IN THIS EDITION

Welcome

News
Cape Town launches R1.2bn Paardevlei solar PV and battery storage project
Putting health at the heart of climate action
A first for Africa as ecotraining receives (CHE), Council of Higher Education accreditation
Google reveals top sustainability-related trends in SA
Welcome new Mycelium members

To diarise
The Illegal Succulent Trade
The Gathering: Earth Edition
The Plant Powered Show
Eco-Logic Awards Call for Entries
African Tree Essences Courses at Platbos for 2023

Film Festivals to Enter
Festival International Nature Namur, Belgium
ECOador Festival Internacional de Cine, Ecuador
Arica Nativa, Chile
Prague Science Film Fest, Czech Republic

Interesting reads
How to succeed in making green content for the eco-conscious generation
Fighting the filth – meet the people leading the charge against river pollution in South Africa
Long Before Trees Overtook the Land, Earth Was Covered by Giant Mushrooms
ChatGPT ‘drinks’ a bottle of fresh water for every 20 to 50 questions we ask

 
We are loving …
The tallest building made of hemp!
Artist Tightly Rolls Newspaper to Craft Incredibly Detailed Animal Sculptures

Who are Mycelium?


WELCOME
By Jacqueline van Meygaarden

As we merge into a new season in Cape Town, (as I’m sure is happening in other parts of the world too) I feel the energy shift. More quiet autumn days, less light, a bite in the air…. When the seasons change like this, it makes me think of the writing of Joanna Macy when she speaks of ‘the Great Turning.’ A time of change. She describes this as a societal shift away from an industrial growth society to a more sustainable society which is life-sustaining and committed the recovery of our world. Macy’s work draws from deep ecology, spiritual traditions such as Buddhism and living systems theory and her work acts as a compass or map that gives us the courage in the face of great change and breakdown that we are currently experiencing in the world. I find her writing very helpful, when I feel a bit lost in the magnitude of what is to come.

Some great inspiring stories our Mycelium newsletter this month, especially the renewable energy project launched in Cape Town to support with our energy crisis in South Africa. Stephen Davis, a technical advisor at C40 Cities, one of the partners involved with the project says, “It’s one thing having ideas, but another to bring them to fruition. This is a well-conceived idea by the city that is being supported by the CFF and C40 to address energy security in an era of load shedding.

As we steadily grow as a Mycelium network we are always excited to introduce some of our latest members. If you are inspired by our work and network and are doing regenerative work which aligns with our ethos and vision to bring about collaborative and transformative change, then get in touch to join the network.

Have a beautiful month!


NEWS

Cape Town launches R1.2bn Paardevlei solar PV and battery storage project

Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis on Monday, 17 April, announced the launch of the city’s R1.2bn Paardevlei ground-mounted solar PV and battery storage project just outside Somerset West. The project has been awarded support from the C40 Cities Finance Facility (CFF), which offers cities technical and financial assistance in support of a green and just transition. The CFF initiative is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Government of the United Kingdom and the Agence Française de Development (AFD), and is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH together with the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.

The project will yield up to 60MW of renewable energy – enough to protect against one stage load shedding. The feasibility study for the Paardevlei plant will be complete by the end of 2023, with full commissioning of the plant estimated by August 2026. Hill-Lewis recently tabled the city’s Building Hope Budget for 23/24, with a R2.3bn end load shedding plan over three years, inclusive of funding towards the Paardevlei solar PV plant.



Putting health at the heart of climate action

The time for action when it comes to mitigating the impact of climate change on health is now – not five years from now, not 10 years from now – now. With rising temperatures, more than half of the infectious diseases are increasing globally and over 20 million people are being displaced every year due to the rising heat, floods and drought.

WHO is projecting that annually 250,000 people are dying as a result of climate change and in total, $3bn in losses are incurred every year because of that. Unless health systems are made to be strong, sustainable and resilient we will face serious challenges in future. This is the take-home message of Shyam Bishen, head of health and healthcare at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Geneva. He was speaking at a WEF panel discussion entitled Putting Health at the Heart of Climate Action. Among the organisations represented were Seed Global Health, Wellcome Trust, United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) and Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

One of the central themes brought up at the discussion was the need for public-private partnerships to work together to help the poor and destitute by creating access to better preventative healthcare across the globe. The primary step to achieving this goal is in the healthcare sector accounting for its carbon footprint and embarking on a journey of decarbonisation. Statistics show that 5% of global emissions are from the health sector and 45% of this total is derived from the supply and delivery of healthcare services and medical consumables to patients.

