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  • Winter Can Wait!

    With summer now little more than a distant memory and the nights already starting to draw in, let us help you keep warm this Autumn by enjoying a comfortable green lifestyle and saving money at the same time. Our motto at Sustainable.co.za is "Buy once, buy well", and we have so many great products available that you will be coming back for more.

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  • Off-grid living is easier than you think.

    Many people aspire to becoming totally self-sufficient and living off-grid but feel that it is impossible due to the technology involved and the financial implications, but we are here to tell you that going off the grid is easier than you think, if you put the time in.

    Like anything desirable, achieving aspirations take time and dedication. Due to the fact that we have more than 15 years of experience, we have listed our top tips on how to go to make a smooth transition to going off-grid.

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  • Let us put the Spring back into your Step this Season

    Let us put a Spring in your step.

    Spring is, simply put, the reawakening from the slumber of Winter. Cold weather and dark days start turning around. Birds can be heard twittering harmoniously as the dawn breaks earlier and earlier. This is much to the enjoyment and pleasure of most.

    Renewal, Rejuvenation and Revitalisation

    At Sustainable.co.za we have decided to focus the start of the lighter, warmer months on the theme of the renewal, revitalisation and rejuvenation of your lifestyle and the life of the planet.

    Our team have spent many hours putting together fantastic, well packaged Spring Kits. From eco-friendly cleaning products to the perfect water-saving hampers and Braai Day packages and more. We will also be running the biggest competition we have had to date. Read on to find out more.

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  • Load Shedding - Don't be left in the dark

    Load Shedding - Don't be left in the dark again.

    Is Load Shedding back? Are we forever waiting for another run of stage 1, 2 and 3bs? Whenever there is a power cut, many of us wait with bated breath for the dreaded announcement. For some South Africans, load shedding has never stopped. After another scare a few weeks ago, we at Sustainable.co.za have decided to write a guide on how to prepare yourself for power cuts. From small cost effective solutions, to larger, long term applications, we have ensured that we have it all.

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  • Come out of the Cold this Winter

    Winter has arrived in Summer-loving South Africa, and that means the days are darker, the nights are colder and the electricity bills start creeping skyward.

    At Sustainable.co.za, we are all about improving lifestyles the green way, not only through energy efficiency but by saving you some cash for a rainy day adventure.

    Let there be Light

    The fact of the matter is that the nights last longer in the cold months, so lighting is imperative in keeping things cosy. Simply replace your lights with their LED counterparts and they can burn all night while still using a fraction of the power used by incandescent bulbs in the evenings.

    Some people are concerned by the quality of the light but fear not, we have a wide range of LED lights available in warm, natural and cool white, catering to all tastes. Our Solar Lights are also great for outdoor use, whether you crave the ambiance of outdoor lighting or have them installed for safety reasons, we have what you need.

     

     

    Snuggling up

    It is very easy to reach for the aircon or electric heater/ blanket when the days are cold but we have some alternative solutions that will warm your cockles.

    If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace, rather opt for a roaring fire over an electrical heater or aircon. Anything that generates heat uses a lot of power so the environment and your pocket will feel the expense. We have fantastic eco-logs and firelighters available. Our eco-logs burn longer and hotter and create minimal smoke and our firelighters don't smell at all because, you guessed it, zero parrafin! Best of all, our prices match standard bags of wood and firelighters that can be purchased at retail shops so it's a win-win kind of deal.

    To beat the cold in bed, pile up on the blankets, or put a hot water bottle in the bed for a few hours before you go to sleep at night.

     

    Keep things Steamy

    Geysers struggle in Winter and become less efficient due to the cold. Keep your geyser happy by wrapping it in a blanket and pipe insulation and greatly reduce heat loss. Gas geysers are also a great alternative to standard electrical geysers and can be great back-up for off-grid homes. For those that do not like wasting water, Instant Water Heaters are a great way to save on water by reducing the time it takes for the water to heat up. This also allows you to switch your geyser off and save on electricity. Why not install an Efergy Electricity Monitor so you can watch all your savings?

