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greening it up
Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2007-06-12 13:16
G8 finally agree, but do they? The G8, leaders of wealthy nations, agreed on Thursday to halve dangerous greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and Angela Merkel and others were equally impressed by George Bush’s move to come on board, even if he did insist that America would only do so if India and China did too [IOL]. Blair is smiling, and Minister Van Schalkwyk lauded Bush’s move as a final settlement of the scientific debate about climate change saying that there is no way the US can ever go back on it (the scientific debate, that is). The G5 (South Africa, China, Brazil, India and Mexico) are being encouraged to also provide a ‘strong message’ to the world’s environment ministers when they attend climate change talks in Bali at the end of the year. [IOL] But there are those who regard Bush’s move as mere repositioning and...
Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2007-06-07 12:57
CT naked bike ride against global warming NOT canned. Despite stories in the news to the contrary [IOL][M&G], Cape Town is still set to see at least 160 naked bike riders take to the streets to raise the profile of global warming. The impetus behind World Naked Bike Rides, an international movement, is to ‘stop the indecent exposure of people and the planet to cars and the pollution they create’. If you want to join the CT ride, find out more here.
Climate Change summit starts today. The Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning is hosting the Renewable Energy and Climate Change Summit, as part of World Environment Week, that starts in Cape Town today at the CTICC. All are invited to attend. [sustainablehome4all]. You can register for the summit online.
Nuclear reactor coming to a beach near you. Eskom plans to build at least 10 more nuclear power stations within the next 20 years, and where? Near the sea, in places like Milnerton, Oysterbay, Jeffreys Bay, Gansbaai and Pearly Beach. [see notice of EIA here]. According to environment.co.za Eskom also intends to change the laws of the country so it can put nuclear reactors on any site it chooses – regardless and despite public protest. [environment.co.za press release]
Local animation‘Rubbish Monster’ wins 3 top awards. Braam Jordaan has won Best Animation at the Multichoice Vuka! Awards, best film of one minute or under at the Kalamazoo Animation Festival International, and the Jury Prize at the 11th annual Seoul International Cartoon and Animation festival in Korea for his animated film, The Rubbish Monster, inspired by a litter junkie who gave him the ‘finger', and created for the Endangered Wildlife Trust eco warrior programme. [IOL] download the animation here (5.5MB) Have a look, it's awesome!
Submitted by turbosprout on Fri, 2007-06-01 20:21
The WWF reckons a 20% improvement in energy efficiency is possible by 2020. A report released last week states that the improvement is achievable across the housing, transport and energy sectors in all G8 and G5 countries. SA's "emerging country / G5" status means that, along with Mexico, China, Brazil and India, it's energy policies are increasingly coming under the spotlight. The report highlights that whilst there are a few energy efficiency policies in place in South Africa, there are still many that need to be implemented. Perhaps this explains why...
... a green tax on 4x4's (SUVs) and sports cars has been proposed by the director of energy efficiency in the Dept of Minerals and Energy. Her calculations indicate an "energy efficiency levy" on a 4.8i SUV costing R759 000 would come to R182 160! [IOL] Time to rethink whether such monstrous vehicles are necessary for taking the kids to school in? The DA says the proposal...
Submitted by turbosprout on Tue, 2007-05-08 12:44
There's a lot of news out there today, some of which will be stale by tomorrow, so we've got a bumper edition of greening it up...
Demonstration against Alcan tomorrow, Wed 9 May. Social and environmental justice activists will demonstrate in Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg and Richards Bay against Alcan and its secret deal with Eskom tomorrow. Civil society requests for information under PAIA (Promotion of Access to Information Act) have been refused by government and the Coega Development Corporation, and Alcan is exploiting loopholes in SA law to wrangle out of supplying information on its deal with Eskom. Whilst Eskom is failing to deliver electricity reliably to South Africans around the country they will be supplying 1300MW to the Coega aluminum smelter (enough to power a city) at preferential rates whilst the SA tax payer foots the bill for the next 25 years! Read the full press release on Contrary to Authority or The Antidote. More on IOL and Engineering News.
The third part of the UN's International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 4th report on climate change was released last week. 400 climate change scientists from 120 countries gathered in Bankok and agreed that greenhouse gas emissions could be curbed at reasonable cost.
"Human society as a whole has to look for changes in consumption patterns," said IPCC chair Rajendra Pachauri.
"It's not a matter of sacrifice. It's a matter of change. We can do development in a much more sustainable way than we have done in the past," said Ogunlade Davidson, a co-chair of the IPCC working group. "You can achieve a low greenhouse gas emission lifestyle and still get the same economic benefits."
St Georges Cathedral in Cape Town gets dumped on. Bishop Geoff Davies, founder of the Southern African Faith Communities Environmental Institute (SAFCEI), interrupted his Sunday sermon to tip a rubbish bag full of bottles, plastic and other junk on the church's floor.
