WESTVILLE CONSERVANCY www.westvilleconservancy.blogspot.com
Number 2, 2013
Thursday, July 11, 2013
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
NEWSLETTER NO. 40 DECEMBER 2011
Our work this year
With sincere thanks to our corporate sponsors, we continue to remove alien species, and to plant and protect trees and aloes, and maintain the sponsored sections of the M13. Our main areas of struggle are with state or municipal-appointed teams of injudicious brush-cutters, and with litter. Plastic everywhere!
The bare land along Norfolk Terrace, opposite the fire station, has been planted up with a diversity of trees with bequests made in memory of Alastair Lomas-Walker. This carries on the tree-planting from the top of Norfolk Terrace along the M13, and brings the number of trees planted to more than 500. Other tree-planting projects included Westville Cares Day, when trees were planted at Jimmy Bellows Sports field, and Jubilee Park.
Combatting Alien Invasive Plants
We continue our battle against invasive species with funds received from memberships. Syringa and pompom, balloon vine, Brazilian peppers, Catsclaw, Australian Eugenia, Litsea and others threaten to take over our environment.
It remains a great concern that Westville residents actually plant Widelia on their verges and are protective of their syringa trees. While syringa may carry wonderfully smelling flowers, these trees and all the other declared invaders cause tremendous damage to our ecosystems. They impact on biodiversity and take over our natural habitat at the expense of indigenous cover and ground water. Westville’s suburban gardening practices also directly impact on the Palmiet Nature Reserve, a community-managed municipal reserve established in 1972 –alien invader plants, plastic packets, rubbish and illegal discharge into the river put this biodiversity haven under pressure.
Some of the areas in which our alien invader plant eradication efforts have been concen-trated are Baden Road, Edgbaston Road, J ubilee Park, Conway Park, the Westville Trail, and of course, the M13.
Rob Jamieson and his team, Clive Walker and Shadrack Luthuli are our hands-on warriors in this battle, and we thank them.
John Hinck and Marion Spence have transformed this green desert choked with alien invader species into a beautiful natural environment. Their efforts were recognised by Ethekwini Municipality when they received the Mayoral Award for Excellence (Biodiversity Division) in recognition of the rejuvenation of Jubilee Park.
Please contribute to the valuable work being done there - contact Marion on 031 -266 6412 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Westville Park (aka the Scout Bowl)
What should be the green heart of Westville continues to suffer under the Parks and Garden’s lack of effort in violation of the City’s own green landscaping guidelines. Alien invader species remain untouched while fields of hypoxis and wild grasses, and even indigenous trees (Apodytes dimidiata, Canthium imerme, Gardenia thunbergia, Ekebergia capensis) are hacked. We are therefore pleased that a ‘Friends of the Westville Park’ was established during 2011, with the aim of protecting this natural asset.
Plans for 2012
There is so much to do! We would like to tackle further stretches along the M13, dispatch every single alien invader plant, green our public spaces and work with the municipality and residents on the protection of our natural capital. We are however limited in number and in funds. We are on a drive to increase our membership base, and to attract more corporate sponsors. You could help us in this by actively signing up new members, and letting us know of potential sponsors that would like their company name attached to an environmental programme.
We believe that next year the earth’s resources will come under even greater pressure, as the human population weighs heavily upon planet earth. Massive loss of biodiversity and species is underway on a global scale. Biodiversity loss is at the centre of a number of risks to life on earth, including the unprecedented spread of infectious disease, air pollution, extreme weather, desertification and water scarcity and rising costs. The value of biodiversity acknowledged as services with a financial value is only becoming clearer now and it is beyond question that we cannot survive without them. Just as wildlife was not valued as having an intrinsic value but had to be given economic status to ‘justify’ itself in terms of tourism value or game farming, the natural environment is being valued as a necessary asset in the national economy.
We need to protect Westville and do justice to our part of the world.
COP 17 COP-OUT
The Conference of Parties’ (CoP) 17th meeting in Durban in December went into 36 hours overtime, and from it emerged a vague, ambiguous and not legally-binding 'Durban Package'. This could potentially lock us onto a pathway of dangerous climate change to the tune of an increase of 3.5 degrees Centigrade, as opposed to the 2 degrees currently aimed for, or the 1.5 degrees Centigrade many claim is necessary for a safe climate future.
In the context of sovereign debt and recession in the West and lack of commitment from some developing countries, there just isn't the financial commitment or political will to take the necessary ambitious immediate action to avert a crisis of food insecurity, displacement and global instability that are set to come with climate change above 2 degrees.
