1-6 May: Afrika Burn
This annual gathering in the harsh Tankwa Karoo in the Northern Cape is based on the American Burning Man festival. It’s all about sustainability and creativity: there’s nothing laid on, and you leave nothing behind except, perhaps, the smell of woodsmoke in the air as the last campfires are extinguished. There’s a strict no-cash barter system, and your right to be there is defined by your willingness to share ideas, to be entertained and offer entertainment, and to donate your creativity to projects, both your own and others’. This year’s theme is “archetypes” which is provocative indeed. It’s an extraordinary event that sells out in hours. Watch out for evocative, exciting images in the press.
10-12 May and 17-18 May: Greenpop’s Reforest at Platbos
Here’s another extraordinary demonstration of the energy and generosity of people. Every year, Greenpop coordinates a session in which the public is invited to come and help protect and grow the ancient forest at Platbos, Gansbaai. Every year, volunteers arrive in their droves, and plant until their backs break – and then party up a storm. It costs around R500 to be there, but your camping, meals and fun are thrown in, as are all tools and trees. The family weekend is the first one; the second weekend is the friends weekend. Choose your entertainment style!
20-24 May National Bird Week
You know that thing about the canary in the goldmine? Well, on a grander scale, that’s what birds do for all of life. If you’re surrounded by tweeting and warbling, you’re in a healthy ecosystem. If all is ominously quiet, it’s time to worry. National Bird Week is all about getting us to focus on biodiversity, and the impact of our carelessness on birding habitats.
Every year, by the way, a Bird of the Year is chosen. (Yes, we know FHM chooses one too). This year, it’s the highly threatened white-winged flufftail (sarothrua ayresi), whose habitat – wetlands – is being drained from under it, or contaminated by industrial or human effluent or sewerage. You’ll find this little creature only in high-altitude wetlands in SA and – unlikely as this might seem – Ethiopia. So here’s a picture of it: it’s the closest you’re likely to get. For more on this cutie pie, check out the Action Plan to protect it.
And for yourself on this day: take time to listen to the birds – most of us barely notice them as we go about our daily lives – and appreciate the incredibleness of them.
And if you’re a bird keen bean, don’t miss:
25-26 May Sasol Birds & Birding Fair
The Johanneburg Zoo is the venue for this, and what better excuse to visit the zoo. There are free talks on a variety of topics; there are also photography workshops and beginner bird identification courses.
22 May International Day for Biological Diversity
This year’s theme is “water and diversity”, and it was chosen to reflect the fact that the UN has declared 2013 to be the International Year of Water Cooperation . And, of course, we’re still in the middle of the International Decade for Action ‘Water for Life’.
I’d say the message is clear! All this banging on about water we do is right on trend!
23 May: World Turtle (and Tortoise) Day
There’s something very cute, and very vulnerable, about turtles (and tortoises). So we’re glad they have a day to themselves. Turtle survival is seriously threatened by destructive industrial fishing operations such as longlining and trawling. Their nesting habitats are also radically decreasing as beachfront development increase. And in a third angle of attack, despite trade laws protecting them, turtles are still collected for their eggs, meat, and shells. Today, make a promise that:
- You will never buy a turtle or tortoise as it increases demand for them to be captured from the wild. Adopt from a rescue centre if you want one.
- Don‘t remove turtles or tortoises from the wild unless they are sick or injured. It’s something we used to do as kids – bring a tortoise home from the veld, and have him hang out in the garden, and feed him rose petals. We knew no better.
- And here’s the rule when you see a tortoise crossing a highway, pick it up and place it in the same direction it was going – otherwise it will turn right around again and cross back.
31 May: World No Tobacco Day
The reason Eco-Worrier is on a mission about smokers, is because tobacco is such an eco-unfriendly plant; and – at the other end of the chain – cigarette butts are the largest littered product world-wide.
It‘s estimated that several trillion cigarettes are lit worldwide each year.
