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Festive rush buoys tourism industry

Johannesburg – The struggling tourism industry has recorded its highest performance growth in four years as a result of an increase in the number of domestic tourists who visited the country’s key attractions during the festive season.

The Tourism Business Council of SA (TBCSA) said yesterday that its figures for 2015 showed the industry grew more than 20 points in the fourth quarter compared with a similar period in 2014.

The council said the industry achieved a better-than-expected score of 106.5 points in the fourth quarter compared with an anticipated but more subdued score of 94.2 during the same period in 2014. But it warned that the outlook for the first quarter of 2016 would be slightly below the acceptable 100 level, falling to 94.2 points.

TBCSA chief executive Mmatsatsi Ramawela said domestic tourism had outperformed overseas visitors despite a weak exchange rate that could have served as a stimulus for inbound tourists.

Ramawela said the last months of the year had proved to be the money spinner for the industry. “The festive season is typically one of our busiest times, presenting the trade with the opportunity to do some good business when many people, particularly locals, take some time off to travel,” Ramawela said.

Regulations

“After a tough three quarters of trade, we’ve been anxiously looking towards the festive period for some welcomed reprieve in the market.”

The tourism industry took a huge knock last year following the introduction of controversial visa regulations in June, which required among other things that foreigners who wanted to visit South Africa apply for visas in person at South African embassies abroad. The regulations also demanded that parents travelling in or out of South Africa with minors be in possession of an unabridged birth certificate.

A leading hotelier in Cape Town said yesterday that while it expected an increase in the number of foreign visitors at this time of the year, the bookings were low as potential tourists remained confused about the rules.

“We have not seen a high volume of bookings from our potential clients overseas,” said the hotelier, who refused to be named.

Source: iol


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Seaweed farmers profit from direct line to research

A ‘cluster research’ model that worked for seaweed growers in Zanzibar should be widely adopted, says Flower Msuya.

The results of scientific studies are of little use to farmers unless they stem from applied research that can enhance the work they do to make a living. Such research could, for example, lead to innovative methods that help seaweed farmers earn more by producing high-quality crops or adding value to their seaweed by processing it rather than selling it raw.

But research results often fail to reach the people who can benefit from them. To avoid this, the Zanzibar Seaweed Cluster Initiative (ZaSCI) has been practising cluster-based research, an approach that has improved the applicability of research over the past ten years with interesting results.

Direct line to research

Two features differentiate cluster-based research from other forms. One is that it tackles challenges brought to scientists by a particular community, such as farmers. The other is that the research findings are given back to this group as direct feedback, which they then use to improve their day-to-day activities. ZaSCI is a good, current example of how cluster research programmes can link farmers directly with research institutions.

“Because of the initiative, farmers are now communicating with each other through mobile phones to discuss challenges and day-to-day needs that they can then take to research institutions for answers.” Flower Msuya

Two types of seaweed are farmed on the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar: cottonii and spinosum. Cottonii is in higher demand because it has more applications in industrial processes than spinosum (for example in food and cosmetics manufacturing), and so at 50 US cents per kilogram, its price is double that of the other seaweed. But cottonii has failed to thrive in recent years because of the impact of climate change: increased surface seawater temperatures and diseases have kept it from growing at all in many areas, and have cut its production in the few places where it still grows.

Farmers were troubled by the failure of this higher-value seaweed to grow, and brought the issue to ZaSCI meetings. Researchers listened to their concerns and focused on developing innovative methods to both produce the higher-valued seaweed and add value to the lower-priced seaweed.

They developed bamboo rafts, floating lines and recently a novel method of using tubular nets to do this. These methods can be used in water that is one to three metres deep as opposed to water of a few centimetres in depth, where seaweed is currently farmed. Conditions such as temperature and salinity are more stable in deeper waters, and so they favour better growth: more seaweed is produced per unit area, and die-offs are minimised.

Over the past ten years, ZaSCI research has enabled farmers to farm more of the higher-valued seaweed and produce a number of value-added products — such as foods including juice, jam and cake, and powder used to make products or against infections — that sell at a much higher price than raw seaweed. A good example is seaweed powder, which sells at US$6 per kilogram compared with 25 US cents per kilogram of unprocessed spinosum.

And the benefits go beyond the direct economic impact of research: because of the initiative, farmers are now communicating with each other through mobile phones to discuss challenges and day-to-day needs that they can then take to research institutions for answers.