Faced with these daunting prospects, we should put our individual effort into supporting local farmers’ markets and building local resilience, limit our own CO2 emissions and add our voice to pressure groups.
RIP MINING AT MTUNZINI
There is an appeal from Mtunzini Conservancy for support to save Mtunzini and Zululand from the further ravages of mineral sand mining. Exxaro has been trying to proceed with strip mining near Mtunzini despite strenuous protests from residents and businesses.
Support in this David and Goliath situation is needed. Mtunzini Conservancy is calling for contributions from interested persons and organisations. Westville Committee members have already made individual contributions; we urge others to do the same.
Please make your contributions to: the Mtunzini Conservancy at any branch of First National Bank or via the internet to: First National Bank, Sort Code: 220130, Account number: 62093027475. Please use your business name or surname and initials as a reference and fax to ++ 27 86 512 6476 or E Mail to email@example.com the following information: 1) Proof of payment, 2) your full name, 3) postal address, 4) E Mail address and your Telephone number. For more particulars visit http://mtunzini.co.za/exxaro.htm OR
Barbara Chedzey at firstname.lastname@example.org
WATER ALERT Chairman of the Board of Wessa, Dr Richard Lewis, recently stated:
‘Just pertaining to water alone, we in SA have lost 50% of our wetlands – (the country’s kidneys);82 municipalities no longer have water engineers meaning that in many cases pure sewerage is flowing into water supplies. In the Vaal Catchment area 50 000 tons of uranium from mines seeped into water supplies just last year alone, causing acid mine water which is highly radioactive and necessitating the evacuation of people on the West Rand. The EU is already refusing vegetables growing along the Vaal as being too toxic unless the farmers have their own purification works. Stark realities loom, and yet people are more inclined to watch mindless TV shows, spend thousands on fireworks, or expend huge amounts of passion in watching sport, whilst real issues facing them are scarcely given a thought.’
2012 is going to be challenging. You have been warned.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Global warming /climate change
Jojo Tanks have circulated the following tips on saving water. How many do you practice already? Clean the driveway/steps with a broom, not water; take showers, not baths, and use low-flow shower heads; put a brick in the toilet cistern; use the washing machine only when full of clothes; turn off the water when brushing teeth; use only enough water in your kettle to fill your cup; replace washers regularly; replace lawn with ground-cover plants.
Startling news is that water for the future of Durban will be very expensive to provide, even from purified sewage. We can expect to follow Windhoek in this respect. SA has enough water for food production for 35 M people. The present population is 52 M!
CLIMATE CHANGE TALKS
Experts including Debra Roberts, Brian Ashe, Colleen Downs, and Mark Liptrot have been informing the public with their expertise in particular areas in the run-up to the Climate Change Global Conference taking place in Durban in late November/early December. We will have thousands of interested people visiting Durban at that time and Ethekwini is determined to make the occasion special. Protest groups including environmental activists will be marching on 3rd December to emphasise the need to lessen the effects of global warming on millions of people. This can be done partly through the lowering of carbon dioxide and other emissions by setting limits on burning of fossil fuels and felling of forests, among other causes of climate change. Delegates need to listen to citizens.
Next in the monthly Climate Change seminar series put on by the Natural Science Museum Research Centre at 151 K.W. Masinga Road (was Old Fort) will be Mark Brown’s “Too hot to handle – how climate change is affecting birds”& David Allan’s “Which way is the wind blowing for Southern Africa’s birds?” (The threats posed to our avifauna by wind turbines). Wednesday 5th October 5.45 p.m. RSVP 031 311 2256
CHANGE YOUR WORLD – think globally, act locally
The spring rains have started – now is the time to get into the garden or to do something for the public environment. Contact other Conservancy members, get cuttings and/or advice. (Details Patty 031 266 3325)
Felix Finkbeiner was 9 years old when he came up with the idea of planting a million trees in each country on earth in order to capture dangerous greenhouse gases. His dream has become a global movement, with children all over the world following the Plant-for-the-Planet initiative, planting trees and “fighting for climate justice”. Here he promotes action with the late Wangari Maathai, famous environmentalist who started the Green Belt Movement in Kenya.
SIMPLE WAYS TO REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT (Ethekwini Muni)
How can I as an individual reduce my carbon ‘footprint’? Consider how many of the following practices you have adopted. Haven’t yet? Now’s your chance!