- Almost 1 in 3 cigarette butts end up as litter.
- Where indoor smoking bans have been implemented, cigarette butt litter dramatically increases.
- Cigarette butts can leach chemicals such as cadmium, lead and arsenic into our marine environment within an hour of contact with water.
- Butts have been found in the stomachs of fish, whales, birds etc – i.e. they have ingested potentially hazardous chemicals (never mind the digestive blockages).
- And finally, cigarette filters are made of cellulose acetate tow, not cotton, and they take decades to degrade.
So quit already.
Posted by admin on Apr 1, 2013 in Blog, The Eco Worrier Calendar | Comments Off
Get your bulbs in
Elbows are out at your local garden centre as gardeners dive into the bulb barrels. Plant now for spring colour. But leave it too long, and your pickings will be bare. Paperwhite daffodils flower early. But we’re also dreaming of Dutch iris, fragrant freesias, tulips, hyacinth…
In your vegetable garden, it’s also time to get cracking with crops like spinach, carrots, beetroot, cabbages and cauliflower.
April 7: Johnny Clegg at Kirstenbosch
Clegg is such an old soldier of crossover music: you owe it to yourself to join the folk on the lawn. Grab a bottle of wine, upload a cigarette lighter on your phone to wave over your head when he sings Asimbonanga, and enjoy the last of the Kirstenbosch Sunday Summer Concert series. If you need a preview, here you go.
April 8-11 BioEnergy World Africa exhibition
BioEnergy is a h-o-t subject, so this is a steaming hot. If you’re interested in solutions for developing biogas and biomass projects, and implementation of biofuels programmes, find out more and register here. At the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg.
Same date, same venue you’ll also be able to catch the overlapping Clean Tech World Africa grouping (details here), Wind Power World Africa (click here for details), the Solar Show (click here) and other associated technologies.
April 22: Earth Day (not to be confused with March’s Earth Hour)
Earth Day was first organised in 1970 to promote ecology and respect for life on the planet as well as to encourage awareness of the growing problems of air, water and soil pollution. In your area, there might be events but if not, do it your way: plant a tree, take a bag to a nature spot and pick up trash, join a recycling scheme, install a greywater system or a rainwater harvesting tank, put a timer on your geyser, use public transport rather than your car, anything. Just do something, mindfully, and gratefully.
April 25-28: Sustainable Living and Indigenous Plant Fair (KZN)
Head on down to the National Botanical Garden in Pietermaritzburg to catch this fair which, since its roots in 2004, has grown to include food plants and low-carbon living. Explore indigenous gardening, conservation, local organic food, alternate energy, water harvesting and other off-the-grid options. Click here fore more information.
April 27: Freedom Day
Where were you when… do you remember that first election?
There were a lot of tears held back, and still more tears that flowed in this day in 1994. It was an awesomely proud day for SA.
We’ve become jaded and cynical, and in the media around now there’ll be an awful lot of misery about how we’ve turned out. But remember this:
We are still those people.
This is still that country.
We are still bloody marvellous.
Be the change!
Posted by admin on Mar 2, 2013 in Blog, The Eco Worrier Calendar | Comments Off
The big one for us, of course, is:
18-24 March: National Water Week
(Especially World Water Day on the 22nd) which is an annual worldwide event to promote mindfulness about our planet’s most precious resource.
The slogan this year is:
Water is Life – Respect it, Conserve it, Enjoy it …
And that, pretty much, says it all! If we don’t respect it – and every farmer anywhere in our arid country will back us up on this – we have nothing to enjoy.
There are plenty of activities going on, so if you have the capacity, join other like-minded people in some social action around water:
• Adopt and clean dirty rivers
• Report leaking and burst pipes
• Fix leaking taps at home and the work place
• Report any illegal abstraction of water from rivers and other water sources for commercial or domestic use
• Report industries and individuals that dump their toxic waste in our rivers
• Report the misuse of our water and other faults to the nearest municipal offices or call the Department of Water Affairs on their toll free number 0800 200 200.
