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Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2007-09-04 10:42
The advent of global warming has brought many aspects of the way in which we live to the fore. And not least of these is our demand for electricity. We can blame Eskom for bad planning to a certain extent, but we can’t defer our responsibility for continuing to drive the demand for energy that directly contributes to green house emissions and global warming. For a country that receives as much sunlight as we do in South Africa, we’re rather careless in our approach to the design of our homes – it would pay us to pay more attention to the planet’s vulnerability. And the easiest and cheapest place to start, is with our lighting.
The merits of the CFL
Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2007-08-15 09:54
Is the nuclear industry exploiting our concern over global warming by representing nuclear power as a carbon-free electricity source and global climate saviour? Let’s not forget that the nuclear fuel cycle releases carbon dioxide during mining, fuel production, transport, plant construction and decommissioning, and that there is no responsible way to ‘dispose’ of radioactive waste anywhere in the world.
These statistics supplied by Earthlife Africa on nuclear technology made me sit up and take note recently:
• there are only 22 nuclear reactors under construction in the world
Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2007-08-13 11:24
What’s blocking CT’s drains? 43% of the 6400 sewer blockages a month are because people dump foreign objects - like animal carcasses, engine parts and even broken furniture - into sewers. Other culprits include: build-up of fat from kitchen sinks, building material and roots growing into sewers. [IOL]
SA Sasol plant – top culprit of carbon emissions. Sasol may have earned green kudos with a project to convert the greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide, into harmless nitrogen and oxygen [greening it up], but their plant in Secunda is cited as the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the world, and South Africa the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emission in Africa. [allafrica]
It’s a balancing act. In its defence, the department of environmental affairs advocates that while trying to grow the economy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions is ‘a balancing act’. The department went on to defend the country’s continued use of coal-generated energy, and in answer to whether or not there would be ever-greater emissions of greenhouse gases by South Africa over the next decade, they replied: "Yes, certainly yes, the possibility exists." [IOL]
Going organic - not just for the wealthy. Riebeek Kasteel, along with the rest of the Riebeek Valley, has undergone a rebranding as the olive capital of the Western Cape, and numerous magazine articles have boosted the number of visitors on weekends. All of this has done little, if anything, to reduce the extreme poverty of the onderdorp. But a project in a patch of grass next to what used to be Riebeek Kasteel’s railway station is now a community garden that inspires.[carbonsmart]
Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2007-08-02 14:09
Cape Town starts to mainstream recycling – at last! With the pressure mounting due to a shortage of landfill sites, CT starts a ‘separation at source’ initiative in certain areas on 13 August that will help reduce the 6000 odd tons of waste the city produces a day. Clear plastic bags, delivered to your door, will cater for dry waste – paper, cardboard, plastic containers, bags, bottles, glass and tin cans. [capetown.gov]
No more blackouts for sunny SA. If we took a leaf out of Israel’s book – almost every home is equipped with solar panels for use in heating water – we wouldn’t be facing further threats of blackouts from Eskom. Harnessing solar power, in a country that has more than its fair share of sunshine, makes more sense than nuclear power. Yet, to date we’ve committed R12-billion on the design and construction of the PBMR – nuclear energy which is neither clean nor cheap! [cooltech.iafrica] A surprise, then, that Eskom is spearheading a solar water heater drive. [urban sprout]
Death to Ronald McDonald. Proposed food regulations could see a major clampdown on junk food, and include banning adverts, cartoons and toys aimed at enticing children to eat junk food and unhealthy snacks. These same proposals also aim to put a stop to fake nutrition claims. [IOL]
Join Jeff as he jaunts the Atlantic. Jeff Barbee has taken to the seas to raise awareness for environmental matters. On this very special trip the photojournalist is working with scientists and researchers, covering airport construction on St Helena, efforts to save rare and endangered species, and tracking bird migration routes, pollution levels and many more exciting projects. He wants to get a million hits to his website. [jeffbarbee]
Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2007-07-30 13:33
He also wonders whether they have an "interest in creating a smokescreen while an estimated R400m of public money is quietly spent on nuclear, and another vast amount on new coal, power?"
Eskom does seem to have schizophrenic tendencies - just how do they balance making a profit through electricity sales with trying to reduce consumer use of electricity?
It is curious that Eskom is spearheading a solar water heater drive as part of its Demand Side Management (DSM) strategy when there are other projects underway partnering with government and also that this competency has not been passed on to the National Energy Efficiency Agency?
Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2007-07-11 12:22
There’s been a lot in the news about global warming. We all know what it is, that we’ve contributed to it (guilt, guilt) and that we should really be doing something about it (what, what?).
And aside from the odd list of ways in which we as individuals can contribute, the world as a whole doesn’t seem to be doing anything. It’s not as if Live Earth achieved an awful lot? It was just a chance for a lot of young people to watch a lot of good bands, and occasionally some sheepish celebrity (because it’s not as if many of them are applying these practices themselves) mentioned CFC light bulbs.