“The average person in their lifetime will create around 10 to 15 tonnes of carbon in their adult life, Bishen said. “If they go on to be diabetic, they’ll create between 30 and 45 tonnes of carbon.” This, he said, is tallied according to the transport of related medicines and caregivers to hospitals. “Preventative health that is helping people not make the journey from pre-diabetic to diabetic for example, can have a simply mind-boggling impact positively, not only on them, but on the climate. This is just one example of how non-communicable diseases can drive climate change. “But generally when we think of climate change we think of it in reverse: how it is driving the increase of non-communicable diseases.”

It was important, the WEF panel said, for healthcare workers to be trained in, and to understand, how interlinked climate change and healthcare are. And whether the focus is on preventative healthcare when it comes to mitigating the impact of climate change on the healthcare industry, or making provision to treat non-communicable diseases after the fact, the time for action is now.



A first for Africa as Ecotraining receives Council of Higher Education accreditation

 
EcoTraining, the leader in Africa’s safari and wildlife training, has made history by becoming the continent’s first Guide Training School to receive formal accreditation from the Council for Higher Education (CHE) in South Africa. This accreditation will allow students to obtain a university-level qualification from EcoTraining and it is a testament to the guiding organisation’s commitment to providing high-quality and relevant education in the field of conservation and nature guiding.

“We are incredibly proud to be the first-ever guide training company to receive formal higher education accreditation in Africa. A significant step in our journey of developing world-class guides for the ecotourism industry. Our students can now apply for study loans, international study visas, and walk away with a university-level qualification,” said Alex van den Heever, EcoTraining director.

For 30 years, EcoTraining has focused on creating programmes that are designed to provide students with the skills and knowledge they need to pursue successful careers in conservation, nature guiding, and related fields.

“This accreditation is a stamp of legitimacy for EcoTraining. It helps to establish trust with students, parents, and employers, and will no doubt help our reputation as a leading wildlife training institute. Thank you to our students, management, and partners for their ongoing support – the application process took us six years to complete, and finally we are here!”, said van den Heever.



Google reveals top sustainability-related trends in SA

In celebration of Earth Day, popular search engine Google has released data highlighting the top sustainability-related trends in South Africa. Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 to raise awareness about environmental issues. Data shared reveals South Africans’ growing interest in environmental issues as they search for answers to questions and learn more about the pressing concerns of our planet.

South Africans have also shown interest in knowing more about environmental terms and concepts, such as global warming and climate change. Both of these issues have a significant impact on South Africa’s environment, economy and society. The most frequently asked questions on Google in South Africa include:

1. What is global warming?
2. What is climate change?
3. What causes global warming?
4. What are the effects of global warming?
5. How to prevent global warming?

Google’s data also highlights the number one trending topic in South Africa, showcasing a growing interest in these areas. Flooding and heatwaves, such as the severe heatwave experienced in January 2023, are two extreme weather events that are becoming more frequent and intense due to climate change. The top trending topics are:

1. Flood
2. Heatwave
3. Solar lamp
4. Solar power
5. Environmental, social, and corporate governance
6. Wildfire
7. Wind turbine
8. Wind power
9. Hydropower
10. Carbon footprint

The most searched topics showcase a range of environmental subjects that South Africans are eager to explore:

1. Solar energy
2. Solar power
3. Flood
4. Climate
5. Recycling

6. Climate change
7. Used goods
8. Veganism
9. Sustainability
10. Pollution

Google spokesperson Siya Madikane reflected emphasised the importance of individual and collective action on environmental issues, saying: “Climate change is one of humanity’s most urgent challenges, and Earth Month is an opportunity for all of us to consider how we can make a difference. By providing accessible information on environmental topics, we hope to empower South Africans to take action for a more sustainable future. It’s not just about what Google does; it’s about how we can all work together to protect our planet.”
 


Welcome new Mycelium members

We are a network of changemakers, regenerators and multimedia creatives working on different aspects and at different scales but all with the same passion to bring about a better world. A critical element necessary for large-scale transformation of our social and economic systems is the ongoing co-creation and sharing of knowledge.We are delighted to have new members join the Mycelium Network!

