Yesterday was World Environment day and Hamish and I spent the morning doing our last beach clean up in Kommetjie.
We are no strangers to beach clean ups and if you’ve been following us for a while you will know that pre-covid we did as many as we could get to.
Hamish has grown up alongside the beach and aside from teaching him to admire and love the ocean and her beautiful creatures I also want to instill in him a responsibility to do his part to keep the beaches clean and protect the animals and sea life that relies on us not contaminating the environment.
Kommetjie Beach is most likely one of the cleanest beaches we have ever cleaned and yet you will still find plastic straws, lolly sticks, cigarette butts and chip packets among the sand and kelp
Normally we would use gloves to collect the dirt, but we know this beach and it seldom has dangerous items or filth so I was comfortable with us not using gloves. At other beaches, i will insist both Hamish and I are wearing gloves.
If you are new to a beach clean up, gloves are mostly provided as well as bags to collect the dirt in.
Yesterday, after our beach clean up we were gifted beautiful reusable glass water bottles from Consol.
Consol have an initiative to join and support several beach clean ups to show their commitment to natural, sustainable packaging. They are calling on you to be the change and change to a more sustainable lifestyle
By using more glass, we limit the amount of plastic that reaches our Oceans.
Did you know that in 30 years time we will have more plastic than fish in the ocean.
Knowing this and how much my son loves the ocean how can I not be part of the change?
“Oh we are living in a Material world and I am a material girl …” sang Madonna in the early 80’s
An era where computers were just being introduced in homes around South Africa, the ozone lazer was a hot topic and plastic items graced the shelves of every store.
More than 30 years after we understand the damage we have done to the Earth and now have very conscious steps we can each take to do our part in trying to restore the delicate state of our one and only Earth.
Becoming eco conscious
Whilst becoming entirely eco conscious over night may not be possible for many of us, there are certainly small steps we can each do to make a more positive impact on our environment and change our lifestyle.
And one of these steps is to look at what and how we gift to others.
Gifts of love
Without a doubt gifting plays a huge role in our lives.
In 365 days of a year I personally have 20 family birthdays, 2 anniversaries to remember and all the regular holidays like Valentine’s day, mothers day, father’s day, Easter and Christmas.
Not to mention wedding gifts, birthday gifts to parties my children or I are invited to, thank you gifts, bridal showers, baby showers, gender reveals, retirements, etc
With all these gifts we are buying and gifting throughout the year, how much have we added to the pile of unsustainable junk suffocating the Earth?
Are we mechanically just buying a gift to fit a budget ?
And have we diminished the value and love of a true heartfelt gift behind the latest trending items on a gift catalogue?
A change in gifting
Looking at the amount of gifts you give each year and asking yourself how many of them are sustainable, or truthfully given because the recipient honestly needed/wanted or would enjoy the gift, can help you to gift more smartly and with a more mindful sustainable mindset.
How to gift more mindfully
Some ways you can change your gifting habits to be more mindful are:-
Don’t gift at all ( I’m personally not sure that I am brave enough to ever not gift but the most eco conscious way to not add to clutter is not to gift)
Gift through a charity– many charities offer a service whereby you can make a donation in the name of the gift recipient. Some of these organisation’s offer a certificate or card to hand to the person on their special day.
Gift an experience –Instead of gifting yet another item to fill a shelf, why not gift an experience that the other person has always wanted. You get wonderful online vouchers for cooking classes, art classes, helicopter rides, etc
DIY – use your skills to make homemade gifts. Bake or make something. Homemade gifts often save you money and are genuinely heartfelt.
Second hand – If you are going to shop why not look at vintage stores, thrift shops or second hand stores for good quality gifts to give. Often the charities and organisation’s have their own shops and you get to give back to a worthy cause by supporting them.
Upcycle– while you are shopping in the second hand stores look for items you could add a coat of paint to or fix up with a little creativity to gift.
Regift – Yes! I said it. Regift that ugly necklace your husband bought or that pair of jeans you’ve never gotten into. If the item is in your cupboards and not being used there is a good possibility it can be used by someone else.
New– finally if all else fails and you must shop new try to shop local, sustainably and as mindfully as possible.
And as a final note, if you are still looking at options to gift less physical items why not gather your friends or relatives and each contribute to one big ticket item gift instead of each gifting several smaller, often unused items.
