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ustainability Week was a huge success this year. Our whole team was present at the conference and expo held at the CSIR International Convention Centre that was hosted by the dynamic metro that is the City of Tshwane. What an event. There were hundreds of people thronging their way through the doors each day to come and listen to professional specialists in agriculture, water, energy, waste management, food security, green building and responsible travel converge to discuss how to approach the complex environmental, social and economic problems that need urgent solutions. Later this year the United Nations Foundation is going to launch their Sustainable Development Goals and these act as the next big call to action for the world (since the millennial development goals were announced) to re-set the trajectory towards improving the lives of the poverty stricken, improve social conditions for women and children, restore the natural resources we have left and enable technology to play a bigger role in social development. In total there are

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Cover: Perfect Places




17SDG’s (sustainable development goals) and they are going to define the way forward for all of civil society. The goals are big, bold and audacious and dare I say it – way overdue. Sustainability Week is an event that has been provoking conversations about South Africa’s own sustainable development and offers a platform to share ideas, network and create connections amongst people who are solving toward a common goal. I got to meet some amazing people who are passionate about how they can help develop solutions including youth leaders who are the influencers of the future. I learned a huge amount and was humbled by what I still don’t know. “May you live in interesting times” was once a curse but in these interesting times, despite the huge challenges we face, we also are given huge opportunities to re-write the future and leap frog’s just going to require 100% from all of us.


Melissa Baird Nicole Kenny Annie Pieters Elna Willemse, Stacey Sands, Zaida Yon Esther Kabaso Eunice Visagie Linda Tom Nabilah Hassen-Bardien Gordon Brown, Lloyd Macfarlane, Andrew Fehrsen Chevonne Ismail Cape Media House, 28 Main Rd, Rondebosch. TEL: 021 447 4733 FAX: 086 694 7443 2006/206388/23 4130252432 First Published July 2011 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any way or in any form without the prior written consent of the publisher. The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the publisher or the editor. All editorial contributions are accepted on the understanding that the contributor either owns or has obtained all necessary copyrights and permissions. Publishers do not endorse claims by advertisers. Space limitations and source format have affected the size of certain published images and/or diagrams in this publication. For larger PDF versions of these images please contact the Publisher. Edward MacDonald, FA Print




You Can’t Outrun A Drought. Be water wise. Every drop counts.

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On Tap

Eastern Cape: East London & Mthatha, Jeffrey's Bay, Port Elizabeth, Queenstown. Western Cape: Cape Town, Malmesbury, Paarden Eiland, Paarl, Tableview, Vredenburg, George, Mossel Bay, Stilbaai. Limpopo: Tzaneen. Gauteng: Greenstone, Woodmead, Fourways Kwa-Zulu Natal: Ballito, Durban, Durban North, Hillcrest, Pietermaritzburg, Pinetown, Queensburgh.


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LANDSCAPES gardening for the birds and the bees DIY straw bale houses; inexpensive, warm and secure LIVING Perfect places; modular low cost solutions for building KNOW IT biodibersity and hemp PRODUCTS designer items for the home and gift list GAME CHANGERS a wonder bag saving energy and women’s health and national recycle week


BOOKS ETC spoken word, getting off sugar and a question you are invited to answer

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TRAVEL Namibia and a Himba farewell FUTURE LEADERS careers in design and SA’s top stars ADVENTURE SPORTS trail running in the Richtersveld RENEWABLE ENERGY exploring solar and celebrating wind

Beaucience Botanicals skin care focuses on minimising and delaying the effects of ageing. The range has been designed for eco-conscious women using highly effective naturally derived peptide technology, combined with the best nature has to offer in the form of organic extracts, essential oils and vegetable oils. Beaucience provides the skin with pure nutrients. Beaucience Botanicals guarantees results while also being kind to the environment. Our user friendly skin care range offers nature’s fuss-free solution to healthy, radiant and beautiful skin whilst also minimising and delaying the effects of ageing. Visit our Green Home Magazine stand at the Cape Town Homemaker’s Expo, subscribe to our magazine and you could stand the change to WIN amazing products from the Beaucience Botanical Range including: exfoliating cream; moisturizing shower gel; anti-bacterial handwash; moisturizing body milk and body butter. Enter via the website: Entries close on 29 September 2015 and the winner is selected via a lucky draw.



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When planning your pollinator friendly garden follow these

10 basic steps Plant a diversity of plants suited for a range of different pollinators. Make sure to plant several of one type of plant in an area to maximise on the number of similar flowers in that space. –– If planting with limited space, plant blue, yellow or purple flowers to attract bees. –– Plant to provide a continuously flowering garden- Plan to have one group of flowers blooming as another group dies off. Plant both perennial and annual flowers to ensure short term and longer term blooms. –– Plant garden herbs, such as basil, rosemary and lavender, which provide good nectar sources for pollinators, but also provide yourself with herbs to use. –– Plant indigenous plants to attract local birds, bees and butterflies. Useful indigenous plants include trees such as Sweet Thorn, Wit Karee, River Bush Willows, Weeping Wattle and Tree Fuchsia. Colourful indigenous plants include agapanthus, aloes, asparagus fern, Cape violets, clivia, euryops daisy, butterfly bush, Cape honeysuckle and vygies. –– Plant species that have different heights and growth characteristics to increase your gardens diversity. –– Provide bird baths for birds, and shallow dishes of water for bees and beetles. –– Include plants that attract beneficial insects that prey on pests. –– Plant night blooming flowers like Jasmine to attract nocturnal pollinators like moths and beetles . –– Plant flowering plants in your vegetable garden to attract pollinators and improve your fruit set later in the spring season.


s the weather in South Africa warms and winter passes into spring, spare a moment for the unsung heros of your garden that make sure your beautiful decorative and edible plants are pollinated and reproducing. Birds, butterflies and bees and other pollinators are vital components to any healthy ecosystem and your garden is no exception. Pollinators aren’t just important for your garden’s health- they also play a vital role in our international food system, and studies have shown that these often overlooked animals are responsible for one out of every three bites you eat. However, pollinators are under international threat from a variety of angles including suffering from pests and diseases, pollution, loss of habitat and a scarcity of forage resources. Honeybees are responsible for the pollination of deciduous fruit, vegetables and oilseed crops and often rely on naturally occurring vegetation or landscaped areas to access pollen during times of drought and season change. They require a diverse diet to stay healthy and are increasingly put under pressure by urban spread, loss of natural vegetation and large-scale monoculture agriculture. Different bee species prefer different plant species. Some bees prefer simple flowers with easily accessible pollen, while others, like bumble bees, tend to prefer larger and more complicated flowers. Hummingbirds and sugarbirds rely on nectar

from flowers for their survival and often have very short ranges, requiring regular access to appropriate flowering plants that can give them enough energy to move onto the next plant. Flowers appropriate for hummingbirds and sugarbirds have evolved long tubular shapes, perfectly suited for pollination by bird’s elongated beak. Butterflies prefer composite flowers with small tubular flowers surrounded by petals, like a daisy or other similar flowering plant. The petals allow for a safe place for the butterflies to land on while they feed and the small tubular flowers enable the butterfly to reach the pollen with it’s long proboscis.

Plant a pollinator friendly garden this spring Planting a pollinator friendly garden is a great way to support local wildlife while adding beauty and diversity to your garden at the same time. Spring is a great time to get started with your pollinator garden, and you can have a beautiful and supportive ‘island’ of pollinator plants, regardless of the space available to you. Even balcony gardens can offer a small but important space for pollinators to feed and rest before continuing with their journey through the urban landscape. As spring arrives in your garden this year, put a bit of time into providing habitat and food for your local pollinators and you’ll reap the rewards of their presence in your garden.




For inspired ideas and for natural building architects you can contact Andy Horn at

To make faster and more durable walls, the architects have developed a system of pre-coating the bales in a clay slip.




