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Creatively addressing environmental concerns

There can be little doubt that our little planet is in need of attention; we’ve known for some years that we’re running out of fossil fuels and that deforestation is a major problem, and that the effects of climate change may soon become permanent or irreversible. Awareness surrounding global and environmental concerns is nothing new, but the campaigns created to highlight such issues have had to evolve to keep up with a bigger, brighter, and bolder world. Everyone is shouting to be heard; why should they listen to environmental concerns?

Capturing the public’s imagination

So, how can we ensure that our biggest, and most pressing environmental concerns are reaching a wider audience and making the required impact? With creativity, of course. You see, the main hurdle facing those attempting to showcase environmental concerns is that of indifference; people will often profess to have heard, or seen it all before, and yet issues such as global warming, plastic pollution, and the depletion of natural resources remain. It would appear that we’re becoming blind to the biggest issues facing our planet – words are falling on deaf ears, and we must shout louder than ever before. Indeed, you’re going to need to harness all of your creativity if you’re to make people sit up and take notice at last.

It’s time to get creative

Choosing your cause, researching its heart, and creating a soapbox or platform are just the beginning of the battle when it comes to engaging the masses. Your creativity is your main asset; many of our planet’s issues have remained the same for several decades, and yet there are still plenty of new, and engaging ways to shout about them – as long as you’re prepared to let your imagination run riot.

Use the skills you possess

Perhaps most obviously, it’s essential to use your strengths to your advantage. If you’re a keen writer consider the words that will make the biggest impact; if you’re a web designer think about the layout and content that will grab people’s attention. Rather than attempting to learn something new, embrace the talents you have and use them to your advantage. How can you channel your creativity towards producing something really special?

Raise awareness with a video, or ten

In this age of technology, visual media and video are perhaps two of the best ways to grab attention and showcase an environmental concern. Videos allow us to chart the cause and effects surrounding certain issues, and to tell a story in a way that actively engages the people it’s supposed to appeal to. A videomaker app or service is an excellent idea if you’re hoping to draw the public’s attention to a particular campaign. Such sites provide templates, which will ensure that all of the hard work is done for you – and leave plenty of time for you to demonstrate your concerns in a creative way.

Don’t be afraid to make a statement

Using your creativity doesn’t have to involve a written testimonial, a visually stunning set of photographs, or a video campaign, you could showcase an environmental concern in any number of ways. Take sponsored events and impact awareness, for example. Cycling during a drought, living on recycled goods and dumpster groceries, and living without plastic are all great ways to highlight particular plights – as long as you remember to keep a video diary, blog, or social media page to tell people about your adventures, of course.

Use the media to your advantage

Social media is your friend when it comes to showcasing environmental awareness; sites and apps such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are among the best ways to reach the biggest audience in the shortest amount of time – particularly as hashtags and trending topics have begun to take precedence in users’ newsfeeds. Creative input such as visuals and viral videos work well on social media platforms, while local news and media outlets are perhaps your best point of contact if you’ve got an event or campaign to advertise.

Above all, it pays to conduct your research; what environmental campaigns have been and gone? Which movements have stood the test of time, and which would you struggle to remember once they were out of sight? Dare to be different and embrace the resources that are available to you. After all, until you’ve tried everything can you actually admit defeat? Our planet is magnificent, inspiring creative minds and encouraging us all to head on out there and make a difference. We owe it to the world to demonstrate a little of that imagination; be brave and save the world!

Eco-Logic Awards – 2018 Entries

It’s that time of year when entries are called for, for the Eco-Logic Awards 2018. You are invited to nominate an eco-champion that you believe is making a positive contribution towards creating an eco-logical society and environment – or nominate your own organisation, product or project under one (or more) of the 13 categories, to name a few,  The Biodiversity Award, The Climate Change Award, The Water Conservation Award and The Municipalities Award.

The Eco-Logic Awards identify individuals, organisations and communities that positively contribute towards a sustainable world – and we encourage consumers to support them by purchasing  their products and services.

The Enviropaedia established the Annual Eco-Logic Awards in 2011 and it has since grown into South Africa’s most glamorously green eco-calendar event, receiving extensive TV, radio, print media and online coverage.

See what past winners have said about how winning this award has furthered their cause to establishing a more sustainable world.