But this should bring the point home...
Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2007-07-04 11:04
SA – increasing pollution and declining air quality. SA’s 2nd national State of the Environment’s 800-page report has just been released by the national department of environmental affairs and tourism, and it isn’t pretty. Despite SA having made ‘significant progress’ in environmental management, natural resources are being exploited in an unsustainable way, water quality is declining as is the aquatic ecosystem’s health, land degradation continues, and commercial and recreational fish species are overexploited. [IOL] Time to start taking action! For more about The SA Environment Outlook 2006 report.
Greenhouses in the sky. In a fantastic new take on farming, Dr Dickson Despommier introduces the concept of vertical farming in glass covered skyscrapers in the heart of cities made of titanium oxide-plated glass with giant solar panels, hydroponic irrigation systems and an abundant variety of crops. This creation of a sustainable urban environment uses no fossil fuels and leaves no carbon footprint; waste water can be used and purified into drinking water and the need for toxic pesticides will be eliminated. We like it! [IOL]
McDonald’s recycles cooking oil to power its delivery vehicles. McDonald’s says it could save 1.5 million gallons of petrol by converting the cooking oil from its 1,200 restaurants in Britain into biodiesel, and that by switching their fleets to biodiesel they will prevent the emission of 1,675 tons of carbon per year. Hmmm, at the same time their switch to a mix of rapeseed oil and Spanish sunflower oil (imported) for cooking has caused a nationwide shortage of rapeseed oil as they ‘pretty much buy up the whole crop’. [greenbiz]
Submitted by turbosprout on Mon, 2007-06-25 17:01
Nedbank and ad agency Net#work BBDO were awarded best of show Outdoor Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival for a solar powered billboard that generates 1350KW to power the kitchen of a nearby primary school.
I'm really not a fan of billboard advertising, but after seeing this I think solar panels should be mandatory for all billboards! Most companies talk about their social responsibility programmes but this powerful message shows it in action and emphasises Nedbank's by-line - "make thiNgs happen".
Julian Watt, from Net#work BBDO was in Cannes to receive the prize and said "Although this is a huge win for South African creativity and we’ve been able to impress the global creative community, its real value will be realised once this prototype has been embraced by all advertisers and not just in South Africa."
"A solar billboard is especially relevant at a time when mankind is pausing to take score on the environment. I say hats off to Nedbank for seeing the value in this idea and committing to it."
Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2007-06-21 12:01
10 years to save civilization. Six American scientists have issued an unambiguous warning to the world about the threat of global warming (not that we haven’t already been warned by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – IPCC but considering the results of the recent G8 summit, it was obviously only luke warm!). A new report, headed by James Hansen, a leading expert for climate change science, is predicting that the nations of the world have a slim 10 year window to put some radical changes in place, or face catastrophe. [consciousearth]. View the complete report on the NASA website
SA’s R400bn nuke plan. If you weren’t already convinced that we’re being led a merry dance with Eskom’s proposed nuclear programme, think of the amount it’s going to cost us, the taxpayer – R400-billion. And that won’t even solve the energy crisis we now face. [IOL]
Algeria develops solar power. Holding a mirror up to South Africa’s nuclear energy plans, Algeria is planning to use its hot southern desert to develop solar power both for domestic use and export by 2015. [IOL]
Wind –powered cell phone charger a reality. A tent-mounted cell phone charger prototype has been designed for the Glastonbury festival, commissioned by the UK-based communications company Orange. Okay, it is a little bigger than the charger we're used to. [treehugger]
Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2007-06-14 12:46
Organic market set to grow 30% annually over the next 4 years. The SA Retail Industry Forecast (2007-2011) report provides research and analysis of the retail industry. One of the key findings is that the organic food market, the fastest growing segment in the food sector after baby food, will grow by 30% per annum over the next four years (2007-2010). The report looks at several retailers, including: Pick 'n Pay Holdings Ltd, Massmart Holdings Ltd, Woolworths Holdings Ltd and Shoprite Holding Ltd. [researchandmarkets]
New energy law on the cards for the WC. If legislation goes ahead there could be a range of incentives, tariffs and tax breaks for using renewable energy across residential, commercial and industrial sectors, including residents who produce their own renewable energy to feed back into the national grid. Way to go green, Western Cape! Time to get solar powered heating for water. South Africa burns coal for over 90% of our electricity - the seventh highest per capita emitter of carbon in the world. [M&G]
SA landfill unauthorised. Marthinus van Schalkwyk announced that almost half of the landfill sites around the country are unauthorised and need to be closed, particularly as 58 of these are ‘hazardous’ (he didn’t define hazardous, but one can assume he meant dangerous to our health and the environment). He also said that 45% of South Africans have no access to domestic waste-collection. [M&G]
SA water treatment plants ‘in crisis’. About one third of SA’s 1000 water treatment plants are in crisis, according to the director-general of the department of water affairs and forestry, Jabu Sindane. What is most disturbing is that no intervention or response has been communicated to Sindane. [IOL]