Photograph of Namibia desert mushroom by Jacqueline van Meygaarden


South Africa adopts more ambitious emissions target before climate summit
Uproot the DMRE Action
Collaborator of the Month: Swedish Society for Nature Conservation for the Anthology of Sustainable Consumption
12 plastic products that are on their way out
National Park with a Difference Planned for Eastern Cape Grasslands

To diarise
National Marine Week: 7 – 11 October
African Penguin Day: 10 October
World Food Day: 16 October

Interesting reads
Sisters pave the way with ecobricks
The true custodians of our seas: Who is stealing South Africa’s ocean heritage?
Now is the time to include an environmental focus in grantmaking strategies in Africa

We are loving …
Pirate protects marine life from plastic in new Captain Fanplastic audiobook
Ocean Photography Awards 2021

 Who are Mycelium?  

Welcome  by Jacqueline van Meygaarden

With the end of this year trundling towards us as we enter the last quarter of 2021, I always feel that regular moments of reflection are hugely important. I’ve been participating in a step process focusing on ecological grief, that has allowed me to do this.

Titled ‘10 Steps to Personal Resilience & Empowerment in a Chaotic Climate’, this 10-week group coaching and support process has been a wonderful space to speak about the rage, grief, fear and overwhelm that I, and many others, feel at this time about the state of the world. Based on the same step process as Alcoholics Anonymous or other programs, the group is invited to process our heavy feelings, share our vulnerability, deprogram our thoughts to explore who we are apart from the destructive culture, and where best to place our energy. I have gone through a range of emotions over the period, and felt most noticeably moved by the step that encourages us to face and accept our mortality – which sent me into a flat spin to live EACH and every moment with vigour! Pretty tiring that week was….

After processing many different emotions and experiences over the weeks; examining my biases and privileges, practising to live with uncertainty, grieving the harm I have caused, practicing gratitude, we are asked as a group to imagine a New Paradigm. If we were to imagine a New Paradigm for our future, what elements of the current world would we leave behind and what would we bring with us? This was a beautiful exercise, and I realised that many of the stories in our Mycelium newsletter this month relate to some of the elements I’d bring with for the future: safe and clean shared community spaces, waterways that are unpolluted, a non-class based meritocracy and also leaving our culture’s addiction to plastic behind. Enjoy some of the stories we have gathered this month, and maybe look where your energy is best placed, and how you can rise to the challenge required of us all, with bravery and compassion.

South Africa adopts more ambitious emissions target before climate summit

South Africa’s cabinet has adopted a more ambitious emissions reduction target ahead of a United Nations climate conference in November, the country’s environment department said. Africa’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases now aims to keep emissions to a range of 350-420 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2e) by 2030.

That compares with an earlier draft target of 398-440 Mt CO2e announced by the environment department in March, which a climate commission established by President Cyril Ramaphosa recommended should be improved upon. The Global Carbon Atlas estimates South Africa emitted around 480 Mt CO2e in 2019.

The updated target forms part of a so-called Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) which will be submitted in the buildup to the UN’s COP26 conference in Glasgow.  “The NDC represents South Africa’s contribution to global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change,” the environment department said in a statement. Major South African polluters include state-owned power utility Eskom, which generates the vast majority of the country’s power by burning coal, and fuel and chemical producer Sasol. Under Ramaphosa, who became head of state in February 2018, the government has promised to take swifter action to combat climate change and unveiled reforms aimed at embracing power generation from renewable sources.

Eskom is pitching for billions of dollars of funding to help finance its plans to shift away from coal and towards renewable energy. It hopes to announce a financing deal at COP26 and is talking to the U.S., British, French and German governments as well as the World Bank about funding.

Source: Reuters

Uproot the DMRE

Last week, one of the most powerful climate actions South Africa has seen took place In every province across the country as hundreds of people marched to the offices of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy in their respective provinces. In case you missed it, what’s it all about? The action was aimed to tell the Department (DMRE) to stop blocking a socially, economically and environmentally just energy and mining future in South Africa. They are ignoring the voices of those most impacted by energy planning decisions, leaving many without access to basic electricity and approving polluting projects while our just transition to renewable energy languishes on Gwede Mantashe’s desk.

Here is the list of demands that Uproot the DMRE have posed:

  1. The leadership and structure of the DMRE must be transformed to fulfil a mandate for an inclusive socially, economically, and ecologically just energy and mining future. Mantashe must step aside to allow new progressive leadership.
  2. A rapid and just transition to a more socially owned, renewable energy powered economy, providing clean, safe, and affordable energy for all, with no worker and community left behind in the transition
  3. No to new polluting, corrupt and expensive coal, oil, and gas projects, officials within the department to be investigated arround irregular deals. Reject the corrupt, costly and unnecessary powership program. We demand One Million Climate Jobs instead.
  4. Communities must have the right to say no to mining projects, that includes free, prior informed consent, the upholding of social labour plans, and the right to sustainable alternative modes of development.
  5. Minister Mantashe and the DMRE must stop blocking and inhibiting Eskom’s transition to renewables. We need a Green New Eskom driving a just transition to a more socially owned, renewable energy future.