     

     

    Warm Winter Fare

    In many households across South Africa, the aunties start gearing up for Winter by hauling out their secret stew and curry recipes and spend all day cooking for the family. Keep aunty (and your bank manager) happy by investing in a gas stove. For those who enjoy slow cooking, the hot bag can keep the pots hot all day long without using a stitch of electricity. Simply bring the food to the boil and pop it in. It couldn't be simpler. On a personal note, my mom swears by the Eco Zoom. It takes much quicker to cook a rice on this fantastic little wood burner than it does on a conventional stove.

     

     

    Our Sustainable Promise

    Not only do we promise to keep you up to date with the latest and greatest products that will improve your lifestyle and the future of this planet, but we also always ensure that we have a little something extra to offer. This Winter, we will be running a Giveaway looking to Spring (as it ends at the end of Winter) and will be focusing on a Green Camping theme.  Read more about it here. Father's Day is also in June so we have put a spotlight on our green dads and will be running a giveaway on our social media pages so keep an eye out!

    "What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness." -John Steinbeck

  • Joining hands with Greenpeace

    Sustainable.co.za is proud to be collaborating with Greenpeace Africa to bring you news, call to actions and events on the good work Greenpeace is doing to effecting Climate and Energy change on our Planet. We will be featuring articles from members of the Greenpeace staff, how you can help with raising awareness and exclusive promotions on renewable energy products and information. Please continue reading below on the action Greenpeace is taking and how you can help.

    Let’s not beat about the bush. All environmental threats are serious, but climate change might just be the biggest threat mankind has ever faced, particularly in Africa. Africans aren’t responsible for climate change; the industrial nations are the worst offenders. But it is Africans who will pay the steepest price.

    The energy sector is the worst offender, creating almost 66 percent of all greenhouse gases. Yet in South Africa, where the government is faced with a major energy supply problem, their answer seems to be the building of more coal-fired energy stations, a 'solution' which only serves to worsen the problem.

    Greenpeace is locked in a desperate struggle to change people’s minds, especially the minds of the country’s leaders. We need to change the view that nuclear power is a cheap and effective solution to our energy problems -- it's not. We want to start a revolution in the thinking around energy, promoting the use of renewable energy sources, and saving the continent and creating jobs in the process.


    How to donate

    By becoming a member you'll join Greenpeace in our work to protect our precious planet and find the solutions we need to our most important environmental issues. You'll enable us to investigate, campaign, and lobby for a sustainable balance between humans and the environment. With your help we'll expose environmental abuses, raising awareness to protect our oceans, forests, and our climate – the very life support systems of our planet.

    Ready to support us?

    We have two options for you! We are working with the Given Gain platform for secure donations. Just click here and follow the steps. Or, if you live in South Africa, you can use our secure form to make your online donation directly.

    Want to talk more? Leave your details here and we'll call you back

    It's the support of caring people like you that gives us the courage and the resources to take on the goliaths in our society -- those who would otherwise recklessly plunder our oceans, tear down forests, and pollute our precious rivers. Greenpeace relies on donations from generous individuals to carry out our work. In order to remain independent, we do not accept funding from governments, corporations or political parties. We can't do it without your help. Please support us today.

    Click here to read more about Greenpeace 'Walking the Talk' and turning their new offices in Randburg carbon neutral.

  • Waterkloof Wine Estate: Sustainable Farming

    Waterkloof Wine Estate is tucked away in the hills of Somerset West in the Western Cape. Known for its beautiful wines and award winning restaurant, their lesser known feature is the extent of their sustainable farming program. Every aspect of production is included in their sustainability programme from their bio-dynamic vineyards to their ‘restaurant in the sky’, which also contributes to environmental protection.

    So how does a farm that uses absolutely no municipal water run? Apart from farming in strict accordance with moon rhythms and the lunar calendar, Waterkloof also focuses on the following areas:

    WATER

    Water: Waterkloof has it’s own spring that supplies the farm with water. The spring water is purified and used in the wine making process, for drinking, in the restaurant and for drip irrigation in the vineyards.

    ANIMALS

    Horses: Waterkloof uses numerous animals within its farming methods to help conserve the environment including Percheron horses. Well known for their “horse power”, each of the farm’s Percheron horses are able to cover up to 8 hectares (approximately 11 soccer fields) of the farm to plough, carry compost and containers of grapes. Six-strong horses plough, compost, spray and harvest the farm instead of tractors. The Percheron horses are also used to remove weeds from underneath the vines, keeping Waterkloof chemical free without damaging the root or soil systems.

