Category Archives: Conservation

Conservation issues close to my heart.

The Case for Clean Water – Blog Action Day 2010

Don’t spill, you’ll waste it! Precious drops sink into the hot sand as I mentally admonish myself, pouring water from a 25l canister into a basin. It’s time to wash my hair and there’s not a chance the shower will do it. A scant spray at best, I’d hog our whole supply that way. This is the Central Kalahari Desert and water is scarce, so we’ve brought all our own. Along with a potent reminder not to take things for granted. Such as the basic essential that we’re blessed to have on tap back at home. Like countless other people, but unlike almost a billion around the globe. Here are a few pics to set the Kalahari scene:


DAVE doing the manly thing – Central Kalahari, Botswana


‘SOMEBODY’S WATCHING YOU’ – Central Kalahari, Botswana


LIONESS on the prowl – Central Kalahari, Botswana


STORM BREWING – Central Kalahari, Botswana

It’s Blog Action Day today, which means that thousands of us are posting about Clean Water, this year’s extremely worthy topic. Accordingly, today offers the perfect opportunity to say THANK YOU, and for that matter, in writing. Having recently visited Lesotho, Dave and I witnessed women carrying water from rivers to their rural dwellings, high on hillsides. Back-breaking work, to be repeated in endless cycles. Our Blog Action Day team have provided significant insights into the world’s water crisis, including the statistic that “African women walk over 40 billion hours each year carrying cisterns weighing up to 18 kilograms to gather water, which is still usually not safe to drink.”


WOMAN CARRYING WATER – Lesotho, Southern Africa

The Lesotho rivers appear clean and likely are, fed from the majestic Maluti mountains. But we can’t be sure, nor of the mineral make-up of the water. Jason Green from Protector Treatment Systems drew my attention yesterday to their revolutionary solution that removes “contaminants such as silt, colloidal particles, bacteria, viruses, protozoa, cysts, metals, fluoride and arsenic” and can “be powered and operated by children”. His business partner, George Rose, is quoted in their press release as saying: “I’ve seen people in Africa with skeletal fluorosis who can barely walk due to the mineral content of their water supply.” To read more, also of the pilot project in Kenya, visit www.protectorsystems.com.

This is just one example of the positive effort being applied to this issue internationally. Big up to the whole Blog Action Day crew for their part in it too. They offer a simple way for us to contribute, by signing their petition to “Stand for an International Water Treaty to Provide Clean Water Everywhere”. You can do that here: Sign Petition. Good for them also for making us mindful. Last week I blogged about teaching our puppies to swim, without a passing mention of the privilege of a pool. I won’t wait for our next trip to the Kalahari to say THANK YOU again, with sincere appreciation for an abundance of Clean Water.

Finally, speaking of Botswana, water and lions, here’s a pic of the thirsty cats that we found in a shower (from my post: Taking a shower on the Wild Side…together with Lions!) :


THIRSTY LIONS – Mabuasehube Game Reserve, Botswana

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Heads up about Blog Action Day 2010

Hey Everyone,

Just a quick note to spread the word about Friday’s online event. 15th October is Blog Action Day, which unites bloggers from over 100 countries in blogging about a single globally important topic, which for this year is clean water.


LEAF FLOATING ON WATER

Thousands are due to participate, including the White House Blog and The Official Google Blog. The objective is to include as many blogs as possible, regardless of size or focus.

For more info, check out the Blog Action Day site at www.blogactionday.change.org.

Hope you join in 🙂 Continue reading

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Preserving Penguins and preventing seasickness…

Those of you who’ve read about My Books, will know that our endangered African Penguins are close to my heart. This stems from childhood, when my late father sailed on our national research ships to the Southern islands and Antarctica, sometimes returning with penguins and seals. Despite the passing decades, I’ll never forget them, nor the pungent cocktail of diesel and oil mixed with the sea, so characteristic of the Cape Town docks. The docks of the old days, before the development of the vibrant V&A Waterfront.

So it’s wonderful to learn of support for the world’s penguins. My fabulous Facebook friend, Dyan deNapoli (The Penguin Lady) is in the process of launching her book The Great Penguin Rescue. Documenting a devastating oil spill that threatened 40,000 African Penguins, it will no doubt be a PHENOMENAL read, so take a look! For anyone unfamiliar with these birds, here are some pics of the Boulders Beach colony in Simonstown:


AFRICAN PENGUINS – Boulders Beach, Cape Town, South Africa


AFRICAN PENGUINS – Boulders Beach, Cape Town, South Africa


AFRICAN PENGUIN – Boulders Beach, Cape Town, South Africa


AFRICAN PENGUIN – Boulders Beach, Cape Town, South Africa

Dyan also recently drew our attention to a stunning new website of the Global Penguin Society, which ‘is dedicated to the survival and protection of the world´s penguin species, fostering integrated ocean conservation through science, management and community education.’ High five to them for all for their amazing effort!

As an aside about sea travel, Dyan offers invaluable advice for preventing seasickness: ReliefBands. She apparently felt no discomfort during five days of crossing the Drake Passage (to Antarctica and back) on a stabilizer-free ship, while others on board were beyond green. The bands ‘have a metal plate that sits against your wrist and provides an electrical pulse that stimulates a nerve, reducing peristaltic activity in your stomach’.

