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October 27, 2009

Nurturing a green city

The Hoerikwaggo Trail, Silvermine Nature Reserve

The seed for a “Green October” was planted by the City of Cape Town’s Green Week, which ran from October 19-23. In an effort to make the Mother City the greenest city on earth, an unprecedented number of sustainability driven events took place during this time, including:

  • Energy Efficiency Forum for business owners with practical “how-to” tips for using energy more efficiently.
  • An inaugural workshop towards establishing a Green Event Forum was held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on October 19. The workshop aimed to promote greening in the event industry.
  • The City of Cape Town had a stand at the Green Building Council of South Africa’s annual convention and exhibition, which celebrated the latest innovations in responsible property and city design, and real estate development.
  • As part of the Green Goal programme leading up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the City is embarking on a campaign to encourage motorists to drive in a more fuel-efficient way.
  • Consider Us is a worldwide programme developed by Zoom Advertising, part of the Ogilvy group, that kicked off in Africa this month. The campaign calls for children between the ages of 6 and 18 years to explain in fewer than 20 words why world leaders should consider them when signing climate change treaties. Some of these messages were strung up at the Cape Town International Convention Centre during Green Week, so delegates from all over the world could read them. Never has an environmental campaign had a cooler voice: local rock star Arno Carstens performed his new single, Emergency, at the launch of the campaign on October 22. Follow the campaign on www.considerus.org or www.considerus.mobi.

Knowledge, as they say, is power. Here are five top tips that you, as a Capetonian, can employ every day to be a more environmentally conscious world citizen and a “green” foodie!

The Hoerikwaggo Trail

  • Grow your own vegetables. Establishing a small vegetable patch in your backyard or herb garden on your balcony is great fun. Visit one of the many nurseries in the city to get started.
  • Buy local food and support our farmers. Imported food has a larger carbon footprint, as energy is used to produce, transport and store the food. Visit one of the city’s top organic markets for a fun day out with the family.
  • Change how you see your waste. Recycle paper, plastic or glass and get a worm farm for your garden to turn mess into mulch.
  • Use eco-friendly detergents. An affordable green range is available at most supermarkets – it isn’t as expensive as you may think.
  • Reduce your home’s energy consumption. Replace your light bulbs with energy efficient ones, switch off your appliances rather than leaving them on standby and unplug your cellphone, camera and laptop chargers when you’re not using them. Visit www.savingenergy.co.za for many more quick tips.

Register online now to receive the Cape Town Green Map newsletter from the City of Cape Town, which is chock-a-block with green living tips, at www.capetowngreenmap.co.za/.

This week, we look at some great organic markets in Cape Town and green activities to enjoy in the southern suburbs:

Kirstenbosch Gardens

  • Visit the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock on Saturday mornings for a smorgasbord of organic and homemade food, stop by the Millstone Farmstall & Café at the Oude Molen Eco Village in Pinelands or drop by the Horizon Market, held every Saturday at the West Coast Ostrich Farm near Tableview, for fresh and organic produce.
  • Hike the Hoerikwaggo Trail, part of the Table Mountain National Park.
  • Visit Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden and take in one of its famous summer concerts with the family.
  • Walk the Constantia Valley Greenbelt, which consists of nine interlinked walking trails. Each trail takes between 30 and 45 minutes.
  • Get the catch of the day at Kalk Bay Harbour and head home for a traditional fish braai. Light up with scrap wood or charcoal briquettes made from wood limbs or lumber mill scraps to reduce your carbon footprint. Dish up with a local produce salad and great SA pinotage!

The Première Restaurant at Arabella Western Cape Hotel & Spa in Hermanus is taking giant leaps in green eating with the launch of its Cape Coastal Cuisine menu this month. It celebrates regional produce, such as area-farmed salmon trout, seasonal organic vegetables and herbs, and fynbos honey from the neighbouring Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, along with Walker Bay wines.

Another hotel that prides itself on its Eco Eat programme is The Vineyard Hotel & Spa in Newlands, a finalist in the 2009 Imvelo Responsible Tourism awards.

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