 

For information about the award categories, judging criteria and how to enter go to:
http://www.eco-logicawards.com/enter/

Words of Wonder: Openings to the Natural World

By Caspar Henderson, Featured on the Ecologist

All too often language is used to objectify nature, writes Caspar Henderson. But there’s another, older vocabulary – introduced in this ‘counter-desecration phrasebook’ – that achieves the reverse: connecting us with the wonders of life and arousing delight in the natural world.

“The hollows of its trees were routes to other planets, its subterrane flowed with streams of silver, and its woods were threaded through with filaments of magical force. Within it children could shape-shift into bird, leaf, fish or water.”

Bedwos, crundle,rionnach maoim. Jammed against each other like pieces of rotting crud in landfill, the words may sound like nonsense – a line of Vogon poetry fromThe Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. But come closer, unfold them and listen.

Bedwos is a Welsh word for a grove of birch trees. Crundle, in the dialect of Hampshire and Sussex, means a thicket in a hollow through which a stream leads. The Gaelic phrase rionnach maoimrefers to the shadows cast on moorland by cumulus clouds moving across the sky on a bright and windy day.

Each denotes a capacity for attention, an echo of a life-way, in which, just possibly, ever-living joy and worth beyond price can be found.

That, at least, is the idea behind a project which Robert Macfarlane, one of Britain’s leading Nature writers, envisages in the introduction to Landmarks;

“We need now, urgently, a Counter-Desecration Phrasebook that would comprehend the world, a glossary of enchantment for the whole Earth which would allow Nature to talk back and would help us to listen.”

A delight and a fascination

And, interspersed through a set of eleven essays about some of the greatest writers in English about Nature and place, that is what he offers in this remarkable new book. In Landmarks, each stratum of a lexico-poetico-meteorologico-aesthetico Berlitz abuts a seam of ecologico-topographico-critico-politico belles-lettres.

As a phrasebook or glossary, Landmarks is a delight and a fascination. Its lumbering size and structure will, however, limit its use in the field. If you want to know the meaning ofglaab or wetchered, there is no overall index to show which sub-section of the nine completed sections – on Flatlands, Uplands, Waterlands, Coastlands, Underlands, Northlands, Edgelands, Earthlands and Woodlands – contains it.

Glaab, by the way, is a Shetland word for an opening between hills or between islands through which a distant object may be seen, while wetchered is what they say in Lincolnshire when you are wet through after being caught out in the rain.

The essays are vintage Macfarlane. They are studies of and reactions to the work of Nan Shepherd, the author of The Living Mountain, about her life in the Cairngorm mountains; Roger Deakin, who swam and wooded through the imaginations of millions of readers; J. A. Baker, obsessive of the peregrine falcon; and Richard Jefferies, Jacquetta Hawkes, John Muir and others less well known, including Peter Davidson and Richard Skelton.

Earlier versions of many of these pieces have appeared as introductions to new editions of works by these authors. (The introduction to Landmarks itself is a development of an influential essay first published in 2010.) They will be a great resource for those coming to them for the first time, and for others will richly repay rereading.

The ‘re-wonderment’ that language can bestow

Language isn’t thought, but it is a tool for thought, says the anthropologist and linguist Daniel L. Everett. But the power of this tool, for good or ill, should not be underestimated. Language that objectifies has, as Macfarlane writes, largely stunned the Earth out of wonder, facilitating the rendition of all living things and natural systems into a standing reserve ripe for exploitation.

But language is also “fundamental to the possibility of re-wonderment, for language does not just register experience, it produces it.”

And while every generation bears the weight of the past, it also creates new spaces of possibility. Preceding an astonishing revelation in the postscript to the book is a marvellous final chapter, drawing on work by Deb Wilenski and her colleagues, about the minds and words of children allowed to run free in a country park in north Cambridgeshire. As Macfarlane describes it,

“no map of it could ever be complete, for new stories seethed up from its soil, and its surfaces could give way at any moment. The hollows of its trees were routes to other planets, its subterrane flowed with streams of silver, and its woods were threaded through with filaments of magical force. Within it children could shape-shift into bird, leaf, fish or water.”

The book:Landmarks‘ by Robert Macfarlane is published by Hamish Hamilton, 2015.

Caspar Henderson is the author of ‘The Book of Barely Imagined Beings‘ and is currently writing ‘A New Map of Wonders’.