SIYABONGA MNGOMA
Communications Officer

Speciality Area: Agroecology

Experience: Professional communications manager having worked with large and small organisations to build brands, engage stakeholders and institute effective communication mechanisms.

Skills: Strategic communications function, including social media and activism.

I joined the network to share knowledge and collaborate in the regenerative sector. I add value by offering food systems impact solutions, and in activism for change.

CLAIRE ROUSELL

llustrator, Researcher, Writer and Project Manager

Speciality Areas: Graphic harvesting, handdrawn illustration and videos, writing, book making, craftivism, organising/project management, events,

Experience: Has worked in a variety of community and organisational structures and in food systems, urban and small scale agriculture.

Skills: Has rich and dense networks. The ability to creatively and strategically join dots between issues, systems and networks. A good understanding of the power of visual and creative tools to open up possibilities for new ways of thinking about the challenges we face.

I believe that hand drawn illustration, animation and graphic harvesting are powerful educational tools that help us to visualise the challenges and opportunities we face in organisations and social movements.



DIARISE

The Illegal Succulent Trade

The illegal trading of plants for ornamental purposes has become a world-wide problem. Since March 2019, South Africa has experienced a significant increase in incidences of illegal harvesting of succulents. As of December 2022 over 414 000 illegally harvested plants have been confiscated. If the rate of poaching continues, it’s very likely that further species will become extinct in the wild.

For #EarthDay, BotSoc, Wilderness Foundation Africa, South African National Biodiversity Institute and Conservation South Africa are piloting emergency #conservation interventions for succulent species – in a project funded by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Save Our Species and co-funded by the European Union. Here’s information on what the partnership has done to date.


The Gathering: Earth Edition

The Daily Maverick Events team is firing on all cylinders in the run-up to The Gathering: Earth Edition, the leader in future-shaping conversations. Discussions with leading scientists, economists, business leaders, and policymakers will unpack solutions to the burgeoning energy, environmental and economic crisis facing South Africa. Topics to be discussed at the event include:

  • South Africa’s Burning Energy Problem: Reliable renewables, distribution deliverables, encouraging conservation and a nimble move to nuclear. We discuss the next steps and how we move forward.
  •  Expectations of Youth: Ensuring a sustainable future for our future. What those who will face the harshest parts of this crisis have to say and why we should listen.
  •  Artificial Intelligence: Threats and solutions to the climate crisis: Nano technologies, longer life spans, optimising energy systems and computing power. Will AI serve as a positive tool or have detrimental effects on our future?
  •  Corruption and Ecosystem Collapse: How greed, corruption and incompetence is killing our biomes from the Kruger to Antarctica.
  •  The Business of Climate: ESG thinking should dominate the future strategies of business globally. Our experts talk about forecasting trends and potential economy crushers.
  •  The Sixth Extinction: Also known as the Anthropocene Conclusion. The greatest real life threats we are facing today, so what should we know and what should we could do?

 Date: Friday, 26 May 2023
Time: 9am-6pm
Venue: Cape Town International Convention Centre
Tickets: R500*
Book here *Maverick Insiders get a 50% discount on all live event tickets.


The Plant Powered Show

The Plant Powered Show takes place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) from Friday, May 26 to Sunday May 28, welcoming vegans and vegetarians as well as flexitarians, reducetarians, sports enthusiasts, and those looking for healthier and more ethical lifestyle choices for themselves and their families.The show’s attendees will also include those invested in plant-based products or lifestyles looking to find new markets and opportunities and meet new and emerging producers.

Location: Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town
Friday, May 26, 2023, from 10:00 to 18:00
Saturday, May 27, 2023, from 10:00 to 18:00
Sunday, May 28, 2023, from 10:00 to 17:00

Tickets are on sale at Quicket.  *Two children under the age of 15 are free when accompanied by one paying adult.