GET INVOLVED: Find the Uproot the DMRE resources to get involved on their website
TO WATCH: Our friends over at the  satirical online news service Politically Aweh skewered the DMRE with a video that went viral – even being featured on Al Jazeera and receiving the ultimate compliment – being retweeted by DMRE as fake news!

Collaborator of the Month: Swedish Society for Nature Conservation for the Anthology of Sustainable Consumption

Our Mycelium members have recently completed a project with the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) to edit, design and lay-out the Anthology of Sustainable Consumption, and its accompanying microsite. The book was a collaboration between nine organisations on four continents who are actively working to bring about sustainable patterns of production and consumption. The Anthology was released to coincide with Green Action Week, a global campaign taking place from 4 to10 October in over 30 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceana, and the Americas, to promote sustainable consumption.

In order for ALL people to enjoy a better and more sustainable future, we quickly need to improve our relationship with the Earth, including making our production and consumption patterns sustainable. Any transition to sustainable consumption cultures must focus on consumption and production systems within planetary boundaries and on reaffirming social values of community and solidarity. The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) works with more than 40 organisations around the world to bring about change at various levels from policy and regulation to sparking an individual and collective (re)connection with nature and the ecosystems that sustain our lives. The perspectives outlined in the Anthology of Sustainable Consumption illustrate some of the work done on four continents to help build ‘Sharing Communities’ – those characterised by a spirit of collaborative action that generates social benefits while reducing impacts on the planet. Read more here.

Our team enjoyed the process of designing graphic and illustrated imagery that complemented the ideas developed in the book and working with SSNC. The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation is the largest environmental organisation in Sweden and a popular movement standing up for nature. With over 200,000 current members, they have the power to bring about change!  Climate, forests, agriculture, environmental pollutants, water, oceans and sustainable consumption make up their most important focus areas since their founding in 1909.

12 plastic products that are on their way out

SA Plastics Pact has published the first list of problematic and unnecessary plastics for phasing out by the end of 2022.In publishing this first list of problematic and unnecessary plastics, the SA Plastics Pact has become the fourth international Pact to do so, joining the UK Plastics Pact, Chilean Plastics Pact and Portuguese Plastics Pact. The list of 12 plastic items which will be phased out is as follows:

Oxo-degradable plastics; PVC bottles, pallet wrap and labels; PVC and PET shrink sleeve labels; Plastic stickers on fruit and vegetables; Thin barrier bags for fruit and vegetables; Thin barrier bags used at tills; Plastic straws;     Plastic stirrers; Single-use plastic cutlery, plates and bowls; Cotton buds with plastic stems; Plastic lollipop sticks and Plastic microbeads in cosmetics

Captured in a publication titled “Addressing problematic and unnecessary plastics”, this is an initial list of plastic items to be widely addressed in South Africa. Members of the SA Plastics Pact have pledged to stop producing, distributing, selling or using the items on this first list – by December 2022. The publication also lists items identified for inclusion in a second list, which is to be published in due course.

Source: WWF

National Park with a Difference Planned for Eastern Cape Grasslands

South African National Parks (SANParks) said in a statement work is underway to establish a high-altitude national park in the mountains of the Eastern Cape close to the Lesotho border and the spectacular Naude’s Nek pass – South Africa’s highest lying road at over 2500m.

This is according to SANParks Acting CEO, Dr Luthando Dziba, who said the ultimate objective was to establish an ecologically, economically and socially sustainable consolidated protected area, primarily by working with private and communal landowners. “The establishment of this national park will mark a new and innovative approach to protected area expansion as it will be located within a working agricultural landscape,” he said.

Not only is this area rich in biodiversity and endemic species, but it also lies within the Eastern Cape Drakensberg Strategic Water Source Area which is a natural source of freshwater for people downstream. When declared the park will also improve formal protection of South Africa’s grasslands which have been identified as a national conservation priority.

According to Dr Dziba, the proposed NE Cape Grasslands National Park will take a somewhat different form to traditional parks, in that the landowners will have the opportunity, through stewardship, to incorporate their land in the park on a voluntary basis. As such, they also stand to benefit from a range of financial incentives for private and communal land that is formally protected.This n ew proposed national park is a collaboration between SANParks and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). This will see a 30 000-hectare protected area that, once formally declared, will become South Africa’s newest national park, significantly contributing towards the conservation of grasslands and water security.

 National Marine Week: 7 – 11 October

The celebrations and observation of National Marine Week, launched in 2014, recognises the important role that the oceans surrounding South Africa play in giving life to the country. while about 70 % of earth’s surface is covered by the ocean, our knowledge of what goes on in the oceans is still relatively limited. There are mysterious creatures and habitats at the oceans depths that must still be discovered and understood. Monitoring the ocean and the atmosphere also improves our ability to understand the extent of extreme weather and climate events such as storms and tsunamis while our ocean and coastline is also an area of global heritage and as a source of national pride.