He told the congregation: "Before you rush off to report me to the Dean or write to the Archbishop ... I want you to consider that God's creation is far more wonderful than anything we can build. Yet every day we dump our rubbish and pollute God's world with scant regard to the future."
"I have long considered littering a contemporary form of blasphemy. As we throw our KFC packaging or our Coke bottle out of our car window, we are saying: 'So much for your world, God'. Let's be clear: Littering is a sin." More on IOL
Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2007-05-08 11:22
WC response to climate change – a website. Did you know that the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning has a website containing a host of info about the province’s Climate Change Response Strategy and Action Plan? It’s a little dry, but very informative. [wc-climatechange-response]
Shortage of land for burial – a grave issue. The burial rate in eThekwini is as high as 700 a week, as more SAfricans die of HIV and Aids. The city is looking at the possibility of burying people for a period of 10 years, and then exhuming the bodies and having them cremated, to create space – at least 16 of the 22 cemeteries are already full. [IOL]
Plastic waste: more dangerous than global warming. Plastic is a bigger danger than global warming, or at least it is in the immediate sense, considering it is snuffing out the lowest common denominator in the food chain, says Neil Seldman, a waste recycling expert and president of the Institute for Local Self Reliance, an organisation with a long track record of promoting sustainable communities. [greenbiz]
Australia faces climate change disaster. A record drought–now in its sixth year–is forcing Australia to consider drastic action to preserve its dwindling water supplies. Two rivers that feed the Murray-Darling basin in south-eastern Australia are so low that they barely have enough water for drinking supplies.[greenfuture]
10 reasons why the greening of business will be an enduring issue. For those of us who have been toiling in these fields for a long time, the greening of business is viewed as an "overnight success story" that was twenty years in the making. [joelmakower]
Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2007-05-03 20:06
Wave energy project for the west coast. Finavera Renewables, through its wave energy division, plans to build a phased 20MW wave energy power plant off the west coast of South Africa for a total investment of more than US$40 million (R283 million) over five years. The project will generate more than 30 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per month, saving US$2 million per year in fuel and avoiding approximately 20,000 tons of CO2 emissions.[sagoodnews]
The Sun goes green. The UK tabloid, better known for its page 3 girls, homophobic views and inciting hatred, has jumped on the green bandwagon. We're not sure whether to laugh or to cry. Spreading awareness of climate change and green issues is a good thing. Suggesting you’re "saving the earth" because some of your readers will change their light bulbs is a sham.
Will honey prices rise in SA? It seems that the price of honey in this country may rise as an indirect result of the death of millions of honey bees in the USA over the past 6 months. [IOL] The exact cause of the deaths remains a mystery – scientists have disputed the cell phone link [evening sun] and claims of a fungus that could be playing a part seem pretty tentative. [latimes] We've already covered a lot of bee news. [urban sprout]
5 reasons to buy organic – if you need them. Aside from the obvious – organic foods are free of toxic chemicals, pesticides, insecticides and other additives – there are a couple of goodies here – you’re encouraging manufacturers to re-think their strategies for producing products, and you’re protecting the environment. [hippyshopper]
Submitted by turbosprout on Mon, 2007-04-23 13:44
Will the order for Biowatch to pay Monsanto's costs be overturned in the Pretoria High Court today? Environmental groups across the country will be giving the case their attention as it will affect whether they will be able to take on big corporates in future without fear of bankrupting themselves with legal fees. Read more about Biowatch's case here.
