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The Green Net 2023 Biodiversity Calendar

Count down the days – The Green Net 2023 Biodiversity Calendar is on it’s way!

The Green Net 2023 Biodiversity Calendar:

Count down the days – The Green Net 2023 Biodiversity Calendar is on its way!
It is no wonder that many consider KwaZulu-Natal to be the most beautiful holiday destination in South Africa. Blooming with colour all year round, with the wonderful warm Indian Ocean on its shores and wildlife inhabitating the coastal scarp forests, it makes sense that eco-tourism thrives in this province.

KZN is built up of 9 different biomes and is home to many varieties of flora. While it boasts indigenous trees that are hundreds of years old, it is unfortunately also home to alien invasive species that are detrimental to the well-being of our biodiversity. And so the importance of attaining enviromental awareness and sustainability is becoming greater as the days pass.

The Green Net has created a biodiversity calendar as an initiative to raise awareness of these species – both indigenous and alien. The calender features indigenous gems of KZN for the month they are in bloom and information containing the benefits of each plant. It also features two alien invasive species for each month that must be removed. There will also be other useful information such as the holidays throughout the year, and the moon phases for 2023.

One of the many enviromental challenges being faced in KZN is the eccessive growth of alien invasive plants (AIPs). These plant species are not endemic to our country and cause damage to the natural enviroment. It is up to us, as citizens and communities of our blessed province, to ensure the natural enviroment is protected and conservation is prioritized!

Pre-order your biodiversity calendar today by contacting Joan Gallagher on +27 83 266 7953 or email joangallagher18.jg@gmail.com

Another Green Net initiative.
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Whale – Hello There, Keepers of our Oceans.

Whale – Hello There, Keepers of our Oceans.


Whale – Hello There, Keepers of our Oceans.
The oldest living mammals.
Megaptera novaeangliae – also known as The Humpback Whale – is most commonly seen in the Indian ocean off the coast of KZN. They are usually spotted in the winter months (June-August). These magnificent mammals have been in existence for as long as 30 million years and can certainly teach us a thing or two about the evolution of this planet.

Humpback Whales are a species of Baleen whale and their average life span is generally between 40-100 years.
Adults reach a full-grown length of 14-17 metres as they mature. Sexual maturity occurs for the females at the age of 5, while males mature at age 7.
Male humpbacks are slightly smaller than females, weighing an estimated 27 tons. The females will reach a weight of up to 35 tons. The gestation period for the females is around 11.5 months, and the mother will continue to nurse her calf for a further 6-10 months. Only one calf is born per mother every 1-3 years.

Although there is a lot we don’t know or understand about whales and their role in our ocean, scientists have dedicated years to understanding the importance of whales, their role in the planetary evolution and how humans influence their survival, and that of our beloved Earth.

Whale ….
Just how important are they for all life on Earth?

The life cycle of a humpback whale is very important to all contributes to all life in the ocean and on land. Their staple diet consists of Euphausiids, known as shrimp/krill and they also ingest small fish. Once enough food has been consumed, the whale excretes their digested food waste back into the ocean.
One might think: ” Oh goodness! What a large mammal! How gross.!!…..”.
However, next to fungi, whale excretion is one of the most required forms of organic matter needed to keep the planet and all its living forms, alive.

Not only is whale excretion an important aspect, but the whales’ diving between the surface and deep seas, feeding activity and migratory routes play a huge role in sequestering Carbon Dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. On average, a Humpback whale can sequester up to 30 tons of CO2 in its life. And when the whale reaches the end of its life span, it takes all that carbon with it to the ocean floor.

The way in which whales live their life results directly in the creation of oxygen that is essential to most life forms on Earth.
Nutrients, pumped through the ocean by the whales, increases the population of Phytoplankton in the ocean. Phytoplankton is known to sequester between 30-50 billion metric tons of CO2 as they photosynthesize. As they capture CO2, these microscopic plants produce up to 70% of the oxygen on Earth.

However, seismic blasting is devastating the Plankton populations across our oceans.

Phytoplankton is the base of several aquatic food webs. In a balanced ecosystem, they provide food for a wide range of sea creatures.

Images sourced from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

We need to Save our Seas…

One of the biggest challenges being faced by whales is plastic pollution and sesimic blasting.
Humpbacks have what are known as ‘baleen plates’-grooves inside the mouth that allow for substantial expansion. This allows large amounts of water and food to be taken in, as well as plastics that are present in the water.
Because plastic cannot be digested, it sits in the whale’s stomach and tricks it into thinking it is full. It cannot eat anymore, and soon enough the whale begins to starve, eventually starving to death.

There have been multiple recorded instances of whales having died from starvation. Upon inspection, huge quantities of plastic were found stuck in the stomachs of deceased whales. One instance recorded a Sperm-whale with approximately 6kg of plastic lodged inside its stomach.

The other risk that the whale populations face, is the impact of seismic blasting. This human activity is becoming devastating to oceanic life, as the underwater blasts affect the echo-location of ocean mammals. These blasts cause hearing loss, disturb feeding and breeding behaviours, and disturb the communication between individual whales and dolphins. The impacts of this cause whales and dolphins to beach themselves and die.

