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exclusive feature: PG8: How a polar bear helped me kick the bottle

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water news & innovations

06 wellness 10

plastic matters & ID chart

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food & wine

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art, books & the directory


02 editorial

welcome We turn our attention to water issues and the travel exclusive we have reveals the very real issue of the melting ice cap in the Arctic. I recently watched the BBC Earth series, narrated by David Attenborough and there is a heart wrenching insert as a polar bear tries valiantly to stretch himself out and become lighter so that he can find a foothold on the thin ice that keeps cracking beneath his feet. Polar bears do swim of course and so he begins to swim in full faith he will reach the next ice flow and rest. The camera pans back and we see there is no ice flow for him to reach so he will inevitably drown. The futurologists speak of the next wars being about water, and the main stream press occasionally puts out a cry for action regarding our water issues in South Africa. We have been trained to look to the leaders for solutions to collective problems relating to resources because they are paid – by our tax money – to administrate the country and take care of the infrastructure. The latest statistics show that we need about R 2billion invested to upgrade the water systems in this country and – as yet - there has been no public solution to the acid drain water issues facing Gauteng. While we wait for solutions there is action we can take to do our bit. Minimise water use; install grey water systems where appropriate and if you can install your own water catchment device so that you can capture your own rain water for use in your garden and for all other uses that don’t require municipal water, do so. Enjoy this issue, visit our website www.lifeinbalance.co.za and do write to us with news of great innovations and solutions you may know of to help solve the water crisis. melissa@lifeinbalance.co.za

our contributors Deon Robbertze Executive creative director of Ogilvy Earth and Zoom Advertising agency. Deon is an impassioned commentator on the issue of sustainability and how leading brands can make a huge difference to the future of SA’s resources and socio – economic development. Lance Greyling chief whip of the ID and our man on the ground in parliament keeping us up to date with legislation and issues we need to be aware of relating to environmental legislation. Publisher: Michael Beatham michael@lifeinbalance.co.za Editor: Melissa Baird melissa@lifeinbalance.co.za Assistant editor and online editor: Michele Beatham michele@lifeinbalance.co.za Art director: Elinore de Lisle elinore@iafrica.com General Manager: Alex Tulleken alex@lifeinbalance.co.za 021 465 2266 Cover photograph Deon Robbertze

©Life in Balance is published by Phoenix Ink (Pty) Ltd 6 times a year. 20 000 copies are print bi-monthly.

Please recycle

talking water the ‘science’ of waste by michele beatham

I conducted an experiment recently. Luckily, if my high school science results are anything to go by, it required absolutely no scientific knowledge. The experiment? To see how much water is wasted between turning the tap on and when the water is hot before washing my hands. Most of us know the standard water facts:

• A five-minute shower can use between 95 and 190 litres of water • One toilet flush uses between eight and 25 litres of water • Brushing one’s teeth, with the tap left running uses up to eight litres of water. It is easy to fool ourselves into believing that we are not really wasting water when rinsing vegetables under running water (they need to be cleaned), leaving the tap running while brushing our teeth (it’s just a minute or so), or in my case, waiting for the water to warm before washing my hands (I do it only once a day; most of the time I rinse under the

did you know?

cold water). How differently would we feel were we to measure this water and deliberately pour it down the sink? A family down the road replaced their road-facing lawn with paving. An excellent idea, I thought, until I noticed that they hose it down regularly instead of sweeping it. How differently would they think were they to spend the same amount of time filling buckets then pouring the contents down the drain? In effect, isn’t that exactly what we’re doing? A September 2009 report by the Water Research Commission notes that South Africa has four percent less water than previously estimated. South Africa is a chronically stressed water country. It is estimated that by 2025 demand will outstrip supply. Rand Water predicts Gauteng will face water shortages by 2013. Cape Town could face a similar situation by 2016. The result of my experiment? I filled a 2-litre jug with water while waiting for hot water. That’s 14 litres every week, 60 litres every month and 720 litres every year, from a single activity. In my defence, I usually keep this jug of water for making coffee during the day. Even so, I admit I don’t yet know how much is wasted when rinsing vegetables, so another experiment is in order. My science teacher would be so proud.

97.5% of the Earth’s water is salty – approximately 1% of that is brackish groundwater. 2.5% of the Earth’s water is fresh. About two-thirds of that is frozen. The rest is liquid surface groundwater.

WHAT YOU CAN DO • Save water by placing a brick (sealed in a plastic bag) in the cistern of flush toilets to reduce the amount of water used; shower rather than bath - baths use five to ten times more water than a shower; and never wash under a running tap. • Collect rainwater from the roof for gardening. Grow plants indigenous to your area as they usually need relatively little water. Water at night and mulch the soil around plants to reduce evaporation of water. • Report water pollution to the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, address below. • Never dump used motor oil onto the ground or into drains. Service stations collect used oil. USEFUL ADDRESSES: Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, P/Bag X313, Pretoria 0001, Tel: 012-2999111. The Institute of Natural Resources, PO Box 375, Pietermaritzburg, 3200, Tel: 0331-68317.

Brands and Branding for Good Conference In October this year The Brands and Branding for event review Good conference was held in Johannesburg. It drew a wide selection of thought leaders addressing issues of sustainability and engaged top brands with provoking material relating to our stressed earth and the resources we all depend on. I am usually very sceptical when it comes to big business because of their powerful role in driving consumer behaviour but I was truly inspired by what inroads have been made as a result of consumer pressure on a company not doing its bit. Kimberley Clarke for instance – they were harangued by GreenPeace for using virgin forests for their paper products; one very hectic social media campaign later and Kimberly Clarke addressed issues in their supply chain and now collaborate with GreenPeace on sensitive issues relating to creating the millions of tons of paper products that are used each year. They are also actively involved in helping underprivileged mothers get access to nappies

that they can’t afford when times are tough. Dell computers are addressing their packaging and making use of recyclable material for over 70% of their packing products and have a recycling drive to motivate suppliers to recycle their hardware. BMW are leading the way in terms of developing fuel efficient vehicles and honing design to have less impact on resources. There are more big brands doing their bit in the social arena Byron, cheetah ambassador for his endangered species. www.dewildt.co.za

and taking to heart the vital need for addressing sustainability as part of their profit projections and future development. There were heated debates and some riled tempers and there was also a collective hush at the grand finale when a Cheetah called Byron was brought into the auditorium. Byron is an ambassador for his highly endangered species and he is taken to many schools in remote and impoverished areas to show children who have never experienced meeting a creature like this, just how magnificent they are. He brings into stark focus that we do hold the world in our hands and we can only ‘afford’ to focus on a sustainable future. If we don’t, his species and many other less prominent or emotive kinds - under severe threat from our wanton abandon towards the earth – will cease to exist. Use your money wisely; when you shop choose a brand doing their bit to measure up to being a contributor to a society you will love being a member of.

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news & innovations 03

news & innovations Funky Fungi Evocative Design in the US recently launched a unique packaging material that is literally grown, rather than manufactured. EcoCradleTM is made using a growing organism to transform agricultural byproducts like cotton seed and buck wheat hulls into protective packaging, and a filamentous fungi (mushroom roots) to bond it into any shape. This low-energy process is not only eco-friendly – it uses a tenth of the energy per unit than its synthetic counterparts to produce – prices are not linked to volatile oil and gas prices. As it is grown in the dark, it uses no water, perhaps one of our most scarce and precious resources today.

While this beautiful packaging provides the same cushioning, strength and protection as petrochemical-based materials, EcoCradle™ is an all-natural product, making end of life options a breeze. Use it to add nutrients to your soil or to your beds as mulch. It is both aerobically and anaerobically compostable, so it can be tossed into your compost bin, your garden and even, if necessary, into the garbage; it will biodegrade in a landfill. Source and images: www.evocativedesign.com

households used less than 10 kilolitres while 86.79 percent in total used less than 15 kilolitres. Other restrictions include watering gardens, washing cars and hosing down roofs, driveways and other services with municipal water, all of which are prohibited. Watering of sports fields is also prohibited. After a low of 14% in October, recent good rains has seen the level increase to 33% and the municipality remains confident that supply can be maintained at existing levels, while good progress is being made with a number of projects. Source: www.mosselbaymun.co.za

Clean, safe water is just a ‘tea bag’ away Scientists from Stellenbosch University have developed and patented an inexpensive and effective filtering device that could provide safe drinking water to millions of people. The sachet, which is identical to a tea bag in shape and size, is made of the same biodegradable material as an offthe-shelf rooibos tea bag. The inside of the tea bag material is coated with a thin film of biocides encapsulated within tiny nanofibres. The nanofibres create a pore size small enough to filter bacteria out of the water. Each bag can clean one litre of contaminated water, making it 100% safe to drink. There are plans to commercialise the filter bag into a product that can be used by travellers or hikers, or by those who want to improve their water quality at home. Source: www.mediaclubsouthafrica.com

Greenpop: Join the treevolution! Greenpop is an idea that celebrates greening and bringing South Africans together. Originally, 1000 trees were planted in under-greened schools and community centres in and around Cape Town during September 2010, but Greenpop is now continuing as a long-term organisation with a drive to plant indigenous and fruit trees in schools and to provide an activity that has the potential to bring South Africans from all walks of life together. Volunteers are invited to join in the planting, which has become popular as a corporate team activity. Alternatively gift an indigenous tree for R75 or a fruit tree for R100 to a tree-needy school. A great idea that Life in Balance will support for every new annual listing booked within The Directory. Learn more at www.greenpop.org.

Mossel Bay achieves 60% water consumption saving The Municipality of Mossel Bay is experiencing its worst drought since record keeping began 132 years ago. Through concerted efforts by the municipality and consumers consumption has dropped to its lowest level in three years: August averaged 12.75 million litres a day compared to 31.9 million litres in August 2009 and 25.4 million in August 2008. Severe restrictions are in place, with a monthly limit of 15 kilolitres of water per household. Nearly 74% out of 25

The Problem of Acid Mine Drainage There is an environmental crisis unfolding in Gauteng and decisive action is needed from government to arrest it. The central basin, upon which Johannesburg sits, is filling up with acid mine drainage at the alarming rate of 1 metre a day. The acid mine water is only 600 metres below the surface and when it reaches the level of around 130 metres the environmental integrity of the land will be severely compromised. This therefore means that we have less than two years to put in place an engineering solution to arrest what could be a complete catastrophe. Various proposals have been put forward to deal with the acid mine water but government still hasn’t taken a decision as to what

they intend doing about it. Instead a highlevel task team has been set up to once again consider different options. The reality of the situation, however, is that unless a decision is taken by government in literally the next few weeks, there will not be enough time to construct the required engineering works. Already acid mine water is flowing out of the Western Basin at a rate of 6 million litres a day and the treatment works there are proving entirely inadequate at treating it, with devastating effects on the surrounding environment. The long-term proposal is to pump that acid mine water into the central basin and then pump all of it to a central water treatment works that can handle such huge volumes of acid water. In the Eastern Basin, the debacle of Aurora Empowerment Systems’ ownership of the Grootvlei mine, of which

By Lance Greyling, MP

Zuma’s nephew, Zuma’s lawyer and Mandela’s grandson are directors, has led to millions of litres of untreated acid mine water being pumped daily into the surrounding wetland. In that instance, serious questions need to be answered as to how a few politically connected individuals could be given the rights to a mine when they did not have the financial resources or experience to take responsibility for its operations. This tragic saga once again highlights the devastating legacy of poorly regulated mining in our country and the dire need for the Department of Mineral Resources to live up to its responsibility in forcing mining companies to conform to environmental standards. Lance is Chief Whip of the parliamentary caucus and the National Policy Convenor. Email: lance@id.org.za

New SASSI list available After months of work, an updated SASSI list is now available. The new list has assessed over 100 species, including imported species, aquaculture species and information on the various fishing methods. The colour categories remain the same (green, orange and red), but the red category now includes both illegal and the most unsustainable options. SASSI advises consumers to steer well clear of any of the Red-listed species.

