Your monthly green news round-up.
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Dear *|NAME|*

I remember some years ago the big screens in Johannesburg, where Al Gore was showing 450 climate leaders in training some videos of devastating fires increasing planet wide, due to climate change. And the birth of new waterborne diseases – think Zika.

So the heat came this month, the droughts, the fires. Like last year, 100 fires starting up a day in different spots around Cape Town alone – and of course in many other areas. Are we looking at how we contributed towards this problem and what we can do to change that? I was forever hopeful that this would serve as a timeous and urgent wake-up call to our nation, with 5 provinces in drought -  our staple food in jeopardy, and unemployment unofficially up to 40%.

I shudder to think of the consequences to those relying on maize and wheat for something to eat ... and the children competing for drinking water with cows. Imagine handling the oppressive heat without water?

Yet the official response remains wrapped around random and unproven allegations of arson. So, on the hottest and driest days of the year, only, suddenly 100 arsonists manage to simultaneously start fires in different spots all over the place? And as soon as the heat subsides, they go into hiding. Do you believe such a story? What will it take?

Digging a pool regeneration area, John came down with heat stroke. Luckily Ruben had published the story on how to deal with this, so he could respond appropriately. That was two days after I collapsed from heat stroke in the house! Lying under a ceiling fan, I wondered how this happened? Then a neighbour measured 49.5C in the shade…

I spoke on the radio repeatedly, showing parallel lines on graphs between this specific weather and the spontaneous combustion which generates fires. Last year Indonesia burned for 3 months. People had to flee via ships.

We are all in the process of accepting that our civilisation is not sustainable, is destroying our environment and is on a dangerous self-destructive path. Some call it terminal narcissism. 

We cycle through the 5 stages of grief, as this is such a shocking realisation to embrace.  The bulk of the world is indeed still in stage 1, denial. Some remain stuck in anger for long, and dip in and out of depression. Of course we need to go through all of these feelings and none are ever wrong. I value all those with the courage to feel. We need more...

We run a Facebook community for those in the mourning process, where we support each other. It helps to share with others across the world and to understand that this is a ‘normal’  process, given the reality of this planet. It is a closed group, but you can apply to join, if this feels like a good place for you.

And so I had to embrace another level of acceptance - that probably the masses are NOT going to wake up, no matter how bad things get. Sho, that was hard, but I am surrender now.

In the end we are all co-responsible to a more or less degree. I cannot point any fingers without appreciating that I too am enjoying the comfort of fossil fuel energy to run my home and drive where I want to be. My loo still flushes with drinking water, though we are halfway there... I appreciate that we did not create these systems, we inherited them, but we still reap the benefits. Now is the time to change the way we live, if's the last thing we do.

So what to do during this year when the elephant in the room can no longer be ignored? I am devoted to manifesting a harmless life, with the help of my friends. I will be blogging the journey, share what I learn. No, it will not save the world, it is simply my gift back to the planet that gave me life. The least I can do.
Enjoy the January sweep and please spread the news.
With love

Elma and the team

PS. Remember to keep up with the green events on our calendar and lots more news on our Facebook page.

The Zika virus foreshadows our dystopian climate future

The Zika virus has the potential to reach epidemic proportions – possibly around the globe. Understanding the causes of the outbreak is vital to curbing it.

How safe is PET plastic?

Some people wonder about the safety of PET plastic. Many rumours abound … time to look at the science behind this material.

Zika outbreak epicenter in same area GM mosquitoes were released

The Zika virus has the potential to reach epidemic proportions – possibly around the globe. Understanding the causes of the outbreak is vital to curbing it.

Vietnam drops coal from future energy plans

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has signalled a reduced role for new coal fired power stations in the country’s forthcoming power plans and an expanded role for renewable energy.

Icebergs show up four months early off Newfoundland

From pole to pole the ice is melting. Winter is retreating. And much of life and even the seasons themselves appear to have been thrown off-kilter.

Rhino poaching stabilised in SA as threat spreads across continent

South Africa announced its first decrease in rhino poaching since 2007, but this slight improvement was offset by an alarming increase in the number of rhinos killed in neighbouring countries.

Nuclear goes ahead, despite omission from NDC

Nuclear was not part of the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC document), which our country submitted to COP21 ahead of the conference. Yet now we are going ahead with nuclear?

