Opportunity to make a difference

The Green Economy is a means of reducing poverty, providing jobs and making efficient use of existing assets and resources.  What is clear is that business as usual is not an option.  Mankind is part of nature, not sitting on the pinnacle and we need to live and work within the confines of our renewable resources whilst understanding the limits of the ecosystem services our natural resources can deliver.  Our aim is to “green” existing KZN businesses – make them more competitive, more attractive, more efficient and therefore more profitable.

Where water, as just one of the planetary systems, is concerned, we are already operating outside the safe space and in the Mvoti-Mzimkhulu water management area, our demand has exceeded the supply.  Projected alien plant water consumption will increase to 21% in 20 years.  Water is now less expensive to treat than to supply and eThekwini Municipality recently announced a notice for an emergency meeting calling for a moratorium on the provision of water to new developments.

The dire situation of the uMngeni and uMsunduzi Rivers has inspired members of the Duzi Umgeni Conservation Trust (whose mission is to champion the health of the these rivers) to plan an epic walk down the length of the uMngeni River from source to sea, in order to raise public awareness regarding the importance of the river and the problems related to its current state of decline and to involve the adjacent communities in a “Fellowship of the River” whereby they can participate in the restoration of this river.  In May 2012, a team of six members will undertake the walk, following the length of the river, always keeping it in sight.

An upcoming event that we would encourage business and residents to attend is the maiden Sustainable Living and Indigenous Plant Fair (SLIP) which is to be held from 27 – 29 April at the Cattle Arena, Royal Show Grounds, Pietermaritzburg to showcase all manner of local and reliable green business and products with stallholders ranging from wormeries and composters, furniture made from alien invasive plants, solar energy and water saving devices, heat pumps, biogas digesters and the like.  There will be a Fresh Film Festival and Speakers Platform side event profiling current documentaries with environmental topics. There will be a ‘Greening your office workshop’, sessions on biogas home solutions; practical solutions to “getting off the grid” both in water and energy; green roofs in our cities, and the concept of local living.  The Indigenous Plant Sale, which has been going for six-years, will offer an array of indigenous trees, shrubs, aloes and succulents, grasses and water plants, creepers, groundcovers, as well as fruit trees, herbs and veggies for home-based food production.  The Fundis Forum is a group of knowledgeable experts, including Geoff Nichols, Elsa Pooley and David Johnson, who will be on hand to assist with indigenous flora biodiversity and sign their books.  Green Valley Foods will host the organic food restaurant in the main marquee with Terbodore Coffee Roasters, and there will also be supervised fun for the kids at the Duzi Fencing Children’s Play Area where they can pot plants, make eco-friendly toys and climb on the parabolic jungle gym.

Proceeds from the event will go towards supporting Project Rhino and there is a partnership agreement between the organisers of SLIP 2012 and DUCT to raise funds by means of a public campaign to take place over the next few weeks and during the weekend of SLIP itself to invite the public and the business community to buy indigenous trees from SLIP for supply to the river rehabilitation projects that DUCT conducts.  A DUCT “Fellowship of the uMngeni River” certificate will be given to anyone who contributes to their uMngeni River Source to Sea Walk either through direct sponsorships or donating a tree from SLIP.

Anyone wanting to know how they can do this, or wanting a SLIP Programme, may contact Karen Zunckel on 083 235 8628 or zunckel@telkomsa.net.



About Nikki Brighton

I live in Howick, between the river and the hills. I enjoy pre-dawn walks in the streets with my dog, sitting on the veranda with crochet and tea, and harvesting vegetables outside the kitchen door.
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