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November 2017

Dear <<First Name>>

Ten years ago myself and my sons – Ruben and Lucas – started up the Green Times. How can I possibly witness the destruction of all our children’s futures and not do something? So this was for them. This year Ruben and I worked without funding and refused to give up. The sad story of our planet is too critical to drop now, rather we must dig in our heels and try even harder. Thank you Ruben.

But even worse came to pass this year. The saddest discovery was made that my Lucas has no kidney function left. His life is in grave and imminent danger. Right now. The past 8 months have been unreal as we embraced the shock and came to accept that his life is changed forever. This month we launched a fundraiser to make it possible for him to have a kidney transplant and get his life back. Please be so kind as to read our story below and help us make this possible.

Environmental causes of kidney failure are legion. This could have and can still happen to any of us. As our world becomes more toxic our filters become overworked and can give in. At any age we are all at risk. This is an epidemic not only in South African but worldwide.

We will contribute regular updates on our journey and share kidney information and education. How do we protect ourselves? What are the early signs? Let’s become informed and do what we can.

We consume our environment through our senses. Through what we inhale, smell, hear, eat, drink, apply to our skin. Even through what we read and consume via electronic devices. In the end we ARE our environment. As we destroy it we perish too. We are Nature. Not until we return to a humble place in the cycle of life will mankind thrive again.

Thank you for caring and sharing

Warm wishes
Elma and Ruben

Please find more events and stories on our website, and support our work here.

Help Lucas get a kidney transplant

At 27 my son Lucas was diagnosed with end stage kidney disease (ESKD). This shocking discovery was made in March 2017. Suddenly my boy’s carefree and successful young life completely changed.

Environmental toxins that cause kidney disease and failure

Toxins present in the environment are a common but under-appreciated cause of kidney disease and kidney failure.

Community-run recycling initiative receives much-needed equipment

The Tembisa Self Help Association of the Disabled (T-SHAD) is a community based development programme initiated in 1990.

Finally, Kenya effects ban on plastic bags

Susan Khalayi, a shopper in Nairobi walks out of a supermarket in the city’s central business district carrying foodstuff, mostly fruits. The goods are packed in an eco-friendly, reusable bag made of cloth.

Our planet is doomed unless ocean health improves, says yachtswoman

She’s witnessed awe-inspiring sights at sea, but yachtswoman Dee Caffari (photographed, right) has also been left “dumbfounded” by the vast floating islands of plastic and rubbish she has seen in the world’s oceans.

Emma Thompson spends a week in the Arctic

Actresses Emma Thompson and Michelle Thrush brought their daughters along on a Greenpeace trip to the Norwegian Arctic, pledging their support for Clyde River’s seismic testing challenge among other ocean causes.

World scientists’ warning to humanity: a second notice

In late 1992, 1,700 scientists from around the world issued a dire “warning to humanity.” They said humans had pushed Earth’s ecosystems to their breaking point and were well on the way to ruining the planet.

The Clothing Bank wins awards for social entrepreneurship

The hard work and dedication of two social entrepreneurs who launched The Clothing Bank with the aim of empowering people from impoverished communities, was recently honoured with two prestigious awards.

Using theatre to teach SA’s youth the importance of recycling

Are we being devoured by the diabolical waste monster we have created?

Elephant trophies to be allowed back into the US

The Trump administration plans to allow trophies from elephants hunted legally in Zimbabwe and Zambia to be brought into the US, a reversal of Obama-era policy.

Global deal to limit use of HFCs a win in the battle against climate change

A global deal to limit the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in the battle to combat climate change is a “monumental step forward”, John Kerry, the US secretary of state, has said.

Norway sued over Arctic oil exploration plans

The Norwegian government is being sued by climate activists over a decision to open up areas of the Arctic Ocean for oil exploration, a move they say endangers the lives of existing and future generations.

Scale of ‘nitrate timebomb’ revealed

Huge quantities of nitrate chemicals from farm fertilisers are polluting the rocks beneath our feet, a study says.

Beaufort West runs out of water

Beaufort West has run out of dam water and may soon also run out of borehole water. The town’s main water source, the Gamka Dam, is completely dry and is now a scene of dead fish and cracked mud.

Disposable diapers a growing threat to African rivers

Since the invention of disposable baby diapers in the 1960s, consumption has sky-rocketed. Along with the increase in use of disposables come numerous environmental consequences.

