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Combat Climate Change

The 2010 United Nations Climate Change Summit (16th Session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) is currently being held in Cáncun, Mexico. Such climate change negotiations are held annually to map out a way forward for addressing the issue of climate change. As one of the so-called Basic Countries (the others being China, India and Brazil), South Africa has an important role to play in the talks and has a delegation present, headed up by our Minister of Environmental Affairs.

According to the Department of Environmental Affairs, climate change is one of the most serious threats to sustainable development in South Africa as it impacts on the environment, human health, food security, economic activity and investment, natural resources and physical infrastructure. Says the Department, poorer, developing countries are the least equipped to deal with the effects of climate change.

The Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan in 1997. Its aim is to promote the ‘stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.’ Under the protocol, 37 countries commit themselves to a reduction in, amongst others, four greenhouse gases implicated in climate change – carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous dioxide and sulphur hexafluoride. The treaty came into force in 2005, and it will expire in 2012. At present, there is much discord amongst countries about the terms of the Protocol and many countries are unhappy about reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The United States, for example, refused to sign it. The 2009 Copenhagen Accord follows on from the Kyoto Protocol, but is non-binding. At this year’s summit in Cáncun, negotiations have been tough but, once again, a binding consensus has yet to be reached and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has expressed doubt that member states will reach an agreement. Previous meetings have been marked by a clash between the US and China over carbon emissions. In addition, Robert Orr, UN Under-Secretary for Planning, has expressed concern that the next UN report on climate change will show that climate change is accelerating.

How can I help prevent climate change?

The time to act is now – there’s no need to wait for politicians and governments. As global citizens, we can all play a part in lessening human impact on climate and reversing the effects of climate change:

  • Replace your regular light bulbs with energy-saving incandescent bulbs
  • Unplug all electronic equipment when not in use
  • Ensure your car is properly maintained and, when buying a new car, check out those with ‘green technology’, like the Toyota Prius and Honda Civic
  • Wash your laundry in cold or warm, instead of hot, water
  • Air-dry clothes, rather than use a dryer
  • Recycle plastic, glass and paper products
  • Buy locally grown, organic foods
  • Install a solar water geyser.

For further information, visit:

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

Greenpeace International

The Stop Global Warming Virtual March

Prevent Climate Change

The WorldWatch Institute

The Summit ends on 10 December. The 2011 United Nations Summit on Climate Change (17th Session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) will be held in Durban in December 2011.


Christmas spirit with a twist

Ok, so I’m sure you have given some thought as to what you going to be doing over Christmas, whether it be spending time with loved ones, jetting off to an exotic destination, or simply spending time at home relishing the few days of peace and quiet.

Now for me the one thing that says Christmas more than anything else, is a Christmas tree. I’m am a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to decorating my house over December, if I could just have the snow and eggnog, my life would be complete. But for some, the idea of flashing lights and sparkling decorations can have them cowering in a corner, sporting a glazed look and an ever so slight twitch down their right side. Not a good end-of-year look.

So as a compromise, I have come up with some alternative Christmas tree ideas, so that there is no excuse this year, you can still have the spirit without the glitz. It only happens once a year, so make the most of it.


Lights for Rights

World Aids Day is celebrated on 1st December across the globe. Facilitated by the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), World Aids Day aims to raise awareness of the pandemic, commemorate those who have passed on and celebrate victories, such as improved access to treatments and scientific breakthroughs. Around the world, campaigners will stage marches, events, conferences, faith-based services and other activities to mark the day and to highlight this year’s theme, Lights for Rights, and its central tenet – human rights.

Says UNAIDS, significant progress has been made in advancing access to HIV prevention, treatment, support and care over the past ten years, but focusing on human rights is crucial to further progress. The 2010 Global Update on the AIDS Epidemic by the UNAIDS shows that in 2009 the pace of new infections had declined by almost 20% compared to 1999, but still outpaces treatment success by two to one. There are still major gaps in the implementation of human rights commitments at national and regional levels according to the report. For many people living with HIV – and the people most affected by it – human rights can help to guarantee access to health services, work, education and community participation.

In Africa, 1000 babies a day are still infected with HIV/AIDS, mainly though mother-to-child transmission. In a mark of solidarity for and commitment to the Lights for Rights campaign, the City of Cape Town will be taking the lead in South Africa’s commemoration of World Aids Day this evening, when Table Mountain is bathed in red light.


Uniquely South African Christmas

Ok, so it’s December (nearly), which means Christmas is just around the corner. I have always loved this time of year, what with the the winding down at the office, the traffic on the roads diminishing ever so slightly, the mad rush of Christmas shopping and the excuse for being able to eat copious amounts of Christmas cake and (my utmost favourite) gammon, I mean life could not get any better than that.

So I thought it was about time to get the metallic snow covered ball rolling, and write our first festive post for the year……. Yay!!!!!