To put us all back in touch with nature, WWF South Africa has launched a restful playlist of the unique sounds and features of Africa’s natural heritage for enjoyment safely at home, while observing the ongoing Covid-19 lockdown.
The WWF playlist, titled ‘Bring Nature Inside’, captures the soundscapes of our beautiful natural world and features the sounds of projects and areas where WWF is actively working.
“We wanted to allow people to experience the richness of nature. With many of us feeling overwhelmed by the current state of the world and the unique disruptions we are facing, it is imperative for us to take care of our mental and emotional well-being. Nature provides the perfect ‘escape’ that we need during this time,” says Justin Smith, head of business development at WWF South Africa.
From the enchanting sounds of rhino translocations, to the soothing backdrop of a free-flowing river and the rhythmic sound of the Atlantic Ocean, each authentic track features immersive sounds with a description that brings together the beauty and significance of our natural resources,and showcases the work WWF is doing to help protect South Africa’s natural heritage.
Contribute by listening
“Fostering a connection with nature during these unsettling times is essential for our well-being and a reminder of the ways in which we can look after our environment, especially as the world searches for a new normal in how we live,” says Justin.
With its 10-hour long mix of different calming and inspirational tracks, the WWF SA soundscapes can be enjoyed in any setting; whether you are working, exercising, cooking, gardening or simply taking a break from your home desk.
For access to the WWF SA Soundscape Playlist please visit wwf.org.za or click on the below links:
The soundscapes will also be available on various streaming services including Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, Deezer, Google Play and Amazon.
A percentage of the streaming royalties will go to support WWF SA’s ongoing conservation work, at no cost to the platform user.
“We are excited to share soundscapes with our audiences. Distance does not mean disconnect, and we hope that with this platform we can help bring some solace and peace to people in these extraordinarily trying times. At the same time, we want to highlight that nature still matters; we must continue safeguarding it so that we can all enjoy it together again in the future. As an added benefit, every time a track is streamed, WWF will earn a modest amount of much-needed money to put towards its conservation efforts,” says Justin.
Finally found some of the limited edition Cadbury chocolate slabs ….
Many of you will remember the wonderful generosity shop by Cadbury last year, where our children exchanged new and pre loved toys for chocolate to assist vunerable children in South Africa.
Once again, in the spirit of generosity, Cadbury Dairy Milk is shining a light on South Africa’s orphaned and vulnerable children.
For a limited period, when you purchase one of five specially wrapped Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolates,depicting images of tots and learning, you help give the precious gift of childhood:- the gift of play by contributing towards R1-million worth of educational toy, books and games for orphaned and vulnerable children.
Cadbury’s initiative comes at a time when this generous nature is truly needed and Cadbury Dairy Milk is once again calling on all South Africans to help.
Our children are our nation’s most important and most neglected asset. We need to change this, and play is one of the most profound ways in which to do so.
Educo Solutions, the organisation that supplies free, accredited education to our country’s youth, has fast-tracked its digital services, launching Educo Academy in an attempt to counter the negative impact Covid-19 is having on the educational environment.
The online learning portal allows all Educo students to conduct their courses remotely and for free, helping them to continue progressing during lockdown.
Educo Academy won’t replace the existing learning centres situated in Alex Mall, Protea Glen Shopping Mall, Diepkloof Library and the newest addition in the Libridge Building, Braamfontein. It is, instead, an easy-to-access tool for students to keep learning whilst locked down, one that they will continue to use at their respective centres when they return to class.
The launch of Educo Academy means Educo is also not limiting its services to the physical learning centres in Gauteng.
“Since we announced Educo Academy last week on social media, we have had dozens of registration requests from potential students all over the country,” says Ayanda Makwanazi. “This bodes well for a mobile platform that aims to provide South Africa’s qualifying youth with much-needed opportunities to up-skill themselves through education, no matter where they live.”
“With Educo Academy, all a student needs is a device to connect to the site,” explains Ayanda Mankwanazi, Educo’s Head of Academics and Facilitation. “This innovation in remote learning opens up our services to the nation. Our existing students can continue their studies uninterrupted, and many more now have the opportunity to join our programme and better themselves.”
In addition to the Q&A function on Educo Academy, each student is assigned to a facilitator who offers support on WhatsApp, either to their group or on a one-on-one basis.