The new SASSI list is admittedly more complicated and contains a lot more information than the previous one. The new list further separates species depending on how and where they are caught. For example, a kob caught in the linefishery may be Orange-listed while a kob caught in the inshore trawl fishery may be Red-listed. This may cause confusion initially but in order to help consumers make sustainable choices, this level of information is necessary. Remember the more questions you ask about your seafood, the more your seafood suppliers will realise that they need to get onboard and make the necessary changes to ensure that the industry operates as sustainably as possible. Download the new list and find out which retailers and restaurants are SASSI compliant by visiting www.wwwfsassi.co.za Lights out With major companies like General Electric dedicating the last few years to switching over to eco-friendly CFLs (compact florescent bulbs), which use 75% less energy, incandescent light bulbs may soon be nothing more than a museum curiosity. In 2007, the US government passed legislation that would ban incandescent light bulbs by 2014, and the last major incandescent bulb manufacturing plant, GE’s Winchester plant in the state of Virginia, has now closed. The CFL was invented in the 1970s by GE engineer Ed Hammer. However, a Chinese immigrant, Ellis Yan, not only streamlined production, he took their assembly back to China, where labour is considerably cheaper. According to Yan, if production is returned to the US it would add 10 percent to the cost of doing business – perhaps a small price to pay. Either way, it is definitely the end of an era for a technology dating to the 1870s, and Thomas Edison’s invention.


04 living & design opinion

Why on Earth?

Is advertising relevant in the creation of messages about social, environmental and economical sustainability? by Deon Robbertze, Creative Director of Ogilvy Earth

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umerous people have asked me why an advertising group that has been helping great brands “Sell or Else” for decades would open a sustainability division. Some even went as far as saying it was hypocritical. Well, our view is that the world has changed forever. Consumers can now know everything about your brand – not just its carbon emissions, but also its countless other effects on the globe resulting from its supply chain practises. The days of “we sell or else” has changed meaning. Consumers no longer listen to brands that tell them what to do; they now judge brands by their actions and what they don’t do. Because we are actively engaged in a creative approach to problem solving, we can influence development toward product innovation and development that can also change attitudes and behaviours. But consider this – if we can do that, surely we can help to change the way we manufacture things, transport them, sell them, consume them and recycle them? It is a call to action for all of us to do more with less and develop a truly sustainable vision that delivers on the triple bottom line – people, plant and profit. Like the iceberg that is seven-eighths submerged, the real substance of sustainability is the stuff that’s not immediately apparent. Sadly, for many businesses, this iceberg seems to be the wrong way round. Ogilvyearth has been created in order to

homes

Hemp house

The construction industry is responsible for a high percentage of greenhouse gas emissions; poorly designed houses are energy drains. Hemporium, in association with Perfect Places, has undertaken a project to show how a shift in design can have a positive impact on the environment and on a building’s inhabitants. Over the past few months Hemporium, in association with Perfect Places, have been building a hemp house in Noordhoek, Cape Town. The house is designed and being built according to environmentally friendly principles in a patented modular system by Perfect Places using locally sourced wood for the frame, imported industrial hemp products including hemp chipboard, hemp insulation and hemp Crete, as well as hemp textiles in the furnishings, finishes, and carpets. Energy saving measures include solar geysers, intelligent home automation for air-flow, LED Lighting, Double-glazed windows and doors,

grey water harvesting and a green roof. Building with industrial hemp, which refers to non-psychoactive cultivars of Cannabis, is recognised in Europe as the “better-than-zero-carbon building method”. It is becoming more and popular, especially in the UK. The hemp plant is the earth’s premier renewable resource, providing biomass, fibre and seed, and is easily grown organically. Building materials, textiles, paper, food, oil, body-care products, fuel and bio-plastics are some of the products that can be made from hemp.  It is still illegal to grow industrial hemp commercially in South Africa, and this house is part of a campaign to educate people about the benefits of hemp and the opportunities it offers South Africa in the way of job-creation, housing and nutrition. Follow the progress of The Hemp House at www.hemporium.com or www.perfect-places.co.za

guide brands to become sustainable leaders with the help of innovative, intuitive tools and services backed by an international team of experts that provides clients with the necessary strategies and definitive processes for the road ahead. One of the main challenges facing us is to counter the effects of corporate greenwashing. Greenwashing is the practice of falsely spinning products and policies as environmentally friendly. The ultimate impact is it erodes consumer trust, and our aim is to cut through the jargon to deliver an honest message about the cradle to grave effect of a product. In the past 11 months I had the opportunity to observe two very different sides to the sustainability debate. I attended the failed COP15 talks in Copenhagen in December, where I witnessed world leaders squabble about the future of this planet. But I also saw 60 000 people from all over the world march for one cause: the future of our home; our own sustainability. Then I was fortunate enough to travel to the Arctic where I saw, first hand, how climate change has affected glaciers and polar bears. Yes, I hear the detractors saying “I don’t believe in that climate change #$@!” But frankly it doesn’t make much difference whether you do or not. If the planet isn’t sustainable now, how will it be sustainable in 2050 when our population exceeds 9 billion? So, back to the question of Why on Earth ? Well, tell me why not!

design

Put a cork on it LIM’s range of sleek, modern cork furniture reflects perfectly the company’s ethos of “less is more”. The furniture is manufactured from cork sourced from Amorim, the world’s leading producer of cork and cork products. Amorim has several sustainability initiatives in place and recently received an award for its outstanding contribution to sustainability. Founded by Pauline Matlow in 1997, LIM is renowned for innovation in design, craftsmanship and service. Visit the store at 86a Kloof Street, Gardens. Call 021 423 1200, email shop@lim.co.za, or shop online at www.lim.co.za


water places 05 Caledon Spa, South Africa

Africa

No trip would be complete without a visit to Caledon in the Western Cape. The mineral waters of this town, first discovered and used by the Khoi, were apparently awarded first prize as one of the world’s best when samples were sent to the famous Chicago World Fair in 1893.

Kusatsu Yubatake, Japan

spa towns

Sacred water spaces

Today’s spa concept may evoke images of luxury wellbeing centres built for those who can afford to indulge, but centres for bathing, relaxation and healing have their roots in ancient history. The word comes from the Belgium town of Spa, also famous as the birthplace of Agatha Christie’s fictional detective Hercule Poirot, but spa towns are found on every continent. We journey the world to share a few lesser-known facts about some well known towns:

federally-protected, natural thermal waters, used for healing by Native Americans for many years, are now used for thermal bathing at hotels, a hospital and are available free for drinking from downtown fountains and in the homes of residents.

Kusatsu Spa in Japan is the most prolific of all hot springs in Japan with over 100 Onsen (the Japanese term for hot springs) delivering a total of around 34 000 litres per minute. They are said to cure every ailment known to man except lovesickness, although with over 18 public baths open around the clock and free of charge, even that is debatable.

Caledon Spa, South Africa

Europe

North America

Hot Springs, Arkansas is one of the more interesting of the many spa towns dotting the US. National Park Service scientists have determined that the daily 1 million gallons of water released from 47 hot springs fell as rainfall 4,000 years earlier. Surviving two wars, illegal gambling, gangsters and more, the

Asia

Hot Springs, Arkansas

While the spring water from the grotto at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes is famous as a healing place (of the 200 million visitors since 1860, the Catholic Church has recognised only 67 “miraculous healings”) it is not classified as a spa town. Dax is the leading resort with over 18 spas and is particularly known for Peleotherapy; the use of Dax Peloide Mud is the only natural medicine of its kind in the world.

getaway

Dax Fontaine Chaude, France

Parker Cottage

A little haven in Tamboerskloof shows that mixing old world charm with modern standards of luxury does not have to cost the earth – literally. Phil and Liz are the hosts of this delightful guest house that has been tastefully renovated, emphasizing the classic features of this heritage property – built over 100 years ago. Spacious high ceilings give a natural grace to the rooms and the eclectic mix of art, ornaments and soft furnishings envelop you in a sense of calm the minute you step through the doors. It then comes as a blessed relief to know that you are in the hands of a couple who, while pampering their guests, take exceptional care of their staff and environment, setting an encouraging benchmark in the hospitality industry. They follow a cradle to grave sourcing policy in order to measure manage their

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impact on resources. They have adapted many of the fittings and fixtures of this historical heritage building to be streamlined in water and energy efficiency. But it is a common misperception to assume old buildings are not environmentally friendly in the first place. In the old days, most items for building were locally sourced and the high ceilings, big roof spaces and thick walls offer wonderful insulation which a great start on reducing energy consumption for heating and cooling. The garden is water wise and alien vegetation is being eradicated step by step to encourage natural biodiversity. The bathroom products are bio-degradeable and goods and services are locally sourced as is the fruit and vegetables. Their aim is to make Parker Cottage the first urban ecolodge that is completely off the grid for water heating, waste water treatment, electricity generation and solid waste management.


06 wellness

natural healing

Homeopathy for headaches

By Genie Rowson, Fellow of the British Institute of Homeopathy and author of “There’s a remedy for that!”

Bryonia Headache begins in the back of the neck and moves to the front of the head, remaining over the forehead and eyes. Head feels like it is bursting or splitting, is very sore to move and eyes feel painful and worse for the slightest movement. May feel dizzy and even nauseous, with a great thirst for long drinks.

Glonoinum A very effective remedy for a

pulsating, throbbing headache accompanied by extreme irritability and by throbbing in the ears. Cannot tolerate anything hot near the head – a cool, damp face cloth might help. Excellent for a headache after sitting in the sun too long. Nat Mur For the typical migraine-type

headache; can be severe and varied and may be throbbing, beating, pressing or hammering in nature; it is either frontal or one-sided. May be accompanied by nausea and vomiting with a need to lie quietly in the dark and sleep. Headache may begin with tingling in the tongue, lips or nose. May have been caused by emotional upset, delayed eating, eye strain, dehydration, or too much heat or sun. Might also feel giddy and off balance. Eyes feel very sore to move and you may see fiery zigzags in front of the eyes. Nux Vom For headaches that result from modern-life excesses; the typical hangovertype or over-indulgence headache. Headache is frontal, seated over the eyes or at the back of the head and neck. Brain feels like it is swirling. May be worse in the morning (especially if over-indulgence is the cause). Accompanied by hypersensitivity and irritability, impatience, light sensitivity of the eyes and an intolerance of noise or odours.

H

eadaches are common ailments and usually are treated with a pill containing paracetomal, aspirin, codeine or brufen, Homeopathy recognises that there are hundreds of different types of headaches and when choosing a remedy, it is important to consider a number of factors like the location on the head and the severity of the sensation. So when evaluating what treatment to use for a headache consider the following questions: 1. Location: Where is the pain? (top of the head, back of the head, behind the eyes, etc) 2. Sensation: How does it feel? (bursting, splitting, pounding, etc) 3. Modality: what makes it better or worse? (light or darkness, warmth or cold, movement or rest, etc) Some headaches have a known cause such as emotional and physical stress, eye strain, dehydration, toxicity, alcohol, lack of sleep, tiredness. However, others seem unrelated to any particular circumstance or trigger. Regardless of whether the origin of the headache is known or not, homeopathy has a remedy to match every imaginable head pain. Headaches may also be accompanied by nausea, dizziness, seeing sparks or flashes, great thirst, irritability, grief, a need to be left alone or a need to lie quietly in the dark. Certain headaches are made worse by lying down, worse for movement, better for tying a tight band around the head... and lots more. For every one of these descriptions, homeopathy has a tried-and-tested remedy! Each headache description relates to an

underlying disorder, yet we don’t necessarily need to know what causes it in order to fix it. For example, a headache that feels like a “tight cap” usually relates to kidney toxicity and indicates that the remedy Berberis Vulgaris is needed. However, you don’t need to know this. You simply need to find the remedy that matches your description of your headache … and both your headache and your kidneys will be treated! Homeopathy works by stimulating the body’s healing mechanisms. It is safe and free of side effects, and therefore an excellent self-help option. Above all, it really works! Specific headache remedies

Always choose the remedy/ies that most closely matches the description of your headache. Here are a few excellent headache remedies to get you started: Belladonna This is an excellent remedy

for the classic throbbing headache that comes on suddenly, either in the forehead, or at the back of the head/neck or temples; feels worse when lying down flat and better when sitting or raised on lots of pillows. You feel hot but not very thirsty and have an aversion to noise and light. Gelsemium For a headache which makes you feel dizzy, weak and heavy-headed; or it feels like a band around the head; a dull heavy ache with heaviness of the eyelids; pain in the head extends from the temples to the ears or chin. Neck and shoulder muscles may also be sore.

