Mushroom photograph by kind permission of Anton Bernard



Plastic Free July
New Building at Helderberg Nature Reserve Made with 8000 EcoBricks
City of Cape Town launches urban agricultural programme to enhance food security

To diarise
Facebook and Reuters launch free online course for journalists
Climate Story Lab Africa: 8/9 July
World Population Day: 11 July
Play Your Part Awards 2021

Interesting reads
Zero waste for households: With the principles of reduce, reuse and recycle it’s possible
Pablo Neruda’s Love Letter to Earth’s Forests
Indigenous to Life

We are loving …
The Regenerative Tourism New Zealand Podcast
Lego prototypes bricks from recycled plastic bottles
Bolt Food, Pathway Cycles initiative puts new spin on food deliveries

Who are Mycelium?  

By Natalie Nolte

Looking at satellite weather maps always reminds me of how small we are. Giant swirls of cloud, the size of continents, move between oceans and land. In Cape Town we’ve experienced a shift from thick hot air, to freezing, howling winds and rain gushing from the sky (and in some cases through our roofs).

As I watch the giant swirls move, I feel the interconnectedness of everything, of how what happens on one side of the globe, ripples through and impacts the other. A metaphor for the paradox of how small we are, and yet how much impact we can have through our actions, that can affect things far and wide without our knowing.

Plastic Free July

Plastic Free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities. It was started by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz (the founder of the Plastic Free Foundation) and a small team in local government in Western Australia, and is now one of the most influential environmental campaigns in the world. Millions of people across the globe take part every year, with many committing to reducing plastic pollution far beyond the month of July.

WWF research says that plastics make up 75% of all marine litter. What this means is that eight million tonnes of plastic waste is deposited into our oceans every year that is equivalent to one dump-truck of plastic dumped into the oceans per minute. It is estimated that at this current rate, by 2050 there will be more plastic then fish in the ocean by weight.

Our dumping of plastics in the oceans has far-reaching consequences for all marine life due to entanglement, ingestion and the altering of ocean habitats. The United Nations in 2018 estimated that over 100 000 marine animals die from plastic pollution per annum.

WWF also notes that a recent paper in Science estimated that South Africa was the 11th worst offender in the world when it comes to releasing plastic waste into the sea. The reason for the scoring, coming in ahead of heavyweight polluters India and Brazil, was because of the unfortunate combination of a high per capita consumption of plastics (estimated at 2kg per person per day, almost as much as the USA) and the high proportion of ‘mismanaged’ waste not entering a formal disposal scheme (56%, compared to 11% in Brazil or 2% in the USA).

Will you be part of Plastic Free July by choosing to refuse single-use plastics? Start small and make a positive contribution to the environment.

Read a Q & A with Rebecca Prince-Ruiz

Download a Guide to Getting Started and then sign up for the challenge at
Enter this amazing competition with Twyg Magazine and the Beach Co-op

New Building at Helderberg Nature Reserve Made with 8000 EcoBricks

Peter McIntosh, founder of the Natural Building Collective, has been sharing the incredible progress of a building at the Helderberg Nature Reserve, which is being built using 8000 EcoBricks and 900 truck tyres. The progress is exciting to see! Peter and his team specialise in natural and sustainable building techniques, while using reclaimed and recycled items like colourful wine bottles, tyres and EcoBricks.

The centre at the Helderberg Nature Reserve is going to be an off-grid multi-purpose centre for the City of Cape Town and Cape Nature. The new building will be a beacon of what can be done using repurposed items such as unrecyclable plastics, which are placed in EcoBricks and tyres.

If you are not sure what an EcoBrick is? It is a 2lt plastic bottle that has been filled with cleaned plastics that are not able to be recycled. This helps keep these plastics out of water sources and landfill, where they take up space and cause pollution.

All photos by Peter McIntosh.

A pic to show the tyre wall which is now mostly closed with earth.

Internal eco-brick walls between tyres and rammed earth. 8 rooms, toilets, kitchen, entrance, offices and conference room.

8000 eco-bricks later the end is in sight.

Eco-bricks laid flat and upright. Laid flat they leave lots of room for artistic flourishes.

The centre will be fitted with a solar photovoltaic system to generate its own electricity, a system to recycle water, and a water filtration scheme that will be linked to the other existing infrastructure on the site. Built in the shape of a horseshoe, the centre faces the magnificent Helderberg Mountain with its indigenous fynbos. Learn more about the Natural Building Collective here.

City of Cape Town launches urban agricultural programme to enhance food security

The Mother City launched the Urban Agriculture programme at the Philippi Fresh Produce Market. The City has boosted this programme with a financial injection of R3 million to develop 30 food gardens in various areas across its 24 sub councils. This support programme was initiated through the City’s Mayoral Urban Renewal Programme to establish sustainable food gardens which will aid in addressing food insecurity in vulnerable areas. A total of 720 farmers are expected to participate in this project.