Educo Academy is a positive development that aims to alleviate the stress and uncertainty of these difficult and testing times. It is easy to use and, most importantly, the data is zero-rated, with Educo Solutions picking up all the data costs involved. For the thousands of students currently stuck at home, it offers enormous benefits and hope.
Educo Solutions began registering new students immediately after the launch of Educo Academy, and is encouraging all qualifying South Africans to register and apply for their new 3 -month Digital Business Skills Program.
The course covers a wide variety of skills including Microsoft office and business communication to, and very relevant right now, dealing with HIV and Pandemics in the workplace.
Students will receive a certificate of completion after their 3-month Digital Business Skills programme, as well as earning Unit Standard credits towards a 12 Month National Certificate should they wish to continue their studies.
With youth unemployment on the rise, South Africa’s younger generation are in desperate need of skills that set them apart and enable them to gain access to the labour market.
Educo Solutions is directly addressing the country’s educational and skills gap by providing free, quality NQF and SETA-accredited education to unemployed youth between the ages of 18 and 28. And with the launch of Educo Academy any qualifying individual can do this course from their mobile phone free of charge and reap the benefits.
On completion of a 12-month course contract focusing on relevant skills like end-user computing and business communication, these up-skilled graduates find themselves in an ideal position to enter the formal job market and apply for jobs like secretaries, data capturers, admin staff and customer service agents.
The premature closure of schools due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in South Africa has resulted in both challenges and opportunities, with many learners missing out on large pieces of work especially in term two. In an effort to support rural learners without access to television classes, computers or data, Kagiso Trust has partnered with the Limpopo Department of Education to provide radio lessons to our grade 12 learners. The scheduled lessons will commence via Capricorn FM radio from Monday 11 May 2020.
“Kagiso Trust has long believed that education is the key to overcoming poverty,” says the organisation’s CEO, Mankodi Moitse, “ Over the past 16 years we have created education programmes structured to have the highest impact and greatest sustainability. Our work in the Free State is testament to that.”
Radio lessons will be hosted on Capricorn FM,Sekhukhune FM and Tubatse FM from Monday to Sunday hourly.
The Limpopo MEC for Education Ms Polly Boshielosaid, “Crafted lessons will be offered by expert appointed subject teachers with an excellent track record in the subject that they offer. These are the teachers who recorded 80% and more pass rate in the subjects that they have been teaching since 2017. We believe that their expert content knowledge will benefit more than 80% of the current grade 12 learners in Limpopo.”
COO of Kagsio Trust, Themba Mola said, “Grade 12 learners have already lost more than 30 days since the lockdown coupled with the possibility of losing another month if the phase-in model announced by Minister becomes a 1stof June return. This model of mediating learning will strengthen teaching and learning in the absence of face to face conventional classes.”
Capricorn FM will focus on MST subjects (Mathematics, Sciences and Technologies), including Mathematics, Mathematical Literacy, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences and Agricultural Sciences. “These are the subjects that are highly enrolled and determine the standard and quality of education offered in Limpopo province.
Currently, the main subject of the five, that still poses a serious challenge in the province is Mathematics, whose performance is still below the threshold,” said Mola. “These are the subjects that are highly enrolled and determine the standard and quality of education offered in Limpopo province.
The other 7 non-MST subjects will be broadcast by the community radio stations in the both Sekhukhune East and South education districts. They include English FAL, Sepedi HL, Accounting, Business Studies, Economics, History and Geography.
Each live broadcast lesson will last for an hour per day during and after the lockdown period. The first 30 minutes is allocated to the teacher to mediate learning and the other 30 minutes will be reserved to the learners to interact with the teacher through questions or comments.
Content will largely cover term 1 and 2 scope and will be supplemented by face to face contact sessions after learners shall have returned back to school.
“In a province as large as Limpopo, radio is the perfect platform to reach most learners,” says Moitse. “ This is about inclusivity. It is about access to information. It is about gathering together around a radio like we once all did. This is the new normal. We call upon everyone to support the radio lessons and #KagisoRadioTeachers – local teachers, broadcasting across Limpopo, straight into the homes of learners.”
Capricorn FM willbroadcast lessons 5-6pm Monday to Friday on the Just Drive show.
And every Saturday and Sunday 9-10am on The Saturday Breakfast and The Sunday Restoration respectively.