Silica Pain begins at the back of the neck and spreads forward over the whole head, affecting the eyes. Feels as if the head might burst. May have sharp pains moving through the eyes, causing blurred vision, sensitivity to light, dizziness (especially when looking up). Cannot tolerate alcohol. Person feels anxious and nervous and cannot stand noise or cold air. Might want to tie something tight around the head for relief. (NB. Silica should not be taken by anyone with breast, dental or other implants.)

Bryonia Alba

If you are not sure which remedy to choose, try our Headaches & migraines formula which contains a combination of the above remedies. Shop online or find your nearest agent at www.naturesremedies.co.za


wellness 07

Circle of wellness

Shifting your life, one breath at a time By Melissa Baird

Take a deep breath, then take another deeper breath and release the air from your lungs in a slow and controlled manner. Sound simple? It is actually and turning one’s attention to the life – giving breath within you does change your mind and your body too. In the hectic lifestyle we live the pace of the rush and the chase is often accompanied by short shallow breaths, which add to the levels of stress and tension in the body. That feeling of “ I can’t think straight” that is a result of too much to do, being fearful about decisions and worry about just about anything to excess can be completely relived just by breathing. As excited as I get about ‘new’ techniques in the quest for a peaceful mind I do remain sceptical about my ability to maintain the practises but something inside clicked after attending my first Art of Living course in Cape Town. The teachers instruct you in a technique of breathing that is based on thousands of years worth of knowledge and the results are life changing for the people who choose to practise the technique on a regular basis. This is the safest, quickest and certainly most cost effective way of managing high stress levels and learning how to connect with one’s inner centre. The breathing technique is called Sudarshan KriyaTM and it has easy to follow stages of controlled breathing that are brought together in a simple sequence that can be practised at home every day. In 2005 a study was published by The Journal of Complementary Medicine proving that this breathing sequence can alleviate anxiety, depression, everyday stress, posttraumatic stress, and stress-related medical illnesses. It has shown that a state of calm alertness and the calming of stress response systems is a direct result of practising this technique. Certain behavioural disorders in children also respond well to this programme of breathing as do people who suffer from attention deficit disorder and alcoholism. There are many different techniques of yogic breathing like abdominal breathing, alternate nostril breathing and holding the breath to a count. None of the techniques are new (just as neither is yoga) but it is the way in which the techniques are brought together in the Sudarshan KriyaTM that is.

The core breath that is used during a meditation is called the Ujjayi which means ‘victorious breath’. It is practiced in many schools of yoga with differences in the frequency and length of breath cycles and in the presence, or absence, of breath holding. The Art of Living foundation has teachers all over the world and this technique has touched the lives of close on 20 million people. I have been a willing participant on three courses as I am an eager learner especially when it comes to the matter of mind/ body/ spirit connection and have found that the breathing technique that I have learned to be what has kept me sane for the most part of a totally crazy year. I know I am not alone as there are many of you who feel the same way about life at present and everyone wants to know what can be done to get a grip, and it is not more time. By using these breathing techniques I have found it so easy to establish a daily practise at home. I am still amazed at the simplicity of it and marvel at how easy it is to help yourself through your breath. The journey to vibrant life begins with the breath and our disconnection from nature and stressfull relationships remove the sense of joy and peace that is a state not found ‘out there’ but within one – only accessed during times of calm reflection and stillness. The ills of an unquiet mind lead to insomnia, forgetfulness, irritability and loss of focus. This technique helped me connect with the central quiet place that I had heard of but not really discovered unless dreaming or in a yoga class but feeling far too sweaty to appreciate. Using the breath to heal stress makes complete sense and should be part of a daily hygiene check, just like brushing one’s teeth. In this quest to lead a happy life I had to learn that being centred is a good place to start and it is the breath that keeps you grounded to your life. Regular Art of Living part 1 courses are held throughout South Africa. Visit www.artofliving.org.za for more details. Source: The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Volume 11. Thanks to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and the Art of Living Foundation for details about Sudarshan Kriya Yoga. The Art of Living Foundation is a non-profit organisation and UN-affiliated NGO.

The Ubuntu wellness card is a wellness project brought into being by Cape Townbased health and wellness entrepreneur, Ian Macfarlane. He believes we don’t need expensive memberships to get us on the road to wellness during these stressful times and has set out to establish an initiative that links the world’s best online wellness assessment, monitoring and guidance technologies with a growing list of local wellness, spa, product and lifestyle providers offering significant discounts to key support services. So yes, it is a loyalty scheme, but does offer something no other loyalty scheme offers – it consistently tracks your wellness scores in 12 dimensions of being and assists in creating and maintaining a personal wellness action plan that encourages you on your journey to good health. The Inventory was designed by Dr. Travis in the 1970s and has just been awarded a top ranking by the Global Spa Summit 2010. There are three tiers to the membership and each layer has associated special offers for a range of therapies and treatments. All members have access to a wellness network, including multidisciplinary doctors, specialists, therapists, wholesalers, lifestyle and wellness products, restaurants and organic box schemes, trainings, events and workshops. Understanding that clean, safe, potable and healthy structured water is key to ongoing wellness, Ian has also set up Ubuntu Water Foundation, a non-profit venture that is championing water issues. On the back of the membership card is a map to a local, publicly accessible artesian spring in Newlands to encourage cardholders to engage with the free gifts of nature wherever possible. Fittingly, the Ubuntu Wellness credit-card size loyalty card sports a unique water crystal that was

formed by a process developed by Dr. Emoto, the Japanese Water researcher. The card also has a powerful technology in it in the form of structured frequencies. The cards have been specially treated in a Tri-Vortex sound chamber which enables the cardholder to energise standard tap water simply by placing the card under a glass of filtered water for a few minutes. Tri-Vortex treatment is a process of bioactivation, which basically means that it encourages cellular regeneration and harmony through the use of sound technology which is totally safe. Tri Vortex technology has been in South Africa for almost nine years and has played a major role in contributing to natural healthcare and wellbeing of people and their pets. Email ian@medispa.co.za, visit www.ubuntu-wellness.co.za or www.trivortex.co.za

did you know?

Sunburn solution. Adding one cup of apple cider vinegar to your bath and soaking for 10 minutes will help ease sunburn. Go to bed early. Studies have identified a correlation between short sleep and being overweight. Meanwhile, all the TVs and computers that help keep us up at night use electricity.


08 travel

exclusive feature

A world like no other How a polar bear helped me kick the bottle

By Deon Robbertze Creative Director Ogilvy Earth. www.ogilvyearth.co.za

Finnish-built Akademik Sergey Vavilov was designed to travel quietly, during hydroacoustic research for the former USSR. Its deepest research cable was 100m longer than the deepest United States Submarine was capable of diving to, but today the Vavilov is used as an adventure tourist ship and embarks on adventures to both the North and the South Pole. The profits from these tours are then reinvested into funding scientific research, mostly about climate change and biodiversity in the regions, making it a show case for sustainability. Because of the nature of the expedition the itinerary was never preset as the external factors like the weather and presence of the polar bears would decide what we could do. We could not do shore landings if there were bears, as they are predators and no one wanted to end up as a polar bears lunch eventhough (as the amused expedition leaders remarked) that would make for an even more memorable cruise. All ten of the exhibition leaders were specialists in their chosen fields and we kept company with historians, ornithologists, marine biologists and even seasoned ex war correspondents. All in all this was not what you would call a normal luxury cruise – we were all poised to be immersed in every thing Arctic and then some. Over the next eleven days we would circumnavigate Svalbard and travel north until we slowly moved between the Arctic pack ice at 80degrees54minutes767 north. The landscapes were consistently breathtaking, it was like being in a Tolkein novel one day and on another planet the next. We would witness a colony of over 300 A piece of million year old ice that was carved from from a glacier

W

here are you going?” a work mate asked. “The Arctic” I replied “Oh... wow... you gonna see penguins?” “No it’s the Arctic, as in the North Pole, there are no penguins there but plenty of polar bears!” It’s amazing how many people get the two poles confused, and it is even easier to confuse what kind of animals and birds live there. Either we all needed to pay more attention to Grade 8 geography or there is a major disconnection between our natural world and us. I am inclined to think the latter, especially after a trip to the North Pole. I have watched BBC wildlife shows and visited Africa’s vast open spaces, but nothing prepared me for what I saw and felt in the vast, silent, darkless wilderness of the Arctic. My partner Michaela and I boarded our flight to Oslo in early August 2010 and then made our way to Svalbard, an archipelago about 2 000km northwest of Norway, and part of the Arctic Circle. As we lowered altitude and broke through the cloud cover it quickly became apparent

that we where going to enter a world like no other on the planet. Massive glaciers, scarred with moraine, littered the ground and peaked mountains tipped in white (which gave Svalbard or Spitsbergen its name) could be seen as we banked to land at Longyearbyen. We touched down at about 2pm in the afternoon and the sky was an intense azure blue. On arrival we had about two hours to spend in Longyearbyen, the most populated place in the Arctic Circle. It has a population of approximately 2000 people and is totally ice locked and in eternal darkness during the winter months. It’s this cold isolated climate that has proved perfect for the world seed bank which is an incredible initiative to preserve the world’s heirloom seeds. Fortunately summer is relatively warm at about an average of 5 degrees Celsius and there is a full 24 hours of sunlight to enjoy. We were blessed with delightful weather during the 11 day voyage on the Akademik Sergey Vavilov. Nimble, quick and quiet, the

Polar Bear or Ursus Maritimus walking on the Polar Ice pack


travel 09 This map indicates where we retrieved the PET water bottle

80 54.767 north 0

A view from the top deck as the Vavilov slowly moves through the pack ice

expedition summary Day 1 Embarkation at Longyearbyen Day 2-4 Western Spitsbergen Day 5-8 Smeerenburg Day 9-10 Bourbonhamna Day 11 Disembarkation at Longyearbyen

A brave (mad) Russian crew member retrieves the bottle

000 Brünnich’s Guillemot (Uria Lomvia) breeding on heaven intent cliffs, and see glaciers and the effect that climate change is having on them. Wherever we went, animals from reindeer to walrus, Arctic fox to harbour seal would pose, as if wanting to show their best side to ensure you would never forget them. I haven’t, and doubt I ever will. But it was an encounter with one of the polar bears that has changed my behaviour forever. While we were nudging our way between the pack ice some 500 nautical miles from the North Pole we came across a large adult male polar bear. He looked so at home in this barren world of ice and moved from one flow to the next like a ballerina - even though he weighed around a ton. As I was taking photographs a very out-of-place object caught my eye; an empty water bottle – probably thrown off a fishing vessel. Now it was lodged on the ice pack. That bottle I later found out was one of over 200 billion produced every year and that the average recycling rate for water

One of the 12 men rubber ducks that are used for excursions

bottles is 23.4%. Bottled water consumption quadrupled between 1990 and 2005, with purified water the leading seller. On average consumers paid between 240 and 10,000 times more per unit volume for bottled water than for tap water. That’s basically tap water that’s been purified. Now that’s definitely not a case study in environmental sustainability. When I returned from the land of extremes and headed back to my desk job at Ogilvy Earth and Zoom Advertising we immediately banned all bottled water from the building and have now put up that plastic water bottle (yes some mad Russian fetched it off the ice) on display in our foyer to remind us that we all need to change and that it is not up to nature to manage our waste – we need to help and sort it out.