Interactive links

ZaSCI operates using a ‘triple helix’ model that promotes interactive relationships between universities, industry and government. The presence of the government is important but not sufficient: policy issues are addressed by soliciting opinion from a variety of people, and assessed alongside views from government representatives.

In practice, this means ZaSCI links farmers (60 per cent of whom are women) with research institutions and government departments responsible for seaweed farming. It also links farmers or processors with each other as well as with exporters.

 

Does anyone know anything about the new BRICS bank?

Despite expectations that it would begin operating in early 2016, the New Development Bank (NDB, or BRICS bank), a new lending institution set up by member countries Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, remains something of a mystery.

Founded with the aim of developing infrastructure, the bank has no official website or even a contact email address and no one seems to knows which projects the bank will allocate funding to.

Perhaps even more concerning is the fact that there is no clue as to whether the bank will establish environmental, social, labour, or human rights safeguards to protect against the impacts of the projects that its loans support.

Announced with great pomp at the 6th BRICS Summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, in July 2014, the NDB currently only has one office in Shanghai, where representatives from each country are located. Yet the bank’s initial US$50 billion of subscribed capital should make it a major new player in development finance.

There are great expectations from member countries that this new source of financing can help develop sectors crucial for their growth, such as energy, telecommunications, and logistics.

However, trying to get definitive answers from representatives of the NDB is a fruitless exercise. Even the private sector, represented through the BRICS Business Council, does not seem to have a clear idea of how the bank will be governed.

Wishing to remain anonymous, an important Brazilian business figure made it clear to Diálogo Chino that negotiations on how the bank will be run are taking place on a government-to-government basis, with little transparency or participation by civil society. “It is very tightly closed. Nobody knows anything,” said the high-ranking source.

Nothing concrete

In November of last year, the Brazilian NGO Conectas held an event in São Paulo which was intended to discuss the NDB and associated human rights and sustainability issues arising from the granting of loans.

The NGO’s lawyer, Caio Borges, who has met several times with representatives from the Brazilian Ministry of Finance to discuss such matters, says that despite the openness of government technicians in welcoming him to participate in meetings, there is still nothing concrete with respect to environmental policy.

Borges adds his voice to that of Diálogo Chino’s source in suggesting that, unlike the World Bank, the NDB does not have a proper set of rules and guidelines and he expects it to examine social and environmental risks on a ‘case-by-case’ basis. “The tendency is for each project to come to the bank with the environmental and social issues contained within the project itself,” he says.

The private sector representative to the BRICS Business Council says that there is a big discrepancy between founding countries’ attitudes to environmental impacts in infrastructure projects. “Brazil has environmental and social legislation that is globally unsurpassed.

The Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) has very advanced practices in this regard and is one of the largest development banks in the world,” the source said, adding; “Russia and China, however, want nothing to do with it. They are not interested in having complex environmental criteria.”

Part of the problem lies in creating a coordinated environmental policy framework that accounts for different regulations in each country. For example, a hydroelectric project in China may not follow the same rules as a similar venture carried out in Brazil, and either could be financed by the BRICS bank.

Projects co-financed by Brazil and Russia could breakdown because Brazilian companies would not back down on environmental problems caused by ventures in Latin American or sub-Saharan African countries where environmental standards are less stringent.

Paulina Garzón, director of the China-Latin America Sustainable Investment Initiative also met with representatives of the Brazilian Ministry of Finance. She said that technicians admit that there is great concern about the costs of preparing projects. It is possible that the bank could include a special fund for project planning, which would factor in socio-environmental risks.

According to these officials, Garzón said, the costs that the World Bank imposes on loan recipients to calculate these risks are presently too high. Garzón also said that Brazil pressured the NDB to use Brazilian environmental standards, which have been highly praised around the world despite problems with local communitiesand environmental infractions committed by big infrastructure projects.

Former director general of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Rajat Nag, said recently that the NDB will establish environmental criteria for the projects it finances. “As far as I know, the NDB is working on social and environmental safeguards, and some people from the ADB are helping,” he said.

“I would be very surprised if they ran contrary to some fundamental social and environmental principles. I think they will be much more pragmatic. How they will do this, I don’t know, but it is exactly this that we have to monitor,” Nag added.