Podcasts will be available on the station’s website and learners from other provinces can listen via livestreaming
For more information please visit the following stakeholder websites for schedule information on classes:
We are in week 3 of lock down, and as a mom with a 3 year old I’ve been encouraged by the beautiful community inciative around the world to keep our children inspired and encouraged.
One of those is the bear hunt.
What is a bear hunt ?
Children are encouraged to place a teddy bear in a window for other children to see and remain hopeful.
During self distancing and for those countries whose lock down still allows them to take daily walks, this is used to allow the kids to count the bears and read the beautiful messages the bears may be holding, eliminating the sense of loneliness and isolation in our children.
Who is the bear hunt for ?
The bear hunt was started for children during social isolation but anyone can place a teddy in the window.
Facebook is full of soft plushies, like Disney characters, that have been placed in the windows instead of bears.
We live in a complex that is not road facing nor do we have too many neighbours who can peep into our windows but we have put a bear in the window none the less.
Using the bears to teach community service
Hamish strongly believes that he is making other children happy by doing this and it’s a wonderful way to teach community service.
He may only be 3 years old, but with us as a family taking part in these seemingly ‘silly’ initiatives we are currently keeping him busy, sharing the message of hope, teaching him to have empathy for other children who are also bored and stuck inside and allowing him to do what he can to give back to his community.
Teaching our children to serve others is a valuable lesson.
Why teach community service to kids ?
Many parents share the goal of instilling a sense of community involvement, being kind and giving back within their children. It is never too early to start.
You can start to teach them these valuable lessons by :
Exposing your children to various causes. – Whilst there are many causes out there you will soon notice those that capture your children’s passions. It is important to remember that your child may support a different cause to you and will not be interested in every cause. Both of those are OK.
Discuss community involvement as a family. – Talk openly and honestly about the causes, initiatives and community involvement projects that you are interested in or that they could take part in.
Set an example. – Our children learn from our actions more than our words. If we are natural community helpers, they will automatically be inspired to find their own causes to join and exhibit a heart of giving.
So, whilst it may seem like just another hashtag and Instagram opportunity, let’s see the lessons behind this and how we as moms can use these to help our little ones become the best they can be.
One of the positive aspects to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic has been the sense of unity that have seen so many people standing together.
Some of the most memorable for me will be :
1. Fun mamma Rainbow kids craft club
I was inspired by the Italian children who placed pictures of rainbow to symbolize hope to those passing by, to start a group where our children could feel connected by joining in a group and all completing the same crafts or activities daily and then sharing them.
Another great initiative that I first saw on a New zealand site us the teddy in the window , which is the same concept of hope and unity as the rainbows.
Children are encouraged to go on a bear hunt and look out for the bears if the are walking or driving outside should they need to leave home for any reason. Or if you live in a complex for children to spot the bears in others windows.
5. Rainbow rocks
The rock painting group I belong to on Facebook, Cape Town rocks, started this awesome initiative to paint the rainbows on the rocks and hide them for others to find and spread a little hope this way.
Hamish and I spent a few days painting rainbows onto rocks but were not able to hide any before lockdown.
6. The time capsule project
Tomorow we make our family time capsule. As we are living through history right now, I thought it would be a great idea if we put together a time capsule and kept journals of this time.
I was not alone and the generous people at Long creations put together this FREE, easy to use guide for kids to use to add to their capsules.
7. Chalk your walk
This is another creative way of spreading messages of hope to your neighbours.
Using sidewalk chalk people are drawing rainbows and leaving positive messages on their driveways.
8. The many displays of neighbours looking out for each other
From notes in post boxes offering to shop for those who can’t to leaving toilet paper sanitizer and tin food for the refuse collectors.
People and businesses who have spare masks and gloves donating to hospitals.
Before lockdown we sent toys and games to a local children’s home to keep them busy and piles of books up an old age facility to help them get through the 21 days.
The feeling of community and unity is certainly shining through.
9.The beautiful way in which our destitute and vulnerable people of South Africa have been looked after.
One of my biggest fears were for those who found themselves destitute, on the street or vulnerable during this time and I find myself incredibly proud of South Africa for finding shelter and food in such a short time for the huge number needing it.
10. Clap for champions
All around the world there are various clap for champions inciative.
Even Prince William and Kate have recorded their beautiful children clapping to thank the selfless health workers and other essential staff.