Arctic cotton (Eriophorum Callitrix) in Longyearbyen, is food for migrating Snow geese and Caribou and used as wicks by the Inuit

Go to http://www.quarkexpeditions.com/ arctic-expeditions to learn more about Arctic and Antarctic trips. The South African agent is Unique destinations. www.uniquedestinations.co.za

A colony of over 300 000 Black Guillemots (Cepphus Grylle) nesting on cliffs on the north coast of Svalbard

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The islands of Svalbard, including the largest, Spitsbergen, are glacier-topped mountains that rise from Arctic waters sprinkled with ice floes. Your first view will be from the air as you fly into Longyearbyen to embark on the voyage. On the west coast of Spitsbergen, cruise in Zodiacs, near a magnificent ice cliff, the 14th of July Glacier. Visit Ny Alesund, an international Arctic research station. Birders should add to their life list, as this is a known habitat for Arctic Terns, Arctic Skua, Purple Sandpipers, Common Eiders, Barnacle Geese and Snow Buntings. During this cruise itinerary, at Smeerenburg visit relics of the whaling industry, blubber ovens and whalebones. A tour of the former whaling station recounts the Dutch and Basque influences on the local community. Phippsoya: the temperature drops as you continue northward, crossing 80° N, 965km (600 miles) from the North Pole. Polar bear and walrus are known to inhabit the waters around this island, one of the most northerly in Svalbard! Norway’s Arctic Islands of Svalbard are so numerous that certain areas have names that reflect the profusion, Tusenoyane (Thousand Islands) for example. During this portion of the expedition itinerary, go ashore on Aekongen to seek Red-throated Divers and a whale skeleton. The narrow sound near Bourbonhamna is a favoured route of beluga whales. Cruise in search for the white whales before going ashore.

The Akademik Sergey Vavilov, our wonderful home for 11 days


10 special feature be informed

P

Plastic matters

retty much everything we encounter on a daily basis, from our cars, to the electronic devices we use, to packaging and household appliances, are made from plastic. Exorbitant quantities of plastic waste is produced each year and one of the most alarming counts is the amount of water bottles that are gleefully added to the plastic pollution produced each year (see our travel exclusive on page 8). Only about 25% of all plastic is recycled – which means the rest end up in landfills and in the oceans. Polluting the environment is one ugly side of the story. The other cause for concern is the massive debate about the leakage that results from plastic chemicals into our food – either via the canning process, microwave ovens or, as has been hotly debated, baby bottles. What causes all the concern is the chemical Bisphenol A – used to line most canned foods. It is used to prevent the contents of the can – either soft drinks or food itself – from coming into contact with the metal of the can. Most humans are exposed to this chemical because of their diet and research has indicated that the endocrine system of animals and humans can be affected by the chemical. There are smaller amounts used in paper products like event tickets, airline tickets and labels. It is impossible to avoid coming into contact with it so the question arises how much is safe for human consumption? Consider it to be like passive smoking – if it is there you will be exposed to it. There has been a recent call by the Department of Health in South Africa for the voluntary phasing out of baby bottles and plasticisers containing Bisphenol A (BPA) based on scientific information gathered to date, but there are some new findings to consider. Over 800 studies were investigated and the overall consensus is that in small doses it will have no effect on the human endocrine system. According to the team of researchers, who included international experts from across

Europe, as well as several international risk assessment authorities, including the FDA and Health Canada and the World Health Organisation (WHO) on the subject of BPA, ‘they could not identify any new evidence which would lead them to revise the current Tolerable Daily Intake for BPA of 0.05 mg/kg body weight set by EFSA in its 2006 opinion and re-confirmed in its 2008 opinion.’ The review also highlighted that ‘data currently available does not provide convincing evidence of neurobehavioural toxicity of BPA’. They do agree however that some epidemiological studies may suggest associations between exposure to BPA and coronary heart disease and reproductive disorders, but the design of these studies does not allow one to conclude whether BPA is the cause of these health effects.” Do you note the words, “the design of these studies” Surely this would be the very purpose of the study – to ascertain the associations exactly? But what does this all mean to you and I as

consumers? Whilst we may be lulled into a sense of scientific reprieve by the veracity of the studies we still do have to take note that a chemical is a foreign substance to the body and we bombard our bodies with chemicals in every form, be it through cosmetic products, processed food and drinks and even our tap water. In South Africa the Plastics Federation spokesperson, David Hughes, Executive Director of the Plastics Federation of South Africa, welcomed these findings, stating: “BPA is one of the most researched chemicals in the world. The latest findings released by the EFSA support and confirm our own carefully constructed, in-depth research into the possible effects on babies and small children which has taken place over the past four years. Consumers around the world can be reassured that EFSA’s intense scientific scrutiny continues to reaffirm the safety of BPA in food contact applications, and again concludes that established safe intake levels for BPA provide a sufficient margin of safety

for protection of consumers, including for infants and young children. The call by the Department of Health to voluntarily phase out the use of Bisphenol A(BPA) in baby bottles and plasticizers was supported by the The Plastics Federation, in principle, noting that BPA be should be seen as a “chemical of concern” until such time as the latest international scientific findings and a review into past scientific reports related to the effects of BPA on humans have been released. Although there are a variety of substitutes for polycarbonate – that contains BPA - sold by certain responsible retailers, it is up to us as customers of these products to know the story. How the consumer can get to grips with this is to understand the plastic identification codes and really get to grips with what an item is made of in order to make their own informed choice. It is worth noting that consumer groups often differ from scientists because they are viewed with caution. Who funds the research is often a key question in trying to determine its objectivity. With that in mind various consumer groups recommend that people wishing to lower their exposure to BPA should avoid canned food and polycarbonate plastic containers (which shares resin identification code 7 with many other plastics) unless the packaging indicates the plastic is BPA-free. It is also recommended to avoid microwaving food in plastic containers, putting plastics in the dishwasher, or using harsh detergents, to avoid leaching. So top of your list should be getting to grips with the plastic identification code – see the handy chart – and then make your own decision. With that in hand the next major focus is recycling. There are some wonderful innovations being born out of a need to re-use

“BPA be should be seen as a “chemical of concern” until such time as the latest international scientific findings and a review into past scientific reports related to the effects of BPA on humans have been released.” and recycle plastic and the innovations and practical applications of them can be used to mitigate ( and only just) the fact that a world without plastic is not possible. The Recycling Action group responsible for directing government policy on waste has set a target of recycling 55% of waste tonnage per annum and we are no where near that. It begins with you and I and the people we know to make that difference and do everything we can to manage this plastic wasteland we could inhabit if left unchecked. A full version of the EFSA research findings can be found at www.efsa.europa.eu Other web sites of interest include www.bisphenol-a.org; www.hhs.gov/safety/bpa; www.factsaboutbpa.org and www.bisphenol-a-europe.org


special feature 11

wading through waste

small towns and amongst the previously disadvantaged. This is not in itself an issue, but when bearing in mind the 80/20 rule we’re led to a question at the heart of the issue. Where does waste originate?

By michele beatham

While working on a follow up to an online article questioning the plastic bag levy it soon became clear that the levy is a very small part of a much larger picture. So follow along over the next few months as I wade through the garbage, so to speak, and try to make sense of just what happens to waste in South Africa and what effect the new Waste Act may have. Where do the plastic bag charges go?

South Africans get through 8 billion plastic bags a year. The US uses over 30 billion, but before we allow ourselves to feel better, remember that at 300 million people their population is six times greater than ours and the levy, consumer charge and legislation(designed to discourage the use of plastic bags) came into effect in 2003. In the months immediately following the legislation, plastic bag usage dropped dramatically. Unfortunately it was shortlived. Do you remember what it cost to buy a supermarket bag in 2003? More than it does now. In 2003 it cost consumers around 46 cents per bag. Now, seven years later, my local Spar charges 25 and 30 cents for the small and large bags respectively. This charge should not be confused with the levy. The money you and I pay every time we forget our reusable bags goes to the retailer. Retailers insist they are not making a profit on the bags we buy; others disagree, citing hundreds of million rand in profits. The levy, currently 4 cents per bag, is

paid by plastic bag manufacturers to the government. By 2009 an estimated R360m had been collected. To date, the National Treasury can apparently account for only R90 million of the total. And according to a report in Fin24 on 26th August 2010, the government will collect another R140m this year and R150m next year. In the same article, Treasury spokesperson Kershia Singh states that R30m would be used this year and about R35m next year for environmentally friendly projects, but no details are provided. Granted, it may not be buying luxury cars and overseas trips, but it is certainly not being used as originally intended, viz. to fund recycling initiatives. Buyisa-e-Bag

Buyisa-e-Bag is the government initiative originally set up to use the levy to build buy back centres and promote plastic bag recycling. Another organisation, Indalo Yethu, established by government more recently, has as its main objective: “to design and implement an environmental awareness campaign”. Despite all indications to the contrary (ignored messages and interview arrangements, calls not returned as promised, etc.) work is being done. Whether it is effective is a question still to be answered. That said, almost all projects take place in rural areas,

With me. And you. The fact is, most household waste, and more importantly, recyclable waste, is generated by middle and higher income groups in urban areas. It is also here where access to facilities to reduce, recover, convert or recycle, are far better and more accessible than rural areas. Even so, it costs municipalities a huge amount of money to collect, transport and dispose of garbage – our garbage. In Johannesburg alone R74-million a year is spent cleaning up and collecting litter, while illegal dumping costs R80-million. And those millions are our money. It’s all very well to accuse government of wasting the taxes we pay, but do our bad habits not make us guilty of the same thing? Back to that plastic bag

When I forget my shopping bags at home, I have two options: buy a reusable shopping bag for between R7 and R10 or buy a couple of (supposedly also reusable) plastic bags for about 30 cents each. Most choose the latter. I do, too, on occasion. But how do you re-use these bags? If you said for household waste, you’re part of the majority, and honest. So ultimately, they still end up in landfills – exactly that which the levy and consumer charge was supposed to, if not eliminate, reduce. But what about the clear plastic bags at supermarket produce sections? Or the bags used to package clothing or linen? Shop for food in Woolworths and you’ll pay for the plastic bag. Walk a few metres and buy a new shirt and the bag is free. Or is it? Even before the implementation of levies and cost per bag to consumers, plastic bags were never really free. Let’s face it, any expenses incurred by manufacturers and

retailers are going to be paid by you and me – in more ways than one. Most brand stores refused to implement the 2003 legislation. One of the solutions: thicker, supposedly reusable, bags. Besides that the bags are often far bigger than necessary (think about that single T-shirt you bought last month), a waste in itself, did you know that most of these bags are not recyclable? The content, the heavy branding, the ink used, make them useless to the recycling stream. So, what do you do with your ‘free’ plastic bags? What does this mean?

When it comes down to it, most of the 8 billion bags we use still end up in landfills. The harsh truth is that our continued indiscriminate use of plastic bags continues harming the environment and apparently continues doing little more than increasing government coffers and retailers’ profits. If you follow the plastic bag debate online, South African legislation is often cited as a positive example throughout the world, but the harsh truth is that it has been a dismal failure. So what’s the solution?

There isn’t any one solution and there are far more questions than answers right now. In the meantime, while we may not have the individual power to make government and business account for the millions they receive in revenue, we do have the individual power to not contribute more than is absolutely necessary to those millions - with the added benefit of seeing fewer ‘national flowers’ adorning fences and trees, roads and landscape. Sources: ‘Analysis of the Plastic Bag Levy in South Africa’, a 2010 study by Johane Dikgang, Anthony Leiman and Martine Visser can be downloaded at http://www.econrsa. org/papers/p_papers/pp18.pdf. ‘SA to pay billions in green taxes’ by James Brent-Styan, Fin24 http://www.fin24.com/ Business/SA-to-pay-billions-in-green-taxes-20100826. Thanks to David Hughes, Executive Director of the Plastics Federation, for taking the time to answer my questions, including those I didn’t even know I had.

Recycling of Plastics Plastics identification - A special system of identifying plastics is used worldwide to identify packaging plastics. A polymer identification code is put on the product. The number in the triangle denotes the type of polymer used.

www.plasticsinfo.co.za

www.cleanup-sa.co.za

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Choose the right solar

water heater for your home. Follow this handy checklist when shopping for a solar water heating system:

1

Choose a direct or an indirect system

There are three types of system: Direct systems – water is heated directly Suitable only if you have a frost-free climate (if you live below the escarpment) and the water in your area doesn’t have a high chemical content Direct frost resistant systems – water is heated directly but prevented from freezing. Suitable if the water in your area doesn’t have a high chemical content.

Suitable if your area is prone to frost. Indirect systems – water is heated via a heat exchange mechanism. Suitable if you live above the escarpment region where your area is prone to frost. Also if the water in your area has a high mineral content (hard water) where calcium build-up occurs (check your kettle for lime scale build-up).

Hint! Indirect systems are suitable for all areas and potable water types.