“The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in many disadvantaged communities struggling with food security,” said Grant Twigg, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Urban Management. The project will provide support to new and existing farmers using secured sites such as backyards, schools, open spaces around City buildings, churches, NGOs, clinics, libraries etc. New farmers will be provided with start-up kits including seeds, fertiliser/organic compost and equipment. Training on planting, tending and harvesting will be provided with the assistance of the City’s four Area Economic Development (AED) branches within the Urban Management Directorate. Thirty urban farming supervisors will provide administrative support and assist with the handing out of kits and related functions.

“The goal is to assist households to develop home gardens to supply most of the non-staple foods that a family needs every day of the year, including vegetables and fruits, beans, herbs and spices and even animals and fish,” Twigg said. “The intention is also to assist farmers with the establishment of cooperatives and facilitate the hosting of markets days and informal trading activities where a portion of harvested commodities are made available for supply, sale and distribution to the public.”

The Table Bay’s mascot, Oscar, has been immortalised in aluminium

Millions of coffee capsules are used around the world every day as coffee lovers, including guests at The Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town, get their caffeine fix. When Joanne Selby, the hotel’s general manager, learnt about sculpture artist Godfrey Dambuleni creating beautiful works made from used Nespresso capsules, she commissioned the artist to make a version of Oscar the Seal, The Table Bay’s mascot, using spent capsules from the hotel. The story of Oscar and his friendship with a lonely fisherman is the stuff of legends and is closely intertwined with the history of The Table Bay hotel.

Dambuleni runs a studio in Salt River employing a team of seven who help him prepare the raw materials, including recycled tins and sheet metal, bicycle chains and used aluminium coffee capsules with which he creates beautiful and distinctive artwork, including sculptures and trophy heads of African animals. “I have been using Nespresso capsules for almost five years, making elephants, rhinos, human beings and more,” said Dambuleni. “Oscar was the first seal I had ever made and took me about three weeks to make,” the artist said of the 1.5-metre-high statue, made from 3,000 capsules.

“The aluminium coffee capsules are a very useful material, being soft and malleable, they can be used in many ways. Before I can use them, my team cleans the coffee grinds out and flattens them to make small sheets of metal.” Dambuleni and his workers use the coffee grounds as fertiliser to grow vegetables, further extending the chain of the circular economy.

Members of the Mycelium team have been working closely with the ACTIVATE! Academy  to develop course content for their recently developed FREE e-learning platform. This is a blended learning environment where facilitators guide students on their journey – and are the mentors and cheerleaders. The digital classrooms enable learners to access courses from anywhere and engage with content while developing new ideas and perspectives. 
The ACTIVATE! Academy is a place where youth can become students – of their own lives – and uncover their potential and grow their capacity to build a better and richer future. The focus is on mindset (how one feels about oneself and the world), skills (practical things one can learn to add value to one’s life and career), knowledge (information that’s useful) and interconnectedness (relationships with each other that hold positive value for one’s life.).

Some of the great courses available include: Self Care, CV Writing, Turning Ideas into Reality, Leadership, Poetry, Talking Through Conflict, and the Soil for Life – Organic Home Food Gardening programme.

TO DIARISE: Facebook and Reuters launch free online course for journalists

The Facebook Journalism Project has announced their partnership with Reuters to launch a free online training programme for journalists – the Reuters Digital Journalism Course. The Project works with publishers around the world to strengthen the connection between journalists and the communities they serve. Its training, programs and partnerships work by investing in organisations that fund quality journalism, training newsrooms globally and partnering with publishers and nonprofits to combat misinformation, promote news literacy and improve journalism.

Reuters developed the free online course curriculum after its Digital News Report found more people were using social media to access news. It focuses on digital news gathering, verification and reporting as well as publishing on social media. It also covers wellness and resilience training while reporting. According to Facebook, the course is aimed at both seasoned journalists and industry newcomers. Upon completing the course, participants will receive a certificate. You can sign up for the course here

TO DIARISE: Climate Story Lab Africa – 8/9 July

The Climate Story Lab Africa will bring together storytellers, representatives of communities at the forefront of Climate change and the wider climate stakeholder community. This is a two-day event to discuss, spotlight and re-imagine a people-centred climate action plan catalyzed by storytelling and communication, through radical stakeholder collaboration. Find out more about the Climate Story Lab and how you can participate by clicking the link here:

TO DIARISE: World Population Day: 11 July

Never before had population grown so rapidly – in 1950, five years after the founding of the United Nations, world population was estimated at around 2.6 billion people. It reached 5 billion in 1987 and 6 billion in 1999. In October 2011, the global population was estimated to be 7 billion. A global movement “7 Billion Actions” was launched to mark this milestone. The world’s population is expected to increase by 2 billion people in the next 30 years, and could peak at nearly 11 billion at around 2100. World Population Day, which seeks to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues, was established by the United Nations Development Programme in 1989 to enhance awareness of population issues, including their relations to the environment and development.
Read more

TO DIARISE: Play Your Part Awards 2021

Brand South Africa’s flagship programme, Play Your Part, turns 10 this year. The nationwide social movement that was created to inspire, empower, and celebrate active citizenship is launching an initiative that seeks to recognise and acknowledge South Africans who are currently contributing to positive change. Brand South Africa is honoured to announce the launch of the Play Your Part Awards 2021, a nine-category award programme that is working to celebrate citizens who have demonstrated unparalleled care for their community, the environment, and the status of our socio-economic equity.

