Why are water issues not being taken seriously

August 1, 2013

We have a crisis – right now.  In South Africa, we are running out of potable water.  Yet mining licences are being granted with impunity.  Municipalities are not being given sufficient means to maintain water infrastructure.  People are not being trained either.

This is a call to action for every community – we have to demand training, investment and infrastructure development, plus the stopping of new mining licences, right now!

We need new solutions for everyone in our country that change how we move into our new world of lack of food and water.  Urban gardening is one route but training people in water skills is a powerful option

Advertisements

March 27, 2013

In response to an ill advised Tweet:

I note that these “safety tips for ladies” were tweeted by Haji Mohamed Dawjee so I am unsurprised by them. This does not render them any less arrogant and insulting to any female of any age – newly born to dying. Religions that defend men’s inability to “contain their lust” at the sight of a female being equally demean men whilst shifting the blame for lack of respect for another being, to the recipient of the unwanted act.

His chosen belief is not alone in this as other similar religious mythologies punt the same demeaning lies.

Men are able to be true lovers and companions as are women. Such men and women share a relationship which cherishes the other and nurtures the others that may result from it. Neither participant feels “uncontrollable lust”, because this is foreign to their ethics. The same is equally true for LGTB people.

Rape is an act of violence and domination. For centuries it has been used in wars to render women helpless and destroyed. It is still being used in the DRC in order to destroy close knit groups and access mineral resources as part of the greater rape of Africa, a female continent. Her riches must be purloined, her people dispossessed so that the growing genocide of the poor can be put into place. Only this will secure the continuance of the super rich and the multinationals – really?

The profit motive is highly masculine (psycopathic) and destructive. It ignores its impact on climate change, it only accepts women who behave like men and it destroys jobs by vacuuming up resources and stocks and shares greedily to ensured its security. In fact, it finds change intimidating and suppresses it.

Why do we have a youth unemployment problem internationally right now? Simply because profit is denying the opportunity to birth a future that serves all. Multinational capitalism does not want the innovation that the new generations bring into the world, because their power will be overthrown.

This is why those of us who know have to stand against multinational capitalism and open the world to innovation – our youth and their ideas. Just as we have to stand against archaic religious myths that suppress the mothers of those innovators.

Beginning a job – what does it mean to work

March 16, 2013

When I first started out after my exams, I did not know what to do.  I only knew that that I wanted to run away from my father asking me every day how well I had done.  Well I was fortunate because I was in UK and read adverts in newspapers.  I found an opportunity to go to Finland and “teach people English”.

The Finns are multilingual and highly educated. They required farm workers.  Totally innocent, I set out via Gatwick Airport.  Well this farm girl was faced with escalators, which I not seen before.  Someone showed me how to use them.  Then I was able to go through all the regular check ins and get onto the plane.

Was I scared?
Yes

Yet we arrived safely in Helsinki and I meet the oldest daughter of the family and she took me out to dinner and I slept in her flat before going on the train to Kovuola and Iiti to go to her familys’ farm.

First challenge – sorting out my pay with the family – resolved when mama understood that she was supposed to pay me!

Finland turned out to be a life changing experience, what with sauna naked and including males and females.

Then back to university and the most amazing Festival which included John Williams, Ravi Shankar and Pink Floyd.  A train ride to Moscow and back and a major fall out with my parents resulted in having to find a job.

The recurrent theme for a sixties woman was “You’re overqualified”

Women were supposed to produce children in UK and retire to the home.  Not me or my sisters.  We found and fought for opportunties to change the balance.

However my next job was at about R100 a month. I had to work up to another level.

Working is not simple – you have to start somewhere or you will never move forward.  The BMW does not happen at once nor does the high salary.   You have two options – work for someone and give them value that excites them or go out on your own and hope you attract a mentor.

If R3000 sounds too low as a junior programmer, ask yourself what will you do without it?  The company will put in a lot of time to educate you and reward you if you succeed.  It is the step up to your dreams – who knows, they may raise your salary fast if you turn out to be the person they really want.  Of course you can cop out and join a corporate.  That’s the rat race!

