Our Future is at Hand

Handwashing has come under the spotlight during the Covid-19 pandemic. 94% of consumers surveyed by Kimberly-Clark Professional™ say they are washing or sanitising their hands more than they did before the pandemic.

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Sustainable shoes and upcycled bags: Reebok partners with local lifestyle brand, Sealand Gear to reimagine a zero-waste future.

As part of the partnership, Sealand Gear has produced a limited amount of special edition, upcycled tote bags to be given as a gift with the first 300 purchases.

Sustainability does not only come from a product; it comes from the packaging as well. Waste reduction, recycling, upcycling and sustainably sourced material is becoming more of a priority for the lifestyle and fashion sectors. Consumers are actively looking to support brands that take responsibility over their sustainability, adopting ways to reduce their product and packaging waste, and to offer products with a lighter environmental footprint. More brands are starting to realise their responsibility to influence consumers to adopt more environmentally conscious buying habits.

While Reebok has focused its effort on creating their [REE]cycled footwear collection, 90% of Sealand Gear’s product range is sourced from upcycled material. This partnership offers a fully integrated sustainable model from materials sourcing, products, and packaging.

“Sustainability is a part of our story. As a global brand, we have an opportunity to contribute towards a cleaner future and inspire our consumers to start making purchasing decisions more consciously, thinking about their impact on the environment,” says Brian Jackson, brand manager of Reebok South Africa. “The partnership with Sealand is all about local collaboration and partnering with a brand that is in our view, a leader in lifestyle and fashion sustainability.”

“Our intention with Reebok was to align with a well-established global brand, that is taking the necessary steps to improve their environmental responsibility,” says Jasper Eales, founder, and creative director at Sealand Gear.

“The unique tote bag that has been created with Reebok is truly special. It is constructed with a combination of repurposed materials from old yacht sails, previously used advertising banners and outdoor canvas. The strength and durability of these materials give the bags a lifetime warranty; they are designed to be repaired, not replaced or discarded,” says Eales.

Recycling, upcycling, and repurposing gives material a new life. This circular production model prevents waste material from entering the environment or being disposed of in landfill. As a consumer, buying a product that is made from upcycled or recycled material will support a shift to sustainable retail and fashion, where less waste is produced, and less raw virgin material is extracted for new products.

The [REE]Cycled shoe range are available online at reebok.co.za and Reebok Concept Stores: Sandton; Canal Walk; Menlyn and Gateway. The Sealand x Reebok upcycled tote bags will be complimentary with online and in-store purchases while stocks last (only 300 units available).

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TFG supports DTIC’s on-going commitment to local manufacturing development

Leading fashion and lifestyle retailer TFG, celebrates the advancement of local manufacturing development following Minister Ebrahim Patel and the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition’s (DTIC’s) commitment to the Retail-Clothing, Textiles, Footwear and Leather (R-CTFL) Masterplan.

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Amanda Sturgeon, biophilic expert to present keynote at GBCSA Convention

This year the Head of Regenerative Design at the global consultancy firm, Mott MacDonald and respected author, Amanda Sturgeon will be speaking at this year’s Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) Virtual Convention. The event is set to take place at the end of October this year. 

Sturgeon will be delivering the keynote presentation and a deep-dive workshop on regenerative design. She explained that there needs to be an all-inclusive transformation for any meaningful change to take place.

“We will have to shift our fundamental relationship with nature to make a whole systems change. Only then can we restore a positive and thriving relationship with the world. Only then can we solve the climate crisis,” Sturgeon says. 

She worked for 15 years as an architect before she became the CEO of the International Living Future Institute (IFLI). As an architect, she worked on projects such as Islandwood on Washington’s Bainbridge Island. 

Sturgeon has always been a strong advocate for the green building movement. In 2013, she was elected as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects for her volunteer service in the green building movement. 

While she was CEO, Sturgeon has spent the last decade developing regenerative frameworks. She created a global movement around Biophilic Design. In 2018, she delivered a talk for TedMed on how biophilic buildings can make people more productive while making them healthier and happier. 

In December 2017. Sturgeon published a book called Creating Biophilic Buildings. In 2015 she was honoured as one of the top ten most powerful women in sustainability and she received the Women in Sustainability Leadership Award.

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Dam levels rise after Cape Town storm

Cape Town’s dam levels have drastically increased thanks to the recent “storm surge”. There has been a substantial increase in the Cape’s dam levels during the last seven days. The levels had increased to just over 4%. At this time last year, the dam levels stood at 61.8% total capacity. 

The Mayoral Committee Member for Water and Waste, Alderman Xanthea Limberg, stated that this increase in the dam levels has been a relief considering the dry to start to the Winter season.

Limberg added that residents should continue to be cautious about their water consumption. 

“Although there is currently no reason to be concerned about our immediate water security (provided current restrictions are adhered to), we should not forget the very valuable lessons learnt about the finite nature of our most precious resource,” Limberg said.  

