo further testing while their employer refused to recognise the attorney representing them, a Labour Department inquiry investigating several cases of manganese poisoning heard recently.

Richard Spoor, an attorney representing 10 workers who have been diagnosed with manganism, told the inquiry that Assmang had offered affected workers R800 000 to be examined by an overseas medical expert and that Assmang had "gone so far as to hire chiefs (traditional leaders) to press them into accepting deals". [Pretoria News]

Toyota criticises SA's fuel quality
Toyota South Africa has lashed out at the quality of fuel in the country and delays in finalising vehicle emission regulations. Johan van Zyl, Toyota SA CEO and president of NAAMSA said local fuels were only adhering to Euro 2 emission standards, while Europe would be moving to Euro 5 next year. He said government should impose legislation on the fuel industry to go directly to the Euro 5 standard by 2012. He also said environmental taxes had been proposed and Toyota had the advanced technologies to reduce fuel consumption and vehicle emissions but it could do nothing to assist consumers because of the quality of fuel in the country.

"Improvements in the quality of our fuel are imperative to the achievement of environmental objectives, including improved air quality," he said. [Business Report]

Obama's camp: we will act quickly on climate change
Obama sent Jason Grumet, a policy adviser mentioned for a possible energy post, to an environmental conference

the power of community review

Submitted by Dax on Thu, 2008-11-06 11:52

I never get round to reviewing Hollywood movies I see, not that I watch many of them any way. There just doesn't seem to be much point. Basically all you need to know is the basic plot, who is in it and whether it is worth watching or not. But I love reviewing documentaries, they always provide new information and get one thinking.

Last night I watched The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil and it was very interesting. Peak Oil refers to the time when oil will become scarce and expensive and we will have to change the way we live because of that. When you realise how much of our lifestyle (food, transport, agriculture, etc) relies on oil, you understand the massive changes that will have to take place.

It's hard for us to predict how this will happen, but Cuba has already experienced it because of the embargo against it. In previous years they relied on the USSR, but when that fell, they had nothing except some Latin American countries to trade with. They had to deal with having almost no oil. It was very interesting to see what happened.

local green – footprints to close, green retail space available & organic community market

Submitted by sproutingforth on Fri, 2008-10-24 13:08

Footprints Environmental Centre is closing at the end of November! They have to leave their premises, as the property owners need their land for another use. Footprints plays an enormous role in recycling in Cape Town and friends and supporters are more than a little distraught to see it close. Some supporters are already mounting a campaign to try and find new premises for it, and we will keep you posted.

First community Market - an organic community market is set for tomorrow, 25 Oct, at the Owl Shelter, 9 Polaris Road (off Blomvlei Road) in Lansdowne. The market is part of the MENNGOS food garden programme, which has several projects in the Eastern & Western Cape. They fall under the ambit of individual food gardens for food security and surplus to sell, organic nutrition gardens to feed people affected by AIDS and HIV and high school children. All preparation of the land is conducted by the community project participants themselves and individuals who operate their own vegetable and herb gardens.

Woolworths offers fellowships to help the environment. If you are about to register for a full-time Master’s or Doctoral study at UCT, and want to do research in the areas of – pesticides, seafood sustainability, water usage, waste water, energy/climate change or biodiversity – Woolies is offering fellowships that cover tuition and subsistence, research costs or conference travel. Want to know more? Email

Green retail space up for grabs. If you’ve a green business and you’re looking to share space with green conscious retailers, then a newly renovated mall at the top end of Long Street might be for you. They’re looking for clothing retailers, jewellery, shoes, décor etc. A minimum of 10% of your product needs to be sustainable, recycled or the like. Contact

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