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December 2017


Dear <<First Name>>

I don’t know anyone who has escaped a gruelling 2017. Maybe some elitists who still feel cushioned against the harsh realities humanity is facing? Yet even there, with the holy cows beginning to tumble, anxiety has increased.

Hammering nature for so long, we have now joined the hammering too. Many have suffered for many years before us. One with earth there is no escape. So with her we too are transformed.

Ten years ago the Green Times set out to issue the warnings, share the science, inspire change. Transport the side-lined green news onto the main stage. Issue the stewardship call to all.

There is this peculiar thing about the human race that environmentalists – the rare minority who recognise patterns leading to disaster - fight against. The tendency for disbelief in the face of that which we don’t WANT to see. And so a year ago I realised it was time to surrender to this fact, keep spreading the news, but accept that my specie needs a lesson. That the masses will only wake up once the crises roll out. That it’s unavoidable. And so it came this year.



Greywater tomato teepee thriving despite the drought

Suddenly Cape Town speaks water. The drought is hard and persistent. You cannot flush, bath, water, or keep your plants alive. Forget about clean cars. I have learned I can wash with a cup of water. Add cloth and natural soap. Why have we always used so much? Radio waves buzz with water saving tips, devices, programmes. I speak on a few. Pools run dry and threaten to fall in.  All stress about Day Zero when the City turns off the taps. Today it’s set for 29 April. Finally all hands are on deck. Our lives depend on this precious substance – finally we now GET IT. It is very, very sad. But it is appropriate.

Other readers have survived harsh fires – Knysna was devastated, so too California and so many others across the world. We cannot catch all the disasters anymore, only here and there. We feel with those in terrible floods -  personal and family tragedy.

Over are the decades of warning about the future. For the future is with us now. This was the year of the Big Wake Up.

There are many ways to look at our drought, and politics plays a role, so too badly planned water systems. But the bottom line is that water was never revered as it should have been. Taking Nature for granted for so long we never treasured, protected and saved it in this harsh land of Africa. Efficiency is not a mind-set we grew up with. Now this is the lens through which we should observe all the gifts from nature.

The masses have descended upon our beautiful Cape. Traffic jams choke up our atmosphere. The earth groans under the big Christmas spend. We hold our breaths that the water will last, put up signs, discuss the issue. Hope they understand how scarce and precious our water is.




On the beach I can’t ignore the cans, plastic, glass from last night’s beach party. Assemble it with a heavy heart. I hear that 90% of the world’s ocean rubbish comes from ten rivers. Now perhaps the cause can be pinpointed and addressed. Can we still save our oceans?

We have suffered and we have grown and there is much more to come. Thank you for another year of caring and sharing. For being active and defiant in the face of careless behaviour. For speaking up and driving the change. May Mother Earth bless you richly.

Please support our work here.

Season's greetings,
Elma and Ruben

Cape Town’s water crisis: driven by politics more than drought


Cape Town, South Africa’s second most populous city, is hurtling towards “Day Zero”: the day taps run dry. This is expected in mid-May, just weeks after the city’s new water supplies are due.

Bottled water in demand as Cape Town drought intensifies


In normal times there is no good reason to buy bottled water in Cape Town, but these are not normal times.

Karoo farmers battle for survival amid punishing drought


To anyone passing through Beaufort West, the town seems like a typical, quiet Karoo “dorpie”. But its problems run deep.

Turning the tide on plastic waste at KZN beach clean-ups


Thousands of bags filled with litter were prevented from entering the sea off the KwaZulu-Natal coast this past month thanks to various beach-clean ups organized by the Plastics|SA Sustainability Division.

Blue army mobilises to nurdle disaster


On the 19th of October 2017, during a particularly intense storm, 2 ships collided in Durban Harbour and at least 49 tons of plastic nurdles were lost into the Port from the MSC Susanna and subsequently into the ocean.

Environmental advocate encourages green living


Environmental advocate Trever Sanele Colvelle, from Elandskop near Pietermaritzburg developed a keen interest for environmental conservation during his tertiary studies.

Time is running out to curb energy use in buildings & construction


According to new research, time is running out to reform the buildings and construction sector’s energy performance and keep the Paris Agreement on track.

Nersa grants Eskom a 5.23% electricity tariff increase


The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) on Friday approved a revenue application of R190.348bn for Eskom for the 2018/2019 financial year‚ which will result in an average percentage price increase of 5.23%.

Global ocean protection summit comes to Cape Town


“Volvo Ocean Race’s global platform presents a unique opportunity – and a clear responsibility – to join the race against plastic pollution,” say the organisers

How to recycle your extra rubbish this Christmas


We all have a lot of extra waste at Christmas – but what bins do you put it in and when will it be collected?

Dangerous wildfire erupts as blazes rage across southern California


A dangerous new wildfire has erupted in the upmarket Bel Air area of Los Angeles as firefighters battled three other destructive blazes across southern California.

SA’s plan for renewable energy zones


Solar panels and wind turbines have sprung up like wild flowers across South Africa and by 2030 will be clustered into renewable energy zones known as REDZes.

Rethinking the Bag with 5 Gyres Ambassador Hayley McLellan


In 2010 Hayley McLellan (now the Environmental Campaigner at the Two Oceans Aquarium) launched the Rethink the Bag campaign with the goal of banning single-use plastic shopping bags in South Africa – and she’s making significant progress.

Keeping the water flowing in Johannesburg


Let’s explore some of the critical challenges that South Africa’s large municipalities faces and proposes considerations that need to be taken.

Desks made from recycled waste help schools and the environment


Learners at City Kids Pre – and Primary School in Johannesburg were gifted 15 double – seater school desks made from recycled plastic pledged by Extrupet, PETCO and AKRARA as part of the Joburg City Clean – up earlier this year.

Conservation heroes recognised at 2017 Kudu Awards


Conservation heroes, many of whom risk their lives to protect SA’s natural heritage, have been acknowledged and rewarded at South African National Parks’ (SANParks) Kudu Awards 2017 ceremony.
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