Natural earth and lime plasters and paints have been used so as to help protect the walls by allowing them to breathe.

lternative’ building techniques were once viewed as suspiciously as ‘alternative’ healing methodologies. We now know there are many ways to heal and that as populations become more urbanised we need solutions that enable people to build low cost, durable homes that don’t require expensive (in resources and cash) building materials. Natural building techniques are being used to great effect around the country and are proving themselves to be more than just a trendy way of building. Straw bales are used to make walls that are easily and speedily constructed, structurally sound, durable, fireproof, provide superb insulation, make use of an under-utilised renewable resource (straw) and are inexpensive to build with. The ease with which a straw bale house or structure can be built is a huge plus factor and has the potential to help alleviate some of the housing and ecological crises facing many countries. Already tens of thousands of straw bale structures have been built around the globe, in countries like the United States, Canada, Australia, Russia, France, Germany, Austria, England, Denmark, Netherlands, Mexico, China, Pakistan,




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DIY Hungary, Sweden, Norway, including eight storey apartment buildings in France and approximately 100 different straw bale projects in South Africa. What is slowing down large scale uptake however are the banks’ financing options that do not favour building methods of this kind. But this will change soon because the myriad benefits straw bale homes and buildings can provide are too many to be ignored.

Annually Renewable Resource Like wood, straw is produced by photosynthesis, a natural process, fuelled by solar energy. Unlike wood, straw is annually renewable.

Reduced Environmental Impact Straw is essentially a waste product. Being a non-nutritious, byproduct of cereal grain farming, straw is often left rotting in fields and in many parts of the world or simply burnt - including South Africa – causing excessive pollution.

Volunteers, lent their hands along with the owner and her friends over a weekend straw bale building workshop.

Thermal Insulation and Energy Efficiency Plastered straw bale construction creates long lasting, superinsulated buildings which save costs on energy bills in summer to keep cool and in winter to keep warm. This factor could be of particular significance in low-income scenarios where much income is spent to keep the cold winter nights at bay, often resulting in appalling pollution and ill health. People who live and work from straw bale structures experience an improved sense of well being and increased productivity.

Sound Absorption As with their thermal insulation, straw bale walls offer superb acoustic qualities. Being virtually sound proof straw bale walls are ideal for noisy high-density environments.

A wall of old frames has been created by the owner Carol Morris – as a beautiful ending to her stoep. Simplicity of Construction The simplicity of construction and owner-builder friendliness is such that anybody, including woman and children can be involved in the construction process. Bale buildings lend themselves to self-help, community-driven construction where jobs are created locally and building processes are wholly inclusive of the building’s owners. As well as requiring only simple and inexpensive tools, construction techniques are uncomplicated and easily learnt. The walls of a 150 sq. m-sized house can typically be built in a few days.

Affordability and Local Economic Empowerment

At a weekend straw bale building workshop Architect – Andy Horn – leads the way, pre-coating a straw bale in a protective coat of earthy clay.

The financial benefits of building with bales are both immediate as well as long term. Bales themselves are extremely cheap and the ease and speed of construction makes for relatively low building costs. The construction process is ideal for community building. With the higher proportion of costs being in human labour, less money is spent on transportation and factory made goods leaving more money to circulate locally. Furthermore significant savings are possible especially where the owner becomes an active participant in the process. South African municipalities are typically content with an engineer’s appointment certificate and structures are approved under the approval route of a “rational design and rational assessment”. According to Andy Horn of Eco Architects building plan approvals for straw bale construction have already been granted from nearly 30 different municipalities across the country.





Timber Modular Solutions

BY Melissa Baird

Perfect Places has been named the third greenest building company in Africa, and is revolutionising the local industry with a range of modular construction solutions ranging from pods and modular houses to custom designed.


reen buildings are not only setting trends in the corporate sector, they are also starting to dominate the private property market and as a result home owners who invest in green homes are saving money on energy, creating homes with more personality and having lighter footprints on the resources that are a major factor in building like water and energy. Plus looking ahead you will see large returns on investment for the greener homes of the future. In South Africa not much attention has been paid to building homes out of wood but in Europe this is a super trend and one that is amazingly energy efficient too. Timber houses are beautiful and environmentally sound and offer insulation that is six times more effective than insulation offered by bricks and cement. The reason being that timber walls actually ‘breathe’ and this action dries and ventilates the outside air. This increased insulation and ventilation translates to a massive saving on heating and electricity bills for new home owners.




Condensation and rainwater capturing: This house uses corrugated iron to capture condensation and rainwater. ‘During summer nights, condensation forms on the inside of the iron sheeting, which ends up on the angled foil layer of the insulation and is then collected in a water tank. In Europe, watersaving legislation is becoming even stricter than energy-saving laws and I’m sure in future clean water will be our biggest concern. Depending on the size of your roof, you can collect 20 to 50 litres of condensation water per night with this simple and economical system,’ says Erwin. Windows and doors: Instead of double glazing 6.5mm safety glass was used. Safety glass has a foil that separates its two layers of glass and provides better insulation than standard glass. Orientation & overhang: ‘In winter you want the sun to stream in and warm the house. In summer you want to keep the sun out and the house cool. This overhanging insulated roof does both,’ says Erwin. ‘The temperature in the house is regulated by opening windows or doors on either side. This is where the design of the roof, in relation to where the sun rises and sets, is very important. Even the overhang is insulated to provide protection in summer.’ Walls and roof panels Perfect Places offers timber homes that are delivered as ‘pods’. These pods are delivered with the water and electrical fittings and can be installed on site. The amazing thing about the walls however is that they are multi – layered and can be chosen by the home owner. The inner layer consists of magnesium oxide (MGO) board that eventhough is imported still has a lower carbon footprint than bricks. The second layer is where you will find 100mm of insulation (made of 135mm recycled plastic) and a breathing foil that allows moisture out – but not to come in. This means the walls literally breathe. In this house constructed in Greyton in the Overberg in the Western Cape the ceiling was placed just off centre to enable constant circulation of air and this means no hot air gets trapped. No steel is used in the panels as steel loses its strength quicker than treated wooden beams in a fire. As a result this improves the overall fire rating of the building.




30%-40% of a home’s insulation occurs in the walls and roofs.

When you build with wood the entire production process actually reduces environmental impact because wood is one of the most sustainable and renewable materials. Wood also allows for factory fabrication and this reduces transport and labour costs in addition to man-hours on site. As the architects at Perfect Places can testify the “entire process is a pleasure and the customer’s cost saving can be as much as 20%”. If that doesn’t get you excited then consider the time it takes to build a modular timber house; almost half the time it takes to build a ’normal’ house. A 100m2, two bedroom home can cost as little as R585 000 and be built in the factory in three weeks. To build this home it will take approximately another three weeks so all in all from assembly line to construction time a new house can be ready within two to three months of council approval. A false assumption is that because it is wood it won’t be able to handle South Africa’s extreme weather temperatures. However it has been proven that well engineered and properly treated wooden houses often withstand

tornados better than their bricks and mortar cousins.

double-pitched or flat so you can also extend on to your existing home without any fuss.

Three pod options to choose from

Perfect Places top five green building tips

Builders can order the modular homes as DIY kits that can be constructed on site. There are three pod options to choose from: –– Studio Pod (18m2 or 28m2) – an entry-level unit with no internal walls –– Living Pod (18m2 or 28m2) – similar to the Studio Pod but with internal walls and doors to accommodate a bathroom and bedroom –– Office Pod (18m2 or 28m2) – open-plan space with a bathroom and kitchen Each pod consists of eight wall panels, floor modules and roof modules. Building using this modular pod concept is quick and simple – a great solution for a small home, office or school. A standard pod has eight wall panels as well as floor and roof modules. What is super cool about the pod concept is that they can be linked together to make spaces bigger. The choice is entirely yours. Prices range from R98 000 to R127 000 per pod. The roofs are either single,

–– –– –– –– ––

Condensation capturing Grey water harvesting Solar geyser or heat exchanger PV panels or wind generator Double glazing

The best news Using this building option you won’t face any unnecessary hassles with municipal approval or getting a home loan because timber houses are permanent structures and therefore have a life span worth investing in.

