NMB Transition Network Newsletter – 23/03/2011

NMB Transition Network  Newsletter 24/03/2011

I’ve mentioned Urban Harvest numerous times in our newsletters, but I thought I’d share a bit more about them and introduce you to some of their new programs that they are running for schools, communities and corporates.

Read the full article on our website…  https://nmbtransitionnetwork.wordpress.com/2011/03/20/kouga-urban-harvest-edible-gardens/

Very Important! This evening (Thursday) there will be a public meeting regarding Shell’s applications for hydraulic fracturing (or ‘fracking’) in the Karoo.  At every previous meeting, the public have shown strong opposition to this, which is good to see.  In the face of peak oil (or peak fossil fuels rather) AND climate change, we should be focusing on reducing our dependence on fossil fuel energy, not hunting for expensive and destructive ways to to maintain it.

Here are some recent media articles regarding the fracking issue after public meetings held last week:

Farmers Stress Key Role Of Groundwater  http://www.peherald.com/news/article/960

Municipality pledges to probe fracking  http://www.peherald.com/news/article/959

Get Out The Karoo, Farmers Tell Shell  http://www.peherald.com/news/article/958

Karoo residents to block shale-gas bid                                                                                       http://mg.co.za/article/2011-03-21-karoo-residents-to-block-shalegas-bid/

We all seem to be talking about Shell’s application, but they aren’t the only company after shale in our precious Karoo.  Falcon, and Bundu, are another two oil and gas companies that have put through applications.

On the note of energy, though far more positive and inspiring….   In our last newsletter I briefly discussed the launching of the wind turbine at Settlers Park Primary School. This week I happened to come across another very interesting wind turbine project at Fezeka High School in Guguletu:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yitxrpfRFY

Yesterday I had the opportunity to present the Transition Town movement to the architecture and interior design students at NMMU.  It was interesting for me thinking about how these industries will be affected by peak oil, and how they might respond while also addressing the issue of climate change.

The cost of materials will continue to increase as oil production declines. It won’t make sense to pull in materials from all over the world, so we will have to start looking at what local materials are available to us, and design according to that. Rather than having a design and the finding the materials to fit that, perhaps we should look at allowing a design to emerge through an understanding of local available materials.

In my opinion, the idea of greening a building, or an interior space, seems to come as an afterthought, an addition to the initial design, rather than being an integral part of it.  Peak oil and climate change should provide the framework for the design of our structures as well as their interiors. I think these departments have a strong role to play, and I look forward to some more feedback from the lecturers and students on this.

I mentioned green roofs during my presentation, and their benefits. Here is a short article on that:  http://www.justmeans.com/Green-Roofs-Take-Root-in-North-America/47506.html

In terms of design, what might we do with big petroleum tanks in a post-carbon era?  http://inhabitat.com/petroleum-tank-turned-into-futuristic-loft-sleeping-pod-and-loo/

I brought up the idea of excessive waste (which seems to characterize the cheap energy and industrial era) being a valuable resource in a post-carbon age.  With a little creativity, trash really can be used to create some interesting things:  from using car tires for construction (see Earthships) , to chandeliers out of bic pens, to making a colourful fence out of old road signs.

For the artists among you, you may find this installation quite interesting in how it carries its message of peak oil. Asleep At The Wheel :  http://transitionculture.org/2011/03/22/asleep-at-the-wheel-where-is-our-culture-heading/

A friend, Linda Coates, who some of you may know or remember from our first home/garden visit last year, has about 50 Suebelle Sapote trees available. Sapote is a type of custard apple, and all Linda is asking for them is a small (or large if you are feeling generous) donation toward her charity. If you are interested you can contact her on 041-373 3485 or coatesagent@gmail.com

On that note, if you are interested sharing your garden as part of an Edible Open  Gardens Weekend (perhaps around June/July), then be sure to let me know. This will be a similar event to what Transition Stroud in the UK has planned around the same time.

We are now have a full house for this weekend’s Introduction To Food Gardening workshop at The Irie. The garden that we will be setting up will be about 2 x 2m; not too big, but big enough to start providing customers with some healthy organic food.

Upcoming Events:

25 March 2011 – Public meeting – Shell’s ‘fracking’ applications for the Karoo                                                             Hume Park, 17h00

26 March 2011 – Intro To Food Gardening Workshop at The Irie

– Kill the lights for Earth Hour 20:30 – 21:30

28 March 2011 – A talk by Prof Richard Cowling – All the worlds people originate from                                                                                         the Cape South Coast                                                                                                                           ACT Centre, 19h00

31 March 2011 – Presentation – Transition Towns: From Oil Dependence To Local                                                                         Resilience (10am at Walmer Library)

6 April 2011 – Presentation – Gardening techniques/Basics & Permaculture at Home                                                                Famhealth Medipark, 131 Springbok St, Gelvandale ,                                                                    19h00

Remember, we’re here to help catalyse and nurture smaller Transition initiatives around the metro, so if you have a project you are thinking of starting up that contributes to reducing fossil fuel dependence and building local resilience, then be sure to tell us about it. And if a few in your neighbourhood are interesting in implementing the Transition response in that specific area, we are here to help with that process.

To close, check out another group in Cape Town called SEED who are using “… Permaculture to grow productive outdoor classrooms as living laboratories for delivery of curriculum while filling learners tummies at the same time.”  http://www.seed.org.za/

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