This article was originally published in Resurgence & Ecologist Magazine Issue 290 May/June 2015.

If You’re Feeling Sad About the State of the World, Listen to These Wise Words from Eisenstein

By Sophie McAdam on True Activist

‘The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible’ is a short film featuring Charles Eisenstein, author of Sacred Economics and The Ascent of Humanity. Produced by Sustainable Human and with stunning direction by Ian MacKenzie, it is an incredibly sad, yet hopeful, video.

Filmed at dusk on a beautiful Scottish beach, Eisenstein is captured in a moment of grief and reflection. The familiar story of the past is crumbling, while the new story has yet to arrive. In a time of social and ecological crisis, what can we as individuals do in this space between? “In order to find your way, you must get lost,” Eisenstein advises, pointing out: “There’s a vast territory for what we’re leaving behind, and where we want to go. We don’t have any maps for that journey.”

Eisenstein has some wise words to say about the dire state of the modern world, touching on many issues such as the media’s role in society and the destructive military-industrial complex. He wonders philosophically how humans can treat each other so badly (could the perpetrators also be victims?).

But here’s the good news: “I think the ideological core of our civilization is hollowing out.” Good news, because we can fill this void with something more sustainable, something more profound. But Einsenstein tells us to bear this in mind: “A movement is not something one can create. A movement creates us.”

This is a very thought-provoking, touching and soothing film, despite the tragic subject matter of a dying biosphere.
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Abundance of Water

In this video, Alosha shares his knowledge of the current water situation in a drought-stricken South Africa. He also provides us with some great water wise tips and practical solutions for our own gardens and homes so that we too can help conserve water and sustain our beautiful environment!

Creative Work Hub Embraces Biomimicry – Creating Conditions Conducive for Life

On the East side of Cape Town, on the road parallel to the best coffee shop in the world (Truth) you will find a small building that is attempting something incredibly innovative—turning to nature for solutions to how to properly work and live in harmony. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Melissa Siko, one of the partners on the project with a background in chemical engineering and systems analysis, to learn about all that is going on behind those walls.

75 Harrington Street

Currently, 75 Harrington Street is functioning as a collaborative, creative, co-working environment. Happy people move about the ground floor, grabbing world renowned cappuccinos (for only R 12 – best price in town), typing away behind laptop screens, and engaging in lighthearted meetings. In the floors above them, countless offices boast fun and unique interior design, open spaces, and large windows letting in soothing natural light.

Plants soaking up the sun - 75 Harrington Street, Cape Town

Plants soaking up the sun – 75 Harrington Street, Cape Town

Developed by the Cape Craft and Design Institute (CCDI) and Steven Harris of The Bank, the building is meant to encourage “co-creation” and is ideal for any and all creative businesses, organizations, or startups that prefer an open network and a communal working space. As if this wasn’t interesting enough, 75 Harrington is now making strides to become the go-to example of environmental creativity and resilience and an example of an amazing workspace in its city location.

Sustainable Ideas - 75 Harrington Street, Cape Town

Sustainable Ideas – 75 Harrington Street, Cape Town

The ultimate goal for this colorful and creative space is to create a living example of a fully functional urban ecosystem. Melissa, alongside likeminded creatives and professional engineers, has been working on a 3-floor building model based on the principles of biomimicry—using nature’s intelligence to make human systems more sustainable. The top floor, roof farming, is already showing signs of progress.

Beginnings of a rooftop garden - 75 Harrington Street, Cape Town

Beginnings of a rooftop garden – 75 Harrington Street, Cape Town

Several plant design systems and gardening boxes are already scattered on top of 75 Harrington waiting to be put to good use. The GoPro urban vertical gardening kits even have some leafy greens poking out of their holes and reaching for the sun. Melissa hopes that this space will encourage members of the community to come together and grow their own plants and food. The first floor of the building will then become a food market, where farmers can come and sell their locally-grown produce together rather than being in constant competition. In between these two levels will be a floor dedicated to community education, where meetings and workshops on topics such as urban agriculture can be held to further the sustainability initiative.