Cape Town dam levels as of 20 July

According to the City of Cape Town, the dam levels had increased to more than 77.2% total capacity. At the same time last year, the dam levels stood at 61.8% total capacity. 

As a result of the heavy downpours, the reservoirs in the wider Western Cape region had risen by more than 50%. The Clanwilliam Reserve had almost doubled its volume from 29% to 52%. The Theewaterskloof levels had risen by 10%. 

Cape Town’s storm sweeps through the city

What would become known as the “Cape Town storm” wreaked havoc through the mother city. Incidents of heavy flooding in the streets, gale-force winds, snowfall, and large ocean swells were reported on Monday, July 13.  

The Minister for Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Western Cape, Anton Bredell, had urged residents to stay indoors or to at least limit their travels through the province. 

“While the storm is still ongoing, we urge the public to continue to limit movement around the province. This includes staying away from beaches and promenades and other waterways as much as possible. Conditions along the coastal areas are expected to see storm surges and wave heights of up to 12m in some areas,” Bredell said.

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Mysterious death of Botswana’s elephants being investigated

In recent reports, Botswana has had to requests be done to determine what is killing hundreds of elephants in the Okavango Delta region. Tests that were sent to Zimbabwe have arrived in Botswana while they await tests to arrive from South Africa. 

Samples were collected and sent to Zimbabwe and South Africa to determine the cause. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has led to delays in the samples being sent out.

A senior official in the Environment and Tourism Ministry, Oduetse Kaboto, recently stated in a televised briefing that once all the results have been received they would be able to find definitive answers.

“We have to wait for another set of results and reconcile the two to see if they are saying the same thing before we come to a definitive conclusion,” said Koboto.

Public outcry over Elephant deaths

Botswana officials were compelled to act when photographs of the carcasses were widely published. The country has an elephant population of more than 130 000 which makes it a popular tourist destination for wildlife lovers. In the Okavango Delta, more than 280 elephants have died. The region is home to approximately 18000 elephants. 

According to one of the co-founders for the National Park Rescue, Mark Hiley, the first elephants started dying in May. To date, officials have found elephants have died. The Botswana government has been criticised for not acting sooner to discover the cause of these deaths. 

“The government would normally respond within days to an event of this scale. Yet here we are, months later, with no testing completed and with no more information than we had at the start,” Hiley said. 

Poaching & Anthrax ruled out

Officials have been able to rule out poaching and anthrax poisoning as the cause of the elephant deaths. The acting director of the department of Wildlife and National Parks, Cyril Taolo, stated that the carcasses had been found intact and that the tusks were not missing.

“We do not suspect poaching since (the) animals were found with tusks,” Taolo said.

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Brazil government seeks funding for Amazon rainforest

According to recent reports, the Brazilian government has entered into talks with the German and Norwegian governments about donating funds to protect the Amazon rainforest. This is after only a year that President Jair Bolsonaro refused to accept international donations. 

“They can use this money as they see fit. Brazil doesn’t need it,” Bolsonaro said at the time. 

The Amazon Rainforest has been called the “Lungs of the Earth” due to the forest’s ability to absorb more than 20% of the world’s total carbon dioxide emissions. However, the forest has been slowly chipped away through “slash-and-burn” methods to clear land for livestock, agriculture, mining and logging. 

Last week, it was also announced by the Brazilian had banned fires in the Amazon for at least 120 days while they were in discussions to address the rising concerns for the destruction of the rainforest. 

Critics had criticised Bolsonaro stating that his pro-business policies had weakened the environmental protections and had allowed deforestation to take place. 

2019 Amazon wildfires

In August 2019, there was an international outcry after NASA was able to confirm that there was a drastic increase in these methods and smoke and fire from the forest could be seen in satellite images. The smoke had spread and covered the city of São Paulo which was thousands of kilometres from the Amazon. This corroborated the findings discovered by the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais, INPE) between June and July 2019. 

Near the end of August 2019, the INPE had reported there were more than 80 000 fires across Brazil. At least 40 000 of these fires were in Brazil’s Legal Amazon. This is an area that contains 60% of the Amazon. Fire were reported in the countries of Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru. It is estimated that more than 900 hectares of the forest was in the fires of 2019. 

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Helpful tips to reduce your electricity bill

For many households, winter is usually an expensive time of the year when it comes to electricity costs. Most households tend to spend more on electricity during winter, but there are many cost-free ways to save.

Monitoring monthly energy consumption is one-way customers can save significantly. Whether a credit metering or a prepaid meter is used, know the tariff and keep track of how much electricity is used. It is important to be mindful of seasonal differences too as most homes use more electricity in winter.

Water-wise tips to save electricity

The biggest potential cost saver is the geyser.

Turn it off and only turn it on an hour or two as required per day. Turn the geyser down to 60°C. Turning your geyser down from 70˚C to 60˚C will see a 5% reduction in your hot water electricity bill.

