Image from Mushrooms pf Southern Africa



SA advocates for legally binding instrument on plastic pollution
Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality admits water is contaminated
City of Cape Town launches youth-led environmental awareness initiative
Former Absa chief executive to head Presidential Climate Finance Task Team
Mycelium Media Collaborating

To diarise
Wavescape Surf & Ocean Festival
World Wildlife Day: 3 March 2022
Entries open for SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards
WESSA calls on young ‘reporters’ to enter national writing comp
Sustainability Summit Africa to spotlight procurement best practices

Interesting reads
How a humble mushroom could save forests and fight climate change
Western Cape wetland gets new environmental protection
Cape Flats plant thought to be extinct returns to Cape Town
Pharmaceuticals in rivers threaten world health

We are loving …
Innovative 100% recyclable wheelie bin wheel reduces rubber waste
Changing Climate Change Hackathon
Ecobricks for Ulwazi Educare

Who are Mycelium?

WELCOME by Kia Johnson

Our past, present and future are connected through so many things but did you know that our bones can tell a story no one else can. We are often so preoccupied with what is happening on top of the earth that we forget to delve a little deeper to discover what is underneath. It only takes one day of heading out to the beach, exploring while walking your favourite hiking trail or even scratching around in your own backyard to realise there is a world full of wonderful mystery to be found.A few years ago I had a conversation with someone who said to me that there will come a day when we will look at the earth exploring the bones underneath only to discover we no longer have wildlife but only human, dog and cat bones. It’s a moment I won’t soon forget and something that has stayed with me till this day. Life has a way of changing one’s perspective and when you find yourself in a space where you have the responsibility of being caregiver to two little souls you realise just how much you adore the time you spend with them. Yes my kids are a force to be reckoned with but they have this ability to open up my eyes to things I have either missed or forgotten. These are the moments that give me a second to just take a step back and give thanks.Our children are now living in a time where masks are mandatory and speaking to each other from a distance has become commonplace. The remaining effects of COVID are there but we are slowly climbing out of the shell we have been encased in for so long and we are all aspiring to find new and better days. Thankfully children are resilient and hopefully this will be something that they will overcome in the best way possible.

Now imagine how hard it was for me to hear my children’s plea for a dog and the first thing that came to my mind is ‘fossil dog bones.’ If I could insert emoji’s here it would be the one with the hand over the woman’s face and the one where you roll your eyes! Possibly even the loud laughing one with the tears down the side. But just imagine this for a second as if it was you being asked this question. Two little faces staring at you with the cutest faces, there is now way I could not give in! And now we have the most gorgeous German Shepherd who keeps me on my toes everyday but helps me to see another side of life. Taking care of someone or something other than yourself is liberating and when I look into this dog’s eyes I see so much more than just her bones. I see her soul and her unconditional love which she never hesitates to show us. You simply can’t help but be spellbound by her magic. But mostly seeing the joy in my children is the most wonderful feeling you as a Mother will experience.

And this is what Mother Nature tries to show us each day. She is our nurturer, she is our provider and she is our caregiver. We all have that bounty of goodness inside ourselves and we have all experienced, on some level, the beauty she has to offer.

As a human collective we have been through a lot and we have needed to learn lessons that the past years have shown. Be patient, understanding and humble in your approach to people and life because you simply don’t know what their story is, you don’t know their struggle. Live in abundance through love and light and the rest will automatically follow.

Kia x


SA advocates for legally binding instrument on plastic pollution

South Africa will support proposals to address the issue of marine litter and plastic pollution at the upcoming 5th session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA 5.2). “South Africa supports the proposal to mandate the Executive Director of UNEP to establish an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) under UNEA to negotiate an internationally legally binding instrument on plastic pollution given the environmental challenges faced as a consequence of plastic pollution,” Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Barbara Creecy said on Thursday.