Energy-proof your home
No major upgrades are needed, just simple stuff. Make sure all of your windows close properly so that your home is properly insulated. This will save you money on your energy bills too. Switch to compact florescent light bulbs. They use roughly 75% less energy than normal light bulbs and last much longer.
Unplug and save.If you’re not using an electrical appliance, unplug it. Most electronic appliances siphon energy even when they are on standby or “switched off”. That includes cell phone chargers, laptops, televisions, sound systems, printers and many others.
Buy organic, go local
Whenever you can, even though you often have to pay a premium, buy organic - it means the food was grown in an eco-friendly way. And if it's locally grown, it didn't have to be transported that far. Be aware - those cappuccinos and lattes you love may come from beans that have travelled a great many kilometres to get to you. Find a coffee house that specialises in African beans, and roasts locally. For the same reason, eat at restaurants that serve locally produced or seasonal foods.
Pay attention to packaging
Consider products that have minimal packaging or environmentally friendly packaging. Shop with reusable bags - cloth tote bags or recycled bags are best.
Bye-bye bottled water
Bottled water has a massive carbon footprint — it's bottled at one location in small plastic bottles and shipped all over the country or the world. Buy a reusable water bottle or canteen for your water. Durban has some of the best quality drinking water in the world.
Use cold water
Oh, alright, it’s still a bit chilly - you can use hot water in the shower, but not too much. But do a cold wash in your washing-machine. It takes a lot of energy to heat up water — multiply that by the number of wash loads, and that's a big footprint.
TALK IN DURBAN
Durban Botanic Gardens, Visitors Centre, 6 p.m., 17th October: Illustrated talk by Charles and Julia Botha about their recent visit to China. The Bothas are the authors of the popular Bring Nature Back to your Garden series of books. Entrance: R25 for members, R35 for non‐members (includes tea and cake)
RSVP: Tel 031 2015111 / 031 3091170 or email botsoc‐email@example.com
Westville Times, a new newspaper circulated throughout Westville, has featured several items on our members and their activities in the last few months. If you have anything of particular interest please contact Nashreen on firstname.lastname@example.org or 031 266 4093 about putting an article into her paper.
HIGH WAY ACTIVITIES
On Westville Cares Day, with WESSA, we were able to offer members the choice of litter-clearing at Palmiet, removal of Wedelia and Ageratum plants at Jubilee Park or tree-planting at Jimmy Bellows. The time has come when we are starting to do more planting than removal of invasive alien vegetation. That is great reward for those who had to do a lot of M13 roadkill over the years! Anyone wanting to join a Spray/ Work Party, roughly 2nd Saturday (early) every month, should contact Patty on 079 181 5274.
Balloon vine choking trees Newly-planted trees opposite BKS
Appeal for subs – Please remember to renew your membership by paying into the Conservancy account below. Subs are actually due from AGM time every year i.e. April/May and ARE STILL R20 per annum for ordinary/family membership; R100 for Silver; and R500 for Gold membership status. Remember to identify yourself in the reference line of the deposit slip, thank you!
Nedbank, Westville Mall
1380 078 083
Thursday, April 14, 2011
P O BOX 40, WESTVILLE, 3630; ( 031 267 0872; 3 083 777 0872
Conservancy link: see http://www.palmiet.za.net/
NEWSLETTER NO. 37 MARCH 2011
Wessa’s Highway Branch meetings: the guest speaker for Friday 8th April will be the well-known Roy Cowgill who will be returning to ‘show and tell’ us of the birds and other creatures of the Galapagos Islands Time permitting we will also have a DVD film on birds. As always, 7.0 for 7.30pm at Westville Central Library, everyone invited including accompanied children, no charge, light refreshments.
Forthcoming attractions for our 2nd Friday meetings.
Friday 13th May," Heavens Above ". Come and look through the telescopes of the Astronomical Society at the wonders of the night sky.
Friday 10th June. "Turkish Delight".
Friday 8th July. "The creatures of the Kgiligadi Transfontier Park".
N.B.Treasure Beach environmental courses will be offered to up to 1000 school children this year if Wessa can obtain enough sponsorship through sale of secondhand books (not text books). Contact Alan Job 031 764 0034.
April events at Springside Nature Reserve
Sunday 10 April 8.30am
Speaker/Walk Leader: Ross Kramm - Raptors. Ross will bring a Falcon. Before the walk he will present a short slide show on local Birds of Prey and discuss raptors in gardens. We will also hear about Springside Nature Reserve’s resident Crowned Eagle which entertained (and alarmed) many human neighbours whilst it was reaching adulthood. SNR Resource Centre is not a large venue so arrive in time to ensure seeing the slide show. Enq: Sue 031-765 6809
Wednesday 13 April 8.30am
Birding with Derek Spencer (or form your own interest group) Enq: as above.
