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Dear *|NAME|*

Today we throw the environmental net wider, in line with our definition of ‘green’ meaning health  – that of the planet and all her creatures, and always honouring the intricate inter-dependence between all in the web.

For once the topic of depression and suicide – the silent killer of our time – is at the top of the agenda with the loss of the gifted and loved actor Robin Williams. In spite of so many other terrible human atrocities, where nations try to resolve problems in retaliation instead of negotiation, it is time to contemplate the epidemic of depression and how we as informed and compassionate humans can support those around us who might be suffering.

Most responses I have seen have been kind. So many of us are united in the loss of an iconic actor who perhaps helped us cope through our own personal traumas with words of wisdom, laughs and alternative takes on the quirks and darkness of our society. Yet some still judge in ignorance, somehow assuming an inborn weakness in those who suffer from depression, or end their lives.

This leads to one of the most prevalent reasons for men (four times as often as women) not getting help and suffering in silence until it becomes unbearable. This according to The Looking Glass theory – if society is your mirror and looks at you with stigmas, you may adopt them yourself and view yourself in a negative way. Having experienced suicide in my own family at a young age, I know how hard it is to mourn a loss in a shroud of shame.

Without minimising the long term suffering that leads to an event like this, I am interested in environmental influences, as we are so intricately interwoven with the cosmos. Who could have missed the Super Moon hanging there in all her beauty – 20 000 kilometres closer to the earth than in the past 18 years? And who was not impacted by this event?

Insomnia plagues many sensitive folk during this time of the month. For starters it impacts the brain’s electrochemistry, neurotransmitters, EEG related sleep, and melatonin levels, so too the adrenal glands. It seems to be related to the excessive positive ions in the atmosphere during this time, with harmful effects on health, whilst negative ions are hugely beneficial.

Large quantities of ions can therefore affect our health because they interfere with our own internal communications system, at a cellular level. Hence people seem to suffer with more stress.  An influx of positive ions causes blood to flow more slowly and so oxygen in the blood is not carried to the muscles and brain as efficiently.  During this time, there are more murders, more arrests, brawls, mood swings, arguments and more violence than at any other time in the month. 

Some research indicates that suicide levels increase by 20% during full moon. Some countries are more lenient on crimes committed during such a time. Around 25% of people find that their adrenal glands go into overdrive (which could also explain the difficulty sleeping), leaving them exhausted and battling to concentrate and cope. There is also a strong link between insomnia and suicide.

Fortunately there are more negative ions at the Earth's surface at the time of the new moon, when organic life flourishes and seedlings become stronger and  grow better.  That is why conscious gardeners and farmers prefer to plant their crops around the time of the new moon.  Negative ions create less stress, more feelings of calm and less health problems, resulting in more balance and harmony in the body.

Next month on 9 September there will be another Super Moon. So how to naturally balance the increased positive ions? Mother Earth and Ocean to the rescue. Barefoot walking, beach combing, swimming in the ocean and working in the garden are great ways to ground yourself and share in the negative ions offered in abundance. 

Whether you can feel the effects of the moon, or the distress of the planet during this time of wars and violence, be kind to yourself. Take care of each other and reach out to talk. With Ubuntu we can be so much more.

Don’t miss out on cool green events to attend – check out or calendar here.
Enjoy, integrate, share and respond to this issue, with love

Elma and the team


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Crying for a stranger: RIP Robin Williams


It was not just the sadness of a bright spirit snuffed out too soon. It was not only the thought of the family and friends left bereft. It was the terrible poignancy of a man who gave so much joy, who lifted up so many hearts, being unable to stop himself from sinking.

Entries open for Environmental Media Awards


The SAB Environmental Media Awards seek out to continuously acknowledge and recognise the work of dedicated members of the South African Environmental Media who excel in their reportage of all current environmental matters.

Technology driving young art in new project


“I want to make a kind of ‘absent father bot,” South African artist Bogosi Sekhukhuni said in an interview, referring to the avatars used in interactive online communications. “If you don’t have a father, you can talk to the bot.”

Greenpeace ship returns to warm welcome


Greenpeace’s Arctic Sunrise ship arrived home to a warm welcome in The Netherlands on Saturday, almost a year after it was seized by Russia during a protest against Arctic oil drilling.

Flower Feast beckons: join Mini Spring Break


Join Pam Evans on her travel club LILA Tour’s maiden voyage from 4-7 September to blend the joys of spring flowers, whacky culture, ancient knowledge, fossil digs and wine tasting.

World’s largest marine sanctuary on the cards?


