Your monthly green news digest.
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June 2018

Dear <<First Name>>

As mother earth released her deluge on Cape Town this month we cannot but be in the deepest gratitude. So too for a successful kidney transplant in our family. How sacred is this human body that we get to inhabit? Despite having almost no clue how it works we enjoy the benefits. Undeservedly so. Simply a free gift. With the huge responsibility to care for it. And the big body of Earth we live on.

Please join us as we commit to Plastic Free July in an attempt to do something more about our society’s abuse of the oceans – the big kidney that keeps us alive. Read my story here and let’s do this together. Your voice is needed.

Thank you to Ruben for keeping the flame burning and compiling this awesome edition whilst I was under the weather. And for generally looking after the house, animals and us during our convalescence.

Enjoy this month’s stories and please share with your friends.

Kind regards

Elma Pollard
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Come join us for Plastic Free July

Reducing plastic waste is a crucial weapon in the war on marine debris.

Gauteng polystyrene collectors help ensure recycling success

Despite its label of being “difficult to recycle," polystyrene plastic recycling figures have continued to grow over the past eight years.

Plastic Free July coming at Two Oceans Aquarium

This Plastic Free July, the Two Oceans Aquarium is getting even more serious about putting a stop to plastic pollution in the sea. An exciting lineup has been planned for the whole month.

Time to pull the rug out from under coal plants

With Trump at the wheel, climate change is spinning out of control – but now we can create his worst nightmare by canceling coal’s insurance contracts!

Three ways that cities can adapt to changing climates

The recent arrival of Cape Town's winter rains have led to rising dam levels, removing the need for wholesale water rationing for the time being. Meanwhile, several other cities across the world have experienced severe water scarcity.

Accelerating ice loss in Antarctica could displace millions as soon as 2100

Recent studies have revealed that ice loss is accelerating, while ice shelves that keep Antarctic glaciers from flowing into the Southern Ocean are thinning and weakening.

Public participation needed for effective environmental governance

Public participation is entrenched in the Constitution as a crucial element of democracy. Yet many lack a clear understanding of the principles and mechanisms through which the public is entitled – and encouraged – to take part in making these crucial decisions.

SA cities facing the biggest threat from climate change

The four coastal cities Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and East London, and Paarl which is inland, are at risk of flooding by 2050, says the C40 Cities Future We Don’t Want report.

Getting below the surface of the Cape Town water crisis

It will take three months and cost R350m for a small-scale temporary desalination plant to produce enough water to raise the level of Cape Town’s supply dams by just one percent.

Extreme weather is here: too late for business as usual

The future we don’t want is already happening with more intense droughts, floods, heat waves, blackouts, food shortages and sea levels gradually rising.

The future of coal in SA’s power generation mix

Today, even taking into account their long plant lifetimes and high load factors, electricity from new coal power is among the most expensive and environmentally destructive technologies currently available.

Travel industry slowly cutting ties with disposable plastics

The world is drowning in plastic, and the travel industry is enabling our habit.

New coal power will cost SA billions

A UCT study has revealed that newly built coal power plants will add billions to South Africa’s power bill over the course of their lifetime, and force cheaper and cleaner renewable energy alternatives out of the system for years to come.

Report finds inadequate protection for the well-being of SA wildlife

In a joint report, the Centre for Environmental Rights and the Endangered Wildlife Trust reveal alarming deficiencies in the regulation of wildlife welfare in South Africa.

Illegal sand mining threatening the environment across SA

Illegal sand mining is posing an increasingly serious environmental threat to the beaches and river beds of South Africa.

Children may be eating cereal laced with toxic weed killer

The probable carcinogen glyphosate has been detected in popular cereals, but the EPA is ready to approve its use for 15 more years.

South Africa ahead of renewable energy curve

Despite the South African renewables market being in its infancy in comparison to well-established markets, South Africa is ahead of the curve.

Thailand to close bay made famous by film `The Beach`

Thailand's Maya Bay, made famous by the film The Beach, was closed earlier this month to allow its coral reefs to recover from rising temperatures and the environmental impact of thousands of daily visitors.

Beekeepers file legal complaint over glyphosate in honey

A beekeeping cooperative in France has filed a legal complaint against a German agrochemical company after detecting the controversial weedkiller glyphosate in their honey.

South African walker hopes to raise animal abuse awareness

Keegan Horn has embarked on a trip to Hogsback to raise awareness about endangered donkeys and animal abuse.

R15m borehole intervention to save Sutherland farms

Farmers in Sutherland can breathe a little easier after the successful drilling of new boreholes as part of a R15 million project to save farms in the area.

Australia's anti-espionage bill threatens democracy

The Australian government is seeking to introduce new espionage and foreign interference laws that threaten democracy and could have the effect of silencing civil society.

SA to release new-look renewables bid window in November

A fifth REIPPPP bid window will be launched in November, with the aim of procuring a further 1 800 MW of renewable energy from independent power producers.

New technology leads to arrest of eight suspected wildlife traffickers

A multinational search in May resulted in the arrest of eight men, including three government officials, for allegedly smuggling pangolin scales and elephant tusks.

