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Dear *|NAME|*

Welcome to our October sweep in the midst of the first national drought of the new South Africa. Maize farmers can’t plant. Our staple food, upon which our vulnerable people depend, needs rain water. Dams are too low. More maize will have to be imported. The cost of maize has already increased by 40 to 50%. The bulk of our wheat is being imported – this will have to increase too.

According to water expert, Dr. Anthony Turton, only 20% of the country’s 5000 billion litres of sewage generated per day is treated to ‘reasonable standards.’ All sewage flows back into the rivers, often first back into drinking water. The bulk – around 4000 megalitres - flows downstream, untreated, towards the sea. Farmers irrigate out of these rivers. With extremely low rivers now … you get the picture.

“We are on the brink of a sewage catastrophe,” said Anthony.

No wonder extreme swimmers, Andrew Chin and Henko Roukema, were forced to abandon their brave attempt to swim the length of the Berg River to draw attention to the calamity of our rivers. Everyone, including the backup team, were too ill to continue. Thank you for trying. We get the picture.

The hottest temperature measured anywhere in the world ever during October was clocked this month in Vredendal. What a dubious world record. You know in Africa the effects of climate change are twice what they are in the rest of the world. El Nino is frying us … brace for impact.

So what to do? Scrutinize your water bill with a fine comb. Where is all this water going to? I have made a number of adaptations in my household, saving at least 2232 litres per month. And my garden is thanking me for it. A tiny difference, but we cannot stop there. There are many more things to do. How much water do we really need to live? There are unlimited ways to adapt, as long as you just DO it now. The more we respond, the less despondent we feel. “Action is the antidote to despair.’ Get outside the old entitled boxes and be creative. How did we ever get to flush our toilets with drinking water? I think this is the biggest environmental sin in Africa.

November is our last month to gather the forces to mobilize the world leaders to stop climate change at COP21 in December. Was there ever a more serious issue? Make sure you join a march near you. For once we need total solidarity for humanity’s sake. After causing the demise of thousands of species with our industrial life and work styles, we are now fighting for our own species too. Don’t numb out on this information. There is work to do. Join a march, speak up, show you care, live your truth and set an example.

It is when problems look insurmountable, that our ultimate potential is liberated. Rise to the occasion!

With love

Elma and the team

PS. Keep up with the green events on our calendar and lots more news on our Facebook timeline.

People’s Climate March Cape Town calls everyone to join in solidarity

What will it take to finally achieve total intergenerational and interracial solidarity for the sake of our future on this planet?

SA sets temp record while tropical cyclone brews in Arabian Sea

Earth’s hottest temperature ever recorded in the month of October occurred on Tuesday, October 27, 2015 in South Africa, when Vredendal hit a remarkable 48.4°C (119.1°F).

KZN to declare drought emergency

As rivers and boreholes dry up and below average rainfall is expected, the KwaZulu-Natal executive council has announced it intends declaring eight areas to be in a “state of disaster”.

Orangutans are dying as Indonesia burns

Indonesia is on fire. Right now, tens of thousands of small forest fires are burning across the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, the only habitats for orangutans and other rare species.

Berg River swim cut short by high water pollution and low flow

High water pollution levels and exceptionally low flows have forced extreme swimmers Andrew Chin and Henko Roukema to abandon their awareness-raising quest to swim the length of the Berg River.

First national drought in new SA have farmers giving up


Ficksburg is ground zero for drought in the Free State. The trickle of farmers selling up and moving to the coast is growing into a stream.

Afghanistan-Pakistan earthquake leaves hundreds dead


More than 260 people have died, mostly in Pakistan, after a magnitude-7.5 earthquake hit north-eastern Afghanistan.

Hurricane Patricia a sign of things to come


Last week, Hurricane Patricia made landfall in Mexico. It was the strongest hurricane ever recorded.

Governments need to act fast to avoid climate chaos


Climate change will breed financial crises and plummeting living standards unless leading states force companies to be transparent about their true carbon emissions, governor of the Bank of England (BoE) Mark Carney has said.

Climate change spurs raging wildfires from Indonesia to Brazil


There is “no way human intervention can put out the fires,” said Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, Malaysia’s Minister of Natural Resources and Environment on the issue of Indonesian wildfires.

How we are all contributing to the destruction of coral reefs: Sunscreen

Did you know that personal care products send cocktails of chemicals into the oceans?

Green throughout win Enviro Awards


Today we don our green hat to honour companies who minimise environmental impact within their supply chains and successfully comply with local and international regulations and green practices throughout their supply chain.

Congrats to the country’s eco champions!


Our editor, Elma Pollard, won a Merit Award in the annual Eco-Logic Awards by the Enviropaedia. We are excited that so many excellent nominations were received. This means our country’s team of green warriors is expanding year on year and that gives us hope.