Is wood a good choice? ‘Wood is without question one of our most sustainable materials, and the most renewable,’ says Erwin. ‘It’s had centuries to prove itself as a comfortable, practical and naturally insulating building material. With proper forest and wood material management, wood can be a constant and readily available product.



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A hectare of Hemp, which reaches maturity in 90 days, captures approximately ten times as much CO2 as a hectare of Pine trees which take 20 years to reach maturity. One acre of hemp produces 400 percent more fibre than Genetically Modified Cotton, saves 200 mega litres of water and is able to provide essential amino acids and protein for nutrition. No pesticides or herbicides or fertiliser is required.



BYMelissa Baird


Does this simple plant that has over 50 000 uses have the solutions to resource depletion, low cost housing, fuel, food security and nutrition?

event the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) will be launched by the United Nation’s Foundation to bring the world to a focal point and ask all citizens, corporations and governments to make a stand once and for all to eradicate the global social, environmental and economic problems. The SDG’s have been developed after world-wide surveys asked ordinary people what they believed to be the most critical issues facing humanity. The goals are geared towards interventions that will eradicate poverty, improve education, access to water and food, health and well being; preservation of biodiversity and the creation of safer living environments that are inclusive and energy secure. In South Africa lack of access to water has led to massive unrest and in poverty stricken areas crime, malnutrition and gender inequality prevent social upliftment and effective education. The global conversation that the SDG’s will initiate will be an interesting one because there are solutions to many of the problems; they are however being


t was just 80 years ago that hemp was hijacked out of its role as an abundant, multi faceted resource and in its place the world turned to timber, fossil fuels and chemical products to serve the building, agricultural and mobility needs of mankind. Synthetic housing, food, medication, plastics and clothing became the norm and anything ‘alternative’ was viewed with scepticism as if natural solutions were somehow inferior to the manufactured chemicals. Today this once demonised plant is making a resurgence and for good reason. Over-consumption, resource depletion, food security; the adverse nutritional impacts of poverty and the depletion and pollution of fresh water sources are critical issues facing the world today. At the end of this year world leaders will meet for the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) in Paris to negotiate a new climate change deal and discuss how to set in place plans for a global agreement that will enable the world to rebalance itself and adapt to climate change. As part of this monumental

hampered by outdated legislation, slow political movement to address change and big agricultural, pharmaceutical and fossil fuel interests are still calling the shots. It is time to acknowledge the ‘alternatives’ that can provide solutions and hemp is one of them. This plant offers humans a plethora of resources that are sustainable and renewable and its extraordinary benefits could provide a very interesting, profitable opportunity for South African agriculture, social development, food security, nutrition, health care and job creation. Hemp has been in agricultural history for over 5900 years. The once entirely sustainable, pesticide free and low water use plant was outlawed in the 1930’s after a nefarious PR campaign hijacked the discourse and turned the non psychoactive hemp plant into a drug that was likely to cause the dissolution of society. In fact Hemp does contain cannabinoids like Cannabidiol, but only negligible amounts of THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid. Simple put: you can’t get high on hemp. But it wasn’t

Update on SA’s hemp crop trial: Thandeka Kunene from the House of Hemp co-ordinated the trial hemp crop permitted by the Department of Health. The recent two hectare harvest was an essential part of the three year commercial incubation research trial and the final report has been submitted for legislative review. Tony Budden had this to say: “We do feel the research phase has lasted way too long, and are eager to see hemp become a commercial reality as the regulations for the trial were severely limiting and it was very difficult to prove commercial viability under these conditions with no economies of scale.We are also watching next year’s constitutional challenge on the Cannabis laws very closely as this could change everything around access to hemp and herald in more rational laws around its use.”






about drugs; it was about protecting the interests of the investors in oil, timber (paper), petrochemicals and plastics. These were the new industries and the misappropriation of public interest and health and wellbeing of the environment began. Hemp has a myriad benefits for the needs of a growing population. The fibre makes excellent building materials; the seeds provide nutrition and oils that are some of the most nutritious forms of plant protein on the planet. It grows fast (crop within four months) and can be easily harvested and processed into the various forms human beings need the most. It provides building materials that create safe, warm homes with walls that ‘breathe’ and are entirely fire proof. Hemp can also be used to make fuel, fabrics, clothing, furniture, medicine, paper and bio-plastics. It is a more effective carbon soak than pine trees (used to make paper) and is pest, drought and weed resistant. You don’t need oceans of pesticides and chemicals or modified seeds. The plant takes care of itself and produces high yields that beneficiate the land. Crops like corn, wheat, rice, cotton and soy use more water and require more chemical interventions which damages the soil, biodiversity of the land and impacts the nutritional value of the food. The surge in food and chemical allergies are being blamed on the use of these chemicals

and the synthetic manipulation of the food chain. More and more research is proving the links between lack of nutritious food and the ability to learn which has long term implications for childhood development. China is the world’s biggest cultivator of hemp with no less than thirty other countries that produce the crop as well. In Canada and Australia there is a thriving hemp industry supporting hundreds of farmers and product developers. Growing hemp is good for the soil, air and water and its by products provides abundant, sustainable solutions for building, health care and employment. In South Africa, Tony Budden is the hemp hero who is working with government on research to show how effective this resource can be on a social, economic and environmental scale. Growing hemp in South Africa is still illegal but a ground breaking constitutional case against the outmoded legislation will be tabled in March 2016 that could be the final lobby to encourage policy makers to enable hemp to be grown on as wide a scale as possible. Although the plant can’t be grown here there are many products available to consumers who seek essentials for their home and body care and want to be healthy and chemical free. You will be using a product that is good for the earth and for you and supporting a new wave of farmers who have seen the future and it is green.

Tony Budden discussing the many benefits of hemp at the African Climate Reality Project. A petition is being activated worldwide to ask 100 million people to voice their concerns about Climate Change in the run up to COP 21 in Paris later in the year. 18


Some interesting facts about hemp –– Hemp features in 4000 year old hieroglyphics –– In ancient China it was used for fibre, medicine and paper –– The Guttenberg bible ( the first printed bible) was printed on hemp paper which is why pristine copies still exist today –– The first three American presidents were hemp farmers and the American declaration of Independence was hand written on hemp paper –– Henry Ford built a hemp car that was 20 percent lighter than its steel counterpart and ran on hemp fuel –– Hemp powder is pure protein power and is used in ice-cream, snack bars and super foods. –– 1533 King Henry 8th issued a royal proclamation which imposed a fine on any farmer that did not use some of his land for growing Hemp to supply the King’s Navy.

Benefits of building with Hemp –– Hempcrete is non – toxic and filters toxins from the air because the walls literally ‘breathe’ –– Hempcrete is made with the wood-like part of the plant that’s combined with lime and water. The hempcrete brick is an excellent insulator, is flexible and because it adapts to temperature creates homes of superior comfort and quality no matter the size. –– Completely recyclable, sustainable resource –– Fast growing Hemp absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere enabling it to be a carbon neutral building method –– Hemp oil based wood treatments outperform chemical products –– Hempcrete can be built around wooden frames. –– Fireproof – consider the implications for saving on monthly household insurance and as a material that could transform informal settlements housing Products available in South Africa