To find out more about the global initiative, click here.
Picnics with a show
As the last days of summer draw down, suddenly those outdoor picnic evenings seem immeasurably precious. Among the best March concerts at the brilliant Kirstenbosch National Gardens in Cape Town are:
• Ringo Madlingozi on March 17 sings about healing, love, patience, kindness and forgiveness. Named after the Beatles drummer – his talent on drums is exceptional – he is also a vocalist, percussionist, guitarist, songwriter, producer and arranger with a string of awards.
• Mi Casa on March 24, with Natasha Meister. Mi Casa is South Africa’s newest soulful house collective.
Turbovite Jump City on March 10
Break out and conquer the urban jungle… or, at least, Mary Fitzgerald Square in Johannesburg.
This 10km urban obstacle course is a spectator’s delight – but they’re not having half as much fun as the participants who, for this day only, make the streets their playground as they run, jump, climb and slide their way through the city.
Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour on 10 March
Down in the Cape, it’s also the one day a year when the roads belong to non-car people. The Cycle Tour is a great highlight of the national sporting calendar – but don’t try and go anywhere that day by car.
Get all the details here.
If you’re into a different kind of cycling, the Cape Epic, 24-31 March is an annual 8-day mountain bike stage race through around 700km of pristine and often private land, ending at Lourensford Wine Estate.
Check out the route here, and go along and admire the awesomeness. Take your own water bottle.
Human Rights Day on 21 March
This is a big one on our socio-political calendar. Let’s remember what it is meant to commemorate: click here. And then let’s celebrate and defend our world-leading Bill of Rights (Chapter 2 of the Constitution). Whatever else you do today, be mindful of what it means to live in a society (never mind, for once, our failures and problems) in which the following rights are enshrined:
• Human dignity
• Freedom of expression
• Assembly, demonstration, picket and petition
• Freedom of association
• Freedom of movement and residence
World Forestry Day on March 21
JoJo is very keen on trees. The company supports tree germination and planting programmes in some of SA’s poorest areas because it totally fits with the win-win ethos of the company: people get access to an income, the world gets a bigger green lung, and sustainable wood can be harvested for the many uses we put it to, protecting virgin forests.
World Forestry Day focuses on the benefits of forests to the community such as catchment protection, providing habitat for animals and plants, areas for recreation, education and scientific study, and as a source of many products including timber and honey.
Earth Hour on 23 March
We’re using the equivalent of one and a half planets to support life at the moment. Naturally, things are running out, and Earth Hour is an international event where all households, communities and business worldwide are encouraged to turn off their lights for one hour at 8.30pm. It’s a way of pointing out that responsibility is a personal thing, and that it is our own behavioural change which gets results.
The essence of the campaign is that taking the first step is as easy as turning off your lights. So do it, already. Things like lovelier by candlelight anyway. Get all the information (and some great footage) here.
Posted by admin on Feb 1, 2013 in The Eco Worrier Calendar | Comments Off
If you’re visiting Cape Town, don’t forget that until 28 February, Table Mountain runs a Sunset Special until 28 February, which allows visitors to take a half-price ride up the Cableway from 6pm daily. So adults pay R102.50 and children R50 – and if it’s your birthday, you go free!
The Cableway operates weather permitting. For information click here.
There are some great talks and events lined up in February:
February 6: Making power from trash
John Parkin, Deputy Head: Plant & Engineering, eThekwini Municipality, is delivering a talk at the DUT Hotel School Ritson Campus, Winterton Walk, Durban, entitled The Highs & Lows of Leading in the field of Landfill Gas to Electricity in Africa: The Durban Project. Click here to book:
February 9-10: Midmar Mile Swimming Race
The swimming equivalent of the Argus Cycle Tour: something everyone should do at least once in their lives. Go down and get inspired if you’re so far a non-swimmer. And if you are swimming it: good luck and lots of love to the great outdoors from the rest of us!