The Minister hosted a virtual stakeholder engagement ahead of the UNEA 5.2 taking place in Nairobi, Kenya, from 28 February – 2 March 2022. The high-level segment of UNEA 5.2 will take place on 2 March 2022 under the overarching theme “Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”.

South Africa will also request the inclusion of the recognition of the special needs and circumstances of Africa and that any potential internationally legally binding global agreement on plastics pollution must include the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in light of national circumstances. “We will also stress the need for new, additional and predictable finance, including technology transfer, develop and deployment as well as capacity building to support developing countries, in particular Africa for its implementation,” the Minister said.

The draft resolution on the internationally legally binding instrument on plastic pollution constitutes a starting point for negotiations, contains necessary elements to be discussed under the negotiations at UNEA 5.2 to establish the mandate on a global plastics agreement for the INC.

The Minister said the current proposal goes beyond addressing only marine plastic litter. “About 80% of plastics ending up in the seas come from land-based sources, meaning that plastic pollution is not an isolated problem only relevant for our oceans. “The proponents indicting that addressing a life cycle approach should therefore take into account plastics ending up in all compartments of the environment and the resolution addresses land-based sources as well as sea-based sources; focusing on both upstream and downstream activities and measures,” the Minister said.

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality admits water is contaminated

Following weeks of complaints by residents about the quality of tap water, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality this week conceded that the water may in fact be contaminated. In an urgent statement this week, the City urged residents to boil their water before consumption.

The city said that a recent test showed deterioration in the water quality. “The current drought facing the city, with the resultant low dam levels and fluctuating reservoir levels, is one of the major contributing factors,” the city said. It stated that tests revealed that certain microbiological limits had been exceeded. The Municipality urges consumers to boil their water before drinking or cooking, until further notice,” the City said in the statement on Monday. For weeks, the City’s message to residents has been that the water was safe to drink despite being discoloured.

In a statement on 25 January, the city said: “We are aware of numerous reports of discoloured water across the metro. Mineral deposits build up inside water infrastructure over time … The quality of potable water supply is regularly monitored, and all tap water has been disinfected to ensure that it is safe to drink. Should your water discoloration be of concern, we suggest you boil it for drinking purposes.”

Originally published on GroundUp.

City of Cape Town launches youth-led environmental awareness initiative

The City of Cape Town, in partnership with the Wildlife and Environmental Society (Wessa), has launched the first phase of the Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) programme with the aim of developing Cape Town youth to become reporters for the environment.

The programme seeks to empower young South Africans to pursue a collective vision of human rights, inclusivity, environmental and social justice by harnessing social media and its global network to tell their own solution-driven, knowledge rich and contextual stories. While being part of the programme, the young reporters will receive mentorship from environmental experts who determine bold, smart and sensitive solutions to local environmental issues.

The first phase of the programme focuses on eight high schools in the Cape Town city centre – Cape Town High School, Gardens Commercial High School, Good Hope Seminary High School, Harold Cressy High School, Sea Point High School, Trafalgar High School and Vista High School. The programme will run for a year and it will showcase selected environmental media projects by the Young Reporters for the Environment upon the completion of the first phase.

Former Absa chief executive to head Presidential Climate Finance Task Team

Former chief executive of Absa Group Limited Daniel Mminele has been appointed to head up the newly-established Presidential Climate Finance Task Team. This comes after government late last year announced a partnership with the governments of France, Germany, the UK, and the US, as well as the EU to support a just transition to a low carbon economy and a climate-resilient society in South Africa.

The Presidency in a statement said: “In line with the Political Declaration to establish this partnership, partner countries have offered to mobilise an initial $8.5bn (R132bn) over the next three to five years through a range of instruments, including grants and concessional finance, to support the implementation of our revised Nationally Determined Contribution.”

The Presidential Climate Finance Task Team, led by Mminele together with the Asset and Liability Division from National Treasury, will analyse the offer with a view to advising Cabinet on its composition, affordability, alignment with the regulatory environment and engage with partner countries.