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io what? You may hear words that are used to describe things that you sort of ‘get’ but if asked may perhaps not be able to truly reflect back what it means to you. ‘Biodiversity’ is one such word you are going to see more and more of but what does it really mean? “The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the ecology. Not the other way around”. So said Gaylord Nelson – the founder of Earth Day - in 1970. Since then there have been international conferences on climate change and business and world leaders – including the Pope himself - are stating that the natural world is struggling as a result of the extractive, agricultural and fossil fuel industries rampaging their way through the planet’s resources. Biodiversity is the term used to describe the entire collection of plant and animal species on the planet and to describe specific regional natural complexity. As individuals we are part of the human race which is in itself full of diversity and we all live within the earth’s biosphere; it is an enclosed system and all the water we have on the planet is all the water we have ever had on the planet. All the air is continually recycled through various earth ‘lungs’ including wetlands and forests. Trees are our filters and the life lived amongst them our legacy. All the living creatures we could ever imagine are part of this biosphere

and the eco systems that connect are the communities that the living world gives to us. This is ‘biodiversity’ on a grand scale. Perspectives are changing about how the natural world is being affected by humans and there is an increased awareness of the connections linking people to each other and to the natural world that supports them. Those lucky enough to live in a place of beauty – celebrate it. Those that are next to and caught up in environmental degradation feel it in all aspects of their lives, often at great harm. So if you still think that just because deforestation and species loss is happening somewhere else on the planet (it’s happening everywhere) and you won’t be affected you may find this opinion will be reformed as more and more information comes to light showing the contrary. The biodiversity loss we are seeing is massive and what is being lost represents a loss of something fundamental to our well-being as part of healthy, balanced eco-system. In South Africa certain wine and barley farmers have pledged to preserve biodiversity corridors on large scale farms which gives endemic wildlife a better chance of success; bringing the whole ecology closer to balance. You can be a biodiversity steward in your back yard (or balcony) by planting plants that feed pollinators like bees and birds. Rather than planting lawn, consider a wild flower

and succulent garden that is water wise and encourages plants of your region to thrive.

Some facts about Cape Town’s unique biodiversity: –– 70% of the Cape Floral Kingdom’s 9 600 plant species are found nowhere else on earth. –– Cape Town itself is home to about 3000 indigenous plant species, 190 are endemic (only found in that place), 318 are considered threatened and 13 are extinct or extinct in the wild. –– 83 mammal species remain in Cape Town, 24 Red Data listed and three recently extinct. –– 361 bird species live in Cape Town – ten are endangered, 22 are Red Data listed and at least three species have become extinct in recent years. –– There are numerous invertebrate species in Cape Town, approximately 111 of them are only found in the Cape Peninsula Mountain Chain. –– There are 27 amphibian species in Cape Town of which ten are listed as Red Data species. –– Many globally important horticultural plants originate in Cape Town and the Cape Floral Kingdom in general. These include geraniums, gladioli, freesias, ixias, pincushions and gazanias.

You can experience the beauty of our diverse environmental kingdom by visiting a national park: For a useful list of contacts: biodiversity-contacts




BIOFUELS – BASICS Why do we need biofuels? In 2010, a review by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agenc y independently validated the conclusions reached three years previously by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC, which represents scientists from collaborating nations around the world, had confirmed in its 2007 report the link between increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate change. It also showed the link between human activities and GHG emissions, which have grown since pre-industrial times, with an increase of 70% between 1970 and 2004. Since carbon dioxide and other GHGs trap heat close to the earth’s surface, preventing it from radiating back out into space, this steady increase in GHG has resulted in the rising temperature of the Earth – otherwise known as global warming. With this consensus achieved, combined with the fact that fossil fuels are a finite source for which demand is predicted to increase by more than 50% by 2025, action is urgently needed now. Globally, these efforts were formalised in the Kyoto Protocol - an international, legally binding commitment by countries to lower their GHG emission levels to an agreed level by 2012. Developed countries, the worst offenders, were to cut their GHG by 5% against the baseline of 1990. Since 2012, a second commitment period through to 2020 has been established through the Doha Amendment.



Developing countries, including South Africa, are not legally bound under the Protocol to curb emissions and rather have to report GHG emission levels. However, with SA being ranked in the top 20 GHG polluters globally, and considered to contribute approximately 1.8% of global emissions, as well as being responsible for 42% of Africa’s emissions, there is pressure to actively reduce emissions. These are the underlying reasons for the renewed focus on finding and developing alternative, renewable energy resources. As a result, governments around the world, including South Africa, are putting policy and research in place to increase the production and use of biofuels. It is not the first time that alternatives have been sought: the energy crisis in the 1970s (OPEC oil embargo) forced countries to look elsewhere and to develop alternative energy strategies, until the oil price dropped, resulting in global consumption tripling in the years that followed. Fossil fuels have provided an “easy” energy source and, as yet, no renewable alternative can be found that compares economically with maximum energy output and minimum detrimental effects.

What are biofuels? First Generation

dioxide, one of the main GHGs, by absorbing it when they grow and then releasing it back into the atmosphere when they are burned. Theoretically, biofuels should not add to GHG emissions. In practice, the energy balance, i.e., the amount of fossil fuels required to make the crop and convert it into a biofuel versus the energy it produces, varies from crop to crop. There are many different types of biofuels and the majority used around the world today can be classified as first generation biofuels. These include two main types: –– Plant sugars or starches of biofuel crops, such as sugar cane and maize, are fermented to produce ethanol. Ethanol can be blended with gasoline fuel in quantities of 5-10% for use in normal cars – higher percentages of ethanol need specially adapted cars. –– Biodiesel (or bio-esters) is produced by a chemical reaction between vegetable oil and alcohol, using the oily seeds of rapeseed or soybean. Biodiesel shares similar properties to diesel and so can be easily mixed. Vegetable oils may be burned directly in modified diesel engines, which cuts the cost of processing and eliminates the waste product glycerol from the process (usually produced at a ratio of 1:1 with biodiesel).

Biofuels are energy sources that are produced from biomass - the living matter of plants or organic waste. Biofuel crops recycle carbon

Essentially, any organic material can be used for biofuels. However, the current economics

ADVERTORIAL of first generation biofuels is location-specific, meaning that countries will use crops that they can grow domestically that are suited to the specific climate, and that are influenced by factors such as yield, agricultural practices, environmental considerations, as well as international trade agreements. This explains why countries are currently using food crops – they need to start somewhere, in order to reduce their dependency on imported petroleum products in an effort to reduce carbon emissions.

Second and Third Generations Second generation biofuels involve the conversion and fermentation of cellulose (a carbohydrate found in cell walls of plants) using enzymes. Non-edible plants and plant parts (e.g. grass, wood and agricultural residues) can be used, avoiding the use of food crops such as maize. However, best agricultural practices must be used to avoid reducing the level of organic matter in crop lands. These non-food crops could be tailored into ideal biofuel crops via genetic improvement, combining desirable characteristics, including resistance to pests and diseases, and, most importantly, doubled or greater biomass yields. Algae are a potentially important biofuel crop. Some strains carry up to 50% oil content; algae have relatively simple requirements for growth; they have a substantial ability to decontaminate the environment (both for GHG and other contaminants) and they can be harvested daily, since their biomass can double within hours. South Africa has many regions with high levels of sunshine, little cloud

Commercial cropping in Mpumalanga and land with little or no agricultural potential that would be ideal for algal farms. However, several challenges still have to be overcome to improve the cost-effectiveness of algal biofuels, such as higher productivity rates, efficient harvesting from large water volumes and managing contamination in large race ponds. Third generation biotechnology (which

may be defined as new and hybrid-processing methodologies that convert organic materials such as biomass directly into biofuels), is still in its infancy. Fortunately, new technologies can be developed to replace the use of food crops, such as the use of jatropha, a non-edible plant that thrives on marginal lands.