Use less hot water. Tackle excessive use with more efficient habits:

Do not let the hot water run unnecessarily. Use cold water to wash hands instead of hot water. Use a basin plug when washing.

Shower instead of bathing. You will save up to 80% in water and use five times less electricity than heating bathwater if you take a short shower.

Electricity saving tips around the house

  • Dry your laundry using sunshine where possible and try not to use the tumble dryer. For rainy days, use drying racks indoors.
  • Replace regular bulbs with energy-saving ones, such as LEDs, that use six times less electricity.
  • Seal gaps around windows and doors to keep heat from escaping and cold drafts from breezing in.
  • When you switch off appliances at the wall, you could save up to 6% more electricity. Pull out the charger from the wall too, this adds to your savings.

Use a stove plate that’s most similar to the size of your pot.

An electric stove uses up to 40% of its heat when the pot is too small, which means you waste electricity. If you own an insulation cooker, bring your food to a boil then place it in there. The retained heat slow-cooks, saving up to 60% on energy.

Use warm water bottles instead of electric blankets to help keep electricity costs down.

The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy and Climate Change, Councillor Phindile Maxiti said that reducing a household’s energy does not have to be an expensive endeavour. 

“Making smarter energy decisions not only saves money each month but also helps in our collective efforts to reduce the impact of climate change.”

It is important to note the City’s new financial year starts on 1 July 2020, with associated small but necessary price increases.

The City will resume residential meter-reading at a lower Covid-19 restriction level. When the actual billing resumes, customers could, however, see an increase in electricity usage, as more people were home during the National Lockdown period. This increase could reflect on municipal bills, but using electricity smarter could help households reduce the impact of higher bills too.

Consider switching to prepaid electricity, as prepaid metering will allow for easier monitoring on a month to month basis. With real-time awareness of electricity usage when using a prepaid meter, customers could see substantial drops in their energy consumption.  

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Music Technology Study Bursary

Who Can Apply

Bursaries are specifically for full-time students who major in Music Technology Study or Music Business Study. Applicants must be registered at a South African University The Bursaries are open to citizens of all the countries within SAMRO’s territory of operation: South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland

Closing Date

03 March annually



20 De Korte Street

Braamfontein, 2017


P O Box 31609



Contact Details

Tel: (011) 712 8417 / Email: naseema.yusuf@samro.org.za

Apply Online: samrofoundation

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Renewable energy gives new life to old mines

A UK-based start-up has raised seed capital to finance an innovative idea which hopes to use old mine shafts to generate clean electricity at half the cost of lithium-ion batteries. The new power source, dubbed “gravity energy” is being developed by Gravitricity, and mimics hydropower projects which have played a key role in helping to balance the electricity grid.

Gravitricity’s “virtual battery” design is created by hoisting and dropping 12,000-tonne weights – more than the weight of the Eiffel Tower – down disused mine shafts, according to Imperial College London.

New way to store energy

This system effectively stores energy by using electric winches to hoist the weights to the top of the shaft when there is plenty of renewable energy available, then dropping the weights hundreds of metres down vertical shafts to generate electricity when needed.

A full-scale project would drop 24 weights totalling 12,000 tonnes to a depth of 800 metres to produce enough electricity to power 63,000 homes for more than an hour. By controlling the winches Gravitricity said it could extend this period by allowing the weights to fall at a slower rate and release electricity over a longer period.

Ideally suited to network-constrained users and operators, distribution networks and major power users, the technology operates in the 1MW to 20 MW power range and enables existing grid infrastructure to go further in a renewable energy world. Electrical power is either absorbed or generated by raising or lowering the weight. The weight is guided by a system of tensioned guide wires to prevent it from swinging and damaging the shaft. 

International collaboration

The system was developed by Gravitricity’s founder, Peter Fraenkel, who also invented the world’s first full-scale tidal energy turbines. The tidal energy design was subsequently bought by the German industrial firm Siemens.

The company is currently in discussion with mine owners in the UK, South Africa, Poland, and the Czech Republic, where mine shafts can be more than 2,000 metres deep.

Gravitricity’s managing director, Charlie Blair, explained that the process could be done multiple times without any loss of performance.

“The beauty of this is that this can be done multiple times a day for many years, without any loss of performance. This makes it very competitive against other forms of energy storage – including lithium-ion batteries.”

The lead author of Imperial’s report, Oliver Schmidt, said Gravitricity’s model is the most price competitive energy storage option because it has a relatively low upfront cost and a potential lifespan of more than 25 years.

The report found that electricity released by a typical 10MW lithium-ion battery project would cost $367 per megawatt-hour over its lifetime compared with a cost of $171/MWh for electricity from a Gravitricity project.

“I don’t expect Gravitricity to displace all lithium batteries on grids, but it certainly looks like a compelling proposition.”

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