Eco-Logic Awards Call for Entries

The Eco-Logic Awards is inviting South African individuals, organisations, projects, products and services that are beneficial for people and the planet to enter its 2023 edition. There is no cost to enter the Eco-Logic Awards and all entries will be judged by 12 independent, highly-respected, environmentally-conscious executives from a diverse range of occupations and professions.
The categories are:
Climate Change
Nature Conservation
Water Conservation
Circular Economy and Waste innovation
Eco-Fashion and Lifestyle
Eco-Health and Wellness
Eco-Hospitality and Tourism
Eco-Innovation
Eco-Friendly Products
Eco-Communities and Schools
Eco-Angel
Eco-Warrior
Entries close on 31 July 2023. Enter now at
www.eco-logicawards.com
 


African Tree Essences Courses at Platbos for 2023

Meeting the Teacher Trees of Platbos: The Odyssey Part One ~
This is an experiential course which offers participants a unique opportunity to immerse themselves within the healing energy of this ancient forest. There are fourteen different tree types that make-up Platbos. Like branches spiraling up the Tree of Life, the African Tree Essences offer a framework of supportive energy to illuminate life’s pathways. While each Platbos tree species holds its own set of qualities, they also share correspondences with the chakra system. Over the course of this 2 day workshop, you will meet with and experience the energy of 7 of the forest’s Teacher Trees. This course, The Odyssey Part One, encapsulates Milkwood (Root), Rock Alder (Sacral), Wild Peach (Solar Plexus), Spike Thorn (Heart), Wild Olive (Throat), Fine / Pock Ironwood (3rd Eye) and the White Stinkwood (Crown). The focus of this course is to experience the healing energy of the trees first hand and so foster a deeper, more personal relationship with the Platbos Tree Essences.

Course Details:
The Odyssey Part One: 9am to 5pm on 30th & 31st August 2023
Place: Platbos Forest Reserve, Overstrand, Western Cape, South Africa.
Facilitator: Melissa Saayman Krige, producer of the African Tree Essences and co-custodian of Platbos.
Cost: R2500.00 (includes notes, 7 tree essences and tea break refreshments.)

The course fee excludes accommodation & meals. Subject to availability, participants may book accommodation independently at Platbos. Alternatively, there is a wide choice of other options in the area. Full payment of R2500.00 reserves a place on this course. Course is limited to 7 participants. The Forest is our ‘classroom’: Please come prepared for all weather conditions as we will spend all of the course beneath the forest canopy. Platbos is a natural and wild forest environment . Medium physical fitness is required to attend the course: The forest terrain is gentle but we will walk much of the 50-hectare Reserve visiting the Trees. As time is limited, participants are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the workings of vibrational / flower essences ahead of time.

A second course, The Odyssey Part Two, will focus on what Melissa calls the Harmonic Chakra Trees: White Pear (Tree of Joy), Black Bark (Tree of Self Knowledge), Hard Pear (Tree of Forgiveness), Sea Guarrie (Tree of Inspiration), Saffron Wood (Tree of Comfort), Cherry Wood (Tree of Serenity) and the Myrsine Mystery (Tree of Grace). The date for this second course is 25th & 26th October 2023. It is not a requirement to have completed Odyssey One beforehand and both courses will be offered again in 2024. Please email info@platbos.co.za to book your place or for additional information. See also www.africantreeessences.co.za and www.platbos.co.za
 


FILM FESTIVALS TO ENTER

Festival International Nature Namur, Belgium

Born in 1995, the Festival International Nature Namur is now the meeting place for the lovers of nature and beautiful images, bringing together each year more than 35.000 spectators and visitors of all backgrounds! With it’s four international competitions – photos, amateur films, professional films and ultra-short films – and it’s many outdoor activities, it is now placed among the 5 biggest European events of the kind, bringing together each year photographers and filmmakers from around the world. The Festival is mostly related to Nature and Wildlife. We also accept films related to Nature wildlife protection.

Deadline: May 31, 2023  https://www.festivalnaturenamur.be/
 


ECOador Festival Internacional de Cine, Ecuador

This annual event, which has been held for seven consecutive years, is the first and only environmental film festival held in Ecuador. Each year the best and most recent international and national documentaries are shown as part of the program. All screenings are accompanied by discussions to deepen the understanding of the different environmental issues addressed in each documentary; with the information and experience of teachers, activists, filmmakers and other guests.

Deadline: May 31, 2023  https://www.ecoador.org/
 


Arica Nativa, Chile
 
Arica Nativa is a Heritage Communication and Sustainable Development film festival. Its purpose is to make children, youth and adults to fall in love with the natural and cultural treasures that remain heroically in the rural and indigenous areas of the planet. Please note the Afrika category (Short and futures Films) for films that promote and disseminate the cultural richness and issues of the African diaspora in the world.

Deadline: June 30, 2023  https://www.aricanativa.cl/


Prague Science Film Fest, Czech Republic
 
Prague Science Film Fest was established in 2020 due to the initiative of students and the management of the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague as a space for educating students and the public through documentary films from around the world. The programming aims to connect film/media professionals, students and the public to raise awareness about important topics concerning human’s living within nature.

