Image from Mushrooms of Southern Africa



SA needs $250bn over 3 decades for clean energy transition
First major dam fails as Nelson Mandela Bay battles near certain water disaster
Helderberg Environmental Centre Officially Open!
News Snippets

To diarise
World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, 17 June
Public Ecology Mini Film Festival, 22-25 June
Applications for R16m SMME Booster Fund now open
NEWF Producers Lab Applications Call Now Open
Environmental Rights & Remedies Course
World Population Day, 11 July

Film Festivals and Competitions
Another Way, Spain
Our Heritage, Our Planet Film Week
Rural Encounters on Environment and Films – REEF, Lebanon
Festival International Nature Namur, Belgium

Interesting reads
Thirty years of climate summits: where have they got us?
6,000 health and environmental ‘time bombs’ still to be defused
We can learn good lessons from Australia’s ‘Green wave’ election

We are loving …
First electric minibus taxi coming to South Africa
Pilot for zero-carbon production of flat glass

Who are Mycelium?

Welcome note by Natalie Nolte

I remember the day I became aware of climate change, and the real impact it has … it was after watching ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ with Al Gore. Before that I was aware of some of our environmental impacts … the need to recycle, I’d seen posters about how many fields of waste were being created each day … but the stark realisation of the urgency of our situation threw me into a state. Why was the world continuing as usual when we need to change things urgently! The documentary expressed the problem, but no solutions, so I started madly researching about what I could do… I changed all my lightbulbs, turned off anything that was normally on standby mode, started to walk more, joined the local environmental action group (whom I left shortly afterwards … as I felt they weren’t doing enough).

The more I learned, the more lifestyle changes I made…. But some days I would just become depressed, you know they even have a name for it now … eco-anxiety. For a time, I worked towards having a no-impact life – with a plan to live off grid and off the land… but I realised at some point, this would make less negative impact … but it wouldn’t necessarily make a positive impact in the bigger picture … as I’d be living in my bubble and the other 8 billion+ people on earth may just continue with business as usual.

And so I came to the clarity, that it’s inevitable as a human I’d have some negative impact, as I’m part of bigger systems that I can’t simply step out of. So what’s more important is that I focus on making a positive impact.

So as we take this journey … we have to remember that there are no perfect solutions, there are only better and better ones. And sometimes we may need to let some things slide in order to take steps forward. We need to keep looking for the things that really ring true to us, the things we feel passionate about and that we can invest ourselves in. As it is those things that will make all the difference in our environment and community.

SA needs $250bn over 3 decades for clean energy transition

Moving South Africa’s coal-dominated economy onto a greener footing will require at least $250bn over the next three decades, a report released on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum said on Thursday, 26 May. Around half of the total investment, $125bn, is needed to ramp up wind and solar power projects as the country mothballs coal-fired plants that currently supply the bulk of its energy needs, said the consultation document.

The report was produced by academics at South Africa’s Stellenbosch University in conjunction with the Blended Finance Taskforce, a body set up in 2017 to help mobilise large-scale private capital in a bid to end poverty in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

South Africa is the world’s 12th biggest emitter of climate warming gases and the biggest in Africa. In November, the United States, Britain, France, Germany and the European Union agreed to offer an $8.5bn package to help South Africa accelerate its transition from coal, although exact details and timelines are still being discussed.

“It will take at least $250bn spent over the next three decades to transition to a low-carbon, more equitable energy system in South Africa under an ambitious decarbonisation scenario (coal off by 2040),” the authors said. Besides building up renewable projects and infrastructure, funding is also earmarked for gas plants and energy flexibility, new transmission lines as well ensuring that thousands of coal workers whose jobs are threatened will be reskilled, a political hot potato for the ruling African National Congress government and its labour allies.

“Aligning the right type of capital with the right investments and costs is key to meeting South Africa’s just energy transition objectives,” the report said, adding that the definition of “just” should extend beyond workers to address the challenges of communities in coal-dependent areas.