The rhino killing fields of KwaZulu-Natal

Conservationists warned that the lifting of the ban on the South African domestic trade in rhino horn would spell an all out war on South Africa’s remaining rhino.

5-year-old spinal defect sufferer gets a gift of mobility

The life of 5-year old Buhlebenkosi Mene from Kraaifontein was forever changed thanks to the donation of a much-needed wheelchair that was purchased for her through the Breadtags for Wheelchairs Project and the DHL Western Province rugby team.

Five things the Bonn climate talks need to achieve

The world’s leaders are meeting – again – for talks on climate change at the 23rd Conference of the UN climate treaty parties in Bonn, Germany.

Young entrepreneur brings solar solutions to townships

Invented by social entrepreneur James van der Walt, the SolarTurtle recently scooped a win at the Inventors Garage at the 2017 SABC Education SA Innovation Summit, walking away with R10k.

Firm ‘no’ to fracking in KwaZulu-Natal

A company wanting to explore the province for natural gas has admitted that “fracking is a possible end goal”.

Eskom’s expensive new nuclear station a contentious issue

The Department of Environmental Affairs on Friday endorsed Eskom’s plan to build a nuclear power station at Duynefontein on the Western Cape coast‚ near the Koeberg power station.

Climate litigation creates a strong mandate for global climate action

Two years ago, a courageous law student, Sarah Thomson (pictured, right), sued the New Zealand Government over its weak climate targets. Now she’s made history.

Sanitary toilet solutions for a water scarce Cape

As we reduce the amount of water in our sewage system by flushing less and reducing the volumes of water per flush there is, logically, less water to transport sewage away.

Fukushima operator can restart nuclear reactors at world’s biggest plant

The operator of Japan’s stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has been given initial approval to restart reactors at another atomic facility.

Cape stone fruit farmers develop water wise strategy

There has been very little relief from the drought that has been plaguing the Western Cape for the majority of 2017.

The risks of building a temporary desalination plant to ease Cape water crisis

While desalination is considered as a solution to our taps running dry, we also need to be realistic as to how safe the desalinated “fresh water” will be.

Natural gas emissions will blow Europe’s carbon budget at current levels

Governments have drastically underestimated methane emissions from natural gas and will miss the Paris agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 2C unless they urgently scale down its use, a major new study has found.

Cape Town water crisis: heading for ecological suicide?

With the drought currently being experienced, Cape Town is quite possibly on track for a total system failure in 2018.

Gordon’s Bay roads closed as Sir Lowry’s fire encroaches

A fire has spread across an extensive area of vegetation on mountain slopes along Sir Lowry’s Pass, the City of Cape Town said on Tuesday.

Alarm at seabed destruction from SA phosphate mining

If you imagine fish as birds of the ocean, they fly through forests and over fields teeming with roots and creatures that form the base of the sea’s food web and upon which its health depends.

Let’s stop Coke from killing our seabirds

Up to 12 million tonnes of plastic entering the sea every year. This is affecting sea life – one in 3 turtles and 90% of seabirds are now estimated to have ingested plastic, and it is even ending up on our plates.

Onshore natural gas production coming to South Africa

An integrated alternative and renewable energy business has received a positive environmental authorisation on Tetra4’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) by the Petroleum Agency of South Africa (PASA).

Newly appointed energy minister rushes nuclear deal

As Energy Minister David Mahlobo forces his nuclear power plans into action, officials at his department are working weekends to finalise the country’s reviewed integrated energy resource plan – four months ahead of schedule.

Mpumalanga sewage spill contaminates fresh water

All waste water-treatment plants owned by Mpumalanga’s 17 municipalities are leaking effluent and polluting fresh water sources such as rivers and wetlands.

Packaging industries raise R45 000 for new seabird hospital

The SA plastics and packaging industries managed to raise an incredible R45 000 last week by inviting companies and individuals to pledge funds for a much-needed seabird hospital in Table View.

Writing love letters to our rapidly dwindling forests

This summer, the world lost a Nebraska-size chunk of forests. Logging, expanding palm oil plantations and wildfires are to blame. This continuing deforestation trend could have devastating implications for the climate.

How do we prevent wildfires in drought-killed forests?

With 17 large wildfires in California igniting in 24 hours this week, October is shaping up to be a brutal month for wildfires once again.
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