Category Archives: community

Bar stools and plastic bags

Artists for Humanity (AFH), with a mission “to bridge economic, racial and social divisions stool made from plasic bagsby providing underserved youth with the keys to self-sufficiency through paid employment in the arts”, has designed bar stools using recycled plastic carrier bags.

GreenMuze tells us that each stool is made from 200 plastic bags that are melted into plastic “lumber” and created by inner city youth in the USA. Design by Jamison Sellers, from AFM.

Building with plasic bottles

exterior plastic bottles schoolVolunteers built a school in San Pablo in the Philippines  out of thousands of recycled plastic bottles.

The bottles were filled with liquefied adobe and steel bars and then cemented into place. interior plastic bottle schoolThe result is claimed to be three times stronger than concrete.

Read more about it at GreenMuze . Hugitforward has more information here about the how, why and where of bottle schools, and more  useful information here.

Clean water harvested from fog

In a mountainous area of South Africa’s Limpopo Province, water is harvested from fog-bearing winds.

The Tshiavha Primary School, with the aid of Liesel Dyson and researchers fromharvest-water-from-fog the University of Pretoria and the University of South Africa, has built a six-metre high net that traps 2,500 litres of water per day.  Tshiavha’s elevation faces the fog-bearing winds off the Indian Ocean which is several hundred kilometres away.

Three six-metre-high wooden poles are set up nine metres apart, and water drops are caught by a double layer of 30 percent shade cloth draped over steel cables that are stretched horizontally between the poles.  The water is collected in a gutter than runs along the bottom of the shade cloth and this channels the water into a storage tank.  Read more about it here.

Big City Buzz – urban bee-keeping in Paris

bees in parisSomething that I had not yet contemplated  (via Treehugger and the BBC ).

Paris has been a pesticide-free zone for 10 years.  There are over 400 bee hives in the city.

It seems that these urban bees are very happy indeed. They have a far lower death-rate (3 – 5%) than their country cousins (30 – 40%).  Their honey yield is almost double.  Biodiversity also has a role to play – urban honey made in Paris contained more than 250 different pollens. Honey from the French countryside can contain as few as 15 or 20 pollens.  Sweet stuff …

It’s Arbour Day – plant a tree!

Spring fever? 2010’s Tree of the Year is the Fever Tree (Acacia Xanthophloea). yellow fever tree It grows near stagnant water where malaria mosquitoes breed – hence the name.  Fever trees occur in low-lying swampy areas, margins of lakes and pans and along river banks. They attract a lot of bird species which make their nests in them, especially weavers. Fever trees grow at a phenomenal rate making it a favourite choice. Due to the invasive root system it should not be planted near buildings or paving.”

Yellow fever tree foliageYou’ll find a list of Trees of the Year both past and future (1975 to 2020)  on this page on Forestry South Africa’s website and further info on the tree itself on this page.

The Joburg website has a page with all the activities taking place over Arbour Week in Johannesburg and  more rather interesting information too. Right. Sun-hat on. Spade in hand.  Heading for the garden.

Happy Spring Day to all in the Southern Hemisphere!