Thursday, February 24, 2011

So what's this fracking Karoo story?

This all quoted from the petition I just signed:

Large parts of South Africa's beautiful, but water-poor and ecologically sensitive Karoo region are under threat of being devastated by mining operations to extract natural gas using a controversial technique called hydraulic fracturing or 'fracking'.

During fracking millions of litres of water, sand and numerous chemicals most of which are toxic, carcinogic as well as teratogenic (they include benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, xylene, ethylene glycol (antifreeze), diesel fuel, naphthalene (moth ball) compounds, boric acid, arsenic, poly nuclear organic hydrocarbons, only to name a few of 500-odd chemicals used), are pumped into boreholes at high pressure to release natural gas (called shale gas) trapped in layers of underground rock.

In the USA, where fracking has been used extensively, there have been hundreds of documented cases of this process resulting in:

- catastrophic drinking water pollution;

- air pollution;

- health concerns for humans and animals; and

- general environmental degradation.

Right now, Shell and other international and local companies are preparing to explore tens of thousands of square kilometres of land in South Africa for natural gas exploration by fracking. Most of the area under threat is already extremely water-stressed and can not afford any water to be either wasted or contaminated by the fracking process which, once in full production, may involve tens of thousands of boreholes and billions of litres of water.

There is a growing groundswell of opposition to the use of fracking in South Africa by a broad coalition of farmers, environmental organisations and ordinary citizens.

Show your support for going against allowing SHELL to use fracking in the Karoo by signing the petition!


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rethinking art's role in society

I've read a very interesting article by Sam Bower of a few weeks ago, and realized that it's the ideal thing to share. It sparks a lot of new thoughts and questions about how and why we make art, and even though perception differs very widely from person to person looks at the ways that we might be very wrong in our way of thinking and doing things at the moment. It looks critically at the economy and funding for the arts in America. Here is an excerpt from the article:

I'm a firm believer in the notion that art, ecological thinking and social justice are essential to making sustainability work. Any culture that has lived in the same place for thousands of years has had to integrate these things. Unfortunately, we have not and are now facing a global crisis in the financial sector, ecological doom and gloom, endless wars and the increasing burdens of social injustice. One of our most powerful tools as a species, the arts, have been coopted by the dominant culture and presented back to us as a largely ornamental commodity, divorced from social and environmental responsibility. The fact is, the arts have an important role to play in healing our disconnection from each other and the Earth. As a people, we need to call attention to this.
- The Need to Circle Back, by Sam Bower

Lea Redmond,barcode scanning the land and taking stock

Lea Redmond, "Barcode Falls: Scanning the Land and Taking Stock", paper, 2007.

Make yourself a cup of herbal tea, and go and read the full article:


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Have a look at photographs of this twig ball, as well as other land art on Roger Dautais blog at:

Monday, February 14, 2011

Have a heart

Ooops, a day late, but nevertheless, happy Valentine's day...

Now that you've had a nice picnic or candle-lit dinner (maybe we should start another Earth Hour on Valentine's day and make sure that everyone - even single people - enjoys a candle-lit dinner every year in February!), why not show a little more love and gift a tree?

Either go to Greenpop's website to buy a tree gift or even fruit tree gift, or follow this link and stand the chance to win a 3-night stay for 2 people at Umlani Bushcamp worth R15460 sponsored by Getaway magazine.

Read more about Greenpop and the competition...

Image: Heart by Pierre Bezuidenhout


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

OAT Biodegradable Sneakers

Photo by Coriette Schoenaert

Fully biodegradable, this shoe collection from OAT is aptly named the 'Virgin Collection' with the theme of the 'Garden of Eden'. These comfy sneakers have seeds embedded in the cork soles, and will sprout into flowers (maybe even veggies, I hope) once you are ready to say goodbye to them and bury them in the back garden:)
via ecouturre for more
Photo by Peter Stigter

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sustainble Art Workshop

Basic Principles For Eco-Responsible Artmaking

7-8 April 2011 (2 days)
At VANSA Western Cape,
8 Spin Street, Cape Town

Free to VANSA members
R650 for non-members

This workshop is aimed at artists who have an interest in working more sustainably, with their impact on the environment a consideration and guidance towards the production and execution of their work.

Some of the topics includes:

* Why care and change?
* Working with chemicals.
* Eco-friendly and biodegradable materials.
* Choosing your wood, charcaol, paper and other wood products.
* Recycled/waste art and crafts.
* Recycling in and outside of your studio.

About the facilitator

Janet Botes is a visual and mixed media artist whose work is inspired by nature, the landscape and environmental issues. She has initiated the Ecojunki movement, and gives art classes on an informal basis at White Rabbit Studio, as well as sessions or gatherings that aim at raising awareness for environmental issues, recycling and conservation. In the production of her own artworks, she uses found objects, non-toxic materials and reuses non-organic waste. She has a B Tech qualification in Graphic Design (cum laude), and has exhibited her art in Johannesburg, Pretoria, the Vaal Triangle and Cape Town.

To register or apply please contact Hope on 021 465 7895 or

More information about VANSA membership