Local not always lekker
Kowie River tales
As a Kowie Catchment Campaign founding member, I was delighted to attend the launch of Jacklyn Cock’s Writing the Ancestral River: A Biography of the Kowie, this week. How privileged we are to have someone hold a mirror up to the natural, cultural and political history of this important catchment- an integral part of our landscape for millennia. Not that the book is a comfortable read.
As noted in the press release, the iqoyi runs through a formative meeting ground of people who have shaped our country’s history. And Cock, prompted by her personal historical connections to this landscape, traces its history, raising questions about colonialism, capitalism, ‘development’ (including the Port Alfred marina) and ecology. She asks us to consider the connections between social and environmental injustice. It’s a mustread for those who want to ensure the survival of the river and of our souls.
Alien invasives on the commonage
Environmentally concerned dog-walker Don Hendry notes the alarming increase in infestation of invasive alien plants (IAPS) in areas previously cleared by Albany Working for Water, various environmental groups and by sponsored Interactors (“junior Rotarians”) from local schools. on the Southern Commonage above Grey Dam.
Left unattended, these infestations of mainly black wattle (Acacia mearnsii) and longleaved wattle (Acacia longifolia) will again take over large tracts of the commonage, an important constituent of the Oldenburgia Conservancy. The good news is that Albany WFW is back in action this month, and the Southern Commonage is on their list of areas to be cleared. In the meantime, however, Don is appealing to all users of the conservancy to uproot any IAPS they see. Larger organisations could organise groups to remove IAPS in a coordinated way, using tree poppers for larger saplings.
Avoid slashing, as it often results in re-shooting. You can borrow tree poppers from WESSA, via the RU Botany Department [contact: Barry Hartley, 046 603 8597].
Local not so lekker
For many local nature lovers, the Great Fish River Reserve is one of the best-kept secrets of the Eastern Cape.
The reserve is a favourite haunt for lovers of the Eastern Cape bush and the fauna that it supports. Within easy reach from Grahamstown, the reserve gates are a 40-minute drive on the R67 to Fort Beaufort.
However, loyal supporters of the reserve are shocked at ECPTA’S latest tariff increases for a game drive visit – at R90 or R115 pp, depending on the timing of the visit, plus a conservation fee of R22 pp a day trip for two adults now costs either R224 or R274 (half-price for kids). We would like to ask ECPTA to consider a stepped tariff, a la Sanparks, that will make the reserve more affordable to its local supporters. More info, phone the GFRR Office at 087 286 6545.
Trash isles campaign
The anti-single-use-plastics campaign is gaining momentum, and so it should. As you read this, a rubbish truck full of plastic is making its way into the oceans every minute. There is now so much plastic garbage that an area cumulatively the size of France has formed in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Hawaii. In an innovative global anti-plastics initiative, Ladbible has teamed up with the Plastic Oceans Foundation to take this country-sized trash patch and turn it into the world’s 196th nation – named the Trash Isles.
Once they met the criteria to become a country (their currency is ‘Debris’), they ecruited citizens online, and on World Oceans Day (8 June) they submitted a Declaration of Independence to the United Nations to seek recognition of the Trash Isles as an official country.
In part due to the campaign’s success, the issue has become a major discussion point around the world, with 193 countries at the most recent UN conference pledging to tackle the global crisis of plastic in the oceans. The campaign recently won two prestigious Grand Prix awards at the Cannes Lions Festival. For a two-minute video clip go to https://youtu.be/ u9ne9vnz7fs