In May of 2022, a whale carcass washed up on the shore of St Mikes Beach, on the lower south coast of KZN. A few weeks later, another whale had washed up on Shelly beach, alive. It was soon assisted back into the waters.

It is important that we learn to embrace and appreciate the life of all oceanic species, just as much as we should embrace and appreciate all the living forms on land. If we do not take into account our impact on the environment, we soon will no longer have a world to live in, or on.


The Green Net website;
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Images sourced from:
Getaway Magazine
North Coast Courier
News24.
Microscope Master
SciTechDaily

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The Mighty uMzimkhulu – A Green Net Adventure.

Aerial view of the uMzimkhulu River

The Mighty uMzimkhulu – A Green Net Adventure.

The Mighty uMzimkhulu – A Green Net Adventure :

Chapter 4: Our position regarding future developments on the uMzimkhulu River.

We believe the uMzimkhulu river was aptly called “the Mighty uMzimkhulu”.

It is one of the last free-flowing rivers in South Africa, with similar ecological value to the Okavango. It is home to many species of fish and other marine animals, as well as birds. It directly supports the sardine run and the Marine Protected Areas of Protea Banks and Aliwal Shoal. It has great historical and cultural value. This adds to its community value and tourism appeal (the boat that recently emerged from the depths of the riverbed is a case in point).

The Green Net has undertaken various activities to help look after our natural water resources. Ranging from beach clean-ups and the removal of plastic waste and AIPs (alien invasive plants) from a section of the Mbango River. The creation of “Stella the Starfish”, a giant bin to enable easy and effective waste collection on beaches. Eco-Brick projects, including the construction of an Eco-Brick bench. (located at the Sea Park Catholic Church, Our Lady of Fatima). And public awareness raising meetings and a petition opposing proposed offshore drilling

As residents, we are aware of many shortcomings in Ugu’s recent management of our water resources. We are often without water for any of a variety of reasons. This includes leaking pipes, broken valves, saline intrusion and politically motivated sabotage. As a result, raw sewage often ends up in lagoons and rivers, endangering human and marine health. These infrastructural flaws have a significant and negative impact on health levels, the natural environment and tourism, and thus hamper our local economy on many levels.

The river also provides the majority of much-needed water for drinking, sanitation and irrigation for many residents from Hibberdene to Ramsgate. The system is already under strain and the demand for water will inevitably keep growing as our population does.

The Green Net is aware that a number of ill-advised activities have taken place on the uMzimkhulu over the years. Various parties have been responsible for the damage done. We as ratepayers and residents, would like to do whatever we can to ensure that future spending is better informed by engaging with all interested parties. Including the municipality, residents’ associations, conservationists and technical experts, to explore our options going forward.

We would like to see:

  • More open, honest, representative and collaborative discussions of this nature.
  • Rehabilitative measures by parties who have damaged the river’s banks, bed or flow.
  • The most constructive possible use of available finances – investment in socially and environmentally sustainable technology and job programmes; more local institutional and business support for projects to clean rivers and restore natural flows (e.g., Mbango and Ifafa rivers); and avoiding divisive and wasteful lawsuits.
  • World-class technological solutions that can provide the most sustainable possible relationship with water to ensure a healthy and prosperous South Coast for future generations.

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Pictures sourced from Google**

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On The Block : Arbour Week

Port Shepstone Lighthouse at the Block

On the Block: Arbour week

On the Block, Arbour week: In celebration of National Arbour week, The Green Net has decided to clean up and beautify the landmark area at the entrance to Port Shepstone, known as The Block, a popular fishing and family recreational area in commemoration of Heritage month and our Mighty Green Groves.

NOUN
arbour (noun)
a shady garden alcove with sides and a roof formed by trees or climbing plants trained over a wooden framework.

Synonyms:
bower, alcove, grotto, recess, pergola, gazebo, summer house, shady place, shelter, hideaway

This much-loved spot is well known in fishing circles, and most visitors are aware of the fantastic location just under the little black and white checker-board lighthouse that immediately catches the eye as one crosses over the mighty Umzimkulu RiverThe Green Net is looking forward to supplementing the powerful and positive strides made by Ray Nkonyeni Municipality, who with support from local business and other interested parties, including the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), have redeveloped the basic infrastructure at The Block

Arbour week is an annual occurrence, usually starting at the beginning of September. This initiative was started by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), as a campaign to highlight the country’s Champion trees, which feature some of the oldest, largest and most culturally significant. Among these are the Sophia Town Oak Tree and the Sagole Baobab Tree in Limpopo, which are part of our heritage.  As September is Heritage month in our majestic country, what better way to bring communities together to honour our heritage and enjoy the magnificence of our natural beauty than by planting indigenous trees and plants as a practical and symbolic gesture of sustainable environmental management.

Greening refers to an integrated approach to the planting, care and management of all vegetation in urban and rural areas, to secure multiple benefits for communities

The Green Net have thought of creating an avenue of corals and other trees along the top sea-side pavement as well as bringing in lots of Spekboom, aloes and even rose-scented geranium.  

