Biodiversity

Being aware that we’re in an era of the “Sixth Extinction” let’s pay tribute to this the 25th annual International Day of Biodiversity.  The Western Cape region is known as a hotspot for biodiversity particularly for it’s fynbos ecosystem.  No better way to describe it’s rich heritage is Cape Nature’s latest biodiversity report in this Vimeo link below.

Earth Day

Commit to becoming a Garbage Warrior!

According to Earthday network – “This year’s Earth Day is dedicated to providing the information and inspiration needed to eventually end plastic pollution, according to Earth Day Network.”

“Plastic pollution is now an ever-present challenge. We can see plastics floating in our rivers, ocean and lagoons, littering our landscapes and affecting our health and the future of billions of children and youth. We have all contributed to this problem –- mostly unknowingly,” Valeria Merino, vice president of Global Earth Day at Earth Day Network, said in a statement.

It’s all so familiar – the scenes below were recently taken on what used to be a pristine beach.

What if there was a dead simple way to turn your waste into green construction material and keep it out of our ocean and landfills?

Meet the EcoBrick

Photo copyright Katherine Smith

A dynamic team in Cape Town head up -www.EcoBrickExchange.org

“We do this by using EcoBricks – plastic waste compressed into PET-bottles – a highly insulating building material that is water-, fire- and even bullet-proof.

Our programmes empower individuals to address the shortage of quality education facilities, implement sustainable waste management systems and raise environmental awareness.’

Everybody should be participating and adding encouragment to such projects.

https://www.aquarium.co.za/blog/entry/how-to-make-ecobricks-reducing-waste-at-home

As well it is heartening to see that similar projects are happening worldwide / see the ‘OceanEcoBrick’ link below.

https://www.ecobricks.org/oceanecobrick

Rise up everybody and help stem the tide of plastic pollution!

 

The penguins at Boulders beach

The charismatic African penguins living in my  neighbourhood are back in the news. A notice was put out last month by the South African National Parks board that a strain of avian influenza virus (H5N8 strain) has been detected in the colony at Boulders Beach.   So far penguin eighteen deaths have been noted.  The state veterinarians are working to contain the outbreak.  Let’s hope they succeed.

WPC: Tour Guide – Let’s find the penguins

Playing tour guide, my first stop is this vantage point overlooking the splendid vista of False Bay.  Simon’s Town lays at the foothills, and way in the distance on the opposite side is Cape Hangklip.  The small town bustles with a distinct naval ‘air’ having been established as a naval base by the British in 1799 and where today the SA Navy is stationed.  We’ll pass through it, as we’re on our way to visit Boulders to see the African penguin colony.

The Boulders area is dotted with impressively sculpted granite rocks sheltering discreetly placed sandy coves.  Here a colony of African penguin (Spheniscus demersus) have found a comfortable nesting area.   From just two breeding pairs in 1982 the population numbers have increased to about 2200 in recent years.

We will venture down the boardwalk to see the main nursery.

As you will note the houses are quite nearby – this is as close to an ‘urban’ colony as can be imagined.  The area is fenced off, but often the penguins stray beyond the boundaries and care must be taken driving or parking to check if all is clear.

Sadly the African penguin is listed in the Red Data Book as an endangered species, and the birds are in considerably more trouble than rhinos.   With the decline in shoal fish such as pilchards and anchovy they could be heading for extinction in the not too distant future.

To end the tour, a nod to the eminent granite Rock Stars, all of 540 million year old. A pathway follows along the coast for a nice leisurely stroll and swim to top off the experience.

WPC: Tour Guide