A round-up of this week’s environmental, green and ecofriendly news and updates.
I’ve been travelling over the past couple of weeks, part business, part pleasure. As I write this, I’m in the beautiful city of Cape Town in South Africa. It is in my opinion, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. There is magnificent Table Mountain on one side, and beautiful beaches on the other. There are fabulous restaurants, friendly people, great sightseeing and loads of history.
But there’s a problem. The city is running out of water. There is a very well-done publicity campaign – the city needs to drastically reduce water usage. Because if it doesn’t, the taps will run dry on April 12 – and that’s not far away.
It hits you as soon as you land at Cape Town Airport – if you visit the restrooms, the toilets flush (thank goodness!) but the washbasins are dry – you use water-less hand sanitizers instead.
It’s really interesting, seeing how people are dealing with the situation. People are being good about not flushing toilets until they really have to. There are buckets in the showers (even in the posh hotels) to collect the water that would otherwise go down the drain. That water gets re-used for cleaning or flushing. You wet yourself, then switch off the water to lather up your hair and soap yourself, then turn on the taps again to rinse.
Hotels are no longer changing bed linen as frequently – I’m here for 7 days and the linen will stay the same. That’s great – it not only saves water for laundry, but there’s also less detergent going into the drains. It’s great to see how much water you can save when you really try.
But of course industry still needs water, and so do hospitals and emergency services. Hotels are seeing many cancellations due to the bad publicity – and CapeTown relies heavily on tourism. And people are buying bottled water – lots of it. And we all know how lousy bottled water is for the environment.
But the water reduction campaign seems to be working. “Zero Day” as it’s called (the day the taps run dry), has been pushed back from April 12 to May 11, due to individuals doing their bit, and also the agricultural sector reducing their use.
It rained the other night – not a lot, but some – and everyone was delighted. People were out in the street, smiles everywhere. It’s really wonderful to see how everyone has been pulling together, and really trying to conserve our precious resource.
But it’s a sobering reminder of how much we take water and other resources for granted. If Cape Town runs out of water (and if there’s no decent rain soon, it’s still likely to happen), it will be the first major city in the world to run dry. People will need to stand in queues (lines) to get a daily ration of water. And if that isn’t available, there could easily be riots and violence – after all, we can’t live without water.
What’s the best way to do that?
Should you idle your car, or drive off straight away?
And what about diesel or hybrid cars? Here’s what you need to know.
If you’re buying gifts, make sure they’re eco friendly and kind to the planet.
See my Recommendation of the Week in last week’s newsletter for great suggestions!
See my recipe for traditional barley soup (aka Scotch Broth) – and find out its connection to a traditional Irish cottage, here.
Global Green News:
As I’m in Cape Town, I was fascinated to read that the Cape region could become a desert in the not-too-distant future. Rainfall has always been unreliable, but climate change is making it worse.
The area produces most of South Africa’s wine, as well as large amounts of agricultural crops.
There are many parallels with California.
US Green News:
South Africa is an incredibly beautiful and vibrant country which offers fabulous wildlife safaris. Sadly, it also offers “canned hunting” – captive-bred lions put into a fenced-off area for trophy-hunters to kill. It’s ghastly. Most customers are Americans who pay a lot of money to come to Africa and kill for a trophy in the shortest time possible with no danger and little effort.
Now, the world’s largest hunting club, Safari Club International (SCI) will no longer allow captive-bred lion operators to advertise or market at its annual convention. Many other US hunting groups have also banned advertising for canned hunting. Hooray! This should help reduce demand for this horrible practice.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.
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