Flash floods, lightning and gales pummel the Western Cape

Emergency services were on standby as an intense cold front‚ accompanied by heavy rain and gale force winds‚ made landfall in Cape Town earlier this month.

Climate change suspected in unprecedented African baobab die out

A number of ancient African baobabs have died since 2017 across southern Africa, according to new research published in Nature Plants.

Climate Change Bill published for comment

The Draft Climate Change Bill was published for comment earlier this month, with hopes of providing a coordinated and integrated response to climate change and its impacts by all spheres of government in accordance with the principles of cooperative governance.

‘Eventually the lion breeding industry will shoot itself in the foot’

Cub petting, paying voluntourism, films and adverts, walking with lionsa and the lion bone trade are all money-making opportunities that have made lion farming a highly profitable business

Borneo’s last remaining orangutans threatened by illegal logging

The forest that is home to some of the last remaining Bornean orangutans is being logged despite the Indonesian government’s vow to protect it, Greenpeace has claimed.

Save the oceans, save the world

A celebratory World Oceans Day event was held at uShaka Marine World, Durban earlier this month to celebrate South Africa’s oceans and their importance for our prosperity. An exciting coalition was also announced, which hopes to advance ocean protection.

NASA helicopter to search for life on Mars

The space agency NASA plans to send a small helicopter to Mars in 2020 in the continued quest for life on the red planet.

A look at active volcanoes

This year has seen its share of explosive volcanic activity, from Hawaii’s Kilauea eruptions that have so far forced more than 1,700 people to evacuate to Guatemala’s Fuego volcano eruption that killed at least 99 people.

Why India is the world’s deadliest country for forest rangers

Frontline forest staff in India are increasingly being targeted by poachers, illegal miners and timber smugglers while protecting forests, wildlife, rivers, wetlands and other natural ecosystems and resources.

Africa’s pollution crisis warning: step up to avoid environmental disaster

As the second most polluted continent, Africa must take both the responsibility and opportunity to pioneer world-leading waste management methods to avoid an environmental and socio-economic disaster, experts warn.

High seas fishing would go broke without ‘massive’ subsidies

Fishing on the high seas would be an unprofitable business, but for the billions of dollars in government subsidies that keep an often destructive industry afloat, according to international researchers.

SA retailer to lead the way by ditching plastic packaging

Woolworth has announced that it plans to be the first retailer in South Africa to contribute zero packaging waste.

New renewable energy round may rake in R50bn in investment

The renewable energy industry on Friday got a shot in the arm when Energy Minister Jeff Radebe announced a new bid round of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement programme.

Bring Your Own Bag campaign aims to keep the seas trash free

Every year South Africans use approximately 8 billion plastic bags, and less than 1% are recycled. Most end up in landfills or the ocean.

Threatened fish will find sanctuary in new marine reserve

South Africa’s Marine Protected Area footprint is currently sitting at 0.4% compared to a global average of 11%.

6 Ways to beat plastic pollution this World Environment Day

5 June marks World Environment Day, a day recognised by over 143 countries who are concerned with the protection of our environment.

SA hunters to participate in slaughter of 2000 Zambian hippos

South African hunters will take part in the slaughter of 2 000 hippos in the pristine Luangwa Valley in Zambia. In a shock move, the Zambian government had overturned a 2016 decision to suspend the supposed cull.

Costa Rica to ban fossil fuels and become world’s first decarbonised society

Last month, Costa Rica’s new president Carlos Alvarado announced the Central American country would begin to implement a plan to end fossil fuel use in transport by 2021. Costa Rica already generates more than 99 per cent of its electricity using renewable energy sources.

Keeping our Cape tidal pools safe for human and marine life

As more knowledge about the ecosystems comes to light and more people become interested in protecting marine life, there has been a shift in how Cape Town’s tidal pools are cleaned and maintained.

Fears mount as herbicide-cancer link comes to light

A new study seeks to examine potential links links between non-Hodgkins lymphoma and glyphosate exposure in South Africa’s maize belt.

Solar is starting to replace the largest coal plant in the US West

In the desert near Arizona’s border with Utah on the Navajo Nation, a massive solar array built in 2017 now provides power for around 18,000 Navajo homes. Nearby, construction will begin later this year on a second solar plant.

Exploring alternative materials to reduce plastic pollution

In an effort to educate the world in reducing plastic litter from going into our oceans, UN Environment has published a report about possibly replacing conventional plastics with alternative materials.

India’s top beach destination commits to #BeatPlasticPollution

Goa, a small state on the west coast of India, is known for its pristine beaches and forests. The picturesque region attracts 5 million tourists every year from all parts of the world. This influx is key to the local economy, but it also generates 600 tonnes of waste on a daily basis.

Ecological Infrastructure for Water Security project launched in Joburg

SA's water security depends not only on our built water infrastructure, but also on well managed land in our catchments. Healthy wetlands, rivers and groundwater ecosystems in the landscape will make our future more water secure.
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