2

Select the size of your system

The system you buy should have the capacity to meet all your household’s heated water requirements so that you don’t have to rely on electrical backup. To work out how big your system should be: • Allocate 50 litres of hot water per person in your household. For example: four people = 200 litres.

• A dd an extra 50 litres to cover general domestic hot water usage. For example: 200 litres + 50 litres = 250 litres. • Use this total as the minimum holding capacity of your solar water heater.

Hint! Consider the climate you live in. If you live in an area that gets a lot of rain or cloud cover, a lower cost system with smaller-size panels won’t meet all your household’s hot water needs, and the electrical element will kick in to provide for the shortfall, so you won’t save much electricity. Conversely, if you live in an area that gets lots of sunshine every day, a big system with big panels will produce more hot water – or hotter water - than you need.

3

Choose your storage

You have two choices: Pumped storage

Thermosiphon

Water is forcibly moved by a pump. Suitable if you want the tank to be located away from the panel and hidden from view in a cupboard or in the ceiling. There are various pumps available, including renewable alternatives which use photovoltaic (converting sunlight into electricity) technology.

The tank is placed above the panel, usually on the roof, and water moves by natural convection. Suitable if you don’t mind having the tank outside on the roof. This also reduces any chance of water damage due to a burst geyser.

4

Choose your tank configuration

There are three tank configurations to choose from: Standard installation Replaces your existing electric geyser with a new, standard configuration solar tank and panel. Optimises the use of solar energy rather than relying on electrical backup. Pre-feed installation A solar tank and panels feed solar-heated water into your existing electrical geyser. This type of installation is recommended when

extra hot water capacity is required. The existing electrical geyser remains intact. Retrofit system

Solar panels are fitted onto an existing electrical geyser. This saves you the cost of buying a new solar tank. However, solar systems rely on well insulated, highly efficient geysers, so make sure your existing tank is in suitable condition for this type of application. Your supplier can advise on the suitability of your tank. The existing electrical geyser remains intact.

Hint! A standard installation is the most common and recommended installation.

Eskom Holdings Limited Reg No 2002/015527/06


Save even more with an Eskom solar water heating rebate Eskom’s Solar programme offers you significant consumer discounts on the purchase of registered systems. Discounts vary according to the size and cost of the system, the interest rate, the capacity of the system to reduce electricity usage and the cost of electricity. How to partner with Eskom to receive your rebate:

1

Choose a registered supplier

Choosing an Eskom registered supplier and installing a registered system offers you the assurance that your system is tested by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) and enables you to qualify for a rebate. • G o to www.eskom.co.za/dsm or mail solar@eskom.co.za for a list of Eskom registered suppliers and systems. • R equest and evaluate quotations from at least three registered suppliers.

2

Claim your rebate

• A sk your registered supplier for your claim form. The form should have the details of the electrician and installer already filled in. • Complete your details. • A ttach the required documents. These include the original invoice, a copy of your ID and a copy of your utility bill and proof of residence. • P ost or drop off your claim to the facilitating auditors, Deloitte, within six months of the installation.

Note! You will receive an SMS notification when the auditors receive your application, when your application is processed and queued for electronic payment or if your application is incomplete. Payment of the rebate is made within eight weeks from date of receipt. If your system is not listed on www.eskom.co.za/dsm you will not qualify for a rebate.


14 special feature

chemical focus Life in Balance presents a series of special features to encourage readers to take simple practical steps in becoming a conscious consumer; one who takes responsibility for their purchases and is able to discern between real need and ‘need to have items’ that are purchased almost automatically when entering the supermarket. If you truly wish to contribute towards a cleaner, healthier world, enjoy the information we have put together for you and share it with friends and family. “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” These words were spoken by Mahatma Ghandi – one man whose profound beliefs in the power of the individual – working as a collective - led him to liberate the Indian continent from British rule.

With constant media bombardment about failing economies, mass corruption and environmental degradation as a result of the love affair we have with fossil fuels and profiteering, it is very easy to become despondent, throw our hands up in the air and think – well, what can it matter? But one only has to look into the eyes of an innocent child to know that it does matter, and to remind ourselves of the future they will face if we don’t start behaving as ethically as possible with regard to everything we consume. Don’t lose heart. The simple acts we can take each day to reduce our impact on this fragile earth are what will empower us and in turn motivate those who are not doing anything at all.

clean out those cupboards When purchasing cleaning materials, don’t choose brand names you recognise and buy into their promises about how they clean surfaces and get rid of germs. What many of them don’t declare are the chemicals used to create these ‘miracle solutions’ to banish household grime. Synthetic cleaning chemicals may give instant results with minimal effort, but they impact hugely on the environment. A sterile environment is not essential to health – in fact the opposite is true, and children’s allergies are often directly related to the chemicals used in cleaning products.

Know your toxic chemicals Product

hidden ingredients

The alternative

Dishwashing liquids & all-purpose cleaners

Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, Sulphonic acid, urea, preservatives and dyes

Choose to either make your own – see our recipes for cleaning products on the web site – or choose a ready made eco-friendly alternative

Anti-bacterial products

Poisons, e.g. Triclosan, hloroxylenol (PCMX), etc.

Replace anti bacterial products with a natural product that uses plant essential oils or make your own – mix Tea Tree essential oil with warm water and place in a spray bottle to spray surfaces after you have wiped them down

Bleaches

Sodium hydrochlorite

Don’t use them – for stains, mix a teaspoon of powdered starch with some organic washing up liquid and apply it to the stain. Leave it to dry and then brush off with a stiff brush

Washing powders

Phosphates like sodium tripolyphosphate, coco diethanolamide, sulphonic acid

Replace your washing powder with a natural option or make your own. Visit www.lifeinbalance.co.za for the recipe

Window cleaners

Solvents like isopropyl alcohol, synthetic detergents and preservatives like formalin

Replace with a solution of white vinegar and warm water. Use two teaspoons of vinegar in a solution of 500ml of warm water. Spray onto the windows, and use a crumpled piece of newspaper to remove the grime from the window

You are what you eat! The obsession with weight loss and healthy eating has gripped the middle classes who ironically often compromise on what really is healthy by striving for convenience. Growing your own food is the best way of ensuring the freshest raw ingredients and with the many innovative solutions to having your own vegetable garden in even the smallest of spaces (visit www.lifeinbalance.co.za to learn how to grow your own veggies in a recycled shoe rack) there are options for everyone. To avoid all the long-life preservatives and get in as much nutrients as possible, we need to buy produce locally and in season. This produce will not have been kept in electricity-guzzling

by Andrea van Meygaarden avanmey@gmail.com

fridges for months or travelled thousands of kilometres, but will have the nutrients our bodies require for that specific time of the year. In season produce costs less too. Products that are pre-made, pre-packed or processed often have a long list of artificial additives including colourants, stabilizers, flavour enhancers and preservatives. Here is a list of the most common and most important to avoid. Side effects differ from person to person and are mostly present if consumed in large amounts over a long period of time.

crisps, soya sauce, stock, snacks, fast food. Known to cause headaches, nausea, digestive pain and obesity. Aspartame and Acesulfame-K

Artificial sweeteners used in most sugar free drinks, cookies, chewing gum, crisps. Could cause migraines, epilepsy, nerve dysfunction, and multiple sclerosis. Sulphur Dioxide (E220)

A preservative used in dried fruit, bacon, meats. Could cause allergies, asthma and headaches. Sodium Benzoate (E211)

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG or E621)

A flavour enhancer used in most salty foods,

A preservative used in most fruit juices. Known to cause a tight chest & skin rashes.

If you are not up to making your own cleaning solutions you can choose from one of the many alternatives available, including the Biodynamic range from Bloublommetjies, Pick’n Pay’s Green range, Enchantrix, and that well-known favourite, Clean Green, which can clean just about anything. For laundry we love the Biowashball, a brilliant, cost-effective alternative to all washing powders, which lasts for three years before having to be replaced.

Watch out for Parabens, Propylene, Propylene glycol and mineral oil. The toxic effects of these ingredients are heatedly debated, with the natural lobby citing carcinogenic, skin irritant and liver toxin effects. The chemical lobby counters with ‘scientific studies’ showing ‘low concentration safety’. What is not open for debate is the impact of these chemicals being flushed via thousands of households into the water system, poisoning the water table, as well as stressing an already outmoded water purification system. (Interesting to note here that with the new US administration, the FDA is now commencing new studies on the effects of some these chemicals, put some on a watch/concern list, etc. which confirms that ‘scientific’ studies proving ‘safety’ are easily politicised.) Tartrazine and Sunset Yellow (E102, E110)

A colour used in drinks, custard, dairy products, condiments and sweets. Could induce asthma and allergies, linked to hyperactivity. Hydrogenated Fats

When solid fats are artificially produced by heating liquid oils in the presence of hydrogen. Used in chocolate, margarine, cakes, biscuits, peanut butter. Linked to heart disease, diabetes, breast and prostate cancer. Start reading the ingredients of the products currently in your home. Investigate alternative ways to buy organic produce, and start digging! It is a decision that we all have the choice to make.


special feature 15

Word on the street by Gail Jennings

Two years ago, I wrote a feature about my ‘low-energy’ life. Then, there was talk of legislation forcing us all to use 10% less electricity. No pressure, I wrote: I could cut back by 20%, or more. ‘Using less electricity is as easy as doing nothing,’ I said. This is so true that today writing about energy-saving is not that easy, as the measures I took are now an unconscious habit. Once you set up your systems, you barely have to give them another thought. Energy efficiency does not have to be high tech. Much as I’d love to have an elegant, graceful wind turbine in my garden, I’d never sleep for fear of it taking off in the high winds. And while I do have a good stash of photovoltaic cells (some on the roof, the others in the garage waiting for the advent of cleaner battery technology), energy efficiency is more about attitude. Using less electricity comes naturally to me. I don’t like being dependent on monopolies and have never wanted to contribute to their profits. My clothes don’t like to be tumbledried. I don’t like high-tech housework (but back to high-tech later), humming appliances or bright lights, and I married a man who had more foresight than money when it came to house design. House design is where it all starts. Passive solar design can save up to 70 percent of your household energy needs. Our house was old before it was even built, which is the concept of low-embodied energy; when you re-use second-hand building materials, you save on another round of energy and water use – and money. The floors are brick or tile (uncarpeted), which absorb heat during the day and slowly

release it at night (in winter). The result is no need to artificially heat or cool the house, and a combination of layered clerestory windows and concentrated skylights means indoor daylight lasts longer. Our first solar water heater was homemade, with a wooden frame, blackboard paint and copper pipes. It worked perfectly for 20 years, until the box biodegraded on the roof. Our new 200-litre solar geyser and solar panels should last another 20 years. I confess to not using energy-efficient lighting indoors – the bulbs don’t fit into the light-fittings – but I cook with gas, use hot-box insulation, and just about never do ironing. It all adds up - or perhaps better put,

it doesn’t add up to much; our energy-use is so low that we qualify for ‘domestic low’ tariffs. Our water bills are zero due to a combination of rain-water tanks and a ‘care-free’, local rainfall-area garden. The next stage of the low-carbon battle, though, requires something of a more ‘highenergy’ life. Quite the opposite of doing nothing, it requires an active change in lifestyle, which might be why ‘look ma, no car’ doesn’t have too many followers. Over half of all energy used in Cape Town is by the transport sector. Transport in the City contributes 22% of carbon emissions, while the Western Cape as a whole contributes 25%. Moving from a single-occupant, personal vehicle to other modes of transport is certainly more difficult. Perhaps that’s why we’re so resistant to change. Because using less electricity and withholding profits from fuel companies appeals to me, riding my bicycle to the office, friends or shopping brings me joy, but ecoefficient driving, car-pooling, public transport and cycling does require more time, more attention, more effort and greater logistical expertise. So here’s where high-tech helps. I use smart phone technology and navigation software for directions as often as possible. Although my phone may tell me that “transit directions could not be found between these locations”, at least my car and I take the most direct route. You may laugh, but getting lost is a serious contributor to carbon emissions. There are applications for driving log-books and fueltracking, good motivators for more efficient driving, and applications for online meetings and shared documents, which dramatically cut down the need for travel. Why drive to a meeting when you can hang out over an espresso (gas-fired) and your iPhone?