ALSO READ: CSIR releases 2021 statistics on utility-scale power generation in SA here

First major dam fails as Nelson Mandela Bay battles near certain water disaster

Published on 13 June in Daily Maverick

On Monday morning, Nelson Mandela Bay’s director of bulk water supply, Joseph Tsatsire, had grim news. The Impofu Dam, predicted to run dry in July, had fallen to such low levels that the barge pumps were sucking in mud. No water could be extracted.

That left the city with the Churchill Dam, expected to fail in 11 days; the Loerie Dam, with 37 days of water left; the small Groendal Dam with water for 168 days, but it supplies only a small part of the metro; and the Nooitgedacht Scheme, where long delays in building infrastructure have made it impossible for the city to extract all the water it needs. “This is a very tricky time in the life of the Nelson Mandela Bay metro,” said Luvuyo Bangazi, Mandela Bay Development Agency spokesperson, who has been appointed to handle communication on the water crisis.

While some rain has been predicted for the metro on Wednesday, it’s not likely to have much of an impact. Referring to the newly installed water collection points, Tsatsire explained that there would be drive-through and walk-through sites. He said their budget for water collection sites is R6-million. Tsatsire said the water supply to the city’s “red zone” would be turned off once the dams run dry. People will then have to collect their daily quota from the communal taps.

He said the available water will be sent to economic zones to keep businesses going, and that it was agreed the Nelson Mandela Business Chamber would provide an engineer and contractors to help fix the many leaks in the water system. Right now, though, the city faces an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. Tsatsire said the South African Defence Force would be brought in to help with the emergency.

Helderberg Environmental Centre Officially Open!

In commemoration of World Environmental Day on 5 June 2022, the Cape Town’s Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis and Deputy Mayor, Alderman Eddie Andrews, addressed a launch event to showcase the City’s Helderberg Environmental Centre, a new state-of-the-art green sustainable centre located at the Helderberg Nature Reserve in Somerset West. The setting of the reserve on the slopes of the Helderberg, overlooking False Bay, makes it an ideal location to teach communities in and around Somerset West about the Western Cape’s plant and animal kingdom and our impact on it. As such, staff at the reserve identified the need for an environmental education centre where school groups and visitors can be accommodated.

The Helderberg Environmental Centre is a success story of how alternative construction methods and sustainable design thinking can be achieved.Some of the sustainability features of the new centre includes the impressive tyre retaining wall; eco brick wall and the integrated water treatment system, which includes the four chamber underground Black Water Treatment System.

In order to demonstrate alternative construction methods, the design showcased three approaches where waste was used in the wall construction. The concept for the enclosure is based on two curved walls, one fitting into the other. The inner curved wall and foundations were constructed from rammed earth and repurposed building rubble. The outer curved retaining wall was constructed from repurposed tyres. Building rubble and Ecobricks made from plastic bottles filled with plastic waste were used to fill the tyres for the wall. A total of 830 truck tyres were used for the tyre wall, which is approximately 40m long and 3,4m high.

The internal walls are constructed from Ecobricks. The ecobricks are made by filling and compacting plastic waste inside plastic bottles. The bottles were then stacked inside a frame to make the walls. Natural cob was also used to plaster over the ecobricks instead of conventional cement based plaster.

The three wall types showcase the principle of carbon burying. The materials that would otherwise become a burden in a landfill were reused and repurposed and given a new life . This new facility now serves as carbon sinks by sequestrating waste. The idea of repurposing and upcycling materials allows this centre to speak to sustainability. In addition, approximately 176 cubic metres of earth and recycled building rubble were used for the rammed earth walls and foundations as well.

This new facility is situated close to the parking and entrance of the reserve. It hosts a stage and has a clip-on bedouin tent, which expands the covered usable area of the facility to accommodate larger functions. For more information please email:

News Snippets

Season 11 of 50|50 is coming in July and VELDFOKUS entries are now open! Stand in line to WIN R75 000 when you send in your nature or wildlife pictures/videos. Email or WeTransfer your pictures/videos to

Mycelium were honoured to be asked by Sarah to be a part of yesterday’s Climate Lounge and to film this incredible group of musicians, creatives and activists who are not afraid to tackle the hard stuff. Look out for the video which will be posted soon!