Source: eco-business


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This $500 bamboo bicycle could be a key to reliable, affordable, and sustainable transportation

With a higher tensile strength than steel, a lighter weight than aluminum, and four times the shock absorbency of carbon fiber, bamboo is a low-cost, low-carbon bike frame material.

One of the most viable and sustainable transportation technologies on the planet is already mature, and although it may not seem nearly as sexy as something like the Hyperloop, the humble bicycle is actually a far more relevant and accessible way to get around, whether it’s to the office or the grocery store or hauling goods to the market from a rural village.

But just because a technology has been refined into an effective and efficient option for daily use, as the bicycle has, doesn’t mean that progress stops, as evidenced by the virtual explosion of e-bike designs, folding bikes, and alternative frame materials (most recently, coppiced hardwood). And while I’m generally not in favor of trying to reinvent the wheel, so to speak, I’m almost always in favor of projects that seek to bring low-carbon and sustainable alternatives to the mainstream, especially those that also have a social good component that focuses on the developing world.

That’s why I’m really jazzed about Pedal Forward, which combines the production of bamboo bicycles for those of us in the West with the intention of meeting the basic transportation needs of those who really need it (not that we don’t need our bicycles, but considering that more than 70% of the world’s poor live without adequate transportation, the need is far greater for them than for most of us).

Pedal Forward has been working on a sustainable and affordable bamboo bicycle for the last couple of years, receiving a big nod from the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) with an award in 2012, and has taken its original design from a decidedly DIY-looking bike frame (held together with what looks like copious amounts of resin and fibers) to a really unique ‘modular’ frame. Instead of joining the bamboo frame pieces together with a bulky and rather unsightly mass of material, Pedal Forward uses steel ‘lugs’ for the crucial joints (bottom bracket, seat post, head tube and front fork, and rear drop-outs), and then epoxies in “iron bamboo” tubes to build the frame.

This method of frame-building allows for the tubes to be grown locally (depending on the location), and to be truly renewable in nature, while also creating employment opportunities in the areas where bikes are most needed. It also radically cuts the amount of emissions associated with the manufacturing process, as compared with a conventional steel bike, and delivers affordable and sustainable transportation options “that turn heads without breaking the bank.”

“Bamboo has superior material properties. It is lightweight, comparable to aluminum. It also has a higher tensile strength than steel and has four-times the shock absorbency of carbon fiber. Bamboo provides the best of these materials into a simple mode of transportation; a lightweight, aluminum bicycle that rides as stiff as a steel bicycle, and is more shock absorbent than a carbon fiber bicycle. Bamboo is also much less expensive than these three materials, leading to its moderate cost for a handcrafted product. A Pedal Forward bicycle costs $500, four-times lower the cost than bamboo bicycles currently on the market.” – Pedal Forward

The company is currently in a crowdfunding phase and seeking to raise $40,000 with a Kickstarter project (which really isn’t that much money, considering the millions raised by an über-fancy cooler and a funny card game), and is offering a full-on Pedal Forward bamboo bicycle (set up as a singlespeed/fixed gear) for just $500, or just the frame itself for $400 (so you can dress it up in all your favorite components yourself). And the bike itself isn’t just an eco-friendly product with a mission, but it also looks great, so you’ll probably be fending off questions every time you ride, which means that this bamboo bike could also be a pretty effective ice-breaker and conversation starter.

Pedal Forward is also working together with a program called Back on My Feet (BoMF) NYC for producing the bikes, which will allow some members of the program to learn valuable skills that may help them be better employed and further their opportunities for independent living.

Find out more about Pedal Forward, and its plan to enable more access to education, healthcare, and jobs for people in developing economies through bicycles and bamboo.

Source: treehugger


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‘South Africans have failed at combating waste’

CAPE TOWN – A South African expert says citizens have failed at using recycling as a method to combat waste.

Plastic could outweigh the amount of fish in our oceans by 2050, the World Economic Forum (WEF) warned in a report last week.

Plastic production has surged over the past 50 years, from 15 million tonnes in 1964 to over 300 million tonnes worldwide last year.

Currently, only 14 percent of plastic goods – mostly packaging – are being recycled.

Plastics are fossil-fuel based and it’s impossible to remake plastic into the quality it was before, says Muna Lakhani, founder of Zero Waste in Africa.

Lakhani says South Africans have failed.