A positive spin off from the World Cup frenzy has seen the implementation of The Greening Durban 2010 Programme which focuses on demonstrating new approaches and thinking around the importance of “greening”. They have compiled The Green Guideline Series, which aims to provide businesses, architects, engineers, schools and homeowners with an easy to use toolkit on the options for establishing more energy and water efficient buildings and landscapes, and reducing waste outputs. The Green Guideline Series is one of the legacy projects of the programme and will benefit Durban long after the football games are over. It is also likely to spark a reshuffle of local by-laws and building standards to meet the increasing challenges and costs of energy, water and waste disposal. There are four guideline documents to download: Energy Efficiency, Water Conservation, Sustainable Waste Management and Green Landscaping. http://fifaworldcup.durban.gov.za/ Pages/GreeningDurban2010.aspx

Gail Jennings is a bicycle-commuter, writer, researcher and editor of sustainable-transport journal, MOBILITY. Visit http://emag. mobilitymagazine.co.za or email Gail at gail@mobilitymagazine.co.za

In the next issue of Life in Balance we will demystify the labels on food packaging and give you the inside information as to what they actually mean. There will also be information on tackling the chemicals in your cosmetics and some fascinating facts about water.


16 food healthy eating

Medium, rare or just plain raw By melissa baird

production. Buchu, a traditional cure-all herb, is used too; it boosts the immune system and helps manage water retention. Breakfasts and coffee breaks get more interesting too. Instead of an espresso, try a juice with super health powers and feel the natural boost of energy. Nut milks and nut butters, a staple of many of the more exotic dishes, offer a delicious alternative to dairy. Nut cheese is made using a small amount of probiotic cultures (used to create live yoghurt). Salad transformed with the addition of flowers like nasturtium, daisies and geraniums, and herb flowers like basil, thyme, mint and clover, literally jump off the plates with freshness. Sprouts add a nutty flavour, while delicate combinations of Himalayan rock salt with Tamari sauce or goji berries (another superfood with high anti oxidant powers) bring a new significance to a fresh dish. There is no sense of lack when eating a predominantly raw meal. The textures and flavours surprise many adventurers new to the land of raw and super healthy food. Cakes, biscuits and pasta remain on the menu, as do delicate sauces and soups. Sun dried vegetables develop a rich essence and their meaty texture compliment the many other textural experiences of eating fresh, uncooked food. Exploring this lively food trend is incredibly easy; the food is delicious and there is no worry about adding extra kilograms to your midriff. We have all heard the phrase: “You are what

R

aw food was, in the past, given a raw deal (pun intended) in much the same way that ‘hippies’ were outcast because of their new age thinking. It is heartening to know, though, that time does indeed bring change and what was once considered the domain of vegetarians and tree huggers, raw food is now knocking the socks off the most critical foodies and growing in popularity worldwide. But is eating raw food such a new trend? The raw food movement has been steadily growing over the last ten years and now, restaurants in New York, London and Los Angeles are taking the taste buds of the newly converted to greater heights. It is fashionable enough to be a curiosity for gourmets and food lovers looking for new

taste sensations. The only side effect foodies who love raw have to contend with is that they brim over with energy. Peter and Beryn Daniel are the raw food champions in South Africa and their book Rawlicious uncovers the bare truths about what we have been led to believe is good food. Highly processed food, sugars and trans fats are easily the biggest part of a modern diet, which is why taking small steps to better nutritional health begins with adding a lot more uncooked food to your diet. The health benefits of the raw food diet have been carefully researched and Peter and Beryn can testify to the transformation in people. I have met Peter and Beryn on a number of occasions and always describe them as “those shiny people” – they literally glow with good

health. At a recent exhibition in Cape Town their raw foods stall was the busiest; word spread that the food was delicious, satisfying and very exciting to sample. I tried a cacao and banana smoothie – a combination of almond nut milk, honey, cacao powder and maca – that was decadently rich in chocolate flavours. Maca is a super food in the same family as ginseng and is used to boost energy levels. It is an exotic addition that claims to be a natural aphrodisiac. Its rich, malt flavour complimented the chocolate beautifully. There were juices incorporating Aloe ferox, an indigenous plant with scientifically proven healing qualities. Aloe ferox is said to have beneficial effects on skin, bones, joints and tissues of the body, as it stimulates collagen

what is raw food? Plant based foods like fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, superfoods, sprouts, seaweed and herbs. Raw food does not mean cold food but it does mean food that is not heated above 47 degrees Celsius. Sun-dried fruit and vegetables are delicious and rich in texture and lend variety to a raw salad. Green leaves like spinach, lettuce, celery and wheat grass are brilliant cellular healers and restore the body’s pH balance. Just one juice per day does wonders for your health.


food 17 you eat.” Thinking about it on a cellular level this could lead to some interesting comments depending on what you are having for lunch, but the fresh , crisp vegetables and sun-ripened fruit bursting with flavour are a far cry from a mass produced snack bar or hastily prepared take out sandwich. Who says convenient food has to be horrid, lifeless food? The health benefits are bountiful, but it is through tasting and experiencing the delicious combination of textures and flavours that will change many a critic. When, 20 years ago, a new convert to the delicate flavours of sushi suggested it to someone who had never heard of it before, the reaction was usually a raised eyebrow and, when finding out what it is, a stunned reply, “You want me to eat raw fish?!” For more info visit www.welikeitraw.com or www.superfoods.co.za

GM crops

raw food facts Raw food is alive with micro-nutrients. Micro nutrients consist of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients. Your body needs micro nutrients because your cells are made up of enzymes which thrive off micro nutrients. Vitamin C and Vitamin B are destroyed during the cooking process. Cooked food adds to the acidity levels of the body. Interestingly there has been a correlation between bodies with a high acidity level and disease. Raw food is full of good fats and plant fats do not contain any cholesterol. Unfortunately animal fats are very high in cholesterol. Good fat sources come from olives, olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, nuts and seeds. Eating raw food does not mean you compromise on protein – in fact nuts, seeds, olives, green leaves, millet and quinoa offer excellent sources of plant proteins and complex amino acids. Wild and organic plants and vegetables contain up to 50 times more minerals and nutrients than commercially grown, pesticide laden produce. If there ever was a reason to prefer organic ally grown vegetables this certainly is it. If more than 50% of your food is cooked it increases the presence of white blood cells in your body which in fact means your body is preparing to fight a possible infection.

mango mania Mangoes are soon in season and there are many ways to enjoy their juicy goodness. Mangoes are extremely versatile and can be eaten in salads, chutneys and on their own yielding high quantities of Vitamin C (in green mangoes) and beta carotene in the riper fruit. All in all this delicious fruit contains 20 different vitamins and minerals and is a perfect way to add a touch of the exotic to many meals. The mango tree is highly revered in India, where it is still considered a symbol of love and some people even believe that the mango tree can grant wishes. REFRESHING MANGO ICE CREAM

Ingredients 2 cups ripe mango, peeled and diced (out of season, substitute with canned mango, drained) 1 ½ cups sugar 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 2 cups milk 5 egg yolks 1 cup cream, whipped method Combine the mango, ½ cup of sugar and lime juice in a non-metallic bowl. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Gently heat the milk in a saucepan. Whisk the egg yolks and ¾ cup sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the hot milk slowly while whisking. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over medium heat, uncovered, until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon about 3 minutes. Do not boil. Strain into a bowl, and cool to room temperature. Stir in the mango mixture followed by the cream. Freeze in a metal loaf tin or baking tin. Makes about 2 litres

The debate around GM crops rages on and it was recently announced that the national scientific body has approved the technology in South Africa as a means to address chronic food shortages. Anti GM activists disagree and there is enough evidence to support their view. As food labeling is not yet a law it is up to consumers to lobby their MPs in order to have a say in whether we wish to eat GM modified foods. “It has been well proven that organic agriculture produces far more food than even current chemical based agroindustry, and GMO’s do nothing to reduce dependence on imported input costs, nor for Food Sovereignty for Africans,” says Muna Lakhani, Branch Co-ordinator of Earthlife Africa Cape Town. “Trust the vested interests not to look at the volume of food actually available globally, half of which is fed to animals, and much of our African production is exported to the North. We need to urgently ‘climate proof’ through Zero Waste food production in Africa, and GMO’s are definitely not the way in which to do this.” www.safeage.org

How to avoid GMOcontaining products While this is not a South African specific shopping guide, it is a good enough standard to follow: Avoid at-risk ingredients If it’s not labelled organic, avoid products made with the “Big Four” GM crops: Maize, Soybeans, Canola (mainly imported), and Cotton. Maize • Maize flour, mielie meal, oil, starch, gluten, and syrups • Sweeteners such as fructose, dextrose, and glucose • Modified food starch Soy • Soy flour, lecithin, protein, isolate, and isoflavone • Vegetable oil and vegetable protein • Used in chocolate mixtures • Used in bread mixtures • Most biscuits Canola Canola oil (also called rapeseed oil) Cotton Cottonseed oil (often used as a preservative in canned sardines) Sugar Avoid anything not listed as 100% cane sugar. GM beet sugar recently entered the food supply. To avoid it, look for organic and non-GMO sweeteners, candy and chocolate made with 100% cane sugar, evaporated cane juice or organic sugar. Aspartame The artificial sweetener also known as NutraSweet and Equal, is derived from GM microorganisms. For more info visit: http://www. nongmoshoppingguide.com/SG/ TipsforAvoidingGM


18 drinks

Know your beans Sublime and complex beans by sandy barlow

Speciality Guatemala coffee is top of the taste list and the beans from this farm are no exception. Rony Ascensio built his Santa Ana la Huerta farm more than 12 years ago in a remote area of Guatemala on a mountaintop with no immediate neighbours. Around six year ago as coffee prices crashed and financial ruin loomed, the farm was saved when Rony went into partnership with his brother in law Luis Pedro Zelaya. Their partnership has allowed them to pool their knowledge, experience and passion of coffee production and they deliver an outstanding single origin bean.

The purest coffee experience originates in beans from an unblended single origin. The ultimate beans come from a single estate in which all the beans are harvested from one farm or small producer group. Each bean must be of outstanding quality so that it meets the correct flavour profile. Estate coffees carry the name of the farm or grower association, while a single origin coffee carries the name of the country or region it comes from. Each estate has its own appellation, just like wine estates and the beans, like vines grow in their own terroirs affected by the micro-climate, soil type, quality, elevation, amount of sunshine, rainfall and tree varietals in the region. All these factors result in beans with distinctive flavours, aromas, acidity and body. Seattle Coffee Company’s roasters pay them a sustainable premium and have contributed to radical improvements in the farm’s output. New coffee washing channels have been installed and the construction of a new patio drying terrace have both helped improve quality levels. Last year, further improvements were made with the installation of a bio digester system that cleans residues from water used in the mill before returning it to the ground via irrigation systems. This year, the farm’s seven permanent workers have seen the installation of electricity using solar panels. Look out for this outstanding coffee grown on a farm that was once on the verge of closure and is now a thriving business that produces one of the best coffees in the world.

Tread lightly Interview with Simon Back of Backsberg Estate Cellars Backsberg has led the wine industry in its quest to be carbon neutral and made further waves by offering wine in PET bottles plastic bottles. The reason behind this innovation is to lighten their impact on the planet. In this interview Simon Back explains the ethos behind their thinking.

What does is taste like?

Delicious red berry fruit tones combined with honey-citrus flavours. The lingering finish contains notes of dark chocolate and complements rich, sweet foods.

Rare & exotic coffee

Camocin Farm creates coffee that raises a few eyebrows

The unlikely hero of the story is the Jacu, a vegetarian bird native to South America that inhabits the beautiful, shaded forests of Fazenda Camocim in Espirito state in Brazil. You may have heard of the coffee processed by birds by now, and if you haven’t well here is the story. Jacu coffee was born out of a biodynamic farmer’s attempts to work with the birds who were ravaging his crop. Instead of getting rid of them he worked out a remarkable relationship based on his realization he could still save his beans, although in a most unlikely way. After the Jacu specially select the sweetest little beans and digest them, their droppings accumulate at the bottom of the trees, containing – you guessed it – the undigested bean. Some special incentives had to be set in place to persuade the workers to collect them, but the results speak for themselves. This process was developed by Henrique with Evair Vieira de Mello, a consultant to the farm and one of best coffee tasters (cuppers) in Brazil. You can say this coffee is so birdfriendly that the birds get to enjoy it before you do! Origin is the only roaster in South Africa to roast Jacu Bird Coffee (so this is a pretty exclusive bag). Contact info@originroasting.co.za

What prompted the decision to go carbon neutral and what were the biggest surprises you had to manage during the process?