Biomimicry Basics - 75 Harrington Street, Cape Town

Biomimicry Basics – 75 Harrington Street, Cape Town

The main principles for this biomimicry project (as detailed above) include evolving to survive, being resource and energy efficient, adapting to changing conditions, integrating development with growth, being locally attuned and responsive, and using life-friendly chemistry. By following these guidelines, Melissa hopes 75 Harrington Street will become more than just a creative workspace—it will be an environment where people can come together and participate in reinventing our current way of living so that are we are more in tune and adapted to life on earth.

It was a pleasure to see these creative ideas being put into action and I wish the best of luck to everyone involved! A special thanks goes out to Melissa for all of her insight into the project. If you are ever in town, I recommend grabbing a coffee there and seeing the space for yourself!

If you want to learn more about biomimicry, check out Melissa Baird’s recent post on the future of engineering.

What has the fins of a whale, the skin of a lizard and the eyes of a moth? The future of engineering

By Melissa Baird

Faced with designing products and cities that are sustainable and able to adapt to the ever-changing conditions of climate change, engineers and scientists are turning to nature – and learning from its endless innovations that enable life to thrive in all of its five kingdoms.

Biomimicry is the practice of learning from and then emulating nature’s genius, and the brightest designers are latching on to what they can learn from species in order to create sustainable solutions for human living. All of nature is locally attuned and responsive and does not ever create more than what is needed; all waste is re-assimilated into the system and energy is generated by the organism that needs it.

There are short feedback loops so that adaptation can happen, and collectively, the principles that enable nature to function ensure the most effective use of resources and the survival of biodiversity.

As the stressed environments of the human built world are buckling, and resources like water and oil are becoming more depleted – the principles of biomimicry can be a vital guide to creating a future based on products and systems that are more adaptable, functional and resilient.

We are already seeing products and services that have been transformed as a result of applying principals of biomimicry to design innovation. Consider the carpet company that designs flooring solutions that mimic a dappled forest floor. If a section of the carpet becomes damaged or needs replacing – then all that needs to be done is replace a section of it, rather than an entire room. This reduces maintenance costs, waste and the need for toxic adhesives. A glass manufacturer uses spider web designs to manufacture glass birds will not smash into. The aerodynamics of the box fish has informed the design of an automaker’s new energy efficient vehicle. A manufacturer of wind turbine blades has based its design on the propulsion mechanism of a southern right whale’s dorsal fins. The shock absorption capabilities of a woodpecker is causing flight engineers to redesign the black box recorder, which holds vital information after aeroplane crashes. The remarkable camouflage mechanisms of the octopus has got the US military interested to the tune of a US $ 6 million grant for further study.

(Watch an octopus literally disappear from sight)

The principals of biomimicry can also be used in creating behaviour change campaigns for and devising communication strategies. One of our key challenges is communicating messages about water consumption and use. How could we communicate – like nature does – to as many people as possible?

So I asked nature how communication happens amongst organisms and from the myriad examples chose the communication methods of stromatolites and ants as a guide.

Stromatolites have an astounding way of spreading messages and responding, as a collective, to change.  Affluent communities are the least responsive to change and tend to care less about the impact of their lifestyles on the environment. By considering the feedback loop as an integral part of engendering a change in habit we devised a communications campaign that will have short feedback loops and resultant messages that will positively impact behaviour change. A key factor is to show connectivity of all parts of society so individuals feel part of the solution, i.e. an integral part of a functioning ecosystem.

Nature recycles, re-uses, re-constitutes all its waste and is highly energy efficient. As we need to move out of critical stage and into a regenerative phase we can learn tremendous lessons from the natural kingdom.

The lexicon of biomimicry and the way in which it enables human conundrums to be solved by interrogating the function, form and life friendly chemistry of an object will have profound impacts on cities and products of the future.

 

Rat Poisons Kill More than Just Rats

By Laurel Serieys, PhD

Cape Leopard Trust, Urban Caracal Project Coordinator

University of Cape Town and University of California, Santa Cruz Postdoctoral Researcher

Caracal@capeleopard.org.za

UrbanCaracal.org

Facebook.com/UrbanCaracal

079-837-8814

Rat Poisons Kill More than Just Rats

Anticoagulant rat poisons are the most frequent method of rodent control used worldwide. However, through inadvertent poisoning of wildlife and bioaccumulation of the poisons in food webs, they threaten species that prey on poisoned rodents or their predators. These poisons have been used for decades to control rodent populations in and around urban and agricultural areas, but are only now increasingly being recognized as an important conservation threat to wildlife species. They interrupt the production of certain critical blood clotting proteins and so death occurs by internal bleeding. However, death can occur up to 10 days after ingestion of a lethal dose. Meanwhile, poisoned rodents continue to consume the poisons over a period of days, becoming super toxic while also increasing their attractiveness to predators as they become weakened and easier to capture. For predators that feed on small mammals targeted with poisons, transfer of the poisons from one species to another occurs and so inadvertent widespread and chronic secondary exposure can occur for many wildlife species.