Every few decades, a scientific discovery is made that changes the way that we see ourselves and the world around us. The latest discoveries made by the Human Microbiome Project have remodelled Esse’s approach to skincare. As our new Probiotic Serum touches your face, 50 million live probiotics per drop are activated by the moisture on your skin, complementing your natural microbial diversity and creating the ideal microbiome to slow the ageing process. Some day, all skincare products will offer this kind of technology. Learn more at



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Nguni’s 4 U Handbags Nguni’s 4 U’s range of handmade leather products are crafted with love and a social conscious - accessories with a heart and soul. Choose from a range of handbags, laptop bags and belts made from 100% genuine leather. These beautiful designs are made by a community of people in the Ga-Rankuwa Township. Through this business previously unemployed creatives are empowered with the skills to provide for themselves and their families. Find them on Facebook

Flora Force Liver Flush™ for a Liver Spring Clean Did you know that your liver is your body’s main organ for detoxing? While it also has the amazing capacity to regenerate with the right assistance, constant unwise lifestyle choices place this vital organ under great stress. The unique combination of herbs in Flora Force Liver Flush™ can help restore the liver and support your body function by: Relieving sluggishness, bloating and constipation; Acting as an effective liver and digestive detoxifier, helping the body to get rid of accumulated byproducts like harmful chemicals, heavy metals and alcohol; Improving digestive, liver and kidney function; Helping to purify the blood and improve circulation, regaining vitality; Acting as an effective anti-fungal and anti-parasitic agent; Helping to remove damaging cholesterol; Relieving nausea. Each capsule contains: 78mg Cinnamomum zeylanicum, 78mg Centaurium erythraea, 78mg Rhamnus purshianus, 78mg Zingiber officinale , 78mg Cynara scolymus. Flora Force Liver Flush™ is available at Dis-chem, leading pharmacies and health shops.



LIVEWELL Lavelilanga Women’s Craft Ottomans and Chairs

AM FM Solar Powered Portable Radio, Torch & Lantern

These unique designs are lovingly hand crafted by the passionate ladies of Lavelilanga. Their products include paper vases, pots, lamp-shades and handbags, but we are specifically excited by their chairs and ottomans made from recycled materials. Using techniques that include decoupage, weaving, origami, twirling, rolling and paper mache, these crafts are not only beautiful and functional, but an opportunity for buyers to contribute towards an inspiring business mission of proudly South African empowerment. Lavelilanga means the rising of the sun and through these artistic creations we hope to see Lavelilanga’s unique products shine in homes across the world. Visit for more information.

Another option for those weekends away from civilization, this portable FM/AM radio, torch and lantern can be powered through solar power, hand crank, external adapter or dry battery. Features include a built-in 500ma rechargeable lithium battery, a 5 led flashlight in the front, a 5V USB output port and 5V micro USB port. It also has an emergency alarm function. Priced at R650 and available from

Supa Solar Lamp

Growing Paper One of the best smaller touches in life is a hand written note or a beautiful card. What can then be better than Growing Paper’s bespoke personal stationery which can be planted to grow into fresh herbs and flowers. Their range of seeded paper, which is also 100% post consumer waste paper, includes options such as business cards, calenders, notepaper and envelopes, notebooks, gift tags, cards and flyers. To add a quirky touch to your marketing campaign, why not have some coffee cup sleeves of wine bottle neck-tags printed? After you seal the deal, clients can plant the paper and continue to remember your service through watching their flowers or herbs grow. Growing Paper offers a choice of three seed mixtures. The herb mix consists of a mixture of Basil and Wild Rocket seeds, the flower mix consists of a mixture of Alyssum and Poppy seeds and the indigenous flower mix contains African Daisy and Buck bay Vygie seeds. Available from

This versatile Supa Solar Lamp is the perfect buddy for camping, outdoor events or load-shedding evenings. With a 1pcs, 3.7V 1500MAH Li-battery and a high efficiency photoelectric conversion solar panel, it is a five-in-one gadget with a lifetime of 5 years. The Supa Solar Lamp includes a super bright LED solar torch, a lamp, radio, alarm and USB charger. Made from durable ABS PS material, it needs 20 hours of charging time on a sunny day to provide 32 hours of lighting and 18 hours of radio time. Built-in over-charger and over-discharged protection makes sure that it will supply steadfast solar power without any hiccups. Priced at R580 and available from the

Bespoke Design Chandelier by David Muraki. This amazing artwork is just one of the creative designs on display at Bespoke Design in George. Bespoke Design partners with local Garden Route artist, David Muraki, to create these one of a kind chandeliers. Working with beads and recycled galvanized wire, every creation is unique and the team also does custom designs and special orders. A beautiful and proudly South African conversation starter for any home or office. Contact Eddie or Susan on 044 873 2454



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ost of us know the beautiful design and numerous everyday benefits of the Wonderbag, but few people really grasp how far the ripple effect from this non-electric, portable, slow cooker stretches. The story of Sarah Collins and her drive for sustainable impact is not only a proudly South African entrepreneurial success story, but one that truly shows the power of connecting hearts and homes around the world. Sarah’s original inspiration came from the memories of her grandmother’s economical cooking methods and her deep connection with African women. Years later, and on their way to 100 million Wonderbags sold worldwide, her entrepreneurial upbringing and strong focus on building relationships with local communities, has proven the perfect synergy for a brand that is recognised from the midlands of Natal to the hallways of the United Nations. In a middle-class existence it is easy to forget about the alarming fact that 3 billion women around the world still cook over an open fire each day and face the danger of death caused by smoke inhalation. Statistics show that over 4 million people die from this cause and 50% of these premature deaths are children under five. The simple act of preparing a meal in a developing country has huge challenges for many. Often low-income households use firewood for fuel to cook food

and this not only results in deforestation, but many hours often spent by women looking for wood. These are hours that take girls out of school and mothers away from caring for their children. How amazing that, as Sarah states, “the oldest technology in the world” can contribute towards a solution for this problem and bring an innovative answer to rural and urban communities alike. Whether reducing smoke from an open fire or carbon emissions from a suburban household, this ShweShwe bag proves that innovation is not always new. Building a sustainable social enterprise not only requires a value creating product, but also creative means to reach the target market. Through personal experience and relationships with rural communities, Wonderbag is maximising its’ impact by constantly finding new ways to get their product into the hands of the people who need it most. For this purpose the Wonderbag Foundation has built a model that focuses on empowering and educating communities through partnership organisations, activations and monitoring & follow-up programmes. This ensures wide distribution, deep impact and real transformation. The Wonderbag Journey forms a community of hope around the globe, starting with Wonderbag donations to The Wonderbag Foundation, linked to online purchases from all over the world. The Foundation ventures out on giving trips

and distributes the bags through partner community relationships in Africa. There, families are trained on how to use the bag and are empowered to understand the health and environmental benefits of using the bag. The Foundation also monitors health results through local clinics. One of the best parts of this positive impact cycle is that the time saved by women using Wonderbags are used to train these women to develop skills that will contribute to building a stronger social and economic climate in their community. For every one of these families in the developing world that uses a Wonderbag the positive impact can be quantified and measured. Every bag used saves 1.7 trees, slowing deforestation rates; saves 1000 liters of water per year; saves 1248 hours spent collecting firewood per year and reduces up to 1 ton of carbon emissions. To put the cherry on top, this organisation with an international footprint, still sources all their raw materials from South African companies and the product is thus truly 100% locally made. Wonderbag is an inspirational example of a holistic approach to addressing a social and environmental need and a testimony of change agents building a better South Africa through passion and innovation.

For more information visit: or






magine helping thousands of other volunteers working across the coastline of South Africa to join in one of the world’s biggest volunteer efforts for ocean health. In 2014, 22 500 volunteers from the Cape to KZN joined hands in this effort and this year the 30th International Coastal Clean-up Day, taking place on Saturday, 19 September, between 09:00 and 12:00, is expected to see even greater numbers. South Africa is recognised as one of the leading participants in this clean-up initiative and you have the opportunity to become a link in this chain of positive change. However, this day is only one part of this year’s National Clean-up and Recycling week. The initiative, taking place from the 14th to 19th September 2015, invites citizens from every corner of our beautiful country to clean-up and recycle in their environment, while motivating friends, neighbours and colleagues to do the same. Whether it is braving the chilly beach breeze, getting recycling bins for your street or office, educating yourself and others or having fun with some recycling DYI projects - get your hands dirty for this cause! According to Douw Steyn, Director: Sustainability at Plastics|SA and Chairman of the National Recycling Forum (NRF), all packaging streams, as well as oil and e-waste recyclers, will use this week to spread the message about the importance of looking after the environment and ensuring that everybody takes responsibility for recycling where they work and live. Plastics SA and partners will sponsor 250 000 bright yellow refuse bags which will be donated for clean-up projects around South Africa, so this is your opportunity to not only join with the international ocean loving community, but also help to work towards our local plastic industry’s aspirational vision of Zero Plastics to Landfill by 2030 For more information on the Coastal Clean-up visit For information on the National Recycling and Clean-up week initiatives, drop off sites, competitions and hints and tips, visit




Books etc. T his issue’s selection dishes up plenty of food for thought: explore an eclectic assortment of spoken word poetry that comes alive in print; be captivated by the extraordinary tale of the last of the first people, go on a rough ride to the future and be given the way to get off the sugar and carb roller coaster. Happy reading.