Genetically Modified Lucerne a threat to the Organic Dairy Industry. Is it co-incidental that Monsanto, producers of Posilac (the trademark for rBST - the growth hormone fed to dairy herds to increase milk production) is now producing genetically modified (GM) lucerne (alfalfa) seed? In the US organic dairy farmers are joining the Center for Food Safety in a fight against the sale of Monsanto's GM alfalfa seed. Organic alfalfa is a staple feed for organic dairy herds and should it become contaminated by GM alfalfa this would threaten the integrity of certified organic milk. organic consumers association
Woolworths announces "Good business journey". Some good news for the SA organics industry: Woolworths is committed to increasing it's sales of organic food four-fold to over R1-billion per annum and also increase sales of it's organic-content clothing range to over R1-billion pa. These are just two items that are part of a broader 5 year plan (journey) which include acclerating transformation, driving social development, enhancing environmental focus and addressing climate change. Quite a tall order, but a bold move by Woolworths and one which, hopefully, other SA companies will emulate. woolworths holdings
Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2007-04-19 10:19
No clear solution to massive disposable nappy problem. Studies show that an infant goes through between 7 000 and 8 000 nappy changes before starting potty training. World Watch estimates 450 billion disposable nappies are used each year and contribute nearly 77 million tons of waste to landfills. A disposable nappy takes around 500 years to degrade.[sustainableisgood] There are alternatives to disposables. [revenge of the cloth nappy]
Yahoo! to go carbon neutral by the end of 2007. In a bid to fight global warming, the internet giant will reduce its energy use and invest in emissions-fighting projects, so that by the end of the year it can call itself completely carbon neutral. Yahoo! has already begun looking at projects in which to invest in the wake of measuring its carbon footprint. [yahoo] The big search engines are now warring on the green front, as Google already boasts a massive rooftop solar installation [urban sprout] and free bicycles for employees. [urban sprout] For more on Yahoo’s green policy [joel makower blog]
Cloned meat and milk about to become a reality? It’s possible that a bill pending in the California Legislature will undermine the FDA’s recently announced draft ruling that meat and milk from cloned animals is safe for human consumption. [urban sprout] If passed, any cloned food would have to be very clearly labelled. Organic farmers and supporters were clearly visible at a news conference last week carrying placards that read ‘Not Milk – Cloned food is coming but you can stop it.’ Let’s hope they can! [IOL]
Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2007-04-12 11:55
SAfricans register the world’s highest score for concern about global warming. A global opinion survey on the effects of climate change established that 82% of SA respondents say that are ‘very concerned’ or ‘somewhat concerned’ about global warming. [M&G] More than two-thirds of the world’s people are worried by global warming, although Americans are among the least anxious even though their nation is the top source of greenhouse gases. [reuters]
CT’s business must reduce power use by 2010. The City of Cape Town’s energy and climate change strategy is undergoing changes to its energy and climate change strategy, which will see businesses and industry having to cut electricity consumption by 10% by 2010 and municipal buildings and operations by 12% by 2015. CT is the first SA city to develop an energy and climate change strategy. [IOL]
No more space for waste in CT. Do you recycle your paper, cardboard, tins and glass? Do you have a compost heap or worm bin? CT is facing a major crisis in managing the growing mountain of waste the city generates. At the current rate, all rubbish dumps will be full within the next 3 to 5 years. [IOL] Find out more about how you can recycle and where [urban sprout]
It’s in the air that we breathe. Six air quality monitoring stations have been launched in the Vaal triangle in a bid to monitor harmful substances in the air. Industries have been urged to co-operate, by providing information about their emissions and the government intends to clamp down and put an air quality management plan into place. [IOL]
CT looking at green building guidelines. The City of Cape Town has had a workshop with local building experts to begin work on green building guidelines – great news for those wanting to build with straw bale, cob, adobe, earth bags etc. The group is also looking at grey-water, pv panels, wind power and passive solar elements. Permacore, who has been asked to help with greening urban landscapes, is looking for examples of new or retro-fitted green building examples. Contact us if you know of any.
Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2007-04-10 10:48
Transport: leaving a smaller footprint. Possibly the one area in which South Africans are most guilty of contributing to global warming is our single-occupancy driving to and from work. Whilst we can throw our hands up in the air and blame the government for a bad public transport system, there are other options. The Rea Vaya rapid bus system, or BRT as it will be known, which has already begun implementation at a fraction of the cost of the Gautrain, [M&G] will run routes from Lenasia to Sunninghill; Alexandra to Regina Mundi; Dobsonville to Troyeville; Nasrec to Ellis Park; Randburg to the CBD and an inner city circle route.
Durbanites have the Mynah bus, and Capetonians have the train - during peak hour safety guards have been stepped up, so it’s a lot safer. And if you can’t do either trains or buses then there is always the car pool option. Carpoolworld.com is one of a number of car pool websites on the Net that allows you to link up with other travellers living close to you who also work close to you. See the page for SA. [carpoolworld.com]
Which veggies and fruits are most exposed to potentially harmful chemicals?. We know that continuous small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can adversely affect people, but did you know that there is a US ranking of fruits and veggies, based on work by a not-for-profit organisation of the results of some 43 000 tests, that show those most exposed to those least exposed to pesticide load. [foodnews] Nectarines had the highest percentage of samples test positive for pesticides, followed by peaches and apples; sweet bell peppers (similar to green peppers) had the most pesticides detected on a single sample, whilst celery had the highest likelihood of multiple pesticides on a single vegetable. Avocados and onions were among those least affected. It makes deciding which foods to buy organic that much easier. [read about those most contaminated]
Monsanto asks FDA to ‘punish’ dairies labelling their milk ‘rBST-free’. Could Monsanto be threatened by the increasing consumer demand for rBST-free milk? The company has a long history of trying to intimidate independent minded dairies and bottlers who do not want to use their growth hormones. [organic consumers] Why is rBST-free milk better for you? [urban sprout]