“The Task Team will also coordinate relevant government departments, development finance institutions, and the private sector; and oversee the development of relevant financing mechanisms and facilities to enable the flow of international climate finance to support South Africa’s just transition in the electricity, electric vehicles and green hydrogen sectors,” reads the statement. Mminele has been independent non-executive director and chair-designate at Alexander Forbes Group Holdings since January 2022. Until 30 April 2021, he was the chief executive of Absa Group Limited.

Prior to joining Absa in January 2020, he was a deputy governor of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) since July 2009 where he served two five-year terms. During a career spanning nearly 20 years at the South African Reserve Bank, Mminele represented the SARB and South Africa in many international fora on the African continent and beyond.

Mycelium Media Collaborating

Meet prominent Marine Biologist Dr. Sara Andreotti – who together with her team – created the first nature-inspired eco-friendly technology that protects both people and sharks. Filmed and edited by Mycelium member Lara Taylor for SABBEX/ Boating SA.
Watch the video here.

Mycelium’s Jemima Spring presented our Water Stories website at the Environmental Monitoring Group, Western Cape Water Caucus (WCWC), Stellenbosch University and University of Cape Town launch and screening of “Making sense of a water crisis,” a 17 minute documentary about a unique project to address Cape Town’s water issues through a partnership between activists and academics. Visit the Water Stories website.

DIARISE: Wavescape Surf & Ocean Festival

Ocean rejuvenation and conservation underscores an exciting in-person lineup at the 19th annual Wavescape Surf & Ocean Festival which runs for 11 straight days in Cape Town from 1 to 11 March 2022. The festival will comprise a diverse lineup of ocean-minded events, including film screenings, talks, art exhibitions, a charity auction, a lecture, community upliftment days, ocean expo, live music, a photographic competition and a public mural. The Film Festival component includes five days of film screenings at four venues – the Shred in Paarden Eiland, the Labia Theatre in town, the Galileo at Kirstenbosch and one in Kommetjie. With the support of the Wesgro Film and Promotion Unit, the Blue Ocean Masterclass focuses on film techniques in and on the ocean, and includes top cinematographers and underwater camera experts sharing thoughts and expertise on the technology and skill of this burgeoning area.  For more info go to:

DIARISE: World Wildlife Day: 3 March 2022

World Wildlife Day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2013. It is celebrated around the world each year on 3 March. WWD will be celebrated in 2022 under the theme “Recovering key species for ecosystem restoration”. The celebrations will seek to draw attention to the conservation status of some of the most critically endangered species of wild fauna and flora, and to drive discussions towards imagining and implementing solutions to conserve them. All conversations will be inspired by and seek to inform efforts towards the achievement of UN Sustainable Development Goals 1 (No Poverty), 2 (Zero hunger) 12 (Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns), 13 (Climate Action) 14 (Life Below Water) and 15 (Life on Land).

According to data from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, over 8,400 species of wild fauna and flora are critically endangered, while close to 30,000 more are understood to be endangered or vulnerable. Based on these estimates, it is suggested that over a million species are threatened with extinction. Continued loss of species, habitats and ecosystems also threatens all life on Earth, including us. People everywhere rely on wildlife and biodiversity-based resources to meet all our needs, from food, to fuel, medicines, housing, and clothing. Millions of people also rely on nature as the source of their livelihoods and economic opportunities.

In 2022, World Wildlife Day will therefore drive the debate towards the imperative need to reverse the fate of the most critically endangered species, to support the restoration of their habitats and ecosystems and to promote their sustainable use by humanity. Visit the WWD website

DIARISE: Entries open for SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards

Applications for the 12th annual SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards and 7th annual Disability Empowerment Awards are open for entry. Entrepreneurs and innovators who have developed products and services that assist the country’s most vulnerable communities including women, youth, people living with disabilities and those living in rural areas are strongly encouraged to apply.

Prizes range from R200,000 to R1.3m and must be used as an investment towards improving and commercialising the innovation or business. In addition, each award winner also qualifies to receive valuable business coaching, mentorship and technical support.