REVIEWS Melissa Baird

The Bushman Winter has come Paul John Myburgh The True Story of The Last Band of /Gwikwe Bushmen on the Great Sand Face The author spent seven years with the “People of the Great Sand Face” spiritually and physically immersed in their way of living; observing as he did the community dynamics, the simple yet profound roles of hunter gatherers, their mythology of the world’s creation and deep knowledge and reverence for the animals they hunted. “Are your eyes nicely open” is a /Gwikwe’s morning greeting that captured the imagination and attention of the author and throughout the story of this last band of ancient people he questions indeed how open are our eyes are to the world we inhabit as city dwellers and ‘civilised people’? Myburgh is an anthropologist and multiple award winning documentary film –maker. His extraordinary tale is a must for soul adventurers, travellers and anyone who loves a profound story. Without doubt the modern world has robbed humanity of their connections to the sacred nature of themselves and their connection to the natural world. But as in all evolutionary paths there is hope that the human race will remember those ancestral connections and that will indeed enable our response to the question to be: “Yes.” ISBN: 978-0-14-353066-4 Penguin Non Fiction

A Rough Ride to the Future


James Lovelock Unconventional from the very beginning James Lovelock has been responsible for the significant Gaia theory that had him ridiculed for decades. But that sort of treatment did not stop Galileo so why should it have prevented him from writing the next most significant perspective on what’s next for this world. This book is not about climate change but climate change is a big part of it. It is also about developmental history. The invention of the steam engine by a blacksmith called Thomas Newcomen in 1712 was the beginning of the industrial revolution and the excess in production and consumption as a result has brought the world to the tipping point we face today. Lovelock writes in a way ever person can understand; shares facts and insights that are astonishing. As he aptly notes – all of us are scientifically illiterate and do not question how the world works around us. In just 169 pages he helps you see what is going on out there and look ahead to a future full of intelligent machines. ISBN: 978-0-241-96141-4 Penguin Random House

—Edward P. Morgan




Sugar Free 8 Weeks to Freedom from Sugar and Carb Addiction Karen Thomson & Kerry Hammerton with Dietician Tamzyn Campbell – Foreword by Professor Tim Noakes I was very keen to get my hands on this book because I have realised what a sugar nut I am. Hot on the heels of the Banting diet revolution that proved that good fat is good for you – is research proving that sugar is absolutely not. Sugar is added to 99% of processed food products and most of us are addicted to it. With that awareness I needed a way out of this sugar hole and this book is the ultimate guide and counsellor. Written by a dietician and life coach this is more than just a recipe book; it is a journey through the what, why and how to give up sugar and carbs. In essence a recipe for glowing health. ISBN: 978-1-920289-82-9 Sunbird Publishers

Driftword Croc E moses The flame series imprint was created in order to give place to “cutting-edge, ground breaking works of high merit and originality which move beyond the scope of the traditional.” Driftword ticks all those boxes and then some, as this book is given added life by a CD of the spoken words and music that Hendrik Brand – aka- croc E Moses creates. His subject is South Africa, wild emotions, observations and insights into our community and hearts posing the question “Which way to what?” ISBN 978-1-86888-788-0 UNISA flame series


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BY Joelle Chesselet

Matwi...a tribute to one who listened...


ometimes things fall into place. I’d asked my anthropologist friend Dr Margie Jacobsohn to inbox me with her and her partner Garth Owen-Smith’ s plans. Garth is the author of the book “An Arid Eden” that chronicles half a century of conservation in Namibia. The email brought the sad news that Chris Eyre, a legendary conservationist and dear friend of Garth’s and Margie’s, had lost his battle against lung cancer. As befitted his dedication to the wildlife and wilderness of North-Western Namibia and the solid relationships he helped build with the Himba and Herero who inhabit it, he was to be given a full Himba funeral in the heart of the Marienfluss, close to what the Himba call the Holy Mountain. It is the first time a white man has been given a Himba funeral, a testament to Chris’ dedication and to the respect of the people he worked with. For myself as a witness and I’m sure for many conservationists, it acknowledges decades of painstaking dialogue and adjustments by a handful of dedicated individuals that smelted the welfare of communities and the survival of the wilderness into a conservation practice that is now beneficial to both. It is people like Chris Eyre who paved the way for Namibia to become the unique wilderness and thus tourist destination it now is. We wanted to be there and so cameraman Lloyd Ross and I found ourselves traversing the beauty of North-Western Namibia, accompanying one of Chris’ oldest friends to pay him his last respects. I met Garth and Maggie in the eighties when Garth was pioneering the ‘game guard



system’ to end the shameless poaching that decimated wildlife in Kaokoveld and Damaraland. At the time, desert-adapted rhino and elephant numbers plummeted close to extinction. Everyone from the South African Defence Force to government officials, Namibian and Angolan liberation troops, arms dealers and local inhabitants was on the hunt - and the drought of ’81 had not helped. Then came the brainwave, which required a serious shift in thinking: Instead of alienating the inhabitants of the area to conserve only the wildlife, why not make its survival matter to the people on the ground? Seems a no-brainer, but it went against the acquired assumptions of the day. Garth and Margie were considered with suspicion, treated with the derisive insults of the day: ‘communists’, ‘liberals,’ ‘idealists’. Serendipitously, Chris Eyre was the principal nature conservationist of the area. Though the old colonial era ethos reigned, Chris, however, was his own man: Well read, eccentric, meticulous and with his heart in the right place. Both he and Garth recognised, long before it was PC, that without the participation of the rural communities who lived with the wildlife, it would never survive through to the 21st century. I now ask myself, what if those key people had not been part of the conservation constellation then? We could be driving through this ochre land dotted with rhino-friendly fluorescent green euphorbia and not encounter any game. Namibia would not be the conservation success it now is, with 82 registered community conservancies where people directly benefit from tourism, breaking

Clockwise from above: While the Himba chiefs and others praise Chris throughout the day, the Himba women ululate or quietly grieve; Mourners fill the grave of the first white man to be given a Himba burial; The Himba women sit beside the coffin to mourn and usher Chris off to the world of the ancestors. Opposite: Himba women walk towards the other mourners the following morning; Ceremonial Mopane leaves lie on the mound held fast by rocks from the Holy Mountain nearby; Garth and Margie watch over these majestic giants, who might not be there at all without their pioneering approach to conservation and Chris Eyre’s support