Small companies offer more opportunities than corporates so watch where you jump!

How high do you want to be?

Well remember – service and relationships are what really counts.  Working in a restaurant for very little teaches you so much – I speak from the experience of having done it.  Walking the streets for business and climbing up office blocks to find business makes you realise that this requires more than effort, it requires exceptional effort

How high would you fly?  You can fly beyond your dreams if you just start!

Why nuclear power is not the answer

February 26, 2013

If you look back over the last 80 years and the pollution that arose from nuclear; the deaths; the dead lands and the dying people – can you say that nuclear is best?

After Chernobyl and Fukushima – can you say nuclear is safe?  Can you still hold onto the myth that is clean?

Can you look at

OLKILUOTO

in Finland, and still say “it is cheap”?

Well, perhaps you can hold onto your illusions.

I cannot because I know the real cost of nuclear.  The mining of Uranium kills ecosystems.  Oh well you say that’s not a problem.  Really, do you know that YOU are an ecosystem?  Because the Navajo do and they sued and won justice for the destruction of their lives and environment from being forced to mine uranium.

Do you know that 995 000 people have died since Chernobyl?  Probably not, because all health problems from nuclear have been suppressed by the IAEA and WHO.

Is it strange that no deaths from Fukushima have been released – no because they are embargoed.

Yet, daily miners are exposed to radon gas, to radioactive dust and the effects of “low level radiation” mining uranium.  Radon gas, colourless, odourless and deadly is released in to the air around all uranium mines.  The radioactive particulates are also released in dust.  The discarded rock piles are stacked up with no protection for the community from the radioactive rocks.  The water flows over their crops carrying heavy, deadly metals with it that pollute the crops and the grazing land.

People and animals grow sick.  Some with lunge diseases and some with liver diseases, however they are told “It is your lifestyle”.  Imagine saying that to Warren Buffet, Richard Branson or Oprah!

Because they are incredibly poor, they are left to die whilst the mining companies thrive.

However, have you thought about this?  You and I, plus Warren buffet et al, are also there. We are also affected.  Our health is compromised.  Our access to clean water and healthy food is prevented.  We too, as are the people in California and Japan, will die from diseases as a result of this pollution.

Is this what you want for your future?  Do you just want to emulate the Lemmings rushing over a cliff to die?  Or do you want change to happen in order to clean up our human act?

I do and I believe we can.  If we are sensible, we will change and bring in sustainable solutions and change our decadent lifestyles for more inclusive ones which can nurture the hurt and heal it.

We will criticise those who put personal wealth before the health of this planet that sustains us.  If we want to continue to be residents on this planet or just another extinct species

Why all South Africans have to stand up for the right to clean water

October 19, 2012

The water sources in South Africa are under severe stress from the actions of the Department of Mineral Resources and the inactions of the Department of Water Affairs, as well as the Department of the Environment.  As a result, our right, of access to clean water, is being compromised.

Already, 98% of our easily accessible water resources are being used.  They are also being polluted and made worthless.  The latest commitment to treating the Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) water is disastrously underfunded and inadequate.  The only solution being considered is neutralisation and release into the Vaal and Crocodile Rivers.  The water being released will have salinity levels of between 2000 and 2500 mg per litre.  This is way above the acceptable levels of between 100 and 600mg per litre for human use.

The government is hoping that the water released into the Vaal can be diluted by the very expensive water being pumped from Lesotho.  However, Lesotho phase 2 does not come online until 2021.  The provision of water to Gauteng becomes critical in 2015, providing we do not have a drought before then.

The high levels of saline in the river water will make agriculture impossible where it relies on irrigation.  Communities without access to piped water will be left to drink river water which is toxic to human and animal health.

When socio-economic impacts were considered, the issue of concern was not the above situation.  It was the effects that AMD may have on the Gold Reef City Mine Museum.  The right of people to clean water is ignored and not even considered in the revised strategy.