We at Phuthu headquarters have been wracking our brains all morning to try and discover, what makes South African Christmas’s unique to the rest of the world, do we in fact have any traditions native to our country or have we inherited most of them? A lot of our traditions are in fact inherited, but we have added our own spin on things to make them uniquely South African and the Phuthu ladies have also come up with a few new ones too to try out this year.

  • Everyone has turkey or gammon on Christmas day, but have you tried braaing them in a Weber? Fantastic, especially the gammon, you need to find one that has already been prepared i.e. boiled and salted (Woolies is always a good place to start), then it’s just a matter of completely cooking the gammon through in the weber and occasionally glazing it.
  • Christmas stockings, once again a common Christmas item, but being a dog lover, what I do is, each dog gets its own stocking with their names written on them and on Christmas day, Santa leaves them each a humongous ‘stuck’ of biltong
  • A age old tradition of the Christmas eve drink, eggnog for the Americans, champagne cocktails for the  continental Europeans, well we have Amarula on crushed ice here, yummmm.
  • Christmas or boxing day brunch on the skottle, that’s right, the day after the festivities there is nothing better than a good old fashioned ‘fry-up’, I’ll have my bacon extra crispy thanks.

Here are the brand new never-been-tried traditions, we thought we would just throw out there and see what happens.

  • Match box dreams: Get some good old fashioned Lion match boxes, one for each member of the family, then ask each person to write down their wishes for the year onto a piece of paper, fold them up and put them inside the match boxes, wrap the boxes with wrapping paper and place them on the Christmas tree as a tree decorations, only to be opened on Christmas morning and read out to the family.
  • Make your own Christmas crackers, instead of using the traditional paraphernalia, decorate the crackers with beaded embellishments, the gifts inside can also be uniquely chosen for an African feel.
  • Pack your left over meats, ‘tatties’ and desserts, make some padkos, take a drive out into town, and see if you can donate your meal to a passing person in need of some festive cheer, you can add some cigarettes or a bottle of wine to mix too.

If you have any local traditions that you would like to share with us, feel free to send them through, as we are always open to new activities and fun things to do over Christmas.

By: Kerry


Stop Rhino Poaching!

We’ve reported on it before but, unfortunately, rhino poaching continues at an alarming rate. Yesterday, two Vietnamese nationals were arrested in Beaufort West for being in possession of 15 rhino horns, and this past weekend, another rhino carcass was discovered – with its horn removed – at Amakhala Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape, bringing the total number of rhinos killed by poachers this year to 268. Add to that the gruesome discovery of 17 rhino carcasses – all with horns removed – in a ‘rhino dump’ bordering the Kruger National Park in Limpopo last Thursday, and there can be little doubt that we’re in the midst of a rhino poaching epidemic which threatens to wipe out our entire wild rhino population. South Africa is home to the world’s largest population of Black Rhino (approximately 4500 individuals) and Southern White Rhino (approximately 18 000 individuals). At the current rate, however, we’re losing approximately 24 individuals every month and scientists are concerned that the mortality rate now outweighs the natality rate, which means the population is in serious decline. While authorities have made some noteworthy rhino poaching arrests – including smashing a rhino poaching syndicate involving two veterinarians – more needs to be done to save the rhino. The Democratic Alliance has called on Environment Minister Edna Molewa to launch an investigation into the slaughter, and the SANDF has been deployed in some areas to help curb poaching. Civil society, too, can be more vociferous in its condemnation of the decimation of our national heritage, and throw its weight behind rhino conservation.

For further information on what you can do to stop rhino poaching, see the following rhino conservation and action groups:

To report rhino poaching, trade in rhino horn, or vets, pilots and hunters involved in rhino poaching, call the Endangered Wildlife Trust Rhino Hotline: 082 404 2128


This is War

Thirty Seconds to Mars is in South Africa for two exciting performances in Johannesburg and Cape Town, don’t worry about us Durbanites we have, wait for it…………….The Beach boys…………AND!……………Vanilla Ice……………to keep us entertained, so there!

Anyway, yes Jared Leto and the boys will be giving it all on stage in Johannesburg and Cape Town this weekend………………………… I will be going to the dam on Saturday as I live in Durban.

Their latest release ‘This is War’ has been called their strongest and most accomplished work to date spending 12 weeks on the 5FM Top 40. For this they enlisted two of the most influential producers in the world: Flood (U2, Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, Smashing Pumpkins) and Steve Lillywhite (U2, Rolling Stone, Peter Gabriel) who gave the band freedom and confidence to explore different sound, textures and ideas. The album represents the result of an 18 month creative battle, fought ferociously, but privately inside a studio in the Hollywood Hills. The result: a triumphant sound that builds on the vision laid out in their previous releases.

Apparently the Johannesburg concert is sold out, but there is still availability in Cape Town so get down there and book your tickets now!

To all those lucky individuals, we hope you have a fantastic evening, take a helmet with as I believe the concerts can get quite rowdy, but I wouldn’t know would I?

By: Kerry