DESTINATIONS the mould of big companies raking in all the profits. The numbers tell the story. Elephant populations have increased and Namibia hosts the largest population of black rhino in the world. It is the only country where lion are thriving. Wherever we travelled Springbok pronked in all directions. Not to mention what Margie fondly called “Chris’ giraffes”. He had them re-introduced to the area, and their numbers too are growing. This is only because consequent custodianship has been re-grafted to the social system of those who live with the wildlife, drawing on pre-colonial traditions, snuffed out by a history of disempowerment. All this was spelled out by the speakers at Chris’ funeral, while many implored: “But who will replace this man who drank the same milk as us?” People who worked closely with him said they felt orphaned now that he was gone. The Himba women, mourning close to his coffin under the marquee, told us he was a humble man. He lived in Opuwo, and his home was open to them when they passed through the big town of the Kunene region. Make no mistake, Chris was fierce, but they camped in his garden, shared his food, tea and tobacco. They came here to usher him into the world of the ancestors, those one listens to at the sacred fire. Traditionally, Himba funerals were, and sometimes still are, a time for cultural consolidation spanning days, even weeks. For the semi-nomadic herders who live in remote family units, it is a time to update the history they relay orally. In a sense, they are political platforms where chiefs, community leaders and aspirants state their case, recall the past, discuss plans and convey information. There was some of that at Chris Eyre’s burial and the diverse sartorial display reflected the

different lives Chris had touched. John Kasona, the director of the IRDNC (integrated rural development and nature conservation) was the master of ceremonies, giving all a chance to have their say. Herero men in suit, hat and tie shared the mic to traditionally dressed Himba chiefs while ochre-anointed women, sporting headdresses and jewellery signalling their status, mourned the man they fondly referred to as Matwi – the man with the big ears. The man who heard them? Chris’ brothers and nephew, in jeans and shirts, were also gathered in this faraway place to bury him according to his wishes. The conservation fraternity in familiar khaki spoke too, as did the priest in his black cassock. Koos Verwei, who spent the last three weeks at his bedside, carved his friend’s coffin, driving it down. But Chris’ body arrived in a helicopter, to ululations and the men’s marching, whistling and incantations – the ‘elephant procession’. Koos was too overcome to join the line of speakers. He wrote down his thoughts and gave them to a friend to read. Chris’ body was slowly eased into the coffin. Men carried it to the marquee and another group of chanting Himba men brought his photograph and placed it on the coffin. The next day it was lowered into the grave alongside the grave of his old dog Tinky, who accompanied him on his final journey. The gravestone states simply: Chris Eyre, ‘Matwi’, 1943-2015, Conservationist. All present had attested to that. Clearly conservation is a battle that’s never won. On our way through the Marienfluss, Garth Owen-Smith scripted our journey with stanzas of condensed wisdom. These remind me that beyond my naive enjoyment of the passing landscape, the delicate balance of this arid land will always teeter on the edge of

jeopardy. The drought is not helping and the carrying capacity of these plains is increasingly challenged. The semi-nomadic herders are no longer that nomadic. Previously, their judicious range management culture in accord with the patchy rainfall pattern of the semi-desert ensured their great success as herders. The seed-beds were safe because the cattle moved on to other pastures instead of over-grazing their natural welcome at a fixed waterhole. Ironically, money coming into the community-owned conservancies from tourism is now often used to build boreholes. This is a conundrum encapsulating a universal paradox. How can people be expected to ignore the advantage of technology in making their lives convenient? Is this not what has driven modern man ‘forward’? It’s hard to judge when my own forefathers diverted natural river courses through concrete corridors to meet their basic needs. But it is clear to me that the waving grasses of the Marienfluss - the very wilderness that draws tourists to experience what they have long tamed at home - could disappear along with the game and those hard working harvester ants. And the benefits to the people living here would dry as the seedless sand. “There will not be a single blade of grass from Opuwo to Epupa if care is not taken”, Garth says, puffing at his pipe. There is despair in that short statement. I get it, file it under ‘impasse’, ‘double-bind’, ‘fault-line’ – something tragic that only faith in a turnaround - like the one Chris, Garth, Margie and Co managed back then - can remedy. A lesson for us all, I thought, with the threat of our sustaining planet being pulled from under our feet by none but our selves. Luckily, I’m sort of an optimist.







CAREERS AUTHOR Grethe Mattheus


Youth and Design: FINDING YOUR FIT IN THE WORLD OF DESIGN Cape Craft and Design Institute: University of Johannesburg: Cape Peninsula University of Technology: Tshwane University of Technology: SABS Design Institute:



hether you are a carefree creative or a more analytical minded designer, South Africa is gearing itself towards creating more and more spaces for you to flourish in and streams to equip you to build a sustainable career and find your fit in the dynamic design industry. This rainbow nation is filled to the brim with inspirational stories of young artists and organisations working towards connecting the dots after World Design Capital 2014, to make sure that South Africa continues to be an example to the world of innovative, multidisciplinary thinking and design. One of the organisations that are hard at work to make this happen is the Cape Craft and Design Institute (CCDI). With an integrated approach to craft and design, they aim to create a synergistic creative sector by assisting creatives through four core support programmes focusing on design, market, business and product. The CCDI is the only organisation of its kind in the country and has been identified as a model craft and design hub by the national Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), serving as a role model for creative industry development in other provinces. Apart from the support services, they also offer a Night Market for young artists wanting to grow their business and the Better Living Challenge to challenge designers to create affordable and green home improvement solutions for low-income living. An exciting young artist assisted by the CCDI is Bonga Jwambi. Bonga specializes in creating up-cycled furniture using materials such as pallets and plastic box straps. His designs are fun and modern, showing the potential that a creative mind can find in the ordinary. Another inspiring homegrown artists is the photographer Sipho Mpongo who is the first ever South African to be accepted to participate in the Magnum Photo Fellowship in New York. Raised in Langa, the oldest Cape township, his hard work payed off after joining the Iliso Labantu mentorship programme for photographers from townships and, through this, receiving a scholarship to study at the Cape Town School of Photography. With his strong focus on human rights, his story, as well as his photos, are testimony of passion and persistence. The recent Sasol Student Design Competition also showed that there is loads of fresh talent on its way into the creative sector. Kari de Villiers earned first prize with her design of a roto moulded Shower Saver. Smart and simple, you stand on the tank while showering and the falling water drains into the 20 litre tank and the water can then be re-used. Design is woven into the fabric of our lives - through architecture, culture, clothes and even seemingly everyday objects. An exciting possible career that offers you the opportunity to create beautiful household items and strategically re-imagine design and manufacturing processes is the role of Industrial Designer. Whether once-off masterpieces of factory made goods, you will work towards finding creative solutions for the ever changing needs of society. Some of the institutions in South Africa that offer training for this profession are the University of Johannesburg, Tshwane University of Technology and Cape Peninsula University of Technology. The SABS Design Institute, situated in Pretoria, also offers guidance in applied design and engineering design. Here the broad nature and bridging capacity of design is used to address the existing innovation chasm in South Africa by linking research & development with the user, the market and the social environment for the benefit of the country’s socio-economic growth. So if you are a young artist, whatever your craft, do not let this opportunity pass you by to join the community of creatives designing news forward and unexpected solutions for our rainbow nation.


















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he Korean born, South African raised, Jimi Son is making the recycling world sit up and take notice with the massive contribution he is making to reducing polystyrene waste in the country through innovation and creativity. Jimi currently recycles 20 tons of polystyrene per month and will soon need an excess of 100 tons per month to keep up with demand. That is a staggering amount of waste that would have ended up in landfills across the country. Through fresh thinking Jimi is busy transforming the face of South Africa’s recycling industry by turning post-consumer polystyrene into decorative frames and mouldings. While working at his parents’ extrusion business, Jimi noticed his father’s frustration in dealing with frequent shipping delays and exchange rate fluctuations that seriously impacted his business. He started looking at local, readily available materials that they could recycle and use in their products instead of the imported virgin material. Ready for a challenge, he found an abundant supply of polystyrene that most considered too difficult to recycle. Like with most projects that require thinking out of the box, this one was also not without its challenges. Transporting the very light, but bulky material to their plant, working with often contaminated products and polystyrene of different colours were all obstacles where he had to re-imagine processes to find sustainable solutions. He started adapting their existing machines and soon found they could effectively use and recycle all different polystyrene, including high impact polystyrene. They are now able to use every type of polystyrene that they receive from waste collectors, irrespective of its colour or condition. The business has grown so much that they now employ 30 full time staff and have expanded their operations in Pretoria to Cape Town. Their new recycling plant in Durban is also expected to open within the next few months. Working closely with local municipalities and waste management companies helps to build a network of suppliers that provides a steady supply for production. However, with increasing demand for their products they welcome any new suppliers such as waste management companies, schools, businesses and cafeterias that have a large volume of yogurt tubs, plastic cutlery, coffee cup lids and other food containers made from High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS) and Expanded Polystyrene (EPS). Contact Jimi Son directly via email on





Issue 21







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Bikes by Electric Bikes by Electrically assisted Go anywhere Huge fun No sweat




RUNNING WILD IN the Richtersveld

BY Karoline Hanks PHOTOS Nicholas Muzik and Karoline Hanks

Karoline Hanks recently had the opportunity to participate in the WildrunTM 4 day Richtersveld trail run. This extraordinary event takes place in the /Ai/ Ais-Richtersveld Tranfrontier Park, a unique mountain desert region straddling the border with Namibia. With a 2000 million year geological history etched throughout the park, as well as species endemism second to none, this is a trail runner’s nirvana.

