environment indigenous sustainability

Local freedoms

Written on behalf of SWC by Val Payn

SWC Chair

Box 44, Harding

Contact cell 083 4416961


Should local destinies be decided locally? That is the heart of the issue around the Wild Coast Xolobeni mining debate.

The Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) has announced that it will hold a legal hearing in Durban to hear oral submissions as to why amaPondo communities are opposed to titanium dune mining along the Wild Coast. DMR say the submissions will be taken into account in the Minister’s decision whether to give the go ahead for the mining application. This sets a precedent for DMR, who do not usually consider oral appeals.

environment indigenous sustainability

Important Update – XOLOBENI

A few month ago I blogged about the proposed mining of Xolobeni in the Eastern Cape. Here is the most recent development, hopefully the Board will make the right decision:

28 January 2010

The LRC to make oral submissions on behalf of the Amadiba Crisis Committee at Xolobeni

For immediate release

On 8, 9 and 10 February 2010, the Minerals and Mining Development Board will receive oral submissions on behalf of interested parties involved in the appeal against the Minister’s decision to grant a mining right to Transworld Energy Minerals (TEM) at Xolobeni in the Eastern Cape.  The Board will then make recommendations to the Minister of Minerals and Energy.

environment food garden sustainability

Vote for the new EU Organic logo

Hey guys

If you are interested why note have your say in what the new EU organic logo will look like.

You can vote here

Logo 1

Logo 2

Logo 3

Some background information.

They came up with this logo before:

But it was too close to the ALDI supermarket’s own organic label

So there was a competition to design a new logo…

aliens environment garden

District 9 and what to do when you find an alien

Aliens are alive and well, and living in your neighbourhood.

In fact, they are more than living, they’re flourishing. This is probably because our climate is so perfectly suited to their particular genetic makeup. But its also because we are pretty ignorant when it comes to spotting and dealing with aliens.


Ok, you’ve probably guessed by now that this has nothing to do with District 9  – I just put that in the header to catch your attention. And if you were hoping to see something about Avatar or extra-terrestrials you might be disappointed too.

But here in South Africa, we have a pretty serious problem with Alien Invasive Plants, and this is for a number of reasons:

If you live in KwaZulu Natal with our subtropical climate, you may be forgiven for not realising that the rest of South Africa is living below the bread-line when it comes to water resources. Alien plants slurp up, by the bucket-load this most precious resource, that our indigenous plants have learnt to carefully ration.

As they rapidly invade, they encroach on our natural habitats. Birds and other animals eat their fruit and spread their seeds far and wide. And in the same way that buying cheap Chinese goods over locally made produce is bad for our economy – indigenous plants begin to suffer as their customers (the birds and the bees) buy elsewhere.

The eventual result (to squeeze the last drop out of the analogy) is that our indigenous plants have to close up shop and give their land to the Alien Invasive plants, which leaves their dependents (the animals that live in or eat from their branches) in a rather perilous position – learn Mandarin or die. Ok, maybe I pushed the simile a little too far there…

So, what do we do about this?

Firstly, learn to recognise them.  Whether they’re huge, or (better still) when they are still just a little sproutling. Obviously the sooner you deal with them the less money you have to fork out in eradicating them from your garden, and the less chance they have to spread.

Start in your garden – if we all removed the alien invasive plants in our own gardens, the task would begin to get a lot easier for everybody.

Be ruthless. I say this, because I can’t tell you how often I see an alien invasive plant in a clients garden that they have begun to depend on for shade or screening, and they don’t want the inconvenience of taking it out. If you remove the offending tree/plant, the quicker the replacement plant will grow.

Spread the word. Tell everyone who is interested, and those that aren’t, the perils of harbouring alien invasive plants…

The top 6 to learn to recognise in KwaZulu-Natal:

Chromolaena odorata – Triffid Weed
Litsea glutinosa – Indian Laurel
Cardiospermum grandiflorum – Balloon Vine
Lantana camara
Melia azederach – Syringa
Schinus terebinthifolius – Brazilian Pepper

You can find some pictures of these plants here.

environment garden soil sustainability

Climate change- countdown to Copenhagen

Are you worried about changing climates? Some of you may have noticed strange weather patterns happening in your city or seen the terrifying images of melting icecaps, flash floods and barren wastelands due to prolonged periods of drought. Others may have read about the devastating effects changing climates have on food security, species extinction and infectious diseases. So the main question you may be asking is what can be done? Surely it’s too late to do anything?