It was mostly the influence my father who has never liked to waste anything, coupled with his greater understanding of the impact the wine industry has on the land. We wanted to do something tangible and since June 2006 we have been reducing the overall carbon footprint by significantly reducing the use of fuel and electricity. We didn’t appreciate to what extent they contributed to the output, making up almost 80% of the farms total emissions. As a family we wanted to take responsibility for that and reverse as much of the impact as possible. That said being carbon neutral is not biggest deal for us, rather it is the sequestration of the carbon that is. We have major tree planting operations in Klapmuts and the farm. Offsetting carbon emissions is one thing but you need to reduce the impact on other levels as well. If you ( a company) can just buy your carbon offset credits but don’t actively look at ways to reduce your use of resources and look at energy saving as a whole then you are not achieving anything. What has been the impact of this decision on other wine makers in the region? Do you think your being carbon neutral will have a positive influence on the wine industry?

The curiosity of other wine farmers in the region has not been huge but we are always willing to engage with more people as they seek advice on the best way to approach this. What is the carbon footprint of a single bottle of wine?

In a diversified agricultural offering such as we have at Backsberg it is very difficult to

pin point exactly that answer , a rough estimate would be in the region of x meaning you need to plant x to offset (or drink less) Are there any plans to grow organic vines or invest in other crops to weather climate change?

Some of our vines are certified organic but not the farm as a whole. We are organically aligned wherever possible but we struggle with weed control and what does one do if mielie bug gets in , risking the entire crop. When I think of sustainable farming I consider the social, economic and environmental factors and realistically the whole organic process needs to be understood better by consumers. To say wine is made from organic grapes, is likely excluding what goes on in the cellar and then consider what type of glass bottles are being used. Backsberg have moved away from using heavy weight glass bottles and we don’t believe they are sustainable. What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the wine industry in the next 5 years, from an environmental or social perspective?

Our perspective is that climate change is happening, regardless of debate and the biggest challenges therefore is to do what we do in a more environmentally sound way. We want to continue making exceptional wine and appreciate we have to do things differently without compromising on quality. It’s not really business as usual anymore, that is no longer a possibility. For a detailed exploration of the initiatives and successes go to www.backsberg.co.za


drinks 19

Sauvignon.com Diemersdal: Starting a green community – glass by glass

light fantastic Consumers are being urged to pay a lot more attention to the contents of packaging than the packaging itself which is why the launch of the Tread Lightly Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc has caused such a stir. Who would have though great wine could come in a plastic bottle? The PET bottle is an innovation in the wine industry and the impact the reduced weight of the bottle has on transportation and storage costs is significant enough for critics to be tempted to try the wine. They are pleasantly surprised because in no way is the freshness and taste compromised. It is just rather difficult to believe that this light, sleek bottle contains as much wine as the original glass bottle. The Tread Lightly Merlot 2008 and Sauvignon Blanc 2010 are available exclusively at Pick ‘n Pay.

With a rich wine heritage of more than 300 years, Diemersdal Wine Estate and the Louw family that farm it, are icons of the South African wine industry. With six generations of father-to-son winemaking prowess behind it, the estate produces classic-style wines mixing old-world quality with new-world approach. It is the current winemaker, Thys Louw who now brings a contemporary element to the mix by incorporating his passion for the environment with cutting-edge technology. Slick, contemporary packaging by ‘Anthony Lane Design’ highlights this vibrant, classically styled Sauvignon Blanc as this Summer’s must-have table wine. Presenting a brilliant lemon-lime colour, the nose is complex with an array of tropical fruit, ripe figs and gooseberries. These crisp flavours repeat in the mouth, along with a mineral character followed by a long fruity finish. The distinctive aromas support a wonderfully balanced palate, presenting purity of ripe fruit, coupled with a lingering harmonious finish. The website www.sauvignon.com is a trendy yet non-commercial initiative (no adverts, no sales) committed to spreading the word about all things good and green via the fastest information super highway in the world... the web. Boasting the ultimate in design and covering global green issues across the fields of Arts & Culture, Green Visionaries and Green Action; the website appeals to ‘greenies’ and eco warriors as well as the ‘hip and happening’ and just curious. Unique users are tracked and highlighted on the site whilst all visitors are gently encouraged to share links and submit their own eco-friendly news to the team. This break-through concept links wine to web; encouraging education, discussion and ultimately action towards an eco-chic lifestyle becoming a non-negotiable. Visit www.sauvignon.com

Tequila goes loco The Karoo is home to the wild organic agave plant and La Muerte Reposado is a celebration of the powerful and intoxicating drink that comes from it. The ‘heart’ of the carefully selected mature plant is slow-cooked and then crushed to extract a sweet nectar. This nectar is slowly fermented and then quadruple distilled in micro batches to produce a clear, pure spirit with hints of citrus and sweet vanilla. Then the spirit is aged in lightly charred Oak barrels where it mellows and absorbs luscious notes of chocolate and butter. Only 2 500 bottles of this particular La Muerte were produced, so it you haven’t yet tried it, do so before stocks run out. The Tequila is available from & Union, 110 Bree St Cape Town or for deliveries please contact Bianca Esteves on bianca@gabrielcollective.com

Cheers, Darling! During a nine-month road trip through Africa, Kevin and Philippa Wood realised that Darling would be the ideal home for a micro brewery and in March 2010 Darling Brew was born. The design was inspired by the extremely rare geometric tortoise, found only in the Western Cape and Kalahari, and captures Darling Brew’s uniqueness and unhurried character. The beer is crisp and light (4% alcohol), with roasted aromas, is natural (preservative free) and has a four and a half week brewing time. The brewery is focusing on supplying draught and bottled beers to restaurants in Darling and the West Coast Region, but a full list of outlets can be found at www.darlingtourism.co.za and www.darlingbrew.co.za. Alternatively, contact Kevin Wood 082 889 1175 or Philippa Wood 071 901 253 or email wood@darlingbrew.co.za

Bottoms up OBIKWA has also done its bit by being the first wine producer to switch to ultra light 350g Consol glass bottles, which are 25% lighter than the former 450g bottle. This reduces raw material usage, minimises energy consumption and decreases overall weight in terms of storage and distribution. OBIKWA wines are sold country wide at leading stores.

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20 products Klickety Klik!

Rejuvenating Baobab

KLICKEY KLIKS recycled containers

SOiL organis bodycare products

These fun and funky containers, with an easy click opening and closing device, are great for organising clutter or storing and transporting all kinds of things. Bright colours and great designs will brighten up any area of the house or office. Available in small (R35) and large (R45), these clever, colourful containers would make a great gift.

Soil is a South African company producing certified organic Aromatherapy and Bodycare products locally. The BAOBAB range - hand and body wash, hand and body lotion, bath oil, bath salt and a beautifully-fragranced candle - contains organic Baobab oil sourced from a local African community initiative in Limpopo, working with local farmers to create a valuable and sustainable resource and providing economic upliftment opportunities for the local community. Baobab oil has vitamins that rejuvenate and renew the body as well as essential fatty acids that nourish and maintain supple and healthy skin. Priced from R99.95

Body basics WELLNESS WAREHOUSE’S natural body care products

These playfully-inspired products are imbued with multi-sensory stimulating ingredients for deluxe pampering or the ideal gift for a loved one. All products are perfectly natural with NO petrochemicals, sodium laureth sulphate or sodium lauryl sulphates, parabens and NO animal ingredients. Soap bars, shower gel, hand wash, body lotion, body butter, foam bath and sugar scrub are available in four variants: Bamboo and Green Tea; Rose and Lavender; Vanilla; and Honey Grapefruit. Priced from just R19.95

Electricity free washday SPUTNIK WONDER WASH washing machine

Cooking with coconut KAPRUKA ORGANIC VIRGIN COCONUT OIL

Virgin coconut oil, used for centuries and considered to be the healthiest oil for cooking, is now available in South Africa. It has the lowest calorie count, no transfats are formed during heating and the oil speeds up metabolism and reduces cardiovascular disease. These are just some of the health benefits. It can be used for frying and cooking, baking, as a salad dressing, a spread or an energy booster. It also has numerous beauty applications nourishing skin and hair on every application. Priced at in R35.95 (200ml) and R74.95 (500ml).

A dinky, eco-friendly washing machine that doesn’t need electricity, uses much less soap and water, is portable and excellent for delicates and hand wash items. A patented high pressure system pumps soapy water into fabric to deliver clean laundry in just a few minutes. This small wonder weighs only 2.5kg when empty and takes up to its own weight per load. Use biodegradable soap and you can wash outside and use the run-off water in your garden. It is ideal for singles, small families, camping and holidays, and at only R399 is very affordable.

Naturally clean EARTHSAP’S cleaning products

This range of non-toxic, biodegradable household products are made from pure, simple ingredients that contain no phosphates and fragranced with the purest essential oils are safe for family, pets and the environment. Products in the range include a fruit and vegetable wash, all purpose cleaner that is great for home, car or office; laundry solutions, liquid soap, toilet cleaner, window cleaners and a heavy duty cleaner and degreaser. Earthsap’s dishwash liquid cleans and degreases, is kind to sensitive skins and leaves no harmful residue on dishes. The products are concentrated so and a little goes a long way. Prices start at R16.95.

All products available at Wellness Warehouse online store: http://www.wellnesswarehouse.com/shop/. For further information about Wellness Warehouse or any queries, call 0860 LIVE LIFE or visit www.wellnesswarehouse.com


products 21 Island chocolate treat MADECASSE chocolate

Great chocolate starts with great cocoa and chocolatiers consider Madagascan cocoa the best in the world on which to base their creations. The island’s soil is perfectly suited for cocoa and farmers cultivate each pod by hand in a naturally organic environment. The result is a rare cocoa bean that produces the unique and fruity flavours in Madecasse (pronounced mah-DAYcas) chocolate. If you like the strong flavour of dark chocolate without the bitterness, then the bold and smooth 70% cocoa is the perfect choice. R39.95

Gourmet on the go ‘COOK ME’ food flavours

is an Italian-inspired local product offering delicious, fun and wholesome all-in-one meals for food lovers or those who just don’t have time to cook but want meals with more flavour than additives. Fresh veggies and other ingredients are dehydrated into handy mixes that only need water, a dash of olive oil and some pasta or couscous. No preservatives, colourants or flavourants are needed because only the freshest ingredients are used. No one will know you haven’t been cooking in the kitchen for hours. Priced from R32.95 to R74.95.

Crystal power

Pure water on tap

Crystal Salt Lamps

BRITA Fill and Go bottle

These lamps create a harmonious and calming environment while emitting healing negative ions into the atmosphere. These ions balance the harmful effects of positive ions generated through electromagnetic radiation from electric equipment like computers, televisions, fridges and microwave ovens. Studies also show that negative ions provide relief from symptoms of allergies. The lamps radiate a soft, warm glow, creating a relaxing and soothing ambience in any room in the home. They make excellent night lights for children as they have calming effect and improve sleep. R350 to R650

While tap water may be safe to drink it can contain chlorine, pesticides, heavy metals and other impurities, but bottled water is expensive and the plastic exacts a heavy toll on the environment. Brita is renowned for its cost effective solutions and now, the Fill and Go bottle delivers clear, great tasting water anywhere, anytime. The filter is in the 700ml leak proof bottle and filters tap water instantly. Each bottle filters 57 litres of clear, great tasting water. Ideal for school, yoga classes, walks, in the car and at work. R99.00

Hey, good cooking! Oh me, oh mayo ODED’S MAYONNAISE

While everyone agrees that fresh, homemade mayonnaise is best, not everyone has the time or skills required to make their own. Oded’s contains fresh, free range egg yolks, mustard, virgin olive and sunflower oils, and other carefully selected ingredients for a delicious, smooth and velvety sauce. Available in two variants – Classic and Baonnaise – and priced at R29.95.