I Electrically assisted n early June I joined 40 trail runners to participate in the four day Richtersveld WildrunTM. I have run many multi-day events over the past decade, but have never run through wilderness quite this remote, diverse and jaw-droppingly gorgeous. Day one saw us hitting the trail out of our first camp on the banks of the Orange River at Sendelingsdrift. Our destination was Die Koei – 35 kilometres south-west. The trail is completely unmarked. Runners are presented with a GPS unit onto which waypoints are loaded. You are instructed to make your way from one waypoint to the next any which way you can. Whether this takes you over a spiky ridge or down across a river, finding the quickest, most runnable route is your indaba. You just have to ensure you make it to two check points. The desert mountain views were extraordinary from the get go. On fresh legs we whizzed past a series of mountains called the Five Sisters. From the flat, vast Grasvlakte, we then wound our way up to the top of the Hell’s Valley Pass where (we were told) summer temperatures can peak at 50 degrees celcius. From the top of the Numeesberge, we then hit an undulating downward track which delivered us to our tented village perched on an exposed slope. The WildrunTM team are meticulous in their planning and execution. Every detail is

Go anywhere Huge fun No sweat

thought of and great care is taken to ensure a degree of luxury for the weary trail runner. From robust yet comfortable tents, to canvas toilet cubicles, to showers and donkey-boiled piping hot water, to a canvas covered ‘chill zone’ and dining area. We had it all...and all in the middle of nowhere. The weather gods were not kind to the WildrunTM organisers, and that afternoon the wind picked up and whipped its way ominously around the village. Then the rain came. Lots of it. We hunkered down and drank lots of red wine, knowing that Day two was set to be a pretty long, cold and wet affair. The heavens opened about an hour into our 36 km the following day. This was not an easy day for me, I was battling with a painful Achilles injury and my mood matched the grim grey skies. Our camp that night was at Hakkiesdoring, a beautiful spot bathed in rainbows and dewy crystals by the time we got there…the perfect antidote to my temporary misery. We had to take the organiser’s word for it…this really is a spectacular section of the run. Day three thankfully saw an end to the windy chill and soaked bodies. The clouds lifted and revealed the glory that had been swathed in grey the day before. We belted up and into the Ganukouriep river valley, then turned east to ultimately top out on the edge of the vast and spectacular Springbokvlakte – a


plateau upon which one could quite easily imagine the thousands of Springbok that used to migrate here seeking out the sweet grass. We whooped and marvelled at the views, casting our eyes towards a vast granite boulder tower that lay in the distance. The Tatasberg range was exceptional - giant granite sheets peppered with boulders the size of doubledecker buses. We picked our way through and up, up and up some more, to eventually pop out at the very top and be rewarded with a mind-blowing 360 degree view. No words for this. Our camp that night was on the banks of the Orange at De Hoop – a truly stunning spot. We dipped our tired limbs in the cooling rapids, lapped up our hot showers and yet again tucked into a glorious hearty meal. Day four was a hefty 38km, with a vertical gain of 1 003m. The highlight on day four had to be Halfmens plateau. Here we came eye to eye with the very rare halfmens—a spectacular succulent, with an endearing tilt to its spiky little head…At this point, my partner and I had hooked up with the front runners (including Nikki Kimball a top US ultra-trail runner). We had established a great rapport in the preceding days, so we merged together and kept the laughter ringing through the sandstone gargoyles and shimmery crystal fields littered with white quartz. We broke the winner’s tape together, hands linked and with smiles as wide as the river valleys we had just run through.

Above: The views from the top of the spectacular boulder strewn Tatasberg. Left: Finishing Day 4 The 2016 event will take place on the 13-17 June. Visit the WildrunTM website for details:






BY Melissa Baird

In the spotlight: SESSA The Sustainable Energy Society of Southern Africa (SESSA) was founded in 1974 and is a non-profit organisation with an interest in renewables and energy efficiency. Its mission is to pursue a successful low carbon industry and economy by working with renewable energy solutions. They’ve shared some interesting facts about solar energy that we all should know: –– South Africa has an almost perfect climate for solar thermal technology with an average solar radiation of 20MJ m2 p/d. Units of power and energy are measured in watts and joules. Basically the sun produces energy units that can be converted into power through solar water heaters and solar photovoltaic panels (Solar PV). –– Almost all water heating in South Africa is done with electricity. Water heating is extremely energy intensive and makes up for between 40-60% of the average home electricity bill. –– With the price of electricity having increased by over 300% since 2007 and continuing to increase, the time to consider solar water heating in replacement of electricity is increasingly relevant to not only saving money, but also contributing to cleaning up the skies from the hazardous air pollution that burning coal brings. –– Solar water heating is really the first step to becoming energy smart but you need to be well informed before making decisions: –– Are there different feed in tariffs your municipality can offer you if you put Solar PV panels on your home or business roof and what battery storage options are there and what is the time it will take for you to get a return on your investment? Next issue we will look at Energy Efficiency. Information provided by SESSA Sustainable Energy Society of Southern Africa



First Solar’s advanced thin film solar technology We have all breathed a sigh of relief when NERSA said ‘No’ to eskom’s request for another tariff increase. But that doesn’t mean one isn’t on the cards again soon which is why it is high time for everyone to start looking at what solar solutions there are, to help ease peak load energy usage and save money.

What is the difference between Power and Energy? Power is the instantaneous rate at which energy is consumed, often expressed in Kilowatts (kW) or Megawatts (MW). Energy is the amount of power consumed over time, expressed in Kilowatt-Hours or Megawatt-Hours. To put it simply, if you look at any light bulb in your house, you’ll see a wattage rating printed on it. This power consumption rating – for example, 100 watts - represents the instantaneous rate at which that light bulb uses energy, and is a measure of power. If you leave this bulb on for 10 hours, it will consume 1,000 watt-hours (100W x 10 hours) or one kilowatt-hour (kWh) of energy. At the end of each month, your utility company will charge for the energy (kWh) consumed. Simply put, energy is what spins the meter. The actual energy generation of a Solar PV power plant depends on sunlight and other factors. These power plants often - and in much of Africa - operate in harsh environmental conditions, such as extreme temperatures, high humidity, and dusty weather. A solar PV plant typically starts generating energy when the sun rises each day, with the amount of energy generated and the module temperature both continuing to rise until after solar noon, while declining towards sunset Solar energy has rapidly evolved into a mainstream energy source over the last few years and, by all indications, is poised to become a major global energy resource in the long-run. With this in mind, the solar industry needs to distance itself from its legacy metrics while effectively articulating its value proposition: the delivery of clean, affordable and reliable energy. Nasim Khan is First Solar’s Vice President for Africa. First Solar is a leading global provider of solar energy solutions

Winding up the wind juwi Renewable Energy Pty Ltd has been celebrating the success of its 140 MW Garob Wind Farm, which was recently announced as a preferred bidder in the fourth round of the South African Government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP). The 140 MW Garob Wind Farm is located near to the old mining town of Copperton in the Northern Cape – approximately 35km south of Prieska. The 5500-hectare Garob site will accommodate 46 wind turbines, which will stand 162m from the ground to the tips of the blade, with an overall maximum export capacity of 140MW which means it can generate enough clean energy for 60 000 homes. That’s wonderful news.

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Green Home Magazine 22  

The Natural Building Issue

Green Home Magazine 22  

The Natural Building Issue