Global environmental challenges
Green buildings, Planet Walkers and Getting Paid by Eskom
Kenyan blogger Juliana Rotich is the editor of Green Global Voices, which monitors citizen media in the developing world, and is a regular contributor to this page. Thomson Reuters is not responsible for the content – the views are the author’s alone.
Green buildings, a man walking the planet and a net metering law have been inspiring bloggers in South Africa in recent days.
Picture of Green Roof in the western cape South Africa, by Mark Turner on Flickr.
Rory of the Carbon Smart blog posts top ten reasons why we need green buildings
Buildings have a huge role to play in addressing environmental concerns. They contribute around 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions and the same proportion of waste; and since South Africa is in the top 20 list of worst offenders, the building industry in this country has a lot to be accountable for.
The Ethical co-op blog posts a video of John Francis – planetwalker.
John Francis walked and sailed around the Americas for 22 years, carrying a message of respect for the Earth. For 17 of those years, he did not speak. He earned an MA in environmental studies and a PhD in land resources during his monumental trek, and challenges us to go beyond our boundaries in this inspiring talk from TED.
The Urban Sprout blog highlights a new law being considered in the South African parliament. The law would allow consumers to sell energy to the public electricity utility company Eskom. Michael asks how would you like Eskom to pay you for a change?
If a private members bill being put before parliament very soon is successful, it will provide for the establishment of a feed-in tariff in South Africa.
A feed-in tariff allows people who are producing electricity (of an approved standard) from renewable sources to feed it into the grid and be paid for it. The bill suggests a tariff fixed for 15 to 25 years which may be up to 4 or 5 times the standard tariff.
This policy was adopted in Germany in law in 2003 and if you were to go there you could see the change the policy has made. It is hard to find a roof without a solar panel on it. This is because all of a sudden the economics of purchasing a solar panel change dramatically in its favour because you can guarantee a pay back on the cost of the installation. This means that businesses and private people can easily make a financial case for the installation and can easily get a loan for it.
The urban sprout blog also has an entertaining post with some (blog) self-deprecating humour about literally sprouting seeds and pulses. It includes a details how-to and links to more information about, well…sprouts!