GM maize most probably toxic to animals over the long term

When German farmer Gottfried Glöckner began feeding his cows on GM maize in 1998, he noticed strange symptoms such as partial paralysis and kidney problems developing in his animals.

Massive earthquake cuts power to thousands in Alaska


A major earthquake struck early Sunday morning off the Alaskan coast, the United States Geological Survey said.

Zuma signs away our access to natural health


President Jacob Zuma has signed the Medicines and Related Substances Amendment Bill 6 of 2014 into law in terms of section 84(2) of the Constitution.

Drought relief: animal feed urgently needed in Free State


Of major concern is the condition of tens of thousands of animals as they are facing thirst and hunger in the absence of feed.

UN food agency says 14 million face hunger in SA


About 14 million people face hunger in Southern Africa because of a drought that has been exacerbated by an El Nino weather pattern, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said on Monday.

Water relief efforts intensify amid national drought


A wave of volunteers are bringing water to drought-stricken areas of our country.

Courts prevent controversial Tsitsikamma fishing

The Department of Environmental Affairs has been ordered by the High Court to cease all recreational angling in the Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area (MPA), with immediate effect.

At least 3 farm structures destroyed in Houwhoek Pass fire


At least three farm structures have already been destroyed in the bush fires raging along the Houwhoek Pass in Overberg district.

Desertification step 1: drought and fires courtesy of climate change


Climate change is making floods, fires and droughts more frequent and severe, by intensifying the circulation of water on, above and below the surface of the Earth.

SIMA celebrates best impact documentaries from around the world


The annual Social Impact Media Awards (SIMA) celebrate the best impact documentaries from around the world that inspire activism, compassion and social transformation.

Antarctic ice sheet instability to cause 10cm sea level rise


The past, present and long term future of the Antarctic ice sheet and its surrounding ice shelves have been news over the past few months.

Taiwan bans GMOs from school lunches and mandates GMO labeling


Even as the fascist, corrupt U.S. government and its regulators actively conspire with the biotech industry, Taiwan has passed and implemented a nationwide law to protect its citizens from GMOs.

Cape Town: days of fire and devastation


As it was announced that a task team had been set up to investigate the many fires that had ravaged the Cape over the summer, police remained tight-lipped about the process underway.

Dealing with heat exhaustion and heatstroke


As we melt our way through SA’s climactic summer, heat exhaustion and heatstroke are two potentially serious conditions that can occur if you get too hot.

Treating soil like dirt is a fatal mistake


Imagine a wonderful world. A planet on which there is no threat of climate breakdown, no loss of freshwater, no antibiotic resistance, no obesity crisis, no terrorism and no war.

Temporary drought relief for Aliwal North


Extra water released from the Katse Dam at the end of last year is expected to reach drought-stricken Aliwal North, an Eastern Cape town on the Orange River.

Water donations crisscrossing the country – all hands on deck


“Harrowing stories from children competing with cows for drinking water to farmers committing suicide, echoes over our barren land.” This from the national drought relief effort Water Shortage South Africa (WSSA).

Global warming slowing ocean circulation, with dire consequences


The Totten Glacier of East Antarctica could unleash over 11 feet of sea level rise in coming centuries. This week brings news of another potential mega-scale perturbation.

Pitch in and help send water to desperate communities


There are communities in South Africa so desperate for water that they are drinking sewage water.

Farmers seek aid as SA weathers worst drought in 24 years


South African farmers may seek international aid as the worst drought in decades threatens a regional food shortage, according to a farmers’ group.

The next great famine


Seven hundred years ago this month, people across northern Europe saw a comet in the sky and feared the worst. They were already running out of food. It had rained too much in 1315—sometimes every day for weeks at a stretch. Wheat, barley, and oats rotted in the fields, and it was too wet to make hay.

The melting Arctic’s dramatic impact on global weather patterns

Arctic sea ice is melting at a record pace – and every summer looks grimmer. This past summer saw the ice pack at its fourth-lowest level on record, and the overall trend in recent decades suggests this will only continue.

South Africa maize prices scale new peaks as drought bites


South African maize prices maintained their record run into 2016, scaling historic highs on Monday amid growing drought concerns and rand weakness.

60 years later, nuclear power survives only on stupendous subsidies


Almost 60 years since the world’s first commercial nuclear power station began to deliver power to the UK’s grid, the industry remains as far from being able to cover its costs as ever, writes Pete Dolack.
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