The team is on-the-ground in Durban as COP17 kicks off. Ntoks visits a well-intentioned rally by Africa’s Faith Leaders at King’s Park along with a star-studded cast including Bishop Geoff Davis, Lewis Pugh, Ladysmith Black Mambaso, Arno Carstens, Yvonne Chaka Chaka and our own Braam Malherbe where they hand over a petition to the world’s leaders; and at the start of the conference, Simon manages to track down Christiana Figueras, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and has a good talk with her.
Bamboo has become one of the most exciting prospects in the war on global warming. Bamboo sequesters 4 times as much carbon dioxide as hardwood trees and releases 35% more oxygen. Aside from this, bamboo is pest resistant, fast growing can survive poor, acidic and contaminated soils. The shoots and leaves are highly nutritious and the stalks, once harvested, have a myriad of uses: scaffolding, biomass, building materials, clothing etc.
South African rural societies remain some of the most impoverished in the world. Access to employment, education, land, housing, health services and essential resources are often very limited and there are few development projects taking place. But “Bamboo for Africa” has helped create opportunities for economic development and job creation at a local level, assisting communities to enter into a new green economy that is creating rural wealth. On a broader scale, bamboo is also helping companies and organizations offset their carbon output.
A 10 000-hectare bamboo plantation can sequester 1,3m tons of carbon dioxide within the first 10 years and the life expectancy of bamboo can be between 50 and 70 years. At 15 Euros per ton, carbon credits can provide additional income for projects during the 1st three years.
3) Millennium Goals
The subcontinent of Africa faces many needs and challenges. The world’s population is expected to grow from 6.8 billion to 8 billion by 2025. Africa’s population alone is expected to grow to more than one billion. Africa has to break ground for a future that will be healthy and prosperous for all its peoples. Millennium Goals were set to achieve this ideal. In this insert, we discover what Millennium Goals are, how they came about and all the what’s and why’s. Goal 1 and 7 are fundamental to the success of the rest. Goal 1 is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. Goal 7 is to ensure environmental stability.
In order to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger it would be necessary to halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than US$1 a day and also, in the same period, to half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger. To ensure environmental stability, millennium goal 7 principles would need to be integrated into country policies and programmes. The loss of environmental resources needs to be reversed and by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water halved. Agriculture is a system comprising of many dynamics such as good farming principles, maintenance, packaging and transport, marketing strategies and financial management. Agriculture is also an important custodian of the environment. It is therefore a system athat needs to be kept intact.
There are many outside factors impacting on the inputs and outcomes of agriculture such Government, Acts, policies, land redistribution, international agreements etc. To get all role players to take part in making these two critical Millennium Goals work, SA needs a new paradigm and strategy.
4) Carbon Credits
More than one million hectares of the spekboom-rich thicket of the Eastern Cape has been transformed from dense, forest-like vegetation to an open, desert-like state. This degradation is the result of the injudicious farming of livestock, mainly through overstocking with angora goats. Fortunately, this degraded land can be reclaimed by planting cuttings of the Eastern Cape’s unique and remarkable plant – spekboom or igwanishe – which is able to re-establish from these cuttings and grow rapidly into tall dense vegetation, without irrigation!
This story deals with this restoration of valley thicket vegetation which is unique in many respects world wide. It is home to the greatest density of large herbivores on the planet: rhinos, elephant, buffalo and kudu. Without hands-on restoration, this biome would never recover. So an excellent and exciting South African project is striking back in the face of global warming and will earn SA some desperately needed carbon credits to compensate for our coal-fired energy practised. Furthermore, by reviving natural capital and ecosystem services, and facilitating rural development, restoration of thicket will build ecosystem resilience and therefore play a role in enabling local communities to adapt to climate change impacts. This programme is administered by the Natural Resource Management Programmes and is part of the South African government’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) aimed at alleviating poverty by providing additional work opportunities coupled with skills training.
The Working for Woodlands Programme relies on a partnership between communities, government, ecologists, soil scientists, botanists and economists. These benefits place the restoration of degraded thicket in complete alignment with the government’s strategies for the Second Economy.
Andre takes to some sustainable modes of transport as he cycles Durban with the Cycles for Social Justice crowd and goes on litter parade with Walking the Daisies. He also joins the Green Heart Movement of Durban who are determined to have everyone wearing a green felt heart during COP17. The citizen-based Green Heart Movement was initiated in association with Cycles 4 Social Justice (C4SJ) and encourages arts and poetry experiences around themes of ecology, sustainable living and cycling.
Updated by David Devo Oosthuizen | @Devographic