This recommendation came in response to a query on my Mom’s behalf, as she plans to visit ‘The Ice’ next year, shortly after turning seventy. Hard core women, or what? I can’t take the thought of those hectic seas, preferring to stick much closer to coast-lines, but these bands are a definite for future dive trips! I’ll task my Mom with photography 🙂

And how’s this for a cool side benefit? A user testimonial for ReliefBands mentions going on Adventureland rides that kids adore, with ‘NO ill effects whatsoever’! WOW, if that’s possible, perhaps there’s hope for me to read in cars. Now that would be AWESOME 😀 Continue reading

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‘A Feathership of Partners’ for Birdlife SA

While on the subject of conservation, we have some special photo’s to share. I posted these last September, but the sequence is so exceptional that it bears repeating, particularly since WordPress have introduced their great Gallery feature! Over the years, … Continue reading

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Peter Sarstedt Sings for Conservation in South Africa

Isn’t it stunning to come across a celebrity with a big heart? No wonder the words ‘Where do you go to, my lovely’, sung from that heart, touched so many. The Number 1 hit single of Feb 1969, which topped the British charts for 6 weeks, and reached # 1 in 14 more countries, is as familiar today – over 40 years later! This composition earned Peter Sarstedt the coveted Ivor Novello Award for Best Song 1969/1970. No surprise really that it’s also the theme song for a recent movie by Wes Anderson, ‘The Darjeeling Limited‘.

Some offerings of the soul are simply timeless, like this musician’s attitude to conservation. His ‘Green Alphabet’ song explores urgent environmental issues. Another, ‘Hemmingway’, expresses passion for Africa, while deploring the ease with which nature’s beauty can be lost. Peter Sarstedt’s signature works are born of an era when folk singing raised awareness and protested injustice, captivating the world and initiating change.

Not for the first time, his reach is extending here to South Africa, where he’ll be singing this month. His ‘green music’ does more than entertain. It promotes sustainable improvement of our planet. He will be performing ‘Save the Rhino’ to assist with the plight of these threatened creatures. In conjunction with Sappi Ltd., dedicated environmental supporter, his visit will benefit additional causes, such as The Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Centre, Birdlife SA and The Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens, among a number of others.

To give you an idea of these Gardens, here’s a pic of their spectacular waterfall:


WATERFALL – Botanical Gardens, Roodekrans, Johannesburg

And two of the majestic residents that nest near the top:


BLACK EAGLE ON NEST – Botanical Gardens, Roodekrans, Johannesburg


BLACK EAGLE IN FLIGHT – Botanical Gardens, Roodekrans, Johannesburg

The Gardens will be celebrating 10 years of Sappi Sunday Picnic Concerts on 12 September. With Peter’s help, since he’ll be appearing as a guest artist on the Mathys Roets programme. He will also host ‘singer songwriter‘ workshops for aspiring musicians, in line with his and Sappi’s upliftment of this art in South Africa.

Andre Oberholzer, Group Head Corporate Affairs at Sappi Ltd, says that they ‘invited Peter back to South Africa to add a new dimension to our long-standing support for the arts, community development and conservation.’ How fabulous for this country!

Shows are scheduled for Johannesburg, Nelspruit, Cape Town and Franschhoek. For details, go to: 702 Talk Radio.

To wrap up, here’s a video of Peter Sarstedt’s ‘Lovely’ song:

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‘The Human Polar Bear’ harnesses the Himalayas

A few years back, Dave and I were privileged to meet Lewis Pugh, most famous for being ‘The Human Polar Bear’. What a phenomenal, compelling man, who is harnessing his unique talent for the greater good. Most recently to lobby world leaders about global warming. He took on the Himalayas, learning that Mount Everest is not to be bullied, but rather treated with quiet respect. Much like the man himself.

Managing to raise his body’s core temperature with his mind, he is able to swim in freezing water, clad only in a speedo. The Himalayan stint in May was 1 km long at 2 degrees C. To find out more about this amazing feat, read about it on Lewis’ website: My Latest Expedition and watch Carte Blanche’s video: Carte Blanche: Lewis Pugh (Part 2).

Lewis’ message? “Conservation of the environment is no longer their problem or my problem but our problem.” Himalayan glaciers provide around 2 billion people with constant water, defying the thought of what might happen if they melt. Almost a third of humanity may be affected as radically as our threatened polar bears. You can see more about the Arctic issue on this stunning site: A Beautiful Lie.

Although polar bears don’t occur naturally here, we had a close encounter once at the Johannesburg Zoo, when Dave helped to clean their pool. Here are a few pics, just for fun. Note that, unlike Lewis, the divers all wore wetsuits!


SCUBA DIVERS CLEANING POLAR BEAR POOL – Jhb Zoo


TAKING A DIP AFTER THE WORK WAS DONE


A FISH FOR YOUR TROUBLE


SORTING COINS FROM THE POOL
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Conservation

Green over greed.

FLOWERING BUSH – Welgevonden Game Reserve, Waterberg, South Africa

Quotes to consider:

“Every day is Earth Day.” – Unknown

“We cannot command Nature except by obeying her.” – Francis Bacon

“If I keep a green bough in my heart, then the singing bird will come.” – Chinese Proverb

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” – Native American Proverb

“For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.” – Martin Luther
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