Saturday, September 27, 2008

Synchroblog on interreligious dialogue

While not strictly an "environmental" topic, this one may interest people of different faith communities. A group of us are planning to hold a synchronised blog (synchroblog) on the general topic of "Interreligious Dialogue" on 8 October 2008.

Any SAFCEI member who has a blog is welcome to take part. If you want to know more, see Notes from underground: Interfaith synchroblog and forum.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Creation Care weekend 3-5 October

A Rocha and NieuCommunities invite churches and community organizations to a weekend of hands-on workshops about caring for creation.

The workshop will be held at Pangani, the Nieu Communities home, at 106 Emily Hobhouse Road, Pretoria North.

Allen Goddard, Director of A Rocha South Africa, together with
NieuCommunities South Africa and other local Christian community leaders will explore the Bible's call to care for creation and how this translates into conservation action for local churches and communities.

Besides an introduction to A Rocha's community conservation work worldwide, this workshop draws on participants' knowledge and their commitment to Pretoria's local environments, to workshop old and new ideas for small, effective community conservations projects.

The programme:

Friday evening, 3 October - Creation Communities Showcase

A Rocha and NieuCommunities introduce their unique expressions of living out the whole Gospel, in an evening of hospitality and interaction. Participants' questions and expectations for the creation stewardship weekend will be noted. Begins with dinner at 1800.

Saturday, 4 October - A day workshop in the hospitable environment of NieuCommunities

The day will combine short Bible presentations by Allen Goddard on the theme of Following Jesus - Environmentally Speaking, and hands on workshops with guest facilitators on how creation stewardship is being implemented in local communities in Pretoria. The afternoon will look in particular at workshopping community conservation ideas. Participants' expectations will be reviewed briefly at the end of the day. 0900 - 1600.

Please RSVP your participation on either/both days with Arthur Stewart -

Please pass along this information to others who might be interested!

Monday, September 22, 2008

西儒 ─ The Western Confucian: Cob Houses

The Western Confucian has several interesting pictures of cob houses:

The Western Confucian: Cob Houses:
You've seen them in Korea, whether or not you knew what they were (and I did not); The New Beginning has links galore about them overseas — The Barclays Self Build Cob House, More on cob, and More on cob houses.

And you've seen them in South Africa, whether or not you knew what they were:

What is Cob?:
A cob house is made of clay, sand and straw. The mixture is 'kneaded' like dough before it is put into place by stomping on it with your feet or using a cement mixer for larger scale operations. The clay acts as the glue, while the sand gives strength to the mixture and the straw gives the walls tensile strength once hardened into place. Because cob is very flexible to work with, the builder is free to create just about any shape, so you won't find too many cob homes that look similar to each other.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

urban sprout | green news organic eco directory

urban sprout | green news organic eco directory: "The Department of Trade and Industry has handed down a ruling for mandatory labelling of genetically modified foods in South Africa.

From now on, you have a choice as to whether or not you want to buy GM, but better still, you will actually know which foods contain GM."

Friday, September 19, 2008

Could the diabetes epidemic be caused by pollution?

No Title: "Rachel's introduction: 'Ask why diabetes is epidemic in the 21st century and most people will point the finger at bad diet, laziness and obesity. According to a small but growing group of scientists, though, the real culprit is a family of toxic chemicals known as persistent organic pollutants, or POPs... including dioxins, DDT and PCBs....'"

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Times - Sacking of conservationists harms SA’s image abroad

The Times - Sacking of conservationists harms SA’s image abroad: "IT HAS come to our attention that three conservationists have been sacked in your country because they tried to save the habitat of an endangered species of flamingos. — Mark Duchamp, Iberica 2000, Spain

Deputy director Julius Koen, ornithologist Mark Anderson and scientist Eric Herrmann were suspended by the Northern Cape provincial government after it discovered their links to a campaign to save Kamfers Dam, one of only six lesser flamingo breeding sites in the world.

This bird is classified as near- threatened due to its declining population and the low number of breeding sites, some of which are threatened by human activities"

Friday, September 12, 2008

Calling all SAFCEI members

Calling all SAFCEI members

This blog has been running for nine months now.

Its purpose is to facilitate communication between SAFCEI members and other people interested in the environment (if you are not a member of SAFCEI, and don't know what SAFCEI is, you can go to the main SAFCEI web site to learn more).

I started it mainly to show how a blog can aid communication for a group like SAFCEI.

Up till now, I have run it by myself. I've taken communications from the SAFCEI office, and other environmental news items and posted them on the blog.

But for it to achieve its full potential, the blog needs to be supported by more members of SAFCEI. It should not be a one-man band, but a community effort.

For a start, you could contribute by making comments on some of the posts. Anyone can do that, whether they are members of SAFCEI or not.

But it would be better still if SAFCEI members by contributing to the blog posts. Ideally there should be at least one contributing blogger for each faith community represented in SAFCEI. So this is a call for volunteers -- I'm a Christian, but there are also other varities of Christians. How about a Hindu contributor, a Buddhist contributor, a Muslim contributor, a contributor from the Bah'ai faith? These could then contribute environmental news from each of these faith communities.

How do you become a contributor?

You should be a member of SAFCEI, and then have a Google Id. If you have a Goggle e-mail address, you automatically have a Google Id, which you can then use to log in to Blogger (which yopu need to do if you want to make comments on this blog. If you don't have Google e-mail, it is easy enough to apply for, and useful if you are travelling, because you can use it anywhere there is an internet connection.

If you would like to help by contributing to this blog, please leave a comment on this post, telling a little bit about yourself, your faith community and your environmental interests and activities, and how we can contact you.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Stop mining of the Xolobeni beaches in the Transkei Petition

Please go to this site and sign the Xolobeni mining petition:

Stop mining of the Xolobeni beaches in the Transkei Petition: "The Department of Minerals and Energy has announced that it intends awarding a mining licence to Australian mining company MRC on 31 October 2008 to mine the Kwanyana Block of the Amadiba Tribal Administrative Area, on the Pondoland Wild Coast. This announcement has been made before the SA Human Rights Commission has completed its investigation into human rights violations lodged by local residents allegedly perpetrated by agents of MRC."

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Ecosocialist Manifesto "Discussion begins on
Second Ecosocialist Manifesto

At the founding Ecosocialist International Network meeting in Paris last October Ian Angus, Joel Kovel and Michael Lowy were delegated to draft a Second Ecosocialist Manifesto.

They have now finished the draft and have submitted it for open international discussion. It can be downloaded in PDF form from the Ecosocialist International Network website:

* English: 2nd-Ecosocialist-Manifesto-DRAFT-en.pdf"

Monday, September 1, 2008

Spring, Ramadan, New Year

Today is the first day of Spring, at least in the popular calculation.

It is also the beginning of Ramadan for Muslims, and for Orthodox Christians the beginning of the New Year.

Orthodox Christians dedicate the first days of September for thinking and praying about the environment and the created world, and the need to care for it.

Perhaps the picture (of Mitchell Park, Durban) can remind us of some of the beauties of spring and the need to care for God's creation.
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