“We’ve been recycling for probably 30 or 40 years and it hasn’t made any sort of significant dent in the waste stream. The most problematic material in our recycling stream is indeed plastic.”

Source: ewn


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Minister outlines SA’s energy mix plans

Davos – Nuclear power is just one part of a much larger, integrated South African strategy focused on a mix of energy sources that seeks to improve local, regional and pan-African stability and economic growth.

Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said her short- to medium-term focus would be on renewable energy, reducing South Africa’s emissions and dependency on fossil fuels.

Currently coal accounts for more than 90 percent of the country’s energy output.

Joemat-Pettersson told Independent Media that gas featured strongly in the short term and that it was definitely a “game changer”.

“In the next 18 months we must bring gas on board, with shale gas being a long-term intervention. Negotiations with Mozambique to increase the gas supply to South Africa are at an advanced stage,” she said during an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Friday.

“If we don’t bring gas on board, we will be overtaken by our neighbours.”

Pushing gas

Part of the gas plan is to build power hubs under Operation Phakisa, which is a results-driven initiative setting out clear plans and targets driven by the Presidency.

This approach, among other aspects of the energy plan, has been favourably received by financial institutions and potential investors.

“We discussed the energy mix with our banks so they could see that we are not obsessed with nuclear power,” she said, keeping coy about which financial institutions and companies she had held talks with.

Independent Media understands that she held meetings with Ericsson, Siemens and Standard Bank.

She will also be going to the US shortly to meet with large gas players to assess their levels of interest.

So key is gas to the energy mix that it is also expected that President Jacob Zuma could well use the State of the Nation Address to provide more details on the plans.

Joemat-Pettersson said nuclear was cheaper and had the country accepted and implemented a nuclear energy plan earlier, much of the electricity crisis could have been averted.

Gas, she said, was more expensive than nuclear.

Joemat-Pettersson said nuclear energy was projected to generate 9 000 megawatts.

But nuclear was still “a couple of years away”.

She said the main reason for looking at nuclear energy was due to South Africa being a “dry country” and going ahead with the plan would increase the country’s water stability.

She cited the high volumes of clean water used at the Medupi power plant in Limpopo and the current drought as clear examples of how nuclear energy would be a more sustainable proposition in terms of energy generation.

“We are getting water from Lesotho and we are providing them with electricity. Regional stability is vital to the energy plan.”

Regional capacity

Joemat-Pettersson said the plan included looking at helping to build energy capacity in neighbouring countries and further across Africa.

In this regard, South Africa will be pursuing interconnection with the Southern African Developmental Community countries including Botswana, Lesotho, Zambia, Mozambique, Namibia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

For South Africa, her focus for the short-term would be looking at unlocking the potential of an energy mix that includes coal, nuclear, gas, hydro and other renewable energies such as solar and wind.

“By 2020 we will be decommissioning 12 coal-fired plants and for that we must have something in place.”

The minister said South Africa was committed to honouring the decisions that were made at COP15.

These include that the emission profile of South Africa’s energy mix peaks around 2020 and falls around 2030; and that. energy efficiency improvements in electricity end-usage play a big role in reducing dependency on fossil fuels.

The renewable energy programme was getting an overwhelming response from foreign investors, she said.

“Renewable energy costs are high and the initial investment (around infrastructure) is high, but will greatly assist the economy. We will have to build towns around these plants and would, for example, need cement and steel.”

In terms of the processes involved, particularly with regards to the nuclear plan, the minister said the plan had been agreed on in 2010 as part of the Integrated Resource Plan and approved was by cabinet.

She is also part of a cabinet energy sub-committee which includes Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel, State Security Minister David Mahlobo, Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, and Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

Nuclear plan

She said the nuclear plan had been subjected to intergovernmental processes in which other ministries were involved, and for which she was not solely responsible.

The nuclear plan, therefore was underpinned by transparent processes and affordability, Joemat-Pettersson said.

“The first step is intergovernmental agreements. The second is requesting information and the third is request for proposals,” she said.

These proposals are then sent to the Independent Power Purchase office which “has credibility and a requisite range of skills” and which has to “test the proposals”.

These experts are from the Treasury, the Department of Energy and the Development Bank of South Africa.

“Because there is no interference, business interest is oversubscribed. There is nothing shrouded in secrecy. I am not starting the process, I’m implementing what’s already there,” she stressed.

Joemat-Pettersson said the energy plan was crucial for the next 100 years. “If we get this wrong, the country will suffer a legacy of compromise.”