This very pretty fynbos, discovered at the Nuwejaars Wetlands SMA, has now been confirmed to be a NEW #FYNBOS species. It’s been called Cyrtanthus novus-annus (Latin for Nuwejaars) or the Nuwejaars Lily. It’s known only from 2 locations, both on our NWSMA, with fewer than 250 plants in total.

DIARISE: World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, 17 June

The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is a United Nations observance celebrated each year on 17 June. Its purpose is to raise awareness of the presence of desertification and drought, highlighting methods of preventing desertification and recovering from drought. Each year’s global celebration has a unique, novel emphasis that had not been developed previously. This day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly resolution A/RES/49/115 on January 30, 1995, after the day when United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification is drafted.

DIARISE: Public Ecology Mini Film Festival, 22-25 June

The Public Ecology Mini Film Festival brings together a curated selection of art films, animations, documentaries and sound work from around the world, highlighting our growing awareness of these many dynamic relationships, especially within an urban context, and offering creative engagements with some of the biggest challenges of our time. Please join us for the for the launch of the Public Ecology Mini Film Festival at the Association for Visual Arts, Cape Town: 22 – 25 June.

‘Public ecology’ captures the idea that we need to engage in collaborative, integrative and holistic ways of thinking and doing things more sustainably, across many different disciplinary boundaries, to address our complex and critical environmental issues.

It also suggests that ecology is something that we are intrinsically a part of, rather than being something that exists separately, or elsewhere: that we are as much intertwined in the network of relations that governs the natural world, as we are in those that influence our social and political lives. Book via Quicket.

DIARISE: Applications for R16m SMME Booster Fund now open

The application process for the Department of Economic Development and Tourism’s (DEDAT) R16m SMME Booster Fund is now open. Mireille Wenger, Western Cape provincial minister of finance and economic opportunities encourages organisations, which implement business development support projects or programmes in the categories of business development support and access to markets to apply for project funding via the SMME Booster Fund 2022.

Since the first iteration of the SMME booster fund in 2019, the fund has allocated R59m in funding and supported 730 SMMEs in the Western Cape. “One of my priorities is to make it easier for the private sector, especially small businesses, to do business in the Western Cape, and create jobs. Targeted programmes like the SMME Booster Fund is one of the ways we are helping small businesses and entrepreneurs to get started and to thrive,” says Wenger. The closing date for applications is 12:00 (midnight) on Monday, 27 June 2022.  Application process information can be found here.

DIARISE: Biodiversity Partnership Programme

One of our Mycelium members Stefanie Swanepoel is working on the exciting Biodiversity Partners Program and applications for Southern African participants are now open! Visit for more info or head straight into applying.

DIARISE: NEWF Producers Lab Applications Call Now Open

Supporting emerging and early career visual storytellers and scientists the NEWF Producers Lab is an opportunity to be awarded funding to produce a non-fiction/documentary short film or series in the natural history and/conservation genre. Fellows are mentored by industry professionals, attend hybrid workshops and are guided through the process of filmmaking from research to final delivery. The program is a year long residency that focuses on all aspects of the filmmaking ecosystem and developing the producers skillset.

DEADLINE: 30 June 2022
Shortlisted candidates will be notified by 20 July 2022
LAB START DATE: 1 August 2022
More information:

DIARISE: Environmental Rights & Remedies Course

The Centre for Environmental Rights is excited to announce that nominations are now open for the 6th edition of their annual Environmental Rights & Remedies Course for environmental justice activists. This year, in addition to providing participants with legal remedies to defend their human rights, they will also enable our activists to effectively participate in the biggest conversation about the future of environmental and climate justice: the Just Transition. Participants will leave the course with a thorough understanding of Just Transition concepts.  Activists will be empowered to articulate arguments for a Just Transition that take into consideration the needs of communities previously and currently affected by environmental degradation and pollution from industrial operations.

WHEN: 5 – 24 September 2022
WHERE: Cape Town
HOW: To apply or nominate someone for this course, download the Call for Nominations form
The closing date is 1 July 2022.