South Africa Food Web

Hypothetical food web for the Western Cape depicting how rat poisons may enter ecosystems and bioaccumulate across many predatory species. We have only tested a genet and 7 caracals to find them all exposed to the poisons, but the problem is likely much more widespread across many more species. Credit: Desiree Smith, www.whimsicalcollection.co.za

Exposure of nontarget wildlife to these rat poisons has been documented for numerous mammalian and avian predatory species worldwide. Studies have shown that exposure prevalence can exceed 80-90%, directly causing death in species such as coyotes (a wild dog in the North America), pumas (a large wild cat in the Americas), red foxes, buzzards and a variety of owl species (i.e., barn owls, barred owls, great horned owls), and even in endangered species such as San Joaquin kit foxes and bald eagles in the United States (U.S.). However, the poisons can have other important effects on wildlife if low levels of chronic exposure occur.

Photo of a bobcat (B#250) captured for the Los Angeles bobcat project examining the effects of anticoagulant rat poisons on bobcat health. B250 was a large healthy adult male when initially captured in 2010, but photos taken by local residents in 2011 show that he was infected with severe mange. He likely died of the disease.

Photo of a bobcat (B#250) captured for the Los Angeles bobcat project examining the effects of anticoagulant rat poisons on bobcat health. B250 was a large healthy adult male when initially captured in 2010, but photos taken by local residents in 2011 show that he was infected with severe mange. He likely died of the disease.

In Los Angeles, California, U.S., researchers (myself included) have worked to assess other cryptic consequences that these poisons pose on wildlife. In Los Angeles, I examined the effects of the poisons on bobcats, a medium-sized wild lynx cat. Working with biologists from the National Park Service (the South Africa National Parks equivalent), we found a strong link between poison exposure and bobcat death due to notoedric mange, a microscopic mite that burrows into the skin of the infected animal and can cause extensive hair loss, emaciation, and eventually death. Bobcats are more than 7 times more likely to die of mange than any other cause of death if they are exposed to the poisons multiple times. And the disease has had profound impacts on California bobcats; in one region, an estimated 90% of the population perished due to the disease. Through this work, I also found strong evidence of immune dysfunction that occurs as a result of exposure of the poisons– dysfunction that could explain increased susceptibility to fatal mange infections. We documented other effects linked with the poisons as well. We tested five bobcats that were hit by cars for the poisons, and found all were recently exposed, suggesting that frequent but low level exposure poisons may increase bobcat vulnerability to death due to other factors. Finally, we also tested two fetal bobcats (found in a road-kill bobcat) and showed that they were already exposed to the poisons, indicating that chronic exposure may begin before an animal is even born!

Jasper was a young juvenile caracal radio-collared as part of the Urban Caracal Project. He was hit by a car on the M3 in Cape Town. He was found exposed to 3 different anticoagulant rat poison compounds, indicative of multiple exposure events because each bait formulation comprises a single compound.

Jasper was a young juvenile caracal radio-collared as part of the Urban Caracal Project. He was hit by a car on the M3 in Cape Town. He was found exposed to 3 different anticoagulant rat poison compounds, indicative of multiple exposure events because each bait formulation comprises a single compound.

Following this work in California, and now a researcher that has launched the Urban Caracal Project in Cape Town, South Africa, I have been curious to assess the potential threat these poisons pose to wildlife in the Western Cape as well. Testing is performed on liver tissue, and so I must rely on opportunistic collection of samples from caracals, and other species, that I find dead (frequently due to being hit by cars) in the area I work. I have tested now 7 caracals and a large-spotted genet, and amazingly, have found all exposed to the poisons! To my knowledge, this is the first such testing done in African wildlife, and testing must be done at a specialized laboratory in California. Yet like the species I studied in the U.S., I have also detected evidence of low-level chronic exposure. The consequences of low-level chronic exposure in caracals and genets are unclear. However, one of our young caracals died due to what I believe were complications associated with exposure to the poisons. These data are particularly relevant in the urban setting of the Cape Peninsula where, like in Los Angeles bobcats, we are documenting vehicles and disease to also threaten caracals. Pulling these observations together, it raises questions whether caracal exposure to these same poisons synergistically increases their vulnerability to deaths associated with other human activities? Additionally, if every animal we have tested has been exposed to the poisons, how pervasive are these poisons across the landscape, and how many species are affected?