The Social Innovation Awards are aimed at innovators, social entrepreneurs, institutions and social enterprises with prototypes or early-stage businesses that can solve social problems. These products, services, business models and processes should directly address the challenges faced by low-income women, youth, people living with disabilities, or people living in rural areas.

The Disability Empowerment Awards award social enterprises that have come up with innovative solutions that improve access to the economy and/ or solutions for people living with disabilities, while generating enough revenue to become sustainable over time. People living with disabilities in South Africa face many social and economic barriers and the current unemployment rate in this sector stands at over 70%.

“We are excited to open the applications for 2022 and look forward to meeting our social disruptors this year,” says Itumeleng Dhlamini, social innovation specialist at the SAB Foundation. “The types of social innovations that were awarded at our awards event in 2021 included a sophisticated navigation app which maps rural households and provides households and spaza shops with a delivery service in underserved rural areas,” continues Dhlamini. “Another was an online employment platform that provides customers with motorbike drivers and motorbikes and provides free training for unemployed youth.”

“In the Disability Empowerment Awards category we saw equally innovative solutions such as a device that allows people with reduced mobility to contribute to the propulsion of their wheelchair to navigate stairs, as well as low tech solution that allows people with visual impairment to use smart devices as a hands free magnifier,” she explains.

Applications are open to all South African citizens of 18 years or older with evidence that prior to applying, they have spent time and money developing the innovation. Early submissions are strongly encouraged. Apply now:  Deadline for entries close at midday on 25 March 2022.

DIARISE: WESSA calls on young ‘reporters’ to enter national writing comp

THE Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) is calling on local youth to share their stories for the Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) programme. The national competition offers youth a platform to show their reporting skills and campaign for a cause close to their heart. Nobuhle Zulu, marketing manager at WESSA said entries close on May 2, 2022. “We are accepting entries from interested youth between 11 and 25 years of age,” she said.

There are three entry categories – youth can share their reporting skills through a video, article or photo. “We will judge entries and announce the national winners. The winning entries from the national competition are automatically entered into the international competition,” said Zulu. WESSA runs the national competition every year.

“This is a youth-led environmental journalism initiative that aims to enable our youth to take a stand for local social and environmental issues through the medium of writing, photography, or video. It is run under the Foundation of the Environmental Educations banner alongside EcoSchools and LEAF,” said Zulu.

Entries can be submitted via email to

 Sustainability Summit Africa to spotlight procurement best practices

Following the success of last year’s inaugural Sustainability Summit Africa, which was the first-ever continent-wide sustainability conference, the organisers have announced that the 2022 event will take place on 11 and 12 May 2022. The conference serves as a gathering for decision-makers and organisations to advance their strategies and implementation of sustainable procurement.

“As we navigate the storms of the pandemic, the question on many business leaders’ minds is whether sustainable procurement and supply chain is a reality for Africa. How should sustainable sourcing be managed in cross-border procurement; and what are the threats and opportunities for public sector organisations and stakeholders?

“The 2022 Sustainability Summit Africa features a host of renowned local and international speakers who will deliver key insights on these and other issues. They will examine the drivers, current practices and future of sustainable procurement, with a focus on Africa,” says Pearl Marsh, conference manager at Smart Procurement World, which is hosting the summit. According to a recent McKinsey & Company report, two-thirds of the average company’s environment, social, and governance footprint lies with suppliers. “Procurement leaders have the power to make a substantial difference in their organisations’ sustainability,” Marsh concludes.

The event will take the form of a one-day online conference with workshops held on day two. For more information on the Sustainability Summit Africa 2021, or to register for the event at no cost, visit or contact moc.dlrowtnemerucorptrams@ofni.

