We recently participated in our country’s first Green Expo at the CTICC in Cape Town. Normally we don’t bother to build a stand and sit around at such events. I would much rather walk around, listen to the talks, meet people and cover the event. But this time, we took a small space, determined to erect a truly green space.
Those coming past did not always know it, but our beautiful table, with wooden veneer, was made of recycled cardboard! Chris from Veneer Concepts had built it and had especially left a little window, covered in glass, to show that this is a super eco table. This beautiful work of art is Chris’ patio table that stands in the wind and weather. The big benefit of this material is that of course it saves trees, water etc, but it is also a fraction of the weight of normal wood. Hence it also saves energy and carbon.
We have always resisted investing in the usual banner stand to announce our business. Instead our details were features on a black board, which we use for different purposes. This was made possible by my friend Lisa Balz from Space In Design, who runs a space saving business. All our copies of the Climate Express, featuring the Climate Train stories, were printed on 100% recycled paper, Papersmith’s Steinbeis Trend White, which we told you about last month. Otherwise paperless – no pamhlets, etc. Naturally, our business cards are printed on 100% recycled cardboard.
The nation is waking up
Whilst I thought I would sit there and write the next issue of the Green Times, there was no time for that at all. I was chuffed with the interest in green news. Almost everyone coming past signed up – many of you now reading this issue. Thank you! I am encouraged to see that South Africans, or at least Capetonians – and many visitors – are eager to keep up to date on the greening of our country. After more than 20 years in eco journalism, it felt like a dream come true.
What do you do that’s green, I asked most folk coming past. And would you believe that everyone had a story to tell? From the lady who keeps bees in her garden, very worried that the bee population is half of what it was last year, to a teacher making vegetable gardens at school, to children mobilizing their parents to recycle … our nation is eager to save this planet.
Of course there was a super vibe between greenies old and young as well as ecopreneurs determined to make a living doing good. There were enlightening talks, anti-nuclear demonstrations by folk in white suits and gas masks, thanks to the passionate Peter Becker, and an eco fashion show with clothes to die for. And not simply clothes inspired by nature, which is what I’ve seen to date at similar fashion shows. The designs were indeed inspired by the Cape floral kingdom, but every gorgeous garment was also made of re-used materials. Curtains and bedding and all sorts of cloths were given a second life in fashions that would make you green with envy.:) The champion behind this avant garde show was Niki Seegers from Live Eco. Read more at Live Eco.
Eco logic awards honours hard work
Then there was the elegant event organised by the Enviropaedia – the Eco Logic awards. I was very honoured to have been nominated a finalist for the Eco Angel award. Thank you to David Parry-Davis the father of green in South Africa and THE person, who deserves a medal for bringing out the green Bible, the Enviropaedia for the past 11 years.
David opened the event with references to the incredible power of nature: “Did you know that snake’s skin doesn’t attract dust and that spider’s web is stronger than steel? Biomimicry is the science in which we learn from and emulate nature. What do we as humans really know?”
“Instead of addressing the symptoms, we have to change the whole system that has caused the problems we’re facing on the planet today. It is time to evolve to eco-logic human beings, aware that we are 100% dependent on ecological systems. We need to develop a matrix of what is eco and what is not. The doom and gloom approach of environmentalism has not worked. Let’s use the opportunities and create benefits for ourselves and earth.”
United for survival and health
Michelle Garforth-Venter, the master of ceremonies, said there’s lots that separate us from each other. But we are united by the cause of surviving and maintaining health on this planet. Africa is rising and creating a green template for other nations to follow. We have to stop the most important destruction of all, she said the Green Revolution is the big struggle.
She handed out the awards to the very worthy winners in their various categories:
- The Water Conservation Award: AVIS – the first car rental company to become carbon neutral, but who also recycle more than 80 billion litres of water per year. They dropped the water volumes used to wash their fleet’s cars from 250 litres per car to 20 litres per car!
- The Energy Saving Award: Imperial Logistics for the best eco product
- The Transport Award: Imperial Logistics
- The Recycling Award: Plastics SA, which provides industry training and drives the plastics industry Environmental initiative.
- The Biodiversity Award: The Diamond Route, which links 9 sites as a holistic project through ecosystem and species conservation, the development of urban conservation, water management, climate change initiatives, through to conservation and restoring areas under its stewardship to their natural ecological state.
- The Climate Change Award: Rocking the Daisies, as the first festival in SA to fully embrace an eco-friendly alternative to hosting an event of this nature and leads the way in environmentally friendly festivals, together with WESSA’s Share-Net informal network project that supports environmental education through the provision of resource materials.
- The Youth Award: Tanya Meyer, founder of a school Eco Club, who implemented an Eco Wall with sustainable living tips and environmental information, initiated and owl project and many more.
- The Eco-Angel Award: Mike Kerr, who runs Animal Outreaches in Port Elizabeth.
- The Eco-Warrior Award: Mariette Liefferink, CEO of the Federation for a Sustainable Environment, holds a list of important positions on environmental boards and committees and is especially instrumental in protecting our water resources and fighting for mine reclamations.
- Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr John Ledger, editor of Environment magazine for a lifetime of environmental leadership.
- Lastly we were honoured by a visit from a gorgeous cheetah, Jeremy, from Cheetah Outreach. The Enviropaedia had donated R66 000 in cash to them to educate farmers and schools and train Anatolian Shepherd dogs to protect herds, so that the awful gin traps which threaten our wildlife would no longer be used.
By Elma Pollard