Early results for the Urban Caracal study show that of 7 caracals tested, all were exposed, most frequently to 3 different compounds each. The compounds detected are the most toxic available for use to target rodents.

Early results for the Urban Caracal study show that of 7 caracals tested, all were exposed, most frequently to 3 different compounds each. The compounds detected are the most toxic available for use to target rodents.

The value of collecting these types of data to contribute to conservation efforts is underscored by action I have seen take place in California as a result of the bobcat work. The data that I, and other researchers, collected recently contributed to legislative action across the State to increase restrictions concerning the consumer availability of these poisons. Without specific data and an understanding of mechanisms of how these poisons can have multiple impacts on wildlife, increasing the regulation of poison use and availability is difficult to justify. Further, poisons that interfere with the reproductive success of wildlife populations can lead directly to population declines, and if animals are being exposed to these rat poisons before they are even born, it does raise the question how far reaching the effects of the poisons may be. But the collection of these data are difficult and rely on being in the “right place at the right time.” Finding animals that have died can be difficult, and the testing is expensive. If you are interested to help support the development of this work, please help by reporting road kill caracals as soon as discovered directly to Dr. Laurel Serieys (079-837-8814) so that we may collect the carcasses for testing. Additionally, please consider sponsoring a “poison test.” Each animal tested costs R1,500. For more information about the project and how to support the work, please visit the website urbancaracal.org/support/ and follow our progress on Facebook.com/UrbanCaracal

Growing Future Leaders: Earthchild Project

“If every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.”

-Dalai Lama

By Rowen Ravera

Increasingly society is placing greater value on education, and realizing that investing in education today is essential for future generations of capable citizens. However, while academic results are important, a holistic approach to education looks further towards growing a generation of conscious, confident and responsible future leaders.

Holistic education connects each student to the community, their environment and themselves, while focusing on values such as compassion and peace, to create greater meaning and purpose in life and education.

Peak Hiking

The Earthchild Project is a registered non-profit organisation offering holistic education to under-resourced primary schools in Cape Town townships. They work with over 2000 children, within the existing school curriculum, focusing on health and wellness, life skills and the environment.

For meaningful and sustainable change, they aim to connect their Earth children to themselves, others and their environment through yoga and meditation, to cultivate practical skills for life through gardening and worm farming, and to inspire a new generation of young leaders through hikes and holiday programmes.

Yoga Kid

Additionally, this year the organisation began working with a small group of high school students called their “Alumni”. Their Alumni have all been part of the project for many years, having joined in primary school. Now in high school, they are honing their leadership skills to inspire the next generation of Earthchildren!

The organisation was started 9 years ago by Janna Kretzmar. After traveling and working on an eco village in South America, Janna arrived back in Cape Town with her heart set on one thing – to find a way to transform our schools and education. She began volunteering at Chapel Street Primary School in Woodstock, setting up an organic vegetable garden and running guided meditations with the children.

Garden Club

Janna came into contact with many NGOs and volunteers who were doing great work in schools. However, she observed it was difficult for the schools to maintain the projects set-up once the NGOs had left and moved on to other projects. The teachers simply did not have the time or energy to sustain extra initiatives.

This is what inspired the Earthchild Project model – by placing a full time facilitator in a school, the organisation is able to introduce and maintain holistic education in a sustainable way. Today Earthchild Project employs five full time staff members, as well as over 20 volunteers in Khayelitsha and Lavender Hill – the NGO has created employment for locals too (our coordinators grew up in the communities they now work in).

The team have all personally experienced the benefits of yoga, meditation, the law of attraction, a healthy diet, regular exercise and time in nature (to name but a few). This is what inspired them to spread this knowledge and these tools to children living in Cape Town’s township communities.

Their work, however, depends on the support of the community. How can you help?