The awards aim to recognise and celebrate citizens who have made an impact in the following categories: youth development, poverty alleviation, women empowerment, nation pride, job creation, innovation, social cohesion, education and the environment. Spending a week, a month or a year pursuing a social developmental project or a life altering innovation simply has not been a viable option for many people during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Play Your Part Awards 2021 plan to commemorate any active South Africans who have applied their minds and talent to help foster a spirit of pride and optimism despite the global crisis. If you believe that this applies to you and your organisation or if you would like to nominate an individual or organisation, visit


Zero waste for households: With the principles of reduce, reuse and recycle it’s possible

There is no waste in nature. Waste is a human construct resulting from human activities fuelled by industrialisation. Ironically, the more we civilize and develop the more we create waste. More and more waste causes us to become a throwaway society, one where we just toss everything in the bin and then forget about it. But there is a big environmental price to be paid for our bad habits. Daily Maverick

Pablo Neruda’s Love Letter to Earth’s Forests

A century after Walt Whitman turned to trees as our wisest moral teachers and a generation before Wangari Maathai defended them with her life in a movement of moral courage that won her the Nobel Peace Prize, the Nobel-winning Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (1904–1973) — one of humanity’s furthest-seeing and lushest-minded artists — shone a gorgeous sidewise gleam at an answer by way of celebration rather than lamentation in a passage from his Memoirs.  At the 2020 Universe in Verse, celebrating fifty years of Earth Day, astronaut and poetry-lover Leland Melvin — one of a fraction of a fraction of a percentage of humans in the history of our species to have left this rare planet, to have seen its forests and its intricate living web of relationships from the cosmic perspective, and to have returned loving it all the more passionately — breathed new life into Neruda’s forgotten words with a soulful reading.
Brain Pickings

Indigenous to Life

Living regeneratively is living as a conscious expression of, and a participant in, the wider nested complexity in which the local, regional and global are dynamically co-present. These nested scales are united through fast and slow cycles of collapse of structures and patterns that no longer serve, transformative innovation, and temporary consolidation of new patterns into a dynamically and constantly transforming whole. As such, regeneration as a process, is intimately linked with the evolutionary and developmental impulse of life itself. 
Kosmos Journal


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

The Regenerative Tourism New Zealand Podcast

Under the shadow of the global pandemic and climate crisis, tourism is facing unprecedented uncertainty. But in this time of adaptation and resilience comes an extraordinary opportunity to reset and reimagine – returning to business as usual is no longer an option. Join Debbie Clarke and Josie Major each Wednesday as they set out on a journey to discover what reimagining tourism looks like in NZ. They unpack the nuances of sustainable, responsible, eco, community-led and conscious tourism, and move instead towards the mindset shift that is regenerative tourism.

Lego prototypes bricks from recycled plastic bottles

The Lego Group has unveiled a new prototype Lego brick made from recycled plastic. The prototype uses PET plastic from discarded bottles and is the first brick made from a recycled material to meet the company’s quality and safety requirements. It will however be some time before bricks made from a recycled material appear in Lego product boxes. The team will continue testing and developing the PET formulation and then assess whether to move to the pilot production phase. This next phase of testing is expected to take at least a year. Watch a video from DesignBoom

Bolt Food, Pathway Cycles initiative puts new spin on food deliveries

Bolt Food in partnership with Pathway Cycles in Cape Town, are looking to change the way food is delivered with a pilot project that will see couriers using electric bicycles as their mode of transport. The initiative aims to boost income for drivers, reduce the service’s impact on the environment, and changing the way that fleet owners work with delivery platforms. Pathway Cycles owns a fleet of environmentally friendly electric bicycles, each fitted with a Vizicube digital screen box that plays paid-for advertising. It then partners with couriers registered on the Bolt Food platform to deliver food items ordered via the service, giving advertisers mobile exposure, while providing a mode of transport with lower running costs. The pilot project is currently running in Greenpoint, where couriers collect their fully-charged electric bicycle every morning with an overnight charge that yields over 100km of riding.

Thank you for reading our monthly newsletter! Please share this with like-minded friends or join our conversations on Facebook and Instagram.
The world is facing an unprecedented crisis, significant environmental degradation, deepening social inequality and economic collapse. These interlinked crises are exacerbated by man-made climate change. We will only overcome these challenges and be able to bring about a sustainable and regenerative world by working together to rebuild our connections and relationships with natural systems, and with each other. Mycelium is a collaboration of multi-media content creators focused on showing what a sustainable and regenerative world could look like, and how to get there. We do this by raising awareness and showcasing examples, and by growing the number of practitioners able to support this mission.

Our values are based on those of the International Co-operative Alliance: self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. We also embrace the values of collaboration, honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others. Our value system acknowledges the need to combat the significant levels of inequality in South Africa, particularly those related to race and gender. We have chosen to work through the cooperative model because it offers economies of scale and scope, increased bargaining power, a space for learning, and the ability to offer value to our members and broader society.

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 for more information and visit