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Inspiration


This is growing list of inspiring people and projects from Cape Town and beyond. Please enjoy and be sure to email us with anything else you feel would add to this collection.

Environmental activism and resistance by Seed Bibliteek

Resistance is Fertile

Cape Town, South Africa

Seed biblioteek works on "Reconnecting seed with story, towards resilience & sovereignty. Integral to food systems, seed is our land, heritage & future." Patent laws that colonise local seed banks and seed trade to 'protect' the GMO industry endanger the livelihoods of small scale farmers. Food security is about access to food that food sovereignty provides, not excess food that industrial farming produces. Industrial farming produces excess food, but does not improve food security as it creates financial and legal barriers to food and therefore decreases food security and sovereignty. 


BUT...

What is the importance of seed and seed banks for the persistance of indigenous vegetation and the ecosystems they support? Help us collect seeds and cuttings from indigenous plants in your garden by starting a home nursery or seed bank of your own.

Seed banks at Navdanya Biodiversity Farm by Vandana Shiva

Traditional Farming, Biodiversity and Sustainable Living

Uttarakhand, India

Vandana Shiva is an inspiring environmental activist from India who talks out clearly and confidently against GMOs, nuclear energy and industrial farming.

BUT...

What kind of support can South African's provide to our environmental activists so that they can grow into the shoes of the likes of Vandana Shiva? What role will seedbanks play in the future of food security in South Africa?

Iingcungcu sunbird gardens by Bongani Mnisi and Anton Pauw

Stepping Stones - Through Fragmented Environments

Muizenberg area, Cape Town

Iingcungcu project has successfully developed sunbirds gardens at a number of schools in Cape Town, while integrating the ecology of the gardens into the learnings of the students at each school.

BUT...

How do we extend the success of these gardens so that we can reach out to the wider public? Communitree is trying this out in Rosebank by planting a sunbird gardens in public spaces around the suburb. Visit the Rosebank section of the website to see more.

Kenyan conservation fund-raising by Michael Werikhe

Saving the world's wildlife is not just 'a white person thing'

Mombasa, Kenya

Michael Werikhe was very successful and fund-raising and raising awareness. What can we learn from Michael Werikhe's fund-raising projects? It is important for all of us to build better relationships with our environment. Michael Werikhe is an example of an alternative to the usual pale face of conservation.

BUT...

How do people with education and resource privilidge work together with people with little privilidge without repoducing oppressive power imbalances? What does a progressive organsiation look like and how does it operate to bring environmental issues to every type of home in a relevant, meaningful and respectful way?

Paradise Park by Friends of Paradise Park

See their Instagram and Facebook

Newlands, Cape Town

This is a beautiful river-side park along the Liesbeek River in Cape Town created and maintained by a residents' organisation in the area.

BUT...

How do we create beautiful and ecologically healthy spaces like these in other areas? Are these spaces possible in other residential areas?

Philippi Horticultural Area Food and Farming Campaign

Victory for the PHA Food and Farming campaign

Philippi, Cape Town

The PHA food and farming campaign has struggled for years and managed to fend of development in an agriculturally and ecologically significant place. Much campaigning work is still needed, but at the same time emerging small scale farmers are working on how to make their farm financially and ecologically sustainable.

BUT...

What does it mean to have secure land ownership if the land itself and the environmental systems around it are being degraded by the property development mafia of Cape Town. Is there such as thing as permanent land and food security? What kind of law and governance would ensure this?

Herbanisation by Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation

Herbanisation

Seawinds, Cape Town

Herbanisation creates medicinal indigenous gardens to serve the local medicinal needs of residents while taking pressure of the plant resources that are harvested from biodiversity reserves in Cape Town. This project thinks of the needs of people at the same time as considering the limits of our environmental systems.

BUT...

Despite winning numerous awards, this project is currently without funding. How do we ensure that great projects like these persist?

Wild Law by Cormac Cullinan

Wild Law: a manifesto for earth justice

In this book Cormac Cullinan proposes "recognizing natural communities and ecosystems as legal persons with legal rights. The book explains the concept of wild law, that is, human laws that are consistent with earth jurisprudence. Wild law is a law made by people to regulate human behaviour that privileges maintaining the integrity and functioning of the whole Earth community in the long term, over the interests of any species (including humans) at a particular time. Earth jurisprudence is a philosophy of law and human governance that is based on the idea that humans are only one part of a wider community of beings and that the welfare of each member of that community is dependent on the welfare of the Earth as a whole.

Street Scapes by Khulisa Social

Growing better lives

District Six, Cape Town

Street scapes gives people social support and resources to help themselves off the streets, with the long term aim of helping people find financial independence.

BUT...

Building up a small business requires building up a network of customers that is very place-specific. Will people in poverty ever live in peace without secure land tenure or ownership?

Forest Restoration by Eden

How an African Village is Using Trees to Save Lives

Madagascar

The appreciation of human dependency on nature is wonderful: Take care of the forest or "you will throw your spear for hunting and all you will hit is a rock".  The scale of tree planting is also inspiring, and goes to show what can be done when resources are made available for restoration of ecology that supports our lives.

BUT...

There is a lot we should question here. We are listening to internationally funded programmes that are sold by the kind of rhetoric that is vague about what is causing the problem, putting forward a single man as the hero that is saving villagers from their own ways. This is a very narrow account of all the causes of deforestation. National logging governance and local practices are part of the system that is causing deforestation, but so is the vulnerability created by opening up of local markets to international markets, and first world over-consumption patterns. Funding is often tied to agreements that force governments to stay open to pernicious international trade or hand over local land ownership to international organisations, which is why some describe these reforestation projects as recolonisation of Africa.  Does carbon trading amount to a way for the wealthy to maintain an excessive lifestyle without feeling guilty about the pain it causes, and without having to change their own behaviour? What about local inequality exacerbated by the reforestation project?

Princess Vlei Forum

Imagine Princess Vlei

Grassy Park, Cape Town

An inspiring campaign that successfully defended Princess Vlei from another shopping mall development. A large group of people from a diverse cross-section of society banded together to defend this space that has significant cultural, spiritual and ecological value to many Capetonians.

BUT...

Protesting is exhausting. What do we do to get to a position where capitalist colonisation is on its back-foot, where the poor and the environment are strategically and politically well-placed for the long term, rather than the poor and the environment having to reactively fight to defend themselves?

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