Earlybird Deadline: June 30, 2023  https://psff.cz/
 


INTERESTING READS

How to succeed in making green content for the eco-conscious generation

From weather to veganism to upcycling, kidcos are upgrading their environmentally themed content with more depth (and even optimism) to appeal to an increasingly global kid interest in climate change and sustainability. Eco-themed content is something more and more producers seem keen to provide, and it’s a good fit for public broadcasting’s socially focused mandates. But do kids themselves want it? Evidence from recent industry research says yes. 
Kidscreen


Fighting the filth – meet the people leading the charge against river pollution in South Africa

South Africa’s rivers are filled with sewage, plastic and industrial pollution. A recent webinar hosted by WaterCAN highlighted some of the crucial work being done by organisations to safeguard South Africa’s waterways. The webinar was facilitated by Dr Ferrial Adam, executive manager of WaterCAN, and the speakers included Fritz Bekker of Gariep Watch and Paul Maluleke of Alex Water Warriors. Daily Maverick
 


Long Before Trees Overtook the Land, Earth Was Covered by Giant Mushrooms

From around 420 million to 350 million years ago, when land plants were still the relatively new kids on the evolutionary block and “the tallest trees stood just a few feet high,” giant spires of life poked from the Earth. “The ancient organism boasted trunks up to 24 feet (8 meters) high and as wide as three feet (one meter),” said National Geographic in 2007. With the help of a fossil dug up in Saudi Arabia, scientists finally figured out what the giant creature was: a fungus. 
Smithsonian
 


ChatGPT ‘drinks’ a bottle of fresh water for every 20 to 50 questions we ask

OpenAI’s AI chatbot has soared in popularity thanks to its uncanny ability to accurately answer our questions. But despite billions of users around the world, there’s still very little research on what environmental impact AI like this is having. A new study from researchers at the University of Colorado Riverside and the University of Texas Arlington in the US gives some insight into its water consumption. The paper has not yet been peer-reviewed and has been shared ahead of its publication. Its authors say that the “water footprint” of these AI models has so far “remained under the radar”.  
Euronews


WE ARE LOVING…
 
… these initiatives which support our aim of living in a more sustainable world.

The tallest building made of hemp!

Cape Town is home to the world’s tallest building made of hemp! The new hotel has been built using hempcrete blocks and other hemp-related building materials. The original five-storey building was bought by Hemporium’s co-founder Duncan Parker in 2016, and the exciting project has been undertaken by hemp producer Hemporium in partnership with Afrimat Hemp and Wolf + Wolf Architects. Once complete, it will house Hemporium’s flagship store and the Hemp Hotel. 
Read more.


Artist Tightly Rolls Newspaper to Craft Incredibly Detailed Animal Sculptures

Using nothing but everyday newspaper, expert paper artist Chie Hitotsuyama crafts realistic, exquisitely detailed sculptures of the animal kingdom. To create each creature, Hitotsuyama skillfully binds rolled and twisted pieces of wet newspaper to each other. By varying the thickness and contours of the paper, she is able to precisely produce any figure she desires—from an animated little monkey to a resting rhinoceros. She even utilizes the colored print on newspapers to create impressive gradations. The process is completed entirely by hand, and requires a tremendous amount of paper prowess. 
Modern Met


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WHO ARE MYCELIUM?

Mycelium Media Colab is a co-operative of multimedia creatives and regenerators working together towards a healthy and sustainable world. We’re a collaborative enterprise with a strong focus on communication for change, producing compelling content and experiences that shift people’s mindsets.

We collaborate with academics, activists, dreamers, big thinkers, movers & shakers, and those who want to grow a regenerative world. Bringing together the talents, skills, resources and energy of multimedia creatives, we offer a networking, support and income-generation platform for members and affiliates. We develop and implement our own initiatives, and provide a range of professional services.

Membership to the Mycelium Media Colab is open to multimedia storytellers, artists and regenerators that share our vision collaborative and transformative change. It offers a networking and support space for members to share skills and inspiration, and creatively cross-pollinate, as well as a platform and organisational structure for projects that require a team.  Ownership of projects is shared between the creators and the co-operative. Contact info@myceliumcolab.com for more information and visit https://myceliumcolab.com/