Spekboom is an amazing plant. It can take root and regrow, just from simple cuttings from already existing trees. It can quickly reform the soil because it continuously sheds a lot of leaves, which help to build up soil organic carbon,” explains ecologist Anthony Mills,

Anthony Mills, has published extensively on the sub-tropical thicket ecosystem of South Africa, one of the country’s lesser-known plant biomes

“We are running out of time for climate and biodiversity action, and large-scale opportunities like thicket restoration in South Africa must be urgently explored,” says Tim Christophersen, head of UN Environment’s Freshwater, Land and Climate Branch, and Chair of the Global Partnership on Forest and Landscape Restoration.

“We would like to support the Government of South Africa and other partners, like Living Lands and Commonland, to realize the potential of the Eastern Cape thicket restoration, as we move into the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021–2030.”

And a considered optional extra, could be an EcoBrick bench.
The Green Net, having created a “serenity garden” at their local Catholic church, which features the first EcoBrick bench in KZN (made up from 500l of single-use plastic waste captured and turned into something useful).
Click here for more info.

The Green Net encourages the private sector, governmental and non-governmental organisations, as well as the public to be involved in the “Greening” of our local communities and areas.  Our environmental organisation intends to dedicate 2 days to clean-up and green-up a section of The Block, depending on budget and sponsorship.  Thereafter, there will be follow-ups for ensuring the tidying, watering, and weeding of the Block for 4 months (until the end of 2021).

Share with your family, friends and community groups.  Everyone is welcome to participate by cleaning and greening, and of course donations of plants, compost and cash will help us do more.
Visit our “Back-a-Buddy” page to share donations.

Watch this Space for more!

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Driving Force for Change Youth Challenge 2021

Driving Force for Change Youth Challenge

Driving Force for Change Youth Challenge 2021

The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment and the PAGE Programme (Partnership for Action on Green Economy) , in collaboration with a number of partners, has launched the 2021 Driving Force for Change Youth Challenge II call for proposals. This creates an opportunity for young entrepreneurs and green innovators to further develop their early-stage entrepreneurship skills and competencies. Winners will be provided access to high-quality technical assistance and business management operations training.

In 2020, The Minister for the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Ms Barbara Creecy, launched the 2020 DRIVING FORCE FOR CHANGE (DFC) CHALLANGE. This was as a means of addressing the youth unemployment and to provide support to any and all Green entrepreneurs.

About the Challenge:

“The 2021 Driving Force for Change II Youth Challenge creates an opportunity for young entrepreneurs and green innovators to further develop their early-stage entrepreneurship skills and competencies so that South Africa can further develop its green economy and create decent jobs for youth.”

Criteria:

  • Green entrepreneurs between 18 and 34 years
  • Company registered and operational between 1 and 42 months.
  • South African citizen or residing in SA with a permanent residence permit.
  • Successful participants from the 2020 DFC pilot initiative and other public-sector coordinated initiatives in the past 3 years who were awarded prizes and/or technical support are not eligible.
  • Applications from women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs living with disabilities are strongly encouraged

Deadline:

15 September 2021

For More information on this initiative , go to the : Driving Force for Change II Page

The Green Net is a proud promoter of this initiative and encourages all Green Entrepreneurs, Great or Small to participate to make their ultimate future Vision come true!


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A Journey across the South African coastline

Damien Honneysett and Damien Laird walking the South African coastline

Creating Awareness through Walking the South African coastline

Walking the South African coastline : The Green Net welcomed with very warm hearts two inspiring individuals as they visited our South Coast area on Wednesday 18 August.

Damian Honneysett and Damien Laird embarked on an epic journey walking the South African coastline. Covering approximately 3200km with the set intention of promoting, encouraging, and creating an awareness of the Environmental interconnectedness of ‘us’ and our spaces. They are showing just how much we are influencing and impacting conservation along our shores via all media platforms.

Walking to make a difference, sharing smiles, positivity and happiness to Reignite Hope in our wonderful country and with all who follow them on their journey, these two profound gentleman have dedicated themselves to serving their purpose in making a difference in this world.

Educating society on the importance of taking care of our Mother Earth and all the magnificence and abundance which surrounds us, has become extremely vital, and the opportunities that are present for each and everyone to make a real sustainable difference right now; from picking up a piece of litter, to sharing seeds of plants and joy in any way that you can, is going to promote the true prosperity of our wonderful nation and Her people.

We are so honoured to have had the opportunity of catching up with these young men and hearing the stories of their travels thus far, and Applaud them for their commitment and dedication.

The Green Net, an organisation dedicated to the preservation of our Environment and Heritage, including the History and Lifestyle found in the lower south coast of KwaZulu-Natal, a true Paradise and best kept secret!
Based in Port Shepstone, the Green Net focuses on community driven projects and upliftment of the local communities and teaches environmentally sustainable practices that include waste management, food propagation and much more, to ensure that sustainability can be achieved by all who live here.

To support the Green Net’s local gardening projects, see the link below to our ‘Back-a-buddy fundraising campaign that was started in honour of Mandela Day, 2021. The Green Net has been gifted the use of gardens at the local Catholic church – Our Lady Fatima.

https://www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/project/tgn-gardens.

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