Upon learning of my intention to come to Cape Town for an internship in sustainability from my home in San Francisco, many of my friends and family were congratulatory and jealous, but quite concerned for my safety as well. “You’re heading to the most dangerous country in the world!” I was warned by more than a few people.
From second-hand reports and stories of people being robbed, shot at, killed, and taken advantage of, I understandably had a vigilant attitude upon my arrival. Upon my first inclusion in a round of “Make the Circle Bigga!” in middle of Long Street, all of these negative perceptions began to erode. While talking with a man and his (?) children at a braai in Nyanga, about Apartheid, forgiveness, and the hopeful future of South Africa, they eroded even further. (more…)
For the next installation in Alternative Energy Made Easy (has a nice ring to it – he he), I’ve decided to write about Solar Water Heating as it is very relevant in South Africa today and Eskom offers rebates on it too, which is great!
So, in a nutshell, Solar Water Heating is water heated by means of thermal energy. This is incredibly cost effective in sunny South Africa, especially when we all know how expensive geysers can be!
Solar thermal energy differs from solar electrical energy as there are no photovoltaic or PV cells (solar panels) to convert energy into electricity. Instead, thermal energy makes use of a solar collector to capture and store heat .
Audi A3 have caused a major controversy in the USA thanks to their recent “Green Police” ad that they premiered during the always anticipated Superbowl half time commercial break. Some think the ad is hilarious, some think it is completely offensive and others think it’s a really useful advertisement that succeeds in getting people to think twice when making everyday decisions that could affect the environment. Check out the Audi A3 ad below:
In case you are unable to view the ad, it shows ordinary American citizens being arrested by “green police” for numerous “green offences” such as using plastic shopping bags instead of paper bags, incorrectly disposing of batteries, not making use of orange peels for compost, using the incorrect non- LED lighting and finally arresting a Jacuzzi bather for setting his hot tub thermostat too high. At the end of the ad we see the green police stopping numerous cars for not being eco-friendly, until they see an Audi A3 2.0 clean diesel vehicle which they allow to speed off as it meets their strict requirements.
Personally, I think this new Audi A3 campaign is a remarkable success. It is amusing with its tongue-in-cheek portrayal of the “green police” who patrol the streets in their green shorts and hybrid scooter-like vehicles arresting people who break even the smallest of environmentally friendly laws. The advertisement highlights everyday situations and decisions that ordinary people face that could make an impact on our environment – be it what type of bag to use at the supermarket, or whether or not to buy an eco-friendly Audi A3 T clean Diesel vehicle.
On the other hand, many environmentalists in the States are claiming that the advert pokes fun at the mentality of people who do their part in looking after the planet. “Green police” do actually exist in the states and in other countries such as the UK, although not on the scale shown in the advertisement, and many claim that this Audi A3 ad is only discrediting any authority these people might have when it comes to enforcing environmental issues.
The American government is currently putting massive pressure on its public to be more environmentally friendly, much to the annoyance of many people, and this is just another reason why people think this ad is offensive. Is Audi A3 taking a cheap shot at the government and their environmental ambassadors?
How do you feel about the new Audi A3 ad? I think we all need to be able to laugh at ourselves, laugh at the situations we find ourselves in and simply laugh at what I think is an extremely humorous ad with a powerful message. I would love to hear your opinion in the comments box.
In an era obsessed with consumerism, where some governments show little to no concern about the state of the earth, and most of the population have blinkers on as to what is becoming more and more evident around them, it is heartwarming to be part of a movement that (hopefully) will become more prominent in time.
Being ‘green’ is not a statement, a fad or a ‘stage’ that will eventually pass; it’s a conscious decision to be a part of the solution to an escalating problem.