Lo­cal not al­ways lekker

Grocott's Mail - - OUTSIDE - Jenny Gon

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

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