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support green wines

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2008-05-13 12:48

Look out for a new label on some wines (there are about 30 farms using it already) that indicates that the wine maker is ‘fynbos-friendly’. The label draws attention to biodiversity in South Africa and the important relationship that needs to be built between conservation and wine making.

The label – a sugar bird on a protea – endorses wines that are produced in harmony with nature – in other words they follow certain conservation requirements. Wines with this label are doing their bit to conserve critical natural habitats and species in the western cape winelands.

Look out too for South Africa’s green mountain eco route – the world’s first biodiversity wine route and eco route, set in and around

spaceship earth

Submitted by turbosprout on Fri, 2007-07-06 14:23

I've just started reading Coming Back to Earth by James Clarke and he quotes astronaut Frank Borman, commander of the Apollo 8, which was the first manned spacecraft to fly around the moon.

When you are privileged to view the Earth from afar, when you can hold out your thumb and cover it with your thumbnail, you realise that we are really, all of us around the world, crew members on the space station Earth. Of all the accomplishments of technology, perhaps the most significant one was the picture of Earth over the lunar horizon. If nothing else, it should impress our fellow man with the absolute fact that our environment is bounded, that our resources are limited, and that our life support system is a closed cycle. And, of course, when this space station is viewed from 240,000 miles away, only its beauty, its minuteness, and its isolation in the blackness of space, are apparent. A traveller from some far planet would not know that the size of the crew is already too large and threatening to expand, that the breathing system is rapidly becoming polluted, and that the water supply is in danger of contamination with everything from DDT to raw sewage. The only real recourse is for each of us to realise that the elements we have are not inexhaustible. We’re all in the same spaceship.

are you sussed or sassi about your fish?

Submitted by turbosprout on Tue, 2007-07-03 10:56

We recently received the latest copy of the Undercurrents magazine in the post from the Two Oceans Aquarium. I'm not sure how often it is produced but thought the latest issue was really cool; both the layout and the content were spot on. I guess being involved in conservation themselves, the environment is important to the people that work there, and obviously also to those who support the Aquarium. And so Undercurrents was full of info about living more sustainably and minimising our impact on the environment. One of the articles that caught my attention was about SASSI, the South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative.

I'd heard of the Marine Stewardship Council which is an international conservation initiative, but didn't know that there was a local program underway to educate consumers and those in the fish trade about sustainable eating options. I enjoy my fish, but must admit that when eating out I don't really think about where the fish I'm trying comes from, how it was caught, whether it was purchased legally, if it is a species that is endangered because of overfishing etc. Well, now thanks to SASSI, I'll be able to make an informed choice. They've produced a pocket sized guide that can be downloaded from their website along with a larger informational booklet. They also have an SMS service which will let you know whether...

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green scorpions set to sting

Submitted by turbosprout on Tue, 2007-05-22 13:20

Will we ever tire of this headline or it's various permutations? Scorpions allowed to sting. Scorpions are ready to sting. Scorpions may sting. Scorpions sting!

Just who are these green caped environmental crusaders who crack down, swoop, strike and, finally, sting? They've been billed as the "lean, mean, green machine", the "gutsy dirt busters" and they regularly make news headlines especially after a dramatic bust, like last week when they "seized 13 snakes".

Dax asked in a recent post where James Bond is to save us from the evil supervillians intent on putting a strangle hold on our food supply. I'm not so sure Agent Bond can help us here but maybe the Green Scorpions will be up for the job.

So who are the Green Scorpions really? Do they carry any cool gadgets or dazzling weapons, and what super-powers do they have?

The so-called Green Scorpions came about in 2005 when an amendment to the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) was passed providing for environmental inspectors to be appointed by National and Provincial Government. Where previously there were inspectors working in an isolated manner for different departments like air quality, marine conservation, pollution, waste etc. there is now a co-ordinated national Environmental Management Inspector (EMI) network that shares intelligence, experience, training and procedures.

They comprise inspectors from within the...

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eco-village won't see light of day

Submitted by turbosprout on Fri, 2007-03-02 12:30

pringle baypringle bayThe hostile reaction of Pringle Bay ratepayers to a progressive eco-village development means the plans will be shelved. Another example of NIMBYism (not in my backyard) by local residents ensures the self-sufficient eco-village on the banks of the Buffels River will not see light of day.

The development would have consisted of 79 "off-grid" houses using their own rainwater, solar power and gas instead of the muncipal supplied services. The proposed village would also have had its own sewerage system. The residents, citing "environmental" concerns for their opposition of the plans, are delighted with their victory over the "developers".

So where is the "environmental" justice? Upmarket golf course development draining millions of litres from the water table daily = GOOD (it pushes our property prices even further into the stratosphere). Eco-village promoting responsible land use, minimum ecological footprint, renewable energy etc. = BAD?

socially responsible drinking

Submitted by turbosprout on Mon, 2007-02-26 15:29

As an ethical consumer there are still very few options available when visiting your local wine shop (not to mention bottle store). Ask for an organic wine, one that is sulphite free, or a guarantee that no chameleons were harmed in the production of your tipple and you'll most likely be met with a blank stare.

Is your "Wine of the month" club not offering any environmentally friendly wines? Do you know any wine cellars that are BEE or wines where the workers own a share of the cellar? Never thought that your wine drinking habits could make a difference?

Well that's about to change with socially responsible drinking of a different kind. I've stumbled across two cool ventures that allow you to vote for a better world with your spending power.

One is the Biodiversity in Wine Initiative, which encourages growers and wine producers to set aside a portion of their land for conservation (currently 40513 ha, some 40% of the vineyard footprint is being conserved). There are over 60 producers who you can now look out for when selecting your next bottle if you want to be more biodiverse in your drinking habits.

rietvlei eco-disaster cleanup

Submitted by turbosprout on Tue, 2007-01-02 16:59

pic: Rogan Ward, Cape Arguspic: Rogan Ward, Cape ArgusAn estimated 60 tons of fish have been removed from the Rietvlei Wetland Reserve near Milnerton / Table View, Cape Town since Christmas, after dying as a result of a lack of oxygen in the water.

Acting reserve manager, Dalton Gibbs, says the quality of the water will be tested tomorrow and on Thursday and the reserve may be open by this weekend.

Gibbs said the samples would determine if there were any specific pollutants in the water that has caused the massive die-off, which started early on Christmas Day.

However, Gibbs suspected that it was a case of the vlei having reached a point where it could absorb no more of the high load of organic pollutants that flowed in from the storm water drains.

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cape town asked to save water

Submitted by sproutingforth on Fri, 2006-12-22 11:40

pic:jhb.orgpic:jhb.orgThose living in cape town have been asked by the city to save water as temperatures soar. The city has passed two new bylaws to act on long-term effects of global warming, and in terms of these:

• those living in cape town may not water their gardens between 10am and 4pm,
• hosepipes must be fitted with automatic self-closing devices
• potable water can’t be used to damp building sand (to keep it from blowing away)
• the flow rate from taps in hand basins shouldn’t exceed 6 litres per minute

The city also looks set to clamp down on the big water users – any one using more than 3650 kilolitres a year has to undergo an annual water audit and commercial carwash businesses have to recycle a minimum of 50% of their water. We should all be recycling 50% of our water consumption, or at least be making a huge effort to save water.

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