I had just finished my degree on Thursday, when Elma called me to ask if I would come to Hout Bay with her the next morning. When I heard we were going to a Green Fair, I was unsure what to expect. I knew the venue would be a primary school, so I pictured a bunch of merry-go-rounds chanting Michael Jackson’s famous ‘Heal the World’ a thousand times over. I figured it could also be a very serious event, because how can saving the planet from ourselves be fun?
I was pleased to find that the event was slap-bang in the middle. It was just serious enough to show us how to save planet earth, and more than enough fun to remind us why we’re doing it. I have always knows that there are projects and gadgets available for healing the environment, but I had no idea how cool they were and how passionate people are about them. I was introduced to a world of solutions, where no-one would settle for giving up on our earth.
For me, each green stall had a mystery to it. You’d think Naturalmente are’just hair products’, but you’re wrong. They are organic and good for you, your hair and the environment. And, as I soon learned, they don’t contain Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES), Formaldehydes and Parabens which are not good for you. According to the Natural Health Information Centre’s website, SLS and SLES can cause hair loss, skin irritation and skin corrosion.
Creativity can save trees
As I walked over to see the golden brown wooden chairs in the middle of the field, I was stunned when Elma told me they used to be enormous chunks of fallen down trees. The Organic Jungle Gyms designer does not chop down trees or wood, but simply uses pieces that have already broken or fallen down. He then varnishes them with a non-toxic, lead-free varnish, which doesn’t contain biocides.
The greenpop warriors in their long capes also caught my attention. When I asked them what exactly it is they do, they said “We make trees popular.” That I can work with. Greenpop encourages South African companies to sponsor trees for different schools and communities.
Then there’s the creative reuse of paper. I was staring at a statue of former president Nelson Mandela, figuring out how it could possibly be connected to the Paper People, when I found out it was a paper mache statue. It looks like fine art, come on. Finally, I walked right past the little place which sold wall hangings, tumblers and hot plates, not even thinking they could be green. Turns out they are made frin, get this, used teabags! You have to see this!
Recycling starts with the young
The schoolchildren’s initiatives were impressive. Did you know two or three toilet rolls can make a very colourful pencil holder? Used light bulbs painted in bright colours with glitter don’t look too bad on your Christmas tree either. Of course one thing you couldn’t miss was the ‘waste monster’ on top of a white Opel. Such unique ideas!
Many of the kids took part in the Eco fashion show. I saw a white shirt with plastic milk bottle tops sewed onto it, and said aloud, “That I would absolutely wear!” One of the designers, Zinhle, showed me a purse she weaved from plastic, which I thought could fit right into a Gucci store.
Taking a whole gallery of photos of the young models made me hungry. I was scared to try out the organic food, because I kind of assumed it would be made from grass pastry, with grass filling, sprinkled with some grass. But then I came across the organic version of my favourite dish, pizza (of course). Elma and I went ‘halfies’ with both the Oriental and Mediterranean slices. It was new, it was healthy and it was GOOD.
By Saturday evening I was tired from a full day with many green lessons. I was inspired to tell everyone I know about this whole undiscovered world. I was wondering why I hadn’t seen any Green Faire posters in Stellenbosch or Somerset-West? Personally, I think creating awareness is the aim of the game.
Author : Willemien Calitz