The SI has been working with Andre Shearer, founder of wine export business Cape Classics, to establish a new ECD programme for the farm worker children of the Winelands region. The result is the launching of WELL - Winelands Early Living and Learning. This will provide various kinds of support for ECD programmes in the Winelands. (For local news article click HERE)
Thanks to a donation from a private philanthropist, the children who participate in Lynedoch's Earth Club after care programme now have high speed internet-enabled laptops. This is their first lesson, starting by learning how to use the mouse. It may take great effort before they can communicate via social networks and access all the benefits of the internet, but with this level of concentration it certainly will not take very long.
The Centre for Studies in Complexity and STIAS hosted a colloquium on Anticipation: Complexity and the Future on 18 March 2014. Mark Swilling presented a talk that reflected on the emerging literature that applies long-wave theory to an understanding of the future. While some of this literature is extremely useful (for example the book entitled Factor Five by Ernst von Weiszacher and colleagues), most of it overly simplifies what is going on with dangerous consequences for how we then anticipate the future. This talk proposes a synthesis between the literatures on global metabolic transition perspective, Kondratieff cycles and techno-industrial waves of development. Click HERE to view the talk on YouTube.
Eve and I recently returned from a trip to Accra and Rotterdam. The purpose of our visit to Accra was to meet with our University partners in the Africa Climate Change Adaptation Initiative (ACCAI) funded by the Open Society Foundation. Hosted by the University of Ghana, this two-day meeting reviewed progress made at the various campuses setting up new masters programmes in climate change adaptation over the past few years. Building on this foundation it was resolved to focus future collaborations on food systems research and change. This is consistent with the focus of the African Union funded network that involves the same partners, plus others. The core ACCAI partners include University of Ghana, University of Nigeria Nsukka, Mekelle University in Ethiopia, University of the Witwatersrand and University of Dar es Salaam, plus Stellenbosch University. Besides familiarizing ourselves with Accra as a city, we also visited Agbobloshi - a plastics recycling centre run by informal operators that Green Cross Switzerland recently nominated as one of ten most polluted places on the planet.
After Accra we travelled to Rotterdam where we were hosted by Prof Maarten Hajer, head of The Netherlands Environment Agency. The purpose of this visit was to participate in a public discussion that formed part of the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam exhibition on the theme Urban by Nature. For a video report and talk by Maarten Hajer, click HERE.
For a copy of the talk and internview by myself, click HERE. The other presenters included:
The panel participants plus Eve and researchers from The Netherlands Environment Agency had a formal meeting the following day to discuss the new research project that Maarten Hajer and I are leading for the International Resource Panel on the resource requirements of future urbanization.
During the recent EU-sponsored Green Week in Brussels, the International Resource Panel launched Decoupling 2: Technologies, Opportunities and Policy Options. Mark Swilling was a contributing author. This report demonstrates that since 2000 metal prices have risen by 176%, rubber by 350%, energy by 260% and food by 22.4% (with some projecting an increase of 120%-180% by 2030). Unsurprisingly, these trends have started to make possible alternatives that make it possible to do more with less (resource efficiency), more with renewables (substitution), and more with less damage (restoration). Decoupling 2 documents these emerging alternatives and argues the case for replicating radical resource productivity improvement on a global scale. Many examples are provided, including the potential to reduce energy and water demand in developed economies by 50%-80% using existing energy and water efficiency technologies; how developing countries investing in new energy infrastructure could reduce energy demand by half over the next 12 years if energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies were adopted now rather than later; and that decoupling technologies could result in resource savings equal to US$2.9 to US$3.7 trillion each year until 2030 if the policy, regulatory and technological innovations were put in place.
Click HERE to download a copy of the report.
This morning students from the Ecological Design and Sustainable Agriculture modules helped plant 15 Virgilia (Keurboom) trees around the new labyrinth. These trees will in time form a beautiful holding space for the labyrinth. A huge thank you goes out to Bryce, Qhinga and all the students who have helped us reconstruct the labyrinth, it looks absolutely stunning and is ready to be walked, and cleaned :), to your heart's content!
Eighty-three 1-ton bags filled with Trisplast premix all the way from Holland were offloaded at the Sustainability Institute on Wednesday. The forklift and three big trucks caused much excitement for the Lynedoch Primary school children who stumbled upon the offloading process on their way home. The Trisoplast premix will be used to line the new horizontal wetland, located next to the current vertical wetland.
Trisoplast is a base or surface sealant that was developed in the Netherlands and is widely used to line landfill sites in Europe. A certification company in Finland has certified the product safe to the environment. Maluti Water designed the new wetland and will assist during the construction process. Construction will start in the next couple of weeks, so do pop in!
Check out the e-zine publication about the Lynedoch Youth programme posted on ISSUU - click HERE for the link. Truly remarkable set of interlinked activities that are changing the lives of young people every day.