Source: iol


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SA leads continent in consumer spending

Harare – South Africa has been ranked as the most promising market for consumer spending by the middle-class, pipping Africa’s biggest economy, Nigeria, which is ranked second, findings of a survey showed this week.

The survey, conducted by Agility Emerging Markets Logistics, also ranked Kenya and Ghana in third and fourth positions respectively, according to executives surveyed under the index.

About 1 100 executives, who responded to the survey, also mentioned that sub-Saharan Africa “remains a challenging frontier” for several other companies.

The index identifies the consumer spending sector as an equally important contributor to the region’s economic growth as mineral and commodity sectors.

Economists and experts from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have warned African economies such as Zambia, Zimbabwe and Nigeria against heavy reliance on the commodity industry.

“The (African) market is open for first movers who can navigate risk and nurture African talent. The opportunity is for those seeking to build long-term, sustainable businesses that bring world-class practices and adapt to local conditions,” said Geoffrey White, the chief executive of Agility Africa, which compiled the index.

Driving the consumer market industry in most of the African countries is a “fast-growing middle-class”, with executives also highlighting that “poor infrastructure, lack of power generation and corruption continue to pose the most risk to African economies” and to their growth prospects.

“The results show a serious disconnect between the perception of the market and actual opportunities. Africa’s requirement for logistics services and supply chain expertise is growing every day,” added White.

South Africa’s economy is being hobbled too by lower metal prices and the IMF has cut its economic growth forecast for the continent’s number two economy to 1 percent.

A steep hike in power tariffs that is expected this year could also further worsen the situation for mining companies that already frequently have to deal with a restive labour force.

The government said the economy would grow by about 1.7 percent this year and all eyes would be on Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his budget statement next month.

Experts say he will likely announce growth forecasts in the region of 1.5 percent to factor in difficulties and slowing output in the country

. However, a number of economists and the IMF are forecasting economic growth this year of less than 1 percent.

South Africa is ranked at 16, followed by Nigeria at 17, as having the most “advanced logistics industry and transport infrastructure”.

The index report says South Africa’s economy is battling “power shortages, slumping commodity prices, a plunging currency and labour unrest”.

Nigeria, which registered the biggest gain by any country, was said to have “enormous potential”, while its economy – which is heavily reliant on oil – “has been hurt by low energy prices”.

Industry executives said they viewed oil prices and China’s economy as the leading risks to the global economy in 2016.

Source: iol


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Durban to deliver emergency water

Water authorities are setting up schemes to supply water to the three million residents who are faced with shortages, thanks to the ongoing drought.

The City of Durban has moved to the next level of drought, with city water officials rolling out contingency measures for residents who do not have access to water.

Its three million residents are already living with water restrictions, thanks to South Africa’s worst drought in 112-years. KwaZulu-Natal has had several droughts since 2012, but declared a provincial drought disaster in late 2014.

In that time, the three major dams that supply Durban and the rest of the province have seen their levels drop to as low as 30%.

The contingency measures have already seen water tanks installed around the city and an increase in water tankers so that people can access water if they do not have any. Officials at Umgeni Water, the local utility, say further measures will include four-litre bags of water being distributed to people who have the least access to water.

Other South African cities are in the early stages of this, with places such as Bloemfontein imposing severe water restrictions and fines for wastage.

Research released by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis this week said this sort of urban water crunch would become the norm this century, if nothing was done to lower consumption and use water more efficiently.

The research – “Pressure building on global water supply” – was published in the journal Geoscientific Model Development.

It warned: “Our current water use habits increase the risk of being unable to maintain sustainable food production and economic development for the future generation.”

South Africa’s droughts are cyclical and the current one has been exacerbated by El Niño, but the 31st-driest country in the world has targeted water waste as a big problem for the future. The Water Research Council, a quasi-government research body, estimates that a third of all water is lost in water systems.

Fixing this is part of the national response to the ongoing drought.

In the long term, South Africa’s environment department predicts that droughts will become more frequent and more intense. Rainfall might increase, but it will only do so in the eastern parts of the country. This rain will also come in heavier and more damaging spells, which makes storing the water more difficult.