February 12: How to pay for renewable energy
Rentia van Tonder, Head: Green Industries Business Unit, Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) is giving a talk at the Sasol Auditorium, Rosebank, Johannesburg, on Funding options for renewable energy. Click here to register.
February 13: The potential of wind power
Dr Kilian Hagemann, Director: G7 Renewable Energies and a Board member of the SA Wind Energy Association is giving a talk at the Engen Petroleum Ltd Conference Centre, Engen Court, Cape Town, entitled South Africa’s Wind Power Potential. Click here for more information.
February 14: Green Business Seminar
There's a Green Business Seminar courtesy of the City of Ekurhuleni and 49M, today. It's free. If you're interested in the issues driving competitive advantage for companies in the Green Economy, and looking for practical insights into the strategies and tactics being used by the ‘green stars’, be there!
Oh, and Valentine's Day!!!
Love the Earth by buying those brilliant recycled-from-Coke-cans roses on the side of the road, and taking time and trouble to show 'I love you' rather than throwing money at the challenge.
February 14-16: The Dusi Canoe Marathon
This is one of the greatest, proudest races in SA. If you’re able to get to anywhere along the route, go down and root for our champs!
February 19-20: Africa Energy Indaba at Sandton Convention Centre
It’s the leading energy event in Africa. To all those participating and contributing: strength to your sustainability focus!
February 22-24: World of Dogs & Cats and Pet Exhibition
South Africa’s most exciting pet event, at the Durban Exhibition Centre in February. It includes arena events showcasing various dog breeds, as well as obedience, agility, dog jumping, carting and flyball activities. There is even a 60-Weaving Pole Challenge for dogs – awesome! My dogs have never managed to do more with a pole than pee on it. There’s also a Hall of Cats, and altogether more dignified affair. Click here for more information.
Don’t forget about the brilliant Earth Fair Food Market at St George's Mall in Cape Town on Thursdays and the Noordhoek Farm Village on Saturdays. It’s gone from strength to strength, and it’s the place where many people who work in town do their Thursday night supper shopping. More information here.
Picnics with a party
One of the best things about Cape Town is the picnic culture. And one of the downers is that summer is ticking along towards its end. So take advantage while you can!
The De Waal Park concerts are brilliant. For one thing, they’re free. For another, De Waal Park is just one of this gifts that living in Cape Town offers: right under the mountain, safe, a place where dogs run free and everyone feels like a neighbour. Pack a picnic supper and come along to listen to:
February 3 at 4pm: STEVE LOUW & BIG SKY
February 17at 4pm: ROBIN AULD (remember him! He’s still going strong)
March 3 at 3pm: ARNO CARSTENS
March17 at 3pm: HOT WATER
The Kirstenbosch Old Mutual Summer Sunset concerts are better known, and therefore packed (especially when there’s a big name playing). But Kirstenbosch has the kind of magic that makes it just still so special to take your sunset picnic along there. The line-up for February (and all concerts are on a Sunday, at 5.30pm – gates open at 4) is:
February 3: FRESHLYGROUND
February 10: THE CAPE TOWN FOLK N ACOUSTIC MUSIC FESTIVAL
February 17: the iconic SIPHO “HOTSTIX” MABUSE
February 24: THE CAPE PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
For more information, click here or here.
Finally, we’ve always loved the Oude Libertas Amphitheatre Summer Season Concerts which run until 10 March. These lawns are the lushest ever, and picnicking here almost feels like a dress-up event, it’s so special. Mostly, shows start at 8.15pm, run for around 90 minutes, and tickets tend to be in the R120 – R160 range. Some shows offer a “lawn tickets” option for if you want to just linger on your picnic blanket and listen: they are R40 for adults and R10 for kids. But check the website for specific details.