Interesting reads

How a humble mushroom could save forests and fight climate change

We know that different foods have different footprints. Reducing the quantity of animal-based products will have a huge impact. In fact, eating less meat is one of the most potent changes that people in the west can make to help save the planet. But what if we could go further? What if, instead of having farming and forestry in direct conflict, we could develop a system that allows food production and forest on the same parcel of land? This is exactly what our latest research focuses on, looking at fungi that grow in partnership with trees, in a mutually beneficial arrangement. This is a common association and some species can produce large mushroom fruiting bodies, such as the highly prized truffle. Aside from this delicacy, cultivation of these species is a new and emerging field. But progress is especially being made in one group known as milk caps.
The Conversation

Western Cape wetland gets new environmental protection

The Berg River Estuary in the Western Cape was declared a Ramsar Site under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance ahead of World Wetlands Day, which takes place annually on 2  February, making it South Africa’s 28th wetland to get such protection. Wetlands are the most under-threat ecosystems in South Africa, and are also under threat globally. A 2018 national biodiversity assessment found that at least 79% of the country’s wetland ecosystems were threatened, while 48% were considered “critically endangered”. 
Mail and Guardian

Cape Flats plant thought to be extinct returns to Cape Town

A Cape Flats plant thought to have been extinct for two centuries is home again … and surprising botanists. The plant, Erica verticillata, which used to be found only in Cape Town, was discovered in a Pretoria park and returned to Cape Town. On Friday, the City of Cape Town said it is likely the plant has evolved to protect its seeds from fire.  “Erica verticillata once grew as a narrow-range endemic, restricted to the southern edges of the Cape Flats sand fynbos in Cape Town,” the city said in a statement. 
Times Live

Pharmaceuticals in rivers threaten world health

Pollution of the world’s rivers from medicines and pharmaceutical products poses a “threat to environmental and global health”, a University of York study report says. Paracetamol, nicotine, caffeine and epilepsy and diabetes drugs were widely detected. The study sampled water from more than 1,000 test sites in more than 100 countries. Overall, more than a quarter of the 258 rivers sampled had what are known as “active pharmaceutical ingredients” present at a level deemed unsafe for aquatic organisms. “Typically, what happens is, we take these chemicals, they have some desired effects on us and then they leave our bodies,” Dr John Wilkinson, who led the research, told BBC News.  BBC News

We are loving …

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

Innovative 100% recyclable wheelie bin wheel reduces rubber waste

The 100% recyclable plastic wheel for municipal wheelie bins was developed by Mpact Plastic Containers in 2019 and commercial production commenced in 2020. This means that the traditional rubber wheel was replaced with a 100% recyclable wheel. This new development forms part of Mpact Plastic Containers diversion of an estimated 24,000 tonnes of plastic from going to landfill over the past five years, by converting waste into new, reusable products.

Rubber takes between 50 to 80 years to decompose. As the population increases, and we use more products, we need to ask ourselves, is our planet equipped to handle the increasing amount of rubber waste? “Rubber from the old end-of-life rubber wheels went to our already overflowing landfill sites. Millions of end-of-life tyres are currently either being disposed of or illegally dumped, with only small amounts being recycled. It was important therefore to create an alternative to the rubber wheel to overcome this challenge,” says Lance Kallis, environmental manager of Mpact Plastic Containers. Many municipalities have adopted these new 100% recyclable bins and have received positive feedback.

Changing Climate Change Hackathon

Do good and stand a chance to win R45 000 in prize money! Change the world by joining the
#ClimateAction Hackathon. What digital solutions can be developed to improve education, raise awareness and ignite human and institutional capacity around climate change? Some examples could include climate change in the areas of food, energy, transportation, consumption, and the built environment (cities).

Find out more:
Location: Virtual
Date: 19th – 20th March 2022
Final Presentations: Saturday, 26th March 2022

Ecobricks for Ulwazi Educare

Cape Townians! Please bring your ecobricks and glass bottles to 2 Willow Road, Observatory to support an amazing Natural Building Collective project for Ulwazi Educare in Delft. You can read more about this project here:

*Eco-bricks need to be tightly packed and bottles should be rinsed before dropping them please*

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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