Adidas unveils sports shoes made from recycled ocean waste


An imaginative British designer has come up with a way to make takkies out of ocean waste.

Environmental Media Award winners announced


Congratulations to the environmental journalists who won this year’s SAB Environmental Media and Media Environmentalist Awards.

Young scientists from Africa to meet Germany’s sustainability elite


Two South African winners are amongst a group of leading young scientists from 20 countries who are meeting Germany’s sustainability research elite this month.

PVC products enjoy spotlight at recycled product of the year awards


Do not fall for the popular misconception that  PVC is not recyclable. South Africa saw a 3.9 % increase in the total amount of PVC, or vinyl, diverted from landfill in 2014 (18 488 tons).

10,000 farms to be explored in dubious KZN gas rights deal


A one-man show run from a shared office block in Cape Town has obtained the largest exploration rights in KwaZulu-Natal.

Major no to GMO by majority of EU states


Another victory for the anti-GMO lobby as the bulk of the EU members rejec tdangerous GM plants!

Which countries are doing the most to stop dangerous global warming?


In November, nearly 200 countries meet in Paris for UN talks to agree a new climate deal. Find out below how their pledges – known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions or INDCs in UN jargon – compare.

Chinese ‘ivory queen’ charged with smuggling 706 elephant tusks


A Chinese woman dubbed the “ivory queen” for her alleged leadership of one of Africa’s biggest ivory smuggling rings has been captured and charged.

Ten years later, Daisies keeps getting better


Keeping this ever-expanding eco-friendly festival event of epic proportions going for a decade is a feat worth celebrating indeed!

Interfaith lovefest ‘brings hearts and minds together’


Nobody does pageantry like people of faith — and that was decidedly earlier this month when the 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions opened with a lengthy processional in Salt Lake City.

Ugandan women mobilising for change


Let us recognise the various injustices inflicted upon women by extractive models of development.

Constitutional right to natural health products under jeopardy


Does your health depend on natural supplements, remedies or traditional products? Do you know that a proposed new bill is threatening the availability of the products you rely on?

The CEO and the activist: meet renewable energy's odd couple


A year ago, Kumi Naidoo, the head of Greenpeace International, and Francesco Starace, the chief of Italy’s largest utility, were sworn enemies. Now, they’re putting their minds together trying to come up with a way to fight global warming.

Join the Global Climate March chorus

The weekend before the biggest UN climate conference of the decade in Paris, the world will stand together in a weekend of global action at the People’s Climate March.

Pakistan court rules ‘climate council’ needed to protect people


Pakistan was the second country in a matter of months to be compelled by a court to protect its citizens from the dangers of a warming climate.

Rediscovering ourselves in nature


When we no longer shudder at the ecological warning calls of science, the only voice left that can awaken us belongs to the poets. To hear that voice is to hear the language of the soul.

World will pass crucial 2C global warming limit, experts warn


Pledges by nations to cut carbon emissions will fall far short of those needed to prevent global temperatures rising by more than the crucial 2C by the end of the century.

Spring heat wave hits South Africa

Southern hemisphere heat waves are back and the northeastern provinces are frying.

New bid for oil exploration in KwaZulu-Natal sparks fear

A Texas petroleum exploration company with prospecting rights over huge chunks of KwaZulu-Natal and other parts of South Africa has begun its attempt to find gas and oil in the mountains near Matatiele.

BP oil spill killed several trillion larval fish


Louisiana’s coastal marshes will be the key focus of $8.8 billion in settlement money BP will pay to restore vast natural resource losses caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.

Small Arctic water bodies emit greenhouse gasses


Carbon and hot gaseous emissions from small water bodies in the Arctic continental shelf have emerged as a major cause of concern, more worrying than the speed of thawing Arctic glaciers.

Drug waste in SA’s drinking water raises health concerns


Traces of antiretrovirals, anti-epileptic drugs, antibiotics and antidepressants are allegedly lingering in South African tap water.

Even after dark, vast Spanish solar plant harnesses sun’s power


On a barren, sun-baked plateau in southern Spain, row upon row of gleaming mirrors form one of the world’s biggest solar power plants and harness the sun’s power even after dark.

Big trees first to die in severe droughts


National forests whose names come from their large, majestic trees—such as Redwood National Park and Sequoia National Park in California—may need to rethink their brands as droughts increase in frequency and severity in many regions around the world due to climate change.

Renewables to meet energy needs in Africa and beyond


From 4 - 7 October 2015, South Africa hosted the first ever International Renewable Energy Conference on the African continent, attracting 3 600 delegates from 82 countries.

The time is now for SA’s energy revolution


It’s time to look up, not down, for South Africa’s energy solution, says The African Climate Reality Project.
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