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Dear *|NAME|*

This summer in the meltdown the temperature soars to 49.5C in the shade in my neighbourhood. What saves my life is chilling in the naturalised pool, alias my water reservoir, which some call ‘the dam.’ Might have a derogatory undertone, but I am stone deaf to that insinuation. Funny, the first thing many people ask when they see it is "Do you swim in it?" Upon which I answer, no, I prefer to swim in chemicals...

Of course it is not perfect, but divine in its imperfection. A real Wabi Sabi pool … impermanent and rough at the edges. My guest, a greeny-in-training, does NOT wade in gently, respecting all those we share this space with. He bombs in. Big wave capsizes papyrus plant pot, ejecting resident spider couple across the surface towards us. He shrieks in horror. I hold him back from jumping out. “Trust me, we are not going to die here." Right the plant again. Startled spiders scamper back home.

I remember when my kids were small and used to watch the Bambi move a million times over. There is that point in the story, when the narrator says, with doom in his voice: “MAN … is in the forest.” We all know this spells disaster. Human guilt triggered appropriately in that moment.

Now my guest is super skittish, imagining all sorts of invisible creatures under the water, for indeed during the summer months the water is not clear. Of course a live water body is inhabited and enjoyed by diversity. Each one brings his own brand of magic and makes a precious contribution to the web of life. Now easy to startle, I am tempted to tease him…but select compassion instead.

Our only friends under the water, I say, are little paradise fish. Look here, you can see their babies at the edge. One centimetre long black fingerlings come to peep at us. They don’t have the instinct to avoid ‘man’ yet. But deeper down are the bigger red adults. They are very shy, I explain, you only see them if you sneak up on the pond very quietly. Then they will be sheltering around the lily pads on the steps.

No point telling him at this point about the daphnia – tiny creatures sucking onto the pool walls, eating the algae. Nature’s vacuum cleaners … natural creepy crawlies. (Hence we have never had problems with these green growers.) This might gross him out too much. Slow initiation, I think. After all we are in a live eco system, hence the life force just lifts you out of any climate dump you may have been in.

“You should christen people in this pool,” another friend said yesterday. Indeed, nature does so herself, once you overcome your need for a sad, dead, bleached, blue body called a domestic pool.

Back-to-earth in a domestic garden is a journey of splendid lessons, and hard learning at times. This pool is a gentle but persistent teacher.

No, says my friend, you’re joking. There are no bigger red fish. This is all there is. Like the story of tortoise who thought the dam was all there was, until eagle carried him into the heavens.

We’re standing, a little more relaxed now, in the water, next to the edge. How to dispel this disbelief, I wonder? The next moment a brave red fish hurls himself out of the water, landing on the paving right in front of our noses. As per illustration, here I am!

I reach out, thank him for the cooperation and place him quickly back into the water. Moved, I say wow, how’s THAT? Did you see that? Nah, he says, what’s so strange about that? These fish do NOT jump. Ever!

None so blind as those who would not see. What will it take? To me it was a sacred moment. Nature will teach us, whether we’re ready or not. Time to pay attention. Such a gift. Thank you.
With love

Elma and the team

PS. Remember to keep up with the green events on our calendar and follow us on Facebook.

Flying solar at George Airport

South Africa’s airports are heading towards energy self-sustainability.

Water stewardship during fragile times

Moving through the earth, seeping, dripping, flowing. Increasingly treated and sold as a commodity. The next world war is tipped to be fought over it. It is absolutely vital to all forms of life. Water.

Can African women change the energy business in Africa?

“Over 645 million Africans do not have energy. The un-normal has become normal,” said former Public Service Minister Geraldine Joslyn Fraser-Moleketi at the Africa Energy Indaba, held recently in Johannesburg.

Finding smart insulation for a hot house

How clueless was the building industry about energy efficiency when most of our houses were built? Now we all want to save energy, and relieve the pressure on the national energy supply.

Shenhua coalmine given go-ahead to destroy koala habitat

The Shenhua Watermark coal mine has cleared its final legal hurdle after legal action against it was dismissed.

Meet the woman leading China’s new organic farming army

Opened in 2012, Shared Harvest is not only a completely organic farm, it was also one of the first in China to follow the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model, where consumers buy meat and vegetables directly from producers.

Bordeaux added to pesticide blacklist

Living in a famous wine region like Bordeaux sounds idyllic, but a recent investigation shows it’s not such a hot idea – especially if you have kids.

