This Monday saw another instalment of the Green Drinks concept at The Josephine Mill in Newlands. The objective of these events is to attract like-minded “greenies” and curious locals with an interest in adopting a green perspective. Although there are short presentations, the focus is on interaction and the events facilitate the exchange of ideas, perspectives and, of course, contact details.
Armed with a lovely glass of Slowine, I settled in on the floor to listen to the presentations. It was a boys’ week this time around, with three of the four talks centred on the built environment and the fourth on the concept of electrical bicycles.
Green Building Council of South Africa
Bruce Kerswil, who single-handedly introduced The Green Building Council, a rapidly growing non-profit organisation, to South Africa took us through the GBCSA ethos and the Green Star rating system. This system is used to compare the relative “greenness” of buildings based on a number of variables. If building green tickles your fancy, the GBCSA will be holding their second annual Convention and Exhibition at the CTICC from 21-23 October. Details at www.gbcsa-convention.org.za
Buildings, forests and other animals…
Second up was Richard Palmer who drew on his experience at the Australian Green Building Council to give us something to think about. His philosophical talk urged engineers, architects, and developers to consider the effects their designs have on the surrounding environment, including the naturally-occurring plants, animals and people.
What does it really mean, to build ‘green’?
Vernon Collis, architect, engineer and dreamer, tried to get his head around the concept of building “green” by presenting numerous examples. He touched on the choices engineers, architects and developers are exposed to in terms of green design and the ethical decisions that need to be considered (such as avoiding the continued use of cement). Vernon suggested that building green was not necessarily about sustainability but more about making the correct decisions.
The message from the first three talks was crystal clear: those involved in the building sector have a responsibility to clean up their acts, so to speak, and the technologies to do so are certainly available.
The eZee Bike
Lastly, James Swift introduced us to a green but effective mode of transport, the eZee bike. These modern inventions are based on a normal bicycle but come equipped with an inconspicuous motor and battery. Using an eZee bike instead of driving an ordinary-sized car can cut CO2 emissions by approximately 95%, all without getting sweaty cycling to work! The eZee bike differs from a scooter in that you can pick and choose when you want to use the electrical support and you can always opt to do it the good ol’ fashion way.
Robert Zipplies, a Cape Town local, will be eZee-biking through South Africa in November to highlight climate change and the small, green changes we can adopt to counter our impacts. More information on these innovative inventions and Robert’s trip can be found at www.ezeebike.co.za.
Green Drinks is held on the 3rd Monday of every month at The Josephine Mill. Get involved and put your name on the mailing list by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and I will see you there next month!
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