Barriers to Change

Educating environmental change

Everyone recycles, right? Everyone saves water. Everyone catches public transport. Everyone grows their own food and buys their clothes and furniture from second-hand stores. Everyone is doing sustainability. Wouldn’t it be lovely if everyone was. Alas…everyone isn’t. Something separates the doers from the don’ts.  What inspires some people doesn’t inspire others. And where some people find open doors to change, others find barriers. So what is it that differentiates people who adopt sustainable behaviours from those who don’t? There are countless ways to answer that question, many different frameworks and theories for explaining human behaviour. According to Doug McKenzie-Mohr and… read more

Questions Raised By Sandy

Devastation of Hurricane Sandy

Obviously, Hurricane Sandy has, and continues, to wreak havoc on the eastern U.S. coastline, and it cannot be denied it is a big storm. Climate scientists, along with hurricane researchers, in their endeavors to learn more about the relationship between climate and hurricanes, have begun to ask critical questions about the impact of climate change. The first step though has been to acknowledge whether climate change has an impact on the size of the storm, or if it was just a naturally occurring large storm. The science is still out on that question (apparently), but there are scientists who have… read more

Disposing of E-Waste

Disposing of e-waste

The advancement of digital technologies has increased the amount of the e-waste that we have started generating. The prime reason for this is the continuous advancements that keep moving in the digital sector which makes the previously manufactured products obsolete. These obsolete products are then either scrapped for dump sites, or are sent to developing countries, where they are used for a little more time and then scrapped until a newer technology further arrives. The e-waste generated by us comprises of both toxic as well as non toxic materials. While products like processors, PCBs, silicon chips etc are non toxic… read more

Solar Energy Zones

Renewable energy development zones

The Western United States is the site of an innovative solution to avoiding the bureaucratic red-tape which frequently surrounds renewable energy development, along with escalating the installation of renewable energy systems. Seventeen solar-energy zones, which cover about 285,000 acres of public lands in six western states, have been set aside as “priority areas” for commercial-scale solar development. These zones will allow approval of solar development without the current case-by-case analysis, and provide already-installed energy transmission lines to connect the solar cells to the energy grid. Additionally, 19 million acres will be available as “variance” areas where the federal government would… read more

Government Indifference

chemicals-in-ocean

Government institutions are meant to be at the forefront in the fight to protect the environment from attack. This means that government is expected to at least refrain from activity which would be seen and proven to have adverse effects on environmental media. When government fails to do so, this constitutes a grave injustice. A prime example is a situation that has ensued in the United States. A host of environmental groups in the United States have filed a lawsuit against the government asserting that it has failed to regulate military drills involving the sinking of old ships in the… read more

The Problem With Plastic

Polluting Plastic Bags

Shopping for groceries at the supermarket is an inescapable part of our lives, some of us do it on a daily basis, some weekly and some monthly. Regardless of which store and in which country, what is guaranteed is that if you buy something you will get a plastic bag to carry it in. In Swaziland, plastic bags at till checkpoints are free of charge to customers, unlike in South Africa where plastic bags are sold to customers for a small fee, in part to encourage customers to either purchase durable reusable grocery bags, or to use plastic bags more than… read more

Silence Broken on Climate

Climate change

The last debate was a long shot to hear anything about climate change, but there were certain topics which would have allowed either candidate to at least bring the issue to the forefront. However, no such thing occurred, and for the first time in nearly 25 years, climate change has not been brought up in a presidential debate cycle. The third-party candidates have been discussing climate change though, but there has been little coverage of third-parties, unfortunately. Despite climate change not being directly addressed in the debates, there are clues to how either candidate would act on climate change and… read more

Environmental Records

President Obama's Environmental Record

While it is still too close to assume anything, including a President Obama victory in the November elections, it can be assumed the environmental policies established under the Obama administration will be continued and built upon in a second term. Unfortunately, progress on environmental policy has been difficult given the continual feud between the administration and the House of Representatives, but President Obama has utilized his authority to exercise executive powers to instigate the most sweeping attack on air pollution in U.S. history. He has imposed the first carbon-dioxide limits on new power plants, steered billions of federal dollars to… read more

Lake Malawi Threatened

lake-malawi-

Lake Malawi is home to a myriad of endemic fish species. It is a world renowned tourist destination largely due to its aquatic life which makes it a popular snorkelling and scuba diving site. So important is Lake Malawi to biodiversity conservation, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation declared it a world heritage site. The status of the lake as a heritage site and the biodiversity that it accommodates may be under threat. A long simmering dispute between Malawi and Tanzania over the sovereign claim over the lake is the source of the threat. The political intricacies of… read more

Keeping Arts & Crafts Alive

Swaziland's arts and crafts

Arts and crafts constitute the most popular tourist attraction in Swaziland. Tourists from lands near and far are a regular sighting at the many market places shopping for Swazi culture inspired souvenirs to take back home after their holiday is done. The traditional arts community relies heavily on the natural environment to create their art pieces. Many of these art pieces are made from raw materials found in nature such as trees, clay soil, animal hide, different types of grass, and varying types of stone. Like all manufacturers and producers that rely heavily on nature for their products, the art… read more