I’ve decided to revive my habit of collecting and collating good green news stories both at home and globally… I’m not quite sure why I stopped – I had quite an archive building up, and it’s been really heart-warming looking back at what we human beans can achieve when we set our minds to it.

So, from now on I will once again be publishing a weekly set of green news stories, with a focus on the happy ones, especially those happening in our own country – because there’s something about feeling positive that makes us all believe we can do more, not less.

Loop Street Building Sets Green Pace (Cape Town Partnership)

11 August 2010. One of Cape Town’s Grand Old Ladies – 14 Loop Street – has been given a major facelift, and in the process, become one of the city’s first truly iconic green buildings… 14 Loop Street’s “green” features include large double-glazed, tinted, openable windows that let in lots of natural light and require substantially less air-conditioning. The air-conditioning system is low energy, low emission. Toilets are dual flush and urinals are waterless.  Recycled materials were used in the renovation. In addition, power consumption will be reduced and water is collected off the roof for reticulation into the building’s grey water system. (Read the full story)

Cape Town launches Meat-free day (Icologie)

10 August 2010. Cape Town is the first African city, and one of seven progressive cities in the world, to officially endorse a Meat-free Day a week for the sake of animal welfare, human health and climate change. The City’s Health Committee unanimously backed a call by the Compassion in World Farming organisation for Capetonians to pick one day of the week where they eliminate red meat from their diet and eat more fruit, vegetables and grains instead. (Read full story)

SA government backs Carbon tax (Times Live)

Deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe on Tuesday defended a carbon tax that seeks to “green” the South African economy. The introduction of carbon tax requires the availability of corresponding fuel quality to reduce greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere,” Motlanthe said… (Read full story)

Swiss agency gives millions to SA energy efficiency programmes (SA Good News)

The agreement on the Energy Efficiency Monitoring Project entails the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation funding a R120 million climate change mitigation programme in South Africa.

South Africa and the Swiss Confederation have signed an energy efficiency agreement which will bring a major boost to government energy efficiency programmes. (Read the full story)

‘Klein Constantia restores fynbos glory’ (Constantia Valley Newsletter)

Klein Constantia Estate is taking steps to replant at least some of its land with indigenous fynbos.

Quite an exciting project is our effort to rehabilitate non-vineyard land at Klein Constantia with plant species endemic to the south eastern slopes of Vlakkenberg and Constantiaberg. To this end we have enlisted the help of two leading Cape botanists whose task it is to scour our contour roads and open land to gather cuttings and seeds, propagate them and then sell them back to us in ready to plant seedling trays of about 120 plants per tray.

… So far we have successfully planted the first trays of Aristea major (Blousuurkanol), Chrysanthemoides monilifera (Bietou), Metalasia muricata (Blombos), Polygala calyptata, and some yet to be identified ericas, which as soon as they flower will enable identification.

Whilst the first small steps have been taken, the ultimate goal is to restore the property to full fynbos glory throughout.

Cape Town launches Green Rail & Ride (via Cape Town Partnership)

This isn’t recent news, but as it only launched in June, I though it was worth bringing up.  Rail and Ride is a new eco-friendly way to visit the South Peninsula.

Undertaken as a partnership project between Cape Town Tourism, Metrorail Western Cape and The Green Cab (an eco-friendly travel provider), The Rail and Ride …. experience combines eco-friendly rail travel with reduced emission Green Cab vehicles and a tour-guided insight on the Southern Line route. (read full story)

Tickets cost R600 per person, which includes the train ride, cab ride, entry into the Boulders Penguin Colony, Cape Point entrance fee, tour guide and security.

eWaste initiative launched in Gauteng

29 July 2010: ACER and The Miss Earth South Africa, in association with Consol, teamed up to launch an eWaste initiative. This project saw a group of schools in Gauteng chosen to receive an eWaste bin, sponsored by ACER… Learners were educated on the need for eWaste disposal and how they can actively ensure that they clean up their homes of eWaste. ACER has also sponsored the servicing of the bins and hopes to grow the project moving forward. (via Publicity Update)

It’s not ground-breaking, and one hopes that it will expand beyond just a few schools in just the one province – but it’s certainly a start, and I think it’s great that young kids are learning more about eWaste and what can be done about it.  Think back… how much did you know about eWaste when you were a kid?  I knew some things shouldn’t go with the regular trash, but my knowledge was (very) limited, and probably not very accurate – so I’m glad there are others who’re getting better educated in that regard!  C’mon, Acer – this is a good call, now let’s have this happening at as many schools as possible… (they’re not the only electronics manufacturers who should be making an effort to make their products ‘greener’)   (see also related story: ‘Combined efforts combat SA e-waste‘)

Other stories:
DEA looking for projects to support green-economy strategy

If you have any green news that you’d like to share, please submit it here and if it fits I’ll add to the following week’s edition.

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