‘GREEN PAN’ pots and pans

The questionable chemical effects given off from conventional non-stick pans and their tendency to chip and be easily marked by wire scourers has not given them an overarching seal of approval in the kitchen. Green Pan’s range of pots and pans makes non-stick cooking safe and easy. Its revolutionary nonstick surface is corrosion and abrasion resistant, and guaranteed not to release harmful fumes. The pans are also very easy to clean. Priced from R229.99 to R369.99

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22 art & books

everyONE counts Art gives hope to abandoned babies By michele beatham

artists to watch

L

ara Mellon’s passion for life, her love of people and the earth, and her generosity of spirit is evident within moments of chatting with her. What sets her apart, however, are two things: a commitment to channel this passion constructively and refusing to be overwhelmed and incapacitated in the face of constant tragedy. So when Michael Sutcliffe, city manager of Durban, stated that if even 1 000 sex workers fell pregnant during the World Cup it would be a minor problem in a city of four to five million, Lara knew she had to do something. Her idea: to create and sell artwork to raise awareness and help Shepherd’s Keep, a KwaZulu Natal orphanage for abandoned babies. Originally intended as a personal project, little did she know that this single action would set in place a series of events and

synchronicities beyond anything she imagined. Lara shared her original idea with friends via email and Facebook. They in turn shared it with others, and so it grew until requests to be part of this initiative streamed in from around the world. Through the single action of one woman and the power of technology, everyONE counts was born. Interestingly, Lara has always believed that art and technology and systems are able to intertwine harmoniously, as evidenced by the successful combination of a full time corporate career with Deloitte and her life as an artist. Her art often explores the relationship between natural and man made. Hundreds of artists from around the world – from the famous able to demand exorbitant amounts for their work to the novice just beginning to explore their talent – committed to creating a 30cm x 30cm piece of art, each

everyONE counts exhibition All the art, including pieces

already sold, will be on display at The Quays in Durban from 25 November to 18 December. Due to logistics this will be the only group exhibition, so it you are going to be in the Durban area during this time, be sure not to miss it. You may even find that perfect gift for yourself or a loved one. Details at www.everyonecounts.co.za

book review

Beginner’s Guide to Earthworm Farming by Mary Murphy, R120

The Beginner’s Guide to Earthworm Farming provides you with all the information you need on these remarkable creatures and how important they are to the functioning of all life on Earth. In addition, this book contains simple, easy-to-implement tips on many important environmental issues currently facing us, including: • How earthworms benefit the environment, your garden and the economy

representing the voice of one abandoned baby. Well over 500 have been received with many more still arriving. Some artists have donated more than one work. Each piece is on sale online for exactly R1 000, regardless of who the artist is, making it affordable and accessible, thus emphasising again the message that everyone counts equally. Buyers include businesses buying multiple pieces for offices and boardrooms, avid collectors, those who would ordinarily be intimidated by visiting galleries and purchasing original art, and people around the world. Lara mentions an enquiry she received from Greenland; that people live in the frozen landscapes of the Arctic Circle is a wonder, never mind that they shop online to purchase art from a small city in South Africa in order to support a cause that could so easily be dismissed as of no concern to someone so far away. Another series of synchronous events began with Lara meeting for the first time a second cousin (the partner of a participating artist) in KwaZulu Natal, and culminating in a call from a young African woman now living in the United Kingdom, who wanted Lara to know that she was once one of those abandoned babies. These are just two stories in an infinite number, many of which will remain untold. They stand as testimony to the intertwining of art and technology to which Lara refers, as well as evidence of the extent to which one single action can generate outwards to affect and influence others who will, in turn, do the same. We can never know the full extent and impact of any one of our actions, but as Lara asks, do we need to? Perhaps knowing that that they can and do affect events and people far beyond our comprehension and

that ultimately we are indeed all connected, intertwined, is enough. And perhaps looking beyond the narrow confines of our personal daily struggles and extending ourselves in even the smallest way is not the privilege of a few, but the responsibility of every ONE of us. To learn more about the project or to view and buy the artworks on sale, visit www.everyonecounts.co.za. Lara can be contacted at lara@everyonecounts.co.za

everyONE counts @ school After being inundated with re-

quests from school pupils and teachers around the world, everyONE counts @ school was created. Schools are encouraged to create art and raise funds for the project, for their schools, or both. Excellent resources, including instructions, suggestions and lesson plans, are available for download at www.everyonecounts.co.za

• The role earthworms play in reducing carbon emissions and removing heavy metals and toxins from our soil • How you can set up your own earthworm farm or compost heap • Recycling, how waste negatively impacts water and the environment and how to effectively reduce waste Mary Murphy is the co-founder, managing director and owner of FullCycle (www.fullcycle.co.za) an eco-business in Noordhoek, Cape Town, owned and managed by women. She is a committed environmental activist and educator who consequently became a businesswoman. She is currently

studying towards her PhD in environmental education at Rhodes University. Published by Penguin Books SA ISBN: 9780143026761

Win

Penguin Books is giving away three copies of this book. To win one, email your details to michele@lifeinbalance. co.za with ‘Earthworm Farming’ in the subject line before 31 December 2010. One entry per person.


the directory 23

thedirectory your resource guide to sustainable living & green design

W

hen we make the choice to seek a balanced, natural lifestyle and reduce our impact on the earth’s resources, one of the most important criteria is to become a conscious consumer. Each of our choices makes a difference. But shopping around for the right product or service can be both time consuming and confusing. Life in Balance introduces The Directory, an online resource guide to the best goods and services for sustainable living. Whether you need a landscaper, a water-saving shower head, a natural remedy, clothing, cosmetics, pet food, the most natural and organic products for your baby, local or handmade goods, or looking for importers, manufacturers and distributors of the best in natural, sustainable products, The Directory will point you in the right direction. With up to 250 new listings in over 125 categories and sub categories added each week, The Directory aims to become South Africa’s most comprehensive, user-friendly resource guide to sustainable living, products, goods & services. An added bonus is that with the generous support of our advertisers we feature regular special offers, selected discounts giveaway and competitions for Life in Balance readers. To ensure you don’t miss out, visit www.lifeinbalance.co.za and subscribe to our monthly newsletter, filled with the most interesting news, innovations, design, food and drink, art, books, health and wellness, travel and of course, great competitions and giveaways.

LIFE IN BALANCE ECO DOODLE Life in Balance is giving away ten Eco Doodles, the eco-friendly, 320-page journal and resource guide. The Life in Balance Eco Doodle is not a diary. It’s a journal, an ideas book, a message pad, a sketch pad; it’s whatever your life (or imagination) dictates. Included are great tips for the workplace and home, a guide to toxic chemicals, recycling, and much more.

Win

Email michele@lifeinbalance.co.za by 31 January 2011, with “Eco Doodle Giveaway” in the subject line. Follow us on Facebook http://on.fb.me/hY1QaF or Twitter http://twitter.com/lifeinbalancesa for an automatic entry into the draw.

Vondi’s holistic pet nutrition Vondi’s Holistic Pet Nutrition is an economically-priced, registered nutritional pet food that is natural, wholesome and free of preservatives and uses real meat, real veggies, olive oil and freshly picked herbs. Vondi’s also stocks a number of pet natural remedies to ensure optimum health and wellness.

15% discount

Life in Balance readers can enjoy a 15% discount on all products when shopping at the Vondis online store. Full info at http://bit.ly/libmag.

JOIN the directory

List your product or service for only R150 per month or R1 500 per year (two months free). This includes a detailed listing with supporting images and comprehensive exposure via the website and to 45 000 subscribers via our digital newsletter Contact michael@lifeinbalance. co.za or telephone 082 573 3035 for details. For a free, basic listing contact michele@lifeinbalance.co.za

ALL THINGS NATURAL All Things Natural’s gorgeous, handmade bath and body products include a centuriesold healing ingredient – Fynbos, and are available retail and wholesale, or specially packaged for the hospitality industry, weddings, events and corporate gifts. The Fynbos ‘Refresh’ cooling mists, using the same amazing All Things Natural fragrance, are ideal for hot summer days and nights.

Win

Win one of 20 Fynbos ‘Refresh’ cooling mists. Visit http://bit.ly/libmag to enter. Competition closes 31 January 2011. One entry per person.

GREEN HOME Green Home’s comprehensive range of products is made from natural and renewable resources. The compostable flower pots are made from recycled cardboard, wood shavings, straw and discarded winery mulch. Use to plant seeds and seedlings, then either use as a pot or plant directly into the ground, where it adds nutritious compost as it biodegrades.

Win

Green home is giving one reader the chance to win a flower pot. See http://bit.ly/libmag for details. Competition closes 31 January 2011. One entry per person.

AFRICAN ORGANICS African Organics’ affordable, natural and organic hair and body care uses wild sourced ingredients from Africa, which facilitates the upliftment and empowerment of local communities. Their products contain no parabens or harmful chemicals. African Organics has introduced handy 40ml travel sizes available in four variants: shampoo, conditioner, body wash and body lotion.

Win

Win one of five travel sets (containing all four products). Visit http://bit.ly/libmag to enter. Competition closes 31 January 2011. One entry per person.

Life in Balance plants a tree with Greenpop for every featured listing in the directory

A selection of the latest Directory listings

African Organics: 100% natural range of hair and body care products African Relish Recreational Cooking School: cooking fun & learning in the village of Prince Albert in the Karoo. All Things Natural Fynbos Products: gorgeous fynbos-based bath and body products Andrea Powers Physiotherapist: Andrea offers an holistic approach to treating clients. Baobody: made with natural & organic ingredients & fragranced with essential oil blends. Biobox: Total Water Cycle ManagementTM to minimise demand & maximise recovery and reuse. Biowashball & Aleppo Soap: body & laundry washing the green way; safe for children, animals & environment. Caramia: a fine jewellery design house creating hand made pieces. Clearer Conscience: residential and corporate recycling, excellent rates and reliable service. Creative Videos & Photography: your special occasion is documented with fun, natural and elegant pictures. Eco Diapers - Stegi: re-usable, shaped 100% cotton nappies, safer & healthier for baby & environment. Ecoproducts: a rich and nourishing oil to help alleviate general dry skin conditions. Enchantrix: organic products doing the least possible damage to the earth and its creatures. Esse Organic Skincare: professional, certified-organic products with unique anti-ageing active ingredients Green Home Products: SA’s leading 100% biodegradable & compostable food packaging supplier. Handheld Labyrinth: tranquillity at your fingertips! Healthmakers: best quality healthy lifestyle equipment, from juicers to water filters. Hoblett: online shop offering 100% Pure Wool clothing, bedding & gift range for babies & toddlers. Hot Chilli: seriously hot and tasty, handmade chilli sauces and condiments Hotelstuff/Greenstuff: a directory of green, eco friendly products and services; green consulting & auditing. Insynch Sustainable Technologies: solar & wind solutions; earth, straw bale, adobe, cob & rammed earth building, management & consulting services. Jai Yoga: Ashtanga, Bikram, Vinyasa, Yoga Nidra, pregnancy, kids & tots, meditation, massage & more. Martec: photo voltaic and wind turbine energy supply systems for off-grid applications. Natural Vibrance: supplemental nutrition that supports human biochemistry. PetAlive natural remedies for animals: helping you to help your pets, naturally Sanaka Health: distributors of quality natural health care supplements Soaps from Chardine: pure goats’ milk soap bars providing particular relief for skin conditions SOiL Organic Aromatherapy and Skincare: pure aromatherapy & skincare products certified organic by ECOCERT. SoyLites: pure, handcrafted moisturising & massage candles hand poured in SA with love. Swedish Spike Mat: pain relief, relaxation, restful sleep & relief for tired, aching muscles. Think! Shoes: stylish, trendy, unique, and extremely comfortable health shoes. Vice BreakerTM: the effective, natural way to quit smoking for good. Vondi’s Holistic Pet Nutrition: natural feeding using real meat, real veggies, olive oil and fredhly picked herbs. Weleda Health: staff trained in nutrition, vitamins, homeopathy & herbs, with sound knowledge of conventional therapies & medicine.


Life in Balance issue 11  

inspiring a sustainable culture - one person can make a difference

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