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August 2018

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Happy days when your rainwater tanks are full

During last summer’s drought, the price of rainwater tanks shot up. Business was booming. You could see trucks full of tanks all over the place. Good for a green heart who’s been promoting rainwater harvesting forever.

Court case looms as the battle against glyphosate continues

US-based civic organisation Avaaz will go to court in defiance of the court’s dubious ‘command’ that they turn in all internal communication on the issue of adverse effects of glyphosate over to them.

Plastics industry encourages role players to strive for zero pellet loss

The South African plastics industry has reiterated its commitment to keep our water sources free of plastic pollution.

What are directors’ duties in respect to climate change?

Directors need to factor climate change into their governance deliberations about strategy, risk management, products and services.

All-women expedition across Southern Africa tackles poaching head on

The Rise of the Matriarch expedition brings together 12 women from around the world who will travel across four African countries to raise awareness about the human-wildlife conflict.

Two new water-intensive coal plants will cost SA billions

The inclusion of new coal in the updated draft Integrated Resource Plan for Electricity (IRP) will cost South Africa close to R20 billion more than we need to spend, and will make electricity more expensive for all South Africans.

Carbon emissions to lower food crop quality by 2050

According to a Harvard study, major nutritional deficiencies are likely to hit impoverished populations the hardest, as carbon dioxide emissions seriously affect the quality of food crops.

SA’s energy vision for 2030: integrated resource plan finally released

The long-awaited Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) envisages the energy mix in 2030 will consist of almost half coal power, with gas and wind being the next most important contributors.

NGOs call for a tougher Climate Change Bill

In its formal response to the Department of Environmental Affairs’ proposed Climate Change Bill, the Life After Coal Campaign has called for a far more robust and proactive Bill.

Going further than just #plasticfreejuly

After the hype surrounding #plasticfreejuly and the war on straws soars to new heights, the question is: How do we all take our waste conscious attitude further in a truly sustainable way?

What will climate change mean for SA agriculture?

What are the small shifts that mean big changes, particularly for agriculture, in a changing climate? Mandi Smallhorne finds out.

Lion breeding industry harming SA’s reputation according to new poll

A nationwide survey, by the Humane Society International (HSI), has revealed that the majority of South Africans believe the captive lion breeding industry is harming the country’s international reputation.

Popular food store trials recycling vending machine

Imagine an intelligent reverse vending machine for depositing your waste, which identifies it for you as recyclable or not. This is now a reality.

The poachers and the treasures of the deep: diving for abalone in South Africa

In China, abalone has been associated with status for more than 2000 years. This has given rise in South Africa to an illicit trade in the mollusc, driven by high prices and pervasive inequality.

Oppose these mining applications and defend your rights to a healthy environment

Eskom has once again announced that it will not meet pollution standards for 14 of its coal power stations.

Changing the future of transport in the Netherlands

Between electric vehicles and self-driving cars, it’s no secret that transportation is changing rapidly. A massive amount of research and development in this field is taking place in the Netherlands.

Will palm oil-free certification save forests?

The global movement to avoid palm oil is growing.

Africa’s largest PET recycler unveils expansion plans

Africa’s largest PET plastic recycler has announced plans to inject R200 million into the struggling economy to help South Africa meet its recycling and job creation targets for the next five years.

Updates on the fight for mercury-free dentistry

Charlie Brown, founder of Consumers for Dental Choice, provides us with an update to the global mercury-free dentistry campaign of the past eight years.

SA faces a water catastrophe as state dithers

The Vaal River has been described as an open sewer, most frequently by people who live on its banks, despite protestations to the contrary by the department of water & sanitation. It smells of dead things and faeces.

Public asked for help as Ladismith water shortage hits local farmers

Ladismith, a small town in the Western Cape, is currently being ravaged by drought. After four years with no proper rainfall, their supply dam is empty and farmers in the surrounding areas are really battling.

Older than dinosaurs: last South African coelacanths threatened by oil exploration

Bright blue, older than dinosaurs and weighing as much as an average-sized man, coelacanths are the most endangered fish in South Africa and among the rarest in the world.

Two Eastern Cape towns to start ‘water shedding’ as dam empties

Water will be cut off in the towns of Hankey and Patensie in the Eastern Cape from Monday and only switched on again for short periods to stretch what little is left in the Kouga Dam, the municipality has announced.

The oil and gas industry and ocean protection divide

South Africa currently has a network of 23 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) covering only 0.4 % of our oceans. This is far short of the global United Nations target of at least 10% protection of the oceans by 2020.

Can this herbicide commonly used in SA give you cancer?

Glyphosate, a herbicide believed to cause cancer is widely in use in South Africa, in every loaf of bread, all processed foods, tinned foods and ready-made meals.

Industrial fishing is dominated by just a few of the world’s wealthiest nations

Recent research found that, despite having expanded into 90 percent of the world’s oceans, the industrial fishing fleets of the top 20 fishing countries in the world are catching less than a third of the fish they hauled in prior to 1950.

SA surplus food should go to the poor rather than contribute to landfill methane

It is estimated that a staggering one in five SA households is food insecure, with more than 13-million people routinely experiencing hunger. This is a contravention of the constitution, which enshrines access to food as a right.

Turning plastic waste into owl houses

Owl Rescue Centre, a registered non-profit rehabilitation facility in Hartbeespoort concerned with the well-being of all owl species in Southern Africa, has come up with a genius use for recycled plastic that benefits the birds, as well as raises funds for a much-needed cause.