The line-up for February includes:
February 1 & 2: LA ROSA DANCE COMPANY presenting Buona Sera Signorina, musicians and dancers performing new choreographies created by prominent Madrid-based Flamenco artist Eliezer Truco Pinillos ‘La Truco’.
February 3: Vocal poet DENISE JANNAH who brings a blend of a hot gypsy rhythm section, violin, accordion and soulful, jazzy vocals.
February 6 & 9: The visually and musically humourous Belgian duo JUMMOO. They’re awesome.
February 8: WOORDE MET WIEKE: Coenie de Villiers, Jak de Priester, Herman van den Bergh, Andries Bezuidenhout & Brűmilda van Rensburg bring Antjie Krog's poetry to life.
February 10: DR VICTOR AND THE RASTA REBELS That’s the “Give me hope Johanna” people. Such fun.
February 14: THE DAHLINGS, a trio in 1940s Andrew Sisters style.
February 15: BLONDES AND TANGO – ZoradaTemmingh & Elna van der Merwe on two pianos in performance with two sensational Tango Dancers.
February 16: ECHOES OF PARIS from the fantastic French singing actress, Camille Favre-Bulle who might as well be Piaf.
February 17: RADIO KALAHARI ORKES. Awesome.
February 20: THE CAPE TOWN OPERA VOICE OF THE NATION. If they’re good enough for audiences in Berlin, Oslo, Munich, Nürnberg and Paris, they’re good enough for Stellenbosch.
February 21: ZAPPA-MAINOLFI DUO & ZANTA HOFMEYR performing Luigi Boccherini and EnnioMorricone
February 23 & 24: CARMINA BURANA performed by the Symphony Choir of Cape Town.
February 27: Double Bill: FOUR HANDS ONE PIANO & TRIO WITH A TWIST, a celebration of the centenary of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. Price:
February 28: EMO ADAMS & TAKE NOTE
Posted by admin on Nov 30, 2012 in Blog, The Eco Worrier Calendar | Comments Off
At any given time this month, there is a [insert farmers / wholefood / organic / Christmas ] market going on near you. Often, there’s live music (last Saturday I had the great good fortune of stumbling over Lonesome Dave Ferguson, my all-time-favourite harmonica genius, pictured left) at the Market at the Palms in Woodstock, Cape Town. Where I also came across bicycle polo – a hall-like space where seriously funky people play polo on bikes instead of horses. Who would have thought. But I digress…); and there is always the most delicious array of goodies to eat on site, or take home. You can get your Christmas shopping done and support small hard-working home-producers of all manner of goods. So get out and enjoy!
It’s World Aids Day. So take a day to plant African potato, garlic, beetroot and a lemon tree in honour of Dr Mantombazana 'Manto' Edmie Tshabalala-Msimang and the SA government’s infamous approach during the Mbeki years…
Only kidding. Modern treatment methods have downgraded HIV/Aids from something as scary as the Black Plague, to something more akin to a chronic condition like diabetes. But that’s only true for people who have the medical and social support they need, and it’s still a hideous and highly catchy disease. Go along to one of the awareness-raising events in your area, like the free concerts (music and circus shows) in Cape Town.
Get yourself down to the Walter Sisulu botanical gardens for their Carols by Candlelight event. It’s an awesome way of feeling the Christmas magic, in magic surrounds.
If you’re interested in permaculture, there’s a good course going in Jozi over these two days (and then again on the 18th and 19th, if that suits you better): 9am – 4pm; R1 300 per person. Permaculture really adds value to what you already know about food gardening, and it’s a brilliant way to meet people who will be part of your learning journey going forward. Get the details here.
The annual Wavescape Surf Film Festival kicks off with Movie Night at Clifton Fourth Beach, an epic – and free – film screening under the African sky. Catch the three week-long international surf festival’s top five films for a little reminder of just how much fun our ocean can be (in amongst all the more serious things it also is). Find more details here.