DIARISE: African Penguin Day: 10 October

Of the 18 species of penguins found worldwide, the African penguin is the only one endemic to the African Continent, breeding at 27 colonies in South Africa and Namibia on islands and on the mainland. St. Croix and Bird Island in Algoa Bay are the largest colonies where there are approximately 6 000 penguins – their population has reduced by a whopping 99% since the beginning of the 20th century, when there was more than a million breeding pairs to the current less than 15 000 breeding pairs. Celebrate African Penguin Day by
sponsoring a penguin at SANCCOB for one year for R600 or adopt an egg to be hatched, raised and released for R300.  

 World Food Day: 16 October

Collective action across 150 countries is what makes World Food Day one of the most celebrated days of the UN calendar. Hundreds of events and outreach activities bring together governments, businesses, NGOs, the media, and general public. They promote worldwide awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and for the need to ensure healthy diets for all. #WorldFoodDay 2021 will be marked a second time while countries around the world deal with the widespread effects of the global Covid-19 pandemic. It’s a time to look into the future we need to build together.

Did you know that agri-food systems employ 1 billion people worldwide, more than any other economic sector? However, the way we produce, consume and, sadly, waste food exacts a heavy toll on our planet, putting unnecessary pressure on natural resources, the environment and climate. Food production too often degrades or destroys natural habitats and contributes to species extinction. Such inefficiency, is costing us trillions of dollars, but, most importantly, today’s agri-food systems are exposing profound inequalities and injustices in our global society. Three billion people cannot afford healthy diets, while overweight and obesity continue to increase worldwide.
RESOURCE: Check out the Food Systems Summit which was held in September to discuss safe, equitable and sustainable food systems around the world and explore their action track suggestions.


Sisters pave the way with ecobricks

Kekeletso Tsiloane, 28, and her older sister, Kedibone, 32, are breaking new ground in South Africa’s construction industry with their eco-friendly bricks. PlastiBrick is now being sold at the Builders Warehouse stores in Johannesburg’s Rivonia and Fourways suburbs — with more offerings on the way as the company, based in Free State and on Gauteng’s East Rand, grows. Together, the sisters founded Ramtsilo Manufacturing and Construction, a 100% black, female-owned company and their ecobricks are being used in residential, industrial and commercial projects.
Mail and Guardian

The true custodians of our seas: Who is stealing South Africa’s ocean heritage?

The sea remembers my boy, it doesn’t keep secrets….in the end it throws everything back at us.” – character Niren in the short film Lalela uLwandle

Over the past two years, a collective of researchers, civil society partners and small-scale fisher leaders, under the banner of the Coastal Justice Network, have been researching historical and contemporary experiences of dispossession and exclusion of coastal communities from their customary territories, and from ocean governance. The Lalela Ulwandle animated film depicts some of the ways in which South African citizens have had their ocean heritage stolen from them through the forces of colonialism, apartheid, extractive capitalism and natural resource enclosures. The film is the latest iteration of Empatheatre’s ocean heritage research that exists as a theatre production, an online radio play and now a short animated film. This project (funded by the One Ocean Hub) is a research-based public storytelling project that makes visible stories of living with the ocean that are seldom seen or heard in the public domain. Daily Maverick

Now is the time to include an environmental focus in grantmaking strategies in Africa

Alliance magazine recently reported that despite a growing interest, climate is still a minor theme in philanthropy. Globally, only two percent of philanthropic funds target climate action. Currently, environmental funders usually favor a systemic approach, which leads them to intertwine modes of action. The way they resort to specific strategies vary depending on their specialisation, which can lean towards social issues or towards energy and environmental issues, and their political sensitivity, which can go from moderate reformism to a desire for radical social and environmental change.


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

Pirate protects marine life from plastic in new Captain Fanplastic audiobook

In celebration of this year’s International Coastal Clean-up Day (18 September), Captain Fanplastic, in partnership with the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation, launched its first pirate songs and audiobook – The Legend of Captain Fanplastic – at the Two Oceans Aquarium. The Legend of Captain Fanplastic demonstrates how harmful plastic waste is to our precious marine life and how it can be turned into amazing treasure if recycled correctly. It is available in both English and Dutch, and is suitable for all ages, especially for nine to 12-year-olds who are keen to learn about the environment and conservation. The Legend of Captain Fanplastic is available for purchase via
The School of Sustainable Development and Takealot.

Ocean Photography Awards 2021

The winners of the 2021 Ocean Photography Awards have been announced and the Photographer of the Year winner is Aimee Jan’s mesmerising photo of a green turtle surrounded by glassfish from the Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. See more of these incredible images on the Getaway Magazine


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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