Antarctica is melting three times as fast as a decade ago

Most of the world’s freshwater is in the ice sheets of Antarctica, a continent the size of the United States and Mexico combined. If all that ice melted, it would be enough to raise the world’s sea levels by 200 feet.

Western Cape residents optimistic as dams levels are half-full

Dam levels in the Western Cape have increased slightly over the past week‚ reaching an average level of 52%. Last year at this time‚ the dam levels were at 29%.

New water treatment system ‘a model for future generations’

One of South Africa’s biggest corporations has raised the bar – and municipal water levels – by installing its own mass water filtration system so it can go off the “water grid”.

Seismic surveying of the ocean floor poses serious risk to whales

Whale populations around the world have been spouting their thanks to the dedication of conservationists who brought them back from the brink of extinction.

Urgent action needed to remedy South Africa’s water crisis

In 2002 South Africa officially became a water constrained economy, when the National Water Resource Strategy reported that we had allocated 98% of our total water resource. Subsequent high confidence studies have shown that we over-estimated the water available at the time.

Sea salt around the world is contaminated by plastic

Sea salt around the world has been contaminated by plastic pollution, adding to experts’ fears that microplastics are becoming ubiquitous in the environment and finding their way into the food chain via the salt in our diets.

Caribbean states beg Trump to grasp climate change threat

Caribbean states and territories have rounded on the Trump administration for dismantling the US’s response to climate change, warning that greenhouse gas emissions must be sharply cut to avoid hurricanes and sea level rise.

The search for SA’s most sustainable restaurant is now on

Entries are now open for the country’s most prestigious accolade for sustainable restaurants.

The world’s largest solar farm rises in the remote Egyptian desert

In 1913, an inventor named Frank Shuman built the world’s first solar thermal power station, using Egyptian sunshine to pump water from the Nile to irrigate a nearby cotton field.

Jukskei: it’s not a sewer, it’s a river

The stormwater canal is where the Jukskei appears above ground for the first time. The source of the river runs just a few hundred metres away, but by the time the water emerges here, it’s already contaminated by sewage.

Ocean wilderness ‘disappearing’ globally

Scientists have mapped marine “wilderness” areas around the world for the first time.

Local rockers pledge to keep our carnivores Wild ‘n Free

The Endangered Wildlife Trust, a champion of conservation in Africa, has launched an exciting new project entitled Wild ‘n Free. They are calling on all South Africans to be the voice for the voiceless and join the fight against keeping carnivores in captivity.

Earth is running out of the resources to sustain life

One of the world’s largest banks says the planet is running out of resources and warns that neither governments nor companies are prepared for climate change.

Climate events could move Earth into a ‘hothouse’ state

A domino-like cascade of melting ice, warming seas, shifting currents and dying forests could tilt the Earth into a “hothouse” state beyond which human efforts to reduce emissions will be increasingly futile, a group of leading climate scientists has warned.

Can crab shells and trees replace plastics?

An eco-friendly material made from crab shells and trees could replace plastic food packaging, according to US researchers. 

Using yesterday’s mining techniques to recycle today’s batteries

Researchers at Michigan Technological University are using century-old mining techniques to recycle lithium-ion batteries at low cost.

In the line of fire: the war against climate change

Earth is smouldering. From Seattle to Siberia, flames have consumed swathes of the northern hemisphere. One of 18 wildfires sweeping through California, among the worst in the state’s history, is generating such heat that it created its own weather.

Australia to ‘vehemently’ oppose Japan push to ease whaling ban

Australia Thursday vowed to “vehemently” oppose a new push by Japan to undermine a global moratorium on commercial whaling, and urged like-minded nations to stand firm against Tokyo.

Africa’s pollution killing thousands of infants, study says

Modest reductions in air pollution can prevent the deaths of tens of thousands of infants in sub-Saharan Africa each year, according to a new scientific study.

Contamination threatens SA’s already dwindling water resources

The ROSE Foundation is calling on South African businesses to dispose of used oil responsibly as it fears that water contamination is threatening the country’s already dwindling water resources.

Plastic waste could contribute to climate change

The proliferation of plastic pollution has led to concerns over its impact on marine life and human health as the toxins it absorbs and emits move up the food chain. Now, a new study reveals yet another potential plastic hazard: It releases greenhouse gasses.

20 cities in India to run out of groundwater within two years

An Indian government think tank has warned that New Delhi is set to run out of groundwater within two years as climate change and dramatic population growth hit supplies.

This Belgian supermarket is selling produce from its own rooftop farm

Trying to create the shortest supply chain possible, a supermarket in Brussels is selling produce grown on its own roof only hours after being harvested.

Scientists urge Indonesian president to nix dam in orangutan habitat

Twenty-five of the world’s top environmental scientists have lambasted plans to construct a hydroelectric dam in northern Sumatra, Indonesia, because it would threaten the rarest species of great ape on Earth.

China is about to get its first vertical forest

They could be the breath of fresh air that pollution-choked cities desperately need. Vertical forests – high-rise buildings covered with trees and plants – absorb carbon dioxide, filter dust from pollution and produce oxygen.

How to reuse silica gel packets

Here are some great suggestions for using these packs around the house and keeping them from the landfill just a wee bit longer.

Javier Bardem teams up with Greenpeace for Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary doc

Oscar-winning actor Javier Bardem will star in and produce “Sanctuary.” The film is part of the campaign to create the largest protected area on Earth, an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary.

Are Heaviside’s dolphins’ change of communication sounds a risk?

The problem, according to head researcher Morgan Martin, is that this switch may come at the risk of being heard by their key predator, killer whales.
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