Catch the Red Bull Flugtag: self-accredited pilots launch their team-powered flying machines off a 6m high ramp at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.
Beg, borrow or steal a child to take to Carols by Candlelight at Kirstenbosch. Such a beautiful thing to do. Get the details here.
A group of 30 cyclists and 8 crew members are scheduled to ride off into the sunrise from Sun International’s Gauteng gambling hub, Carnival City, for a three-day, 750km bike ride for charity that ends at the magnificent Prince’s Grant on the Kwa-Zulu Natal East Coast. It’s called ER2EC (East Rand to East Coast) ride, and the target is to raise R100 000. If you’re anywhere along the route, go along to cheer these champion people on.
Anyone who lives inland loads up their car, and heads off for some lovely, lazy, hazy, summer days by their favourite body of water. Drive safely, and see you all in the new year!
Posted by admin on Oct 31, 2012 in Blog, The Eco Worrier Calendar | Comments Off
Naturally, you could – indeed, should – be proudly growing your moustache (your ‘mo’) for Movember in aid of prostate and testicular cancer awareness. Lord knows, those are hard-working, undervalued bits of your anatomy that you’ll really miss if they go missing. Forge ahead through everyone’s laughter, and use your mo.
And girls: stop rearing back in horror at your guy’s struggling mo. Be a mo-sista for this month, and support the struggle.
SA definitely needs your help: in the leaderboard of mo-growers, we’re not doing too well: just 9 520 men have registered, raising just over R200 000, compared to 136 390 in the UK, who together have raised over R9million. Are there prostates and testicles worth more than yours? I thought not.
Other things this month brings:
Movember 10: Great talk, and a JoJo tank to be won
The inspiring Jane Griffiths is doing a talk at the lovely Winelands nursery, The Pink Geranium. Between 10am and noon, she’ll be covering the basics of organic gardening, including time-saving and space saving tips and – most important – how to ‘confuse’ the bugs. Your R60pp includes light refreshments and a goodie bag; and you stand a chance to win a JoJo Tank. Book on 021 884 4313 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Movember 14-15: 24 Hours of Reality: The Dirty Weather Report
Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project is holding its second multimedia ’24 hours of reality’ event. This one is called The Dirty Weather Report, referring, of course, to how climate change is linked to the extreme weather we’re seeing – something very top of mind, as Manhattan tries to dry out its subways, reopen its stores and get its stock exchange operating again after Hurricane Sandy. The Project team will, they hope, have their home studio in New York City operational again, and they’ll ‘travel’ into each region of the world, bringing voices, news and multimedia content across all 24 time zones. Expect to see videos from around the globe, man-on-the-street reports, music, and stories from communities moving forward with solutions. It’s a great deal of fun, and a learning experience: get the details here.
Movember 17: Skydive for Rhinos in Rustenberg
It was particularly bitter to read that over the weekend of World Rhino Day, nine carcasses were discovered in KZN, and a further four in the Eastern Cape. So we really, really love the 'Skydive for Rhinos' campaign – in 2012, it has already raised more than R6.5m for African Conservation Trust's Rhino Fund.
But its goal is R10 million, so you owe it to the rhinos to jump out of a plane to raise more money for them. You’ll be in good company: in July, 64 people raised funds and made a tandem skydive for rhinos near Jozi; in August, 77 did the same at The Ranch SkyDiving Boogie and Symposium close to Polokwane and another 75 jumped in Kwa-Zulu-Natal; in September 31 jumped in PE and 44 near Robertson in the Western Cape. One of them naked. Yes, that’s right, in the interest of raising funds, Steve Newman actually skydived naked (you can read about it here). Now it’s your last chance for the year: if you can raise R5 000, you can become a skydivin’ rhino champ. To find out more, watch this wonderful YouTube video or this skydive loveliness, shot in Rustenburg.