Nuclear energy just not natural for SA

It is not only a question of whether nuclear energy is affordable, but whether it is right for our nation and planet.

Time has come to prepare for drier conditions ahead

There is a fifth less rainfall over central-east and northern regions of South Asia, due to the warming Indian Ocean – causing the droughts of the past 3 decades.

A new threat to traditional and natural health products

A newly adopted African Union Model Law on Medical Products Regulation and the establishment of an African Medicines Agency threatens to undermine the sovereignty of all African Nation-States in their regulation of medicines.

Nurseries to assist in polystyrene recycling efforts

Seedling trays made from expanded and high impact polystyrene are being collected at certain nurseries around the country for recycling.

Join the call for protection of Cape Town's breadbasket


Avaaz has started a petition addressed to the Western Cape Premier and Mayor of Cape Town, demanding the long-term protection of the Philippi Horticulture Area.

Green Building Council calls for total energy debate in SA


As the country receives Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s 2016 Budget Speech, the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) has called for a total energy debate.

Bring your body and soul into the light in an appropriate setting


Our current consensus reality is built on the idea of production and consumption. Its platform is the marketplace, where everything is “for sale”.

Concern as drilling test off Durban coast is approved


A seismic drilling test off the Durban coast has been approved for next month, but environmentalists say the decision will destroy beaches and marine life.

Fossil fuels subsidised by $10m a minute, says IMF


Fossil fuel companies are benefitting from global subsidies of $5.3 trillion (€4.74 tn) a year, equivalent to $10m a minute every day, according to a startling new estimate by the International Monetary Fund.

Joburg river to be cleaned up as part of Water Week

In celebration of Water Week 2016 Green Beings is hosting River Rehab at the Klein Jukskei Spruit on Saturday the 12th of March from 8:00 – 13:00.

Belgium’s ageing nuclear plants a cause for grave concern


The two cooling towers at Belgium’s Doel nuclear power plant belch thick white steam into a wintry sky, and people across the border in the Dutch town of Nieuw-Namen are on edge.

This Earth Hour, shine a light on climate action


Earth Hour is the world’s biggest grassroots movement for the environment. This year the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is shining a light on one of the most challenging issue of our times – climate change.

Oceans expected to contain more plastics than fish by 2050


The report, “The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the Future of Plastics” was published in January 2016 to coincide with World Economic Forum in Davos.

Protecting our water, the stream of life


In the vastness of our universe water is as rare as life. A miracle element without which life could not exist.

What is the Zika virus epidemic covering up?


Is the Zika virus being used as a scapegoat for Pharma’s dangerous adverse effects?

Nigerian woman weaves wonders from water weeds


Along the Niger Delta, an abundance of vivid purple flowers are blooming gently on the surface of the water, adding a touch of colour to the inland waterways.

Western Cape needs R88m to help drought-hit farmers


The Western Cape government needs R88m to avert total disaster for farmers whose livelihoods have been decimated by the drought in parts of the province.

Sustainable taxi rank comes to Nomzamo


An informal taxi rank in Lwandle, Somerset West has recently been appointed with solar panels on the roof, washing facilities for minibus taxis, kiosks for informal traders and bathroom facilities for commuters.

Eco education for teachers a major gap in SA


More than 80% of current teachers were educated in the past segregated system, when environmental education did not feature in teacher education, or in the curriculum, shows a national research study.

South Africa: Stop this criminal devastation of the Transkei ecology


Now you can voice your concern about the toxic spraying in the Transkei.

Humanity born in a Mossel Bay cave 164,000 years ago?


The Pinnacle Point Man is a name given to a group of homo sapiens believed to have lived in a cave at Pinnacle Point, Mossel Bay some 164,000 years ago.

Pakistan needs 20% more forest for healthy environment


Pakistan needs to raise its forest cover from 5% to 25% to meet its economic, employment and green environment needs, according to researchers at Preston Institute of Management Science and Technology.

Health impacts of climate change: waterborne diseases


Because climate change increases the severity and frequency of some major precipitation events, communities - especially in the developing world - could be faced with elevated disease burden from waterborne diseases.

Critical water resources gobbled up by alien invasives


As South Africa continues to battle the drought which is further impacting on already scarce water supplies, the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) is implementing measures to conserve wetlands – a primary source of fresh water.
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