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KZN Midlands Green Map South Africa

KZN Midlands (Hilton ) - KwaZulu Natal - South Africa - Africa & Middle East
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KZN Midlands Green Map South Africa
Karen Zunckel
Afrikaans, isiZulu
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Sustainable living in the misty Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal.

Statement of Purpose

In order to foster a sustainable future in the KZN Midlands, all those who are part of the complex system that makes up our society have a role to play. By involving individuals, civil society, businesses, and all levels of government in the implementation of an envisioned ‘green’ KZN Midlands, and by sharing knowledge about sustainable practices, we have before us a set of infinite possibilities that can chart the path towards a future that embraces sustainability in its broadest sense.

Local Language Overview

The KZN Midlands has become synonymous with a number of green initiatives: the Sustainable Living & Indigenous Plant (SLIP) fair in its second year; Pietermaritzburg is South Africa's sporting city, hosting the UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships and many other MTB, canoeing and trail running events; Restaurants that choose hormone free, additive and preservative free options and go out of their way to source the best local ingredients in order to maintain their high environmental and sustainable ethos; Midlands Foodies – an online directory for KZN Midlands foodies, restaurants, markets, artisanal, farmers, butchers, bakers, dairy, KZN food and more; the Dargle Local Living initiative which supports neighbours and friends in their creative endeavours; as well as a myriad of citizen science initiatives:
• African Conservation Trust’s (ACT) Gigabyte of Gardeners platform is capturing micro-farmers as part of their Conservation Agriculture Programme, which will bring together homestead gardeners, supporting networks and potential markets. It maps food garden locations, records grower details, crops planted and expected harvests. As cycling enthusiasts and the Eco-Rider Campaign, ACT’s MTB mapping exercise is already quite advanced, starting in Howick and Karkloof. ACT is a founder member of Sustainable Alternatives to Fracking and Exploration (SAFE) Alliance who may want to add a ‘fracking’ layer to the map as the threat to the KZN Midlands and Drakensberg is real and imminent.
• The University of KZN’s Mathuba Schools and Citizens’ River Heath Programme as a means of developing an environmental reporting tool and network.
• The Mpophomeni Sanitation Education Project is a joint local government / NGO project which is funded by uMgungundlovu District Municipality and managed by the Duzi uMngeni Conservation Trust (DUCT) and the Wildlife and Environment Society of Southern Africa (WESSA). The Project involves identifying, training and equipping local environmental champions, or ‘enviro-champs’ drawn from the large number of unemployed people in Mpophomeni and a local co-ordinator. Wherever there are environmental problems that need to be addressed, e.g. frequently spilling sewers, illegal dumping hotspots these champions report and photograph the situation to the local authority, through their co-ordinator. This project works in close co-operation with a drama programme and school education programme which is linked to the Eco-Schools Programme. Eco-schools and DUCT have been working actively towards building a stronger community environmental ethic and awareness and activism in Howick and Mpophomeni for several years and are enthusiastic participants in the Mathuba programme.
• GroundTruth’s river health data collected by miniSASS practitioners is collated on the Google Earth platform in order to contribute to a growing picture of water quality across SA.

The Midlands Conservancies Forum, Duzi uMngeni Conservation Trust, and Wildlands Conservation Trust and a myriad of other environmental NGOs are active in the area; just to name a few. The rapidly evolving uMngeni Ecological Infrastructure Partnership provides a potentially strong platform from which many of the initiatives of these stakeholders may be coordinated for maximum impact.

The current trend facing the KZN province is a loss of 1% of natural land cover per annum. Under the current trend, by 2050, there will be no more natural land cover left and so natural life support services in the KZN Midlands are under severe pressure to support and sustain existing social and economic development pressures. The political and economic capitals of the province are completely dependent on the water that comes from the KZN Midlands via the uMngeni River. The ability of this system to meet the demand has been exceeded and therefore it is vitally important that sustainability is integrated into all forms of landuse to optimise the potential of the Midlands to continue supplying water. Despite the dire state of the environment, sustainable living is achievable, and the KZN Midlands Green Map is a new, exciting initiative being investigated that will promote and celebrate sustainability in the KZN Midlands.

The Sustainability Forum was established as a result of SLIP. Its aim is to showcase local service providers promoting reliable sustainable products and services which provide opportunities for the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands community to be exposed to ideas of implementing lifestyle changes that could reduce their impact on the planet. It was recognised that a 3-4 day event that takes considerable effort to organise may not have the desired impact in achieving its objective and so it was felt that the Sustainability Forum would have a year-round impact and far greater reach. The website was established with a Blog, About, Events and Contact Pages and a link to the Facebook page.

The introduction of a Green Map into the KZN Midlands would boost the concept behind the Sustainability Forum further by providing a dynamic platform for the establishment of eco-communities where events, routes, demonstrations, guest speakers, academic debates, films, local and healthy food, music and fun can be promoted. In so doing it is hoped that the platform would inspire and challenge people to make the shift towards planet friendly lifestyle choices.

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