DIARISE: World Population Day, 11 July

World Population Day is an annual event, observed on July 11 every year, which seeks to raise awareness of global population issues. The event was established by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme in 1989. It was inspired by the public interest in Five Billion Day on July 11, 1987, the approximate date on which the world’s population reached six billion people. World Population Day aims to increase people’s awareness on various population issues such as the importance of family planning, gender equality, poverty, maternal health and human rights.

Another Way, Spain
Madrid’s Film Festival of sustainable progress will take place from 5th until 11th of October 2022 in Madrid. We’re looking for sceptics; restless minds that won’t settle for one point-of-view, people that persistently search for the truth even though they would have to change their personal opinions in the process. Regular Deadline:
June 30, 2022

Our Heritage, Our Planet Film Week
For the 2nd year in a row, Our Heritage, Our Planet Film Week is building a space where creatives, filmmakers, climate justice advocates, and others working on environmental topics can come, showcase, and celebrate, the stories of Latino, Black, Indigenous and other people of color in connection to Our Heritage and Our Planet – the lands, nature, waterways, and oceans we all call home. Earlybird Deadline: July 1, 2022

Rural Encounters on Environment and Films – REEF,  Lebanon
REEF is an event combining cinema, nature and rural life through screening films that address rural issues and concerns, in addition to workshops for producing short films. In parallel to the screenings, participants get acquainted with the nature of the area, its people and their customs. The short film theme is Solidarity: highlightin how solidarity groups/ actions/initiatives can support and sustain communities and forge collective identities, especially when facing a crisis, obstacles, corruption, famines, wars, environmental disasters. The photographic competition will creatively raise awareness of endangered trees. It is highlighting the threats our trees are facing and how it is crucially important to take steps in planning for conservation action. Deadline: July 15, 2022

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. Deadline: July 31, 2022


Thirty years of climate summits: where have they got us?
Highlights and lowlights of Cop since Rio 1992, when countries set up a system to tackle climate crisis. It has been 30 years since the Rio summit, when a global system was set up that would bring countries together on a regular basis to try to solve the climate crisis. Here are the highlights and lowlights since then. The Guardian


6,000 health and environmental ‘time bombs’ still to be defused

There are roughly 6,100 “derelict or ownerless” mines scattered across South Africa, many of which can expose people and the environment to significant harm due to pollution of the air, water and soil. Whether it is the tiny, needle-like asbestos fibres that slice up the delicate tissue inside human lungs; the acidic mine water that melts the organs of fish or the radioactive mining waste that can turn land and water into permanent “dead zones”, widespread pollution from more than a century of mining has saddled South African taxpayers with a hefty clean-up bill.  Daily Maverick

We can learn good lessons from Australia’s ‘Green wave’ election

Previously, Australia had one Greens MP — Adam Bandt, MP for Melbourne. But the Greens were more successful in winning senate seats, an easier target for smaller parties. The Greens representation in this election increased from one lower house seat to four and their senate representation went up from nine to 12. Mail and Guardian


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

First electric minibus taxi coming to South Africa

GoMetro, a global mobility management technology company with its head office in Cape Town, has convened a project team of innovative companies and researchers to launch a demonstrator project to test the first electric minibus in South African conditions by January 2023. The project team, consisting of GoMetro, MiX Telematics, HSW, ACDC Dynamics, and various entities within Stellenbosch University’s (SU) Faculty of Engineering, as well as SU’s Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES), will conduct rigorous and extensive testing in and around the town of Stellenbosch, as well as putting the electrification of the minibus taxi sector firmly on the national agenda by means of an educational roadshow in all nine provinces in the course of 2023.

Pilot for zero-carbon production of flat glass

Saint-Gobain implemented the zero-carbon production of flat glass for one week in its manufacturing plant in Aniche, northern France. This was achieved in May using 100% recycled glass (cullet) and 100% green energy produced from biogas and decarbonised electricity. By mobilising its network of partners, the focus was placed on circularity with the use of 100% cullet from end-of-life glass from renovation or demolition sites and from production offcuts. The achievement forms part of Saint-Gobain’s commitment to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. It complements the group’s investment announced last year to build the world’s first carbon-neutral plasterboard plant in Norway.

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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