    Sheep: The farm is home to a flock of Dorper sheep who are excellent weed controllers! Their droppings are also a rich source of nitrogen which feeds the soil. They are moved around every day and thus enrich the farm evenly.

    Cows: Waterkloof is home to numerous Jersey cattle. Their manure is used in biodynamic preparations.

    Birds: The farm’s chickens enjoy a life in chicken mobiles – moveable chicken houses – where they lay their organic eggs in the straw-filled nests. They are also free to run throughout the vines keeping the weevil population under control. Perches for birds of prey have also been installed in order to control the rodent population.

    Earthworms: Waterkloof created its own earthworm farm from old wine barrels and uses the earthworm tea in the vegetable and herb gardens.

    SYSTEMS

    Permaculture: Companion planting is employed in the Waterkloof vegetable garden. The plant beds are rotated every planting season. The veggies are used directly in the restaurant kitchen.

    Composting: The compost produced on the farm is vital in putting life back into the soil at Waterkloof. Bacterial and fungal orientated compost assists the vines with absorption of nutrients and helps with water retention in the soil.

    Waste: Even the organic waste products in the cellar and restaurant kitchen are composted.

    Clearing Foreign Plants: Approximately 45 hectares of Waterkloof have been cleared of alien invader species allowing indigenous plants to grown and thrive.

    Waterkloof took their eco efforts even further when they registered their conservation areas with Cape Nature as part of their voluntary Conservation Stewardship project. This allows the estate to measure the benefits associated with sustainable farming, energy and water ‘avoided costs’ and the impact of healthy soils, good water infiltration, enhanced productivity and pest control.

    In 2008 Waterkloof was one of ten estates to be awarded a BMI Champion status due to their proven track record of environmental responsibility.

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    WIN

    If you’d like to visit Waterkloof Wine Estate to experience the Biodynamic vineyard tour followed by a Healey cheese and Waterkloof Wine tasting, then either comment on the Waterkloof blog post picture, on the Sustainable.co.za Facebook page, about how sustainability interests you, or follow Sustainable.co.za on Twitter and retweet this post.

    Waterkloof Estate is located outside Somerset West on the M9 Sir Lowry’s Pass Village Road.

    Competition runs from Monday 30th of June to Wednesday 9th of July 2014. The winner will be announced by Friday the 11th of July.

  • Fracking film – Gasland – What can happen to our Karoo

    Sunday 20 March Kommetjie Hall 7pm

    The Kommetjie Transition village initiative will be screening Gasland in the Kommetjie Community Hall on Sunday 20 March from 7 pm. There will be a short facilitated discussion afterwards with information on possible next steps that concerned people could take as well some insights into South African geology.

    R5 or 5 talents at the door towards Transition events.

    The film is 1 hour and 44 minutes long and is a documentary made recently in the USA where Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) as a way of extracting natural gas has been going on for a while despite strong evidence of pollution of groundwater and air and attendant health problems. This is the technology that is being put forward as the way to access gas deposits in the Karoo – much to the anger of farmers and environmentalists.
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  • Make The Circle Bigger!

    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.
  • Become a part of the wind power generation.

    Many of us notice wind power as we pass by wind turbines spinning eagerly on hill tops or on farms. In the past, wind turbines could regularly be spotted in open rural areas, where there was enough space to incorporate wind power into individual’s livelihood. It is slowly becoming evident that wind power has broken out of its area restrictions and now, wind power products are being utilised in residential areas and contributing as a clean, renewable energy source.

    How does wind power work?

    When air moves quickly, causing wind, this movement is known as kinetic energy. Wind power mechanisms capture this kinetic energy and convert it into other forms of energy, in this case electricity, which can be used in the home. When looking at the functioning of a common wind power mechanism – wind turbines – the way in which it works is fairly simple. The force of the wind or kinetic energy moves the blades of the turbine which in turn spins a shaft. The shaft is connected to the main source, the generator and this mechanism converts wind power energy into electricity. Continue reading

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