Indigenous Open Gardens, Pietermaritzburg. Sat/Su 16/17 April: R30 p.p. to visit all 7 gardens, children free, tea gardens. Proceeds to charities supported by Pmb East Rotary Anns. Enq. Jill Raybould 033 3422461
uShaka Marine World: Wed.evening 20th April
Talk on Dugongs (and the crucial elements of an emergency protection plan to save this species from extinction.)
At: Sea World Education Centre, uShaka Marine World, 18h30 sharp
Cost: EWT Non-members : R50; EWT Members R35
RSVP to: Endangered Wildlife Trust email@example.com / 011 486 1102 or uShaka Jessica@saambr.org.za / 031 328 8222
Speaker Karen Allen has a degree in nature conservation, specialising in Marine & Coastal Management and Environmental Law. She has a passion for marine biology and has spent the last few years dedicated to the conservation of Dugongs and their marine habitat.
WATER SHORTAGE : BRENDA MARTIN Project 90x2030 shares her insights:
South Africa’s freshwater supply is getting dangerously low in terms of the claims being made on it. Brenda Martin of Project 90 x 2030 cites increasing reports that South Africa's clean water supply could be threatened within 5 to 10 years.
‘The reports present as good an opportunity as any to think about how we value water. Let's ask ourselves how much clean water we flush down the drain every day? 16 years into our democracy it is crucial that we begin to include an urgent plan of action to fix the dire state of our water infrastructure alongside the great water access programmes that are now in place. After all, what will the impact be on the poor in South Africa if clean water becomes a luxury item? Another consideration: the belief that we will run out of clean healthy drinking water could also lead quite quickly to the view that bottled water is going to become an essential item. There is no doubt that bottled water is expensive and bad for the environment. Consider the following: Bottled water can cost anywhere from 500 times to 1000 times more than tap water. In South Africa 1000 litres of tap water costs about R16, whereas the same volume of bottled water can cost as much as R13, 200. In SA around 56,000 tons of plastic from bottled water is likely to be dumped in landfills this year. Public perception that bottled water is a requirement in South Africa could have a seriously detrimental effect on our carbon emissions and perhaps even more crucially, develop the view that clean drinking water will soon be inaccessible to the poor. According to the Department of Water Affairs the maintenance expenditure backlog for water services is estimated to be in the order of R100 billion. So instead of simply reacting with alarm and planning to steer clear of tap water in the future, let's think about how we value water today. Let's call on government to urgently strengthen South Africa's water infrastructure and let's all put a far greater value on this invaluable and limited resource.
Newsflash: Municipal water rate in Durban is about to go up 7.5 percent.
INDIGENOUS GARDEN SIGNS
The signs are an initiative of the KZN Conservancies Association (KZNCA), supported by WESSA, Botsoc, BirdLife South Africa and Lepsoc. Two sizes R55 and R35 each. Proceeds will go towards publication of KZNCA’s conservancy booklets: ‘How to start a Conservancy’ and ‘Conservancy Guidelines.’ For more info and to order, contact Jean Lindsay firstname.lastname@example.org
WESTVILLE CONSERVANCY SOCIAL EVENING
Our AGM will be held at Palmiet Nature Reserve on 6th May (6 for 6.30 p.m.) so please circle this date in your diary. As usual we will have an interesting guest speaker and a BYO braai. Please attend in this magic setting and swell our numbers. It is your chance to meet other members and renew your subs, browse through some books, etc.
Those who cannot attend but who wish to renew their subs at this preferred and convenient time of the year should send their R20, R100 or R500, with identification, to:
Bank Nedbank, Westville Mall
Account Name Westville Conservancy
Account Number 1380 078 083
Branch Code 138026
INTERNATIONAL CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE
The lively Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department of Ethekwini Municipality draws attention to the late November/early December 2011 Climate Change conference:
COP 17 - CMP 7 will be hosted in Durban and will aim to achieve many things i.e. to assess the progress made to date in addressing the challenges of climate change internationally; to continue to push for countries to take responsibility for their greenhouse gas emissions, and to seek binding agreements around this. COP 17 - CMP 7 is hoped to inspire greater action in the field of adaptation and through this, to generate long-term commitments to reducing risk for billions of people around the world.To read more about COP17 - CMP7, visit: http://www.cop17durban.com/