U.S. President Barack Obama recently announced a plan for creating the world’s largest marine sanctuary, covering hundreds of thousands of miles of Pacific Ocean, along with new pledges to fight illegal fishing and seafood fraud.

More earthquakes on the cards for North West


“I expect there would be at least two or three magnitude 4 events coming up within the next week or two,” predicts Dr Chris Hartnady, the technical director of earth science consultants, Umvoto Africa.

Carbon Footprinting Guide reaches 53 000 downloads


Who would not like to read and consult a free Carbon Footprinting Guide to help tweak your life and business? Well, this is probably why this online guide has achieved more downloads than any other SA publication of its kind to date.

Arctic explorer to swim 7 seas for ocean protection


British endurance swimmer Lewis Pugh is to undertake a long-distance swim in each of the classical Seven Seas, to highlight the need for protected areas in oceans around the world.

Greater support needed for SA’s youth orchestra


SA’s fine youth orchestra, known by its acronym Miagi (Music is a Great Investment), has just completed a stunningly successful month-long tour of Europe.

Celebrate female farmer of the year on Women’s Day


“Closing the gender gap in agricultural inputs alone could lift 100–150 million people out of hunger,” said Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.

Storm brewing in the natural medicine pot


Will the complementary medicines which practitioners currently use for their patients continue to be available after the new government regulations have become law? This is an issue which many are wrestling with, as we are all likely to be affected.

September is Clean-Up-SA month


September is traditionally the month in which South Africans from all walks of life are encouraged to “spring clean” the environment in celebration of the arrival of spring.

Joining forces to protest Arctic seismic testing


Greenpeace and the Inuit have joined forces to protest Arctic seismic testing, warning that plans to gauge oil and gas reserves with high-intensity sound waves in Baffin Bay and the Davis Strait pose grave dangers to marine life.

Hope for overcoming climate change


For the last few months, carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere have been at record levels unseen in over 800,000 years.

Vulnerable Sudanese continue to flee as aid pours in


After much death and displacement, vulnerable populations continue to flee ongoing fighting in South Sudan as seasonal rains worsen their already dire living conditions.

Thousands evacuated over flood fears in India’s Bihar


Authorities in India have evacuated 60,000 people in the northern state of Bihar amid fears of flash floods from Nepal, officials say.

Climate change brings giant waves to the Arctic


Huge waves rolling across Arctic Ocean regions that up until recent times have been permanently locked solid with a sea ice cover is seen as more evidence of a warming Earth, researchers say.

More efficient solar cells possible thanks to glass


Self-cooling, longer lasting and more efficient solar cells are within reach simply by adding a thin layer of glass. A paper recently published in the online journal Optica outlines a possible solution for better access to solar energy.

Human health to suffer from climate change


Climate change may threaten Australians’ livelihoods, affect the viability of communities and put pressure on social stability, according to the co-chairman of a new public health think tank.

Go treeplanting in Hogsback this Arbor month


Much like the Platbos Reforest Fest that occurred this past May, the Hogsback Reforest Fest aims to celebrate our Earth and our trees through reforestation, music, workshops, competitions, and yoga.

Help make solar power better & win $1 Million


If inverters for solar and wind could be shrunk down to the size of a tablet or laptop, it could  enable more solar-powered homes, more efficient distributed electrical grids, and help bring electricity to the most remote parts of the planet.

Archbishop Tutu joins students’ call for fossil free UCT


Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has endorsed a campaign amongst staff, students and alumni at the University of Cape Town calling on the university to freeze and phase out its fossil fuel investments, to help stop dangerous climate change.

Natural Building part 2: Understanding & testing different earths


One of the challenges of working with earth is that no two sites are the same. The recipes one learns on one site may not work on another, because the earths found there are composed differently.

Court action launched against illegal nuclear metal smelter


Did you know that the National Energy Corporation of SA (NECSA) has permission to smelt and release radio active metal into the South Africa marketplace?

Do you live in a biosphere reserve?


If you are from Stellenbosch, Pniel, Franschhoek, Paarl, Wellington, Rawsonville or Villiersdorp you live inside the beautiful Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve (CWBR), while people from Ceres and the Strand live just outside it.

UK politicians to lose nuclear waste site veto right


The UK government wants to scrap the formal community veto which allows local politicians to block a future £12bn nuclear waste repository.

Tasty tales from the Overberg


Environmentalist film production and media agency Green Renaissance has recently closed shop in Cape Town and moved to a tiny off-grid home in the Overberg, along the South Coast. They continue to produce creative short films on topics related to sustainable living, such as these two culinary gems.
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