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On the Web This Week, 24 October

On the Web This Week, 24 October

On the web this week, Sri Lanka attempts to deal with its human-elephant relationship, scuba diving grandmothers discover an unexpected sea snake population, and a mysterious oil spill off the coast of Brazil.

Picture credit: Rachel Nuwer

“Sri Lanka has the highest level of human-elephant conflict in the world,” says Prithiviraj Fernando, chairman of the Centre for Conservation and Research in Tissamaharama. “Wherever there are people and elephants, there’s conflict.”

For more than 70 years, Sri Lanka has attempted to solve the problem by moving elephants to national parks. According to the government’s approach, the world’s second-largest land animal belongs in protected areas surrounded by electric fencing, while people belong everywhere else.

Picture credit: Claire Goiran/UNC

A group of snorkelling grandmothers who swim up to 3km five days a week have uncovered a large population of venomous sea snakes in a bay in Noumea where scientists once believed they were rare. Claire Goiran from the University of New Caledonia and Professor Rick Shine from Australia’s Macquarie University were studying a small harmless species known as the turtle‐headed sea snake located in the Baie des Citrons, but would occasionally encounter the 1.5 metre-long venomous greater sea snake, also known as the olive-headed sea snake.

Goiran and Shine believed the greater sea snake was an anomaly in the popular swimming bay as it had only been spotted about six times over 15 years. From 2013, they decided to take a closer look at the greater sea snake to better understand its importance to the bay’s ecosystem.

Picture credit: Antonello Veneri / AFP

It washed ashore in early September, thick globs of oil that appeared from out of nowhere and defied explanation. In the weeks since, the mysterious sludge — 600 tons, the largest spill in Brazil’s history — has tarred more than 1,600 kilometres of shoreline, polluted some of the country’s most beautiful beaches and killed all sorts of marine life.

But despite the time that has passed — and the damage done – the most important questions remain unanswered. Where is the oil coming from? And how can it be stopped?

Picture credit: Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images

Coca-Cola was found for the second year in a row to be the most polluting brand in a global audit of plastic trash conducted by the Break Free From Plastic global movement. The giant soda company was responsible for more plastic litter than the next top three polluters combined.

Reaffirming the importance of sustainable environmental practices, Stellenbosch Wine Routes this week signed the Porto Protocol, committing the leading wine route in South Africa to an accelerated contribution towards climate change mitigation.

Launched by former US President Barack Obama in 2018, the Porto Protocol is a global sustainable initiative signed by companies across numerous industries. These have pledged to play their part in employing and sharing sustainable environmental practices to combat climate change.

Picture credit: Farmer’s Weekly

Urban agriculture has a major role to play in providing healthy, affordable and accessible food to poor urban households in South Africa, according to Prof Juaneé Cilliers, chair of the Urban and Regional Planning Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management at North-West University.

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Continuing from last week, is part two in a six-part documentary series on global cities and the development of urban networks as the emerging geography of connectivity in an age of globalization. In this part we look at the historical development of urban centers from ancient times through to the industrial revolution. Produced by: https://systemsinnovation.io

Did you enjoy this week’s stories? Comment below and let us know! If you’re looking for eco-friendly, sustainable products for your home and/or outdoor needs, please consider one of the products below. As an Amazon Affiliate, we earn a commission on sales, which helps us to keep up our mission of keeping you entertained and informed.

On The Web This Week, 19 September

On The Web This Week, 19 September

On the web this week, the Global Climate Strike, trees planted on Robben Island and South Africa’s first road made from waste plastic.

Picture credit: Leon Neal/Getty Images

According to a new poll taken in eight countries, a majority of the public recognise the climate crisis as an “emergency” and say politicians are failing to tackle the problem, backing the interests of big oil over the wellbeing of ordinary people. The survey, which comes before what is expected to be the world’s biggest climate demonstrations on Friday, found that climate breakdown is viewed as the most important issue facing the world, ahead of migration, terrorism and the global economy, in seven out of the eight countries surveyed. If you’re interested in joining tomorrow’s historic Climate Strike, details of demonstrations across South Africa will be included at the bottom of this post.

Picture credit: Roger de la Harpe

Timeslive.co.za reports that a hundred and one indigenous trees were planted on Robben Island on Wednesday in celebration of late former president Nelson Mandela’s 101st birthday this year, as the first part of an initiative which will see 10,000 trees planted on the island over the next 5 years.

Picture credit: dotsure.co.za

Businesstech.co.za reports on a pilot program in the Eastern Cape which aims to use plastic waste to build roads. The technology has been used both in Africa and internationally, including Australia, Canada, Ghana, India, Kenya, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Mother-and-daughter team Anna Hartebeest and Harriet Matjila have built Makhabisi Recycling into an inclusive green business that has created decent jobs for 60 people. 

Picture credit: Ton Kung / Shutterstock

Yes, big changes are needed, but little ones add up. These 20 simple lifestyle choices from Reader’s Digest can reduce your carbon footprint—and make a major impact.

GLOBAL YOUTH CLIMATE STRIKE / MAY 24, 2019. Over 500 students and other youth advocates across the Philippines joined today’s global youth climate strike in Manila, Philippines. LEO M. SABANGAN II.

And finally, the largest Climate Strike in history is happening worldwide tomorrow, 20 September 2019. If you’d like to join in, the details for demonstrations in South Africa’s major cities is as follows:

Johannesburg: Assemble at Pieter Roos Park, Corner of Victoria Ave and Empire Road, 10am

Durban: Assemble at the ICC , 11am

Pretoria: Assemble at the Union Buildings, 11am

Assemble: at The Greens, Corner of Cambridge & Keizergracht streets, 12am

There will also be a demonstration held outside the Eskom offices in Cape town, starting at 11am

Copac and the South African Food Sovereignty Coalition will be forming a human chain outside the Sasol offices in Sandton, 10am.

If you’re planning to attend any of these protests, please remember to bring plenty of water with you, as it can be difficult to stay properly hydrated outdoors and in large crowds. And finally, if you are attending the protests (or already have, depending on when you read this) leave us a comment below, or email any pictures you’d like to share to editor@lighthouse-eco.co.za