Sustainable Africa News: July 2007
Current news from: Botswana, Zambia, Sudan, and South Africa.
Kona Biketown Africa
By: Sarah Rich, posted June 26, 2007 on World Changing.com
Sarah’s article originated from this story by Mark Jenkins
BRIEF: The story of collaboration between Kona, Bicycling Magazine and Bristol-Squibb Meyers to donate 200 free bicycles specially designed to help health workers battle the AIDS pandemic in Botswana. Despite the good intentions of these companies to provide transportation for delivering anti-retroviral medicine to rural areas of Botswana, the program had flaws which left the intended aid fruitless. After some re-tooling (literally), the program was revamped and upgraded to include a locally trained bicycle technician. Kona launched a two-for-one program where, for every two bikes they sell worldwide, they will donate a free one to Biketown. It closes the loop, in effect, allowing paying customers to support access for those without sufficient funds to purchase bicycles of their own. The program is now functioning and soon plans to expand to neighboring Namibia.
Mining leaves toxic legacy in Zambian town
By: Shapi Shacinda, posted on Reuters, Thursday June 21, 2007
BRIEF: A once-thriving mining industry has left deadly concentrations of lead in the soil and water in a now poisoned Zambian town. In 1975 when the global copper market collapsed, the Zambian economy was devastated; it had been the third-largest miner of copper in the world after the United States and Soviet Union. Once, one of Africa's largest and richest mining towns, Kabwe has been left with a legacy of toxic waste. Up to 5,000 people have been affected by poisoning and the lives of about 60,000 children and adults are at risk, government officials say. Levels of lead poisoning above 120 micrograms per deciliter can kill. Measurements in children and adults in Zambian townships have ranged from 27-118 micrograms per deciliter; clearly lethal.
UN Report: Environmental Degradation Triggering Tensions in Sudan
source: UN News Service (New York), 22 June 2007
Read the UN report here:
BRIEF: In a new report, Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme's (UNEP) has warned that the rehabilitation of Sudan's environment is critical to peace efforts. "Sudan's tragedy is not just the tragedy of one country in Africa - it is a window to a wider world underlining how issues such as uncontrolled depletion of natural resources like soils and forests allied to impacts like climate change can destabilize communities, even entire nations." The recent investigation "has shown clearly that peace and people's livelihoods in Darfur as well as in the rest of Sudan are inextricably linked to the environmental challenge."
South Africa: Organic Cotton's Huge Benefits
source: Cape Argus (Cape Town), 22 June 2007
BRIEF: Speaking at the Africa Regional Organic conference in Cape Town, Rebecca Callahan Klein, director of the Organic Exchange, a non-profit trade organization recently said, “Africa, including South Africa, is an important cotton-growing region with great potential to join the fast-growing global market for organic cotton production.” The global market for organic cotton is growing by 100% a year and is expected to reach $2.6 billion by the end of 2008. Globally, cotton is the largest non-food crop grown, with 40 million farmers. Also at the conference, US-based Nordstrom, pledged $100,000- to the Organic Exchange to be used to support a farm development project for small-scale African growers. In South Africa, Woolworths has pledged in its "Good Business Journey" to sell in excess of 1 billion Rand (US $14.3 million) of organic cotton and to help develop an organic cotton pipeline in the country by 2012.
Of course, organic agriculture is far better than other methods, and especially that which supports small-scale farms, but it should be mentioned that acidification of the soil is to be expected in areas where cotton is grown. A cautionary approach to over-production should be advised when thinking about the sustainability of any global industry.
South African FREEPLAY, a brand with a conscience awarded
source: South Africa: The Good News
BRIEF: Rory Stear, executive chairman of the South African-founded Freeplay Energy, has been honored by Principal Voices as a world leader in energy efficiency and for promoting access to energy amongst the marginalized. Principal Voices, a project established by CNN, Time and Fortune magazines, has for the past three years identified key international players who address challenges facing the world. This year the issues of technology and innovation, alternative energy, and social entrepreneurs are being covered. Freeplay Energy combines wind-up, solar and rechargeable energy to power a range of products, including radios, torches, lanterns and other illuminating devices, as well as stand-alone chargers for wireless and cell phones.
Check out FREEPLAY’S website here:
Green Tips: Reduce Your Footprint
Be an Advocate for Worldwide Health and Global Nutrition
What are you doing in your everyday life to maintain the health of the planet? How about yourself?
"Calculate your calories" – keep a log of the food you eat for one month and the average number of calories you consume each day. Multiply your caloric intake by six billion, seven hundred twenty-four million, six hundred seventy-two thousand, twenty-three (6,724,672,023)… the human population as of 06-01-07
See how many calories the planet would need to produce if everyone alive were to eat like you do …
Daily caloric calculator: (see what you should be consuming)
World Changing worldchanging.com
Plenty Magazine www.plentymag.com
Union of Concerned Scientists www.ucsusa.org
Co-Op America www.coopamerica.org
Environmental News Network www.enn.com
Discovery Channel: Planet Earth Guide
Sundance Channel: The Green
The Future of Food www.thefutureoffood.com
The Future of Food offers an in-depth investigation into the disturbing truth behind the unlabeled, patented, genetically engineered foods that have quietly filled U.S. grocery store shelves for the past decade.
An Inconvenient Truth climatecrisis.com
From director Davis Guggenheim comes the Sundance Film Festival hit, AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, which offers a passionate and inspirational look at one man's fervent crusade to halt global warming's deadly progress in its tracks by exposing the myths and misconceptions that surround it. In this eye-opening and poignant portrait of Gore and his "traveling global warming show," Gore also proves himself to be one of the most misunderstood characters in modern American public life. Here he is seen as never before in the media - funny, engaging, open and downright on fire about getting the surprisingly stirring truth about what he calls our "planetary emergency" out to ordinary citizens before it's too late.
11th Hour www.11thhourfilm.com
"So, we find ourselves on the brink. It's clear humans have had a devastating impact on our planet's ecological web of life. Because we've waited, because we've turned our backs on nature's warning signs, and because our political and corporate leaders have consistently ignored the overwhelming scientific evidence, the challenges we face are that much more difficult... What will guide this massive change? And does nature hold the answers we need to help restore our planet's resources, protect our atmosphere, and therefore help all life survive? — Leonardo DiCaprio
Excerpted (Vanity Fair May 2007) from the film The 11th Hour, a documentary created by Leonardo DiCaprio; directed by Leila Conners Petersen and Nadia Conners; the film, to be released later this year by Tree Media Group and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. Read more at www.leonardodicaprio.org
The Corporation www.thecorporation.com
Winner of 26 International Awards! 10 Audience Choice Awards including the 2004 Sundance Film Festival.
Provoking, witty, stylish and sweepingly informative, The Corporation explores the nature and spectacular rise of the dominant institution of our time. Taking its status as a legal "person" to the logical conclusion, the film puts the corporation on the psychiatrist's couch to ask "What kind of person is it?" The Corporation includes interviews with 40 corporate insiders and critics - including Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Milton Friedman, Howard Zinn, Vandana Shiva and Michael Moore - plus true confessions, case studies and strategies for change.
Cradle to Cradle
by William McDonough info
Introduction to Permaculture
by Bill Mollison info
The Art of Natural Building
by Joseph Kennedy, Michael G. Smith, Catherine Wanek info
Gaviotas, A Village to Reinvent the World
by Alan Weisman info
Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands
by Brad Lancaster info
The End of Poverty
by Jeffrey Sachs info
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