  1. Raise funds. Donate at Earthchildproject.org/donate (you can nurture an eco-warrior for just R350, which provides one child with weekly environmental education for a year). Alternatively, organise a fundraising yoga class, hike or other event in your community.
  2. Volunteer. They have many ways for volunteers to get involved, including joining hikes on Saturdays, assisting during school hours, or even lending a hand gardening and harvesting worms! Find out more about volunteering: Earthchildproject.org/volunteers
  3. Raise awareness. Tell your friends and family about the importance of holistic education. You can “Like” their Facebook page, Facebook.com/earthchildproject, or tell your local yoga studio about the organisation.

For more information go to Earthchildproject.org or email info@earthchildproject.org

 

 

High Climbers

By Warren Mayers

To be blunt and punny – the state of climbing in South Africa is rocking. Since the ivory gates of apartheid toppled this country has played host to a number of the world’s finest climbers, all of whom have been suitably impressed with the sheer abundance of quality rock, awesome settings and infrastructure to service the climbing areas.

Rock Climbing

Teaming up with South Africa’s best climbers, the visitors and their influence have led to new projects and new routes springing up as climbers unite to share knowledge and add impetus to the growth of this gripping sporting hobby.

Table Mountain, the birthplace of mountaineering in South Africa, is the first band; up to 1000 meters high and is the base of the sandstone in the Cape super-group that stretches for thousands of kilometers. It is solidly compressed under its own sheer weight when it was six times higher and laid down under an ancient sea somewhere in Gondwanaland. The rock has lots of vertical cracks, and seams and horizontal decompression rails making it a gear friendly and traditional climber’s paradise.

There are over a thousand routes on Table Mountain peninsula that cater for the beginner to the most hard core traditional climber who won’t stop at a challenge. It also boasts some fine sport lines across the grades in really tranquil settings. Take for example Silvermine and the reservoir and the Hole above Muizemberg. There is even some good bouldering to be done in Red Hill, Kalk bay and Newlands forest.

High Climbers Flower

When the city gets on your nerves sport climbers can head to Montagu which is the mainstay of sport climbing for Cape Town, as is Hell Fire although it remains a quiet crag while boasting some of the most full on single and multi pitch sport climbing in as wild a setting as you can get. I’ve been there a few times and only ever seen one other party, but lots of leopard scat, black eagles and buzzards.

The Cederberg is also climber’s paradise with some of the most quartzitic frictiony rock you could ever hope for necessitating days off that can be whiled away in the streams, fly fishing, kloofing, or looking at rock paintings. There is a serious amateur hobbyist observatory with three powerful telescopes to captivate star gazers; but if it’s the climbing you are aiming for you I’ll tell you this: “You don’t have enough time.” Spoilt for choice I’d say and you have not even begun to explore the world class quality routes on Tafelberg, Wolfberg, and the grand daddy Groot Krakadou (for the brave experienced climbers only!)

High Climbers

In the Cape, pretty much everywhere you turn there are mountains and therefore there is climbing.

Along the N2 highway one encounters formidable mega mountains like the Du Toits kloof and its many routes; hard bold lines put up by hard men back in the day. Cameron’s ridge, Exposure in F Major, Rigoletto, Fledemaus..all make for huge days out, if you are lucky. The Sabre deep ridge in the Du Toits kloof took my climbing partner and myself 14 hours non- stop. We made a navigational error in the kloof and got punished with an uphill back track. Even further along the national road Ben Heatlie stands tall and lords over them all with her red sandstone face sniggering at me as I drive past because she defeated me back in the day. We had strayed off route, I was a greenhorn then, my gut said “Stop stop stop, you are going to die,” but I didn’t and instead abseiled off the challenging anchors (I actually removed myself from the anchor when my partner weighted it because it looked so bad). I learned a lot that day about big mountains and how nasty they can get for the uninitiated.

There are even bigger mountains over towards Ceres; the mighty Milner waits there for any takers and, beyond that, The Great Witzenberg Slabs between Tulbach and Ceres. From the knife edge on top of The Great Witzenberg one can see The Groot Winterhoek and the pup and the lonely multi pitch, multi day traditional lines that bisect the main face. Oceans of Fear is an apt name!

 

If you are brave enough, check out Warren’s fascinating climbing spots. But please remember to be safe! Happy climbing.