Source: mg


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2016: sustainable buildings go from being green to being good for you

Over the past 20 years, green construction has gone from a niche enterprise to a major driver of new business. But in 2016, erecting sustainable, profitable green buildings will no longer be enough to stand out. Buildings will also be expected to directly contribute to the health and wellbeing of the people who live, work and learn inside them. For buildings, healthy will become the new green.

The performance of a green building – be it energy usage, water efficiency or just lower utility bills – is important to companies looking for rental space. As this healthy revolution emerges, more of these commercial renters will start concerning themselves with a building’s impact on the performance of the humans who use it every day.

There’s already some evidence to suggest healthy buildings have positive effects on the businesses and workers who occupy them. In a recently released peer reviewed study, researchers from Harvard’s Center for Health and the Global Environment found that a building’s air quality can affect the quality of its residents’ thinking. The study demonstrated that exposure to common indoor pollutants, such as carbon dioxide and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are found in everything from paint to carpets, can affect cognitive functions. The researchers wrote: “For seven of the nine cognitive functions tested, average scores decreased as CO2 levels increased to levels commonly observed in many indoor environments.”

At the same time, researchers found that, on average, environments with better ventilation doubled their participants’ performance, especially in critical areas such as crisis response, strategy and information usage.

As the connection between where you work and how well you work becomes better established and understood, companies that hope to differentiate themselves as employers of choice will focus on healthier buildings for their employees.

Sustainability will mean transparency

Of course, understanding the built environment also requires understanding everything in it.

Think about the room you’re in right now: you might be sitting on a couch or a chair treated with flame-retardant chemicals that are linked to memory loss or fertility problems. Your carpet might be emitting more of those VOCs, leading to throat irritation or headaches. Your wood floor might be off-gassing formaldehyde. Almost every product in your room contains chemicals that even manufacturers don’t know about or don’t completely understand. And many of these chemicals have health impacts that we have hardly begun to study.

Fortunately, transparency is coming to the building industry. Already, there has been a push for more environmental product declarations, health product declarations and other labels that disclose the makeup of building materials, along with their environmental and human health concerns. And as these standardized reporting measures become more commonplace, so too will the use of materials that prove to be less hazardous to our health.

Rating your building – and your healthWE

As healthy buildings become more mainstream, market-based rating systems such as the Well Building Standard, developed by Delos, will help businesses and building professionals use health and wellness to differentiate their spaces. The first protocol to focus specifically on health in building construction, it prescribes technology enhancements and performance-based measures in seven categories: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind.

Formally launched in 2014, the Well standard is administered by the International Well Building Institute, a B Corp – meaning it has been certified as providing social and environmental benefits beyond the financial bottom line – that has partnered with the Green Building Certification Institute to provide third-party certification. More than 20m square feet of real estate in 12 countries across five continents arenow Well certified or registered, according to Well’s website.

As the world continues to focus on sustainability for the sake of the planet, our definition of environmental sustainability is moving beyond flora and fauna to include the humans in the ecosystem as well. And there is no better front line than the buildings where we spend most of our time. In the coming year, buildings will no longer be considered green if they only do less harm. More of the places where we live, work and learn will begin to actively and intentionally protect and restore our health.

Source: theguardian


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DA calls for drought to be categorised a national disaster

Five provinces have so far been declared disaster areas since the country experienced its worst drought in 23 years.

Scientists have determined that 2015 was the warmest year since 1880‚ when records began to be kept.

The five provinces include KwaZulu-Natal‚ Free State‚ North West‚ Limpopo and Mpumalanga. And if the Eastern Cape‚ Northern Cape and Western Cape‚ have been luckier‚ certain districts in these provinces have nevertheless been declared disaster zones.

The DA wants the minister to declare a national disaster “to address the effects of South Africa’s worst drought in 23 years that has seen ordinary South Africans without water for protracted periods of time”.

Minister of Agriculture Senzeni Gokwana has said that a national disaster cannot be declared‚ because not all provinces are affected by the drought. But the DA is arguing that the Disaster Management Act defines a national disaster as one affecting more than one province and‚ minimally‚ affecting a single province which is unable to deal with it effectively.

The DA said in a statement on Monday: “The current drought has seen thousands of head of livestock die across all provinces which has potential to compromise food security as well as having an enormous impact on South Africa’s already struggling economy‚ and is now resulting in towns and communities running dry.

This is compounded by the continuing energy crisis‚ increasing consumer goods prices and joblessness; with the poor bearing the brunt.”

Source: timeslive


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