Sustainable Africa News: September 2008
Current news from Congo, Kenya, Rwanda and South Africa.
Some Kenyans Prefer Jail over Forest Exploitation
Posted: Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2008
Source: Daily Nation
Author: Mwangi Ndirangu
The Mukogodo forest in Kenya contains natural resources that would fetch million of shillings on the black market, and yet its over 4,000 inhabitants would rather steal necessities like livestock to survive than exploit their beloved forest. The Mukogodo is used as a case study in conservation, thanks to the efforts of the residents of the forest, who have used their own methods of conversation for centuries. Appreciation for the Mukogodo is ingrained in the local cultures that have always depended on the forest for their livelihood. Under Kenya’s new Forest Act, the Mukogodo community will now need to work with the government in their efforts to conserve the forest, so that it can continue to support the local community through its resources and allure as an ecotourism destination. Read more
Rwandan bill passes, banning the manufacture, importation, use and sale of polythene bags
Posted: Sept. 12, 2008
Source: The New Times
Author: James Karuhanga
Rwanda is taking steps to stop the use of polythene bags, which pose many dangers to the environment. Discarded bags can be ingested by animals, and the burning of this material causes many toxins to be released into the environment. This new law is focused on a particular type of polythene, and does not affect all types of plastic. Concern exists that citizens will be unable to identify which polythene is the dangerous one prohibited by the law. Manufacturers and importers, however, should be able to tell the difference and only put safe plastic material on the market. One solution being suggested to all Rwandans is to use paper bags instead of plastic. Read more
Congo will host 6th Sustainable Development Forum for Africa
Posted: Sept. 9, 2008
Source: African Press Agency
October 27-30, the Congo will be the first African nation to host a Global Forum on Sustainable Development since its inception in 2003. This forum will focus on methods of increasing sustainable development, especially in Africa. It will also conduct a review of progress of the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals, scheduled to be completed in 2015. Emphasis will also be given to finding solutions to the many secondary problems that affect environmental development, such as the AIDS epidemic and other diseases and sanitation issues. Read more
Why the Richest Continent is also the Poorest
Posted: Sept. 5, 2008
Source: Development-Africa, Inter Press Service News Agency
Author: Miriam Mannak
Exploitation of natural resources in Africa by foreign companies has led to immense poverty and the need for international aid. In addition, exploitation practices cause health and environmental problems in African nations. Resources are cultivated and exported by private foreign companies that profit immensely, while local African governments receive only a tiny portion, if any, of this money. Many are calling for foreign companies to repay their ecological debt to Africa in order to allow its own development and break this vicious cycle. Read more
South African Retailer Creates Jobs with Green Practices
Aug. 15, 2008
Source: Development-Africa, Inter Press Service News Agency
Author: Johan Eybers
Woolworths, a South African retailer geared towards the middle class, has just won the Responsible Retailer of the Year award at the World Retail Awards. Woolworths is responsible for helping to create organic cotton and farming industries in South Africa and its neighbors. Its “good business journey,” established in 2007, is designed to address sustainable development in the face of changing social and environmental needs. This includes the protection of endangered predatory animals traditionally killed by farmers and the implementation of biologically sustainable farming practices. Woolworths’ dedication to carrying organic products has created many green jobs, sustained farmers, and improved local economies. Read more
Kenya Court Halts Biofuel Project
Posted: July 18, 2008
Source: The Green Belt Movement
A Kenyan court has halted a biofuel project in the Tana River Delta for the duration of a lawsuit between the project and local environmental groups. The project is growing sugarcane for biofuels to produce ethanol and generate power, an action that naturalists say will cause drainage in the wetlands and harm its many local animals, including some endangered species. The project’s backers claim that this project will create local jobs and increase the area’s economic growth; however, those in opposition claim this growth is overestimated and that the economy would suffer from a loss of ecotourism. The goal of environmental groups is for the wetlands to be declared a protected area and the biofuel project to be permanently stopped. Read more
Green Tips: Reduce Your Footprint
1. Stop Junk Mail from filling up your mailbox. Subscribe to Green Dimes, a company that puts a stop to junk mail coming to your mailbox. http://www.greendimes.com/
2. Change your search engine either to save energy, or to benefit your favorite charity. Check out www.blackle.com as an alternative search engine. Blackle saves energy because the screen is predominantly black. Or, check out Good Search http://www.goodsearch.com/ which lets you register any school or non-profit organization of your choice, and every search you perform through Good Search, a penny is donated to your selected recipient.
3. Curb your plastic water bottles consumption. Did you know that only 3% of all plastics are actually recyclable. That’s right. Even though they have the recycling triangles on them, only the #'s 1 and #'s 2 are actually recyclable.
Also, did you know that the plastic debris currently floating in the Mid-Pacific Gyre, the swirling mass of ocean northwest of Hawaii, where all the Pacific waters currents converge, is as large (or larger) than the state of Texas? And the the ratio of plastic to plankton is currently 30:1... that’s right !! There are 30 times more plastic that oxygen generating = plankton in the Pacific Ocean.
So choose a better alternative for your drinking water. Reusable, stainless steel water bottles. There are a number of companies offering these stylish and sustainable hydration essentials.
Check out Klean Kanteens at: http://www.kleankanteen.com/
Or Sigg at: http://www.mysigg.com/index.asp?Category=3&PageAction=VIEWCATS
Or EcoUsable at: http://www.ecousable.com/
4. Use a durable canvas bag (or other re-usable shopping bag) instead of paper or plastic. Buy a few and remember to take them with you when you go to the market. Even if you forget to bring them every once in a while, at least you will drastically reduce the number of paper and plastic bags that you use.
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.
Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution--and How It Can Renew
by Thomas L. Friedman
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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