The DMR appears to believe that mining provides jobs to the communities that it affects.  MECA (Mining and Environment Community Alliance) is making proving that this is an incorrect belief a priority.  We know from the community members that livelihoods have been compromised by many mining projects.  Grazing and agricultural land, that they used, has been removed from a number of communities, leaving them destitute and jobless.  In many cases, the mining companies have negotiated with “tribal leaders” and obtained access to the land illegally.  In the rural areas, the tribal leaders are not recognised by the communities that they claim to represent.  This does not represent job creation but job destruction and destitution.

Vital catchments are being lost to plantations grown for paper making.  These further deplete our water resources.  Industry and commercial agriculture is allowed to pollute with very little or not action taken against the polluters.  Waste water works are inoperative and increase pollution loads in water courses with impunity.

Mining is promoted but the resources mined leave the country and not long term benefits accrue from them.  The same will happen with fracking should it go-ahead.  There has been no clear undertaking by Shell that the fracked gas will stay in South Africa.  With Shell’s historical record in Africa, it cannot be trusted to deliver a clean and trustworthy product.  With the record of DWA and DEA, regulation of the operations will not be effective.

Not only could we lose the Karoo, the SKA, the wool industry and the sheep.  We could lose all our remaining water.  This will leave the population in an extremely vulnerable situation.  Industry will cease to be able to employ anyone and South Africa will self-destruct.

Whilst this may be a “good” way in the face of declining circumstances, it is not a responsible move by government.  It fact it displays an amazing and unacceptable arrogance on the part of those we have entrusted to run our country.

Citizen action is required to prevent this scenario becoming a reality.  Already some successes have been achieved around mining in the courts.  We may have to take similar actions to protect and secure our right to water, our livelihoods and our right to life.

A long time ago women were queens

September 15, 2012

Last night, I saw “Bitter Seeds” which documents the impact on GM seeds on small farmers in India.  These farmers are all male.  They have been committing suicide due to debt and crop failure in their thousands.  Leaving their women and children destitute, yet those women left behind showed more strength and accessed more solutions than the men. Sadly, women are demeaned in Indian (and many other societies) as extreme dowries are asked for them.  Girl babies are killed so that their families do not have this burden.  The result is that we are living in a world where women and girls are trafficked to countries  where there is a net imbalance. How do we change this situation?  We have to educate everyone – a no brainer, which does not and has not worked. The men in tribal communities are not interested, nor are any men who believe that women should be barefoot in the kitchen raising the kids. For most of the fundamentalist men, and their brainwashed women, this is OK.  After all it is set out in our bibles, korans etc. This is the prime challenge of the 21st century.  Women are facing more violence because they are the strength in most communities.  Corporates hate us because we know the damage they cause and the suffering that results. We stand for justice and we stand for life.  We will change this world be cause we will never yield to injustice.  Opposition has to kill us all and, by doing that, destroy the future for humanity, because you destroy the nurturers. If you listen to us and change, the water will flow clean because women understand that water is life and life requires joy to sustain itself not aggression. Let’s leave the bling behind and make our future clean and simple.  The industrial revolution was revolting. Now is the time to find a new way of living – ideas invited! Women are queens, because they know the land, they smell the wind.  Most importantly, they are nurturers and not destroyers when they are allowed to be true to themselves

Where are we going?

September 8, 2012

Where are we going?  This may seem a strange question.  We have been to the moon and sent robots to Mars.  We have amazing scientists who are able to make many diseases curable.  And yet, we let dinosaur corporates destroy our home.

Strange isn’t it?

Do we really want to destroy ourselves?  And our home which is Earth a small planet in the universe, are we that stupid?

Are we so greedy that self destruction is OK?

I don’t think so and I think that there are people in corporate positions who are ignorant of what they are doing.  If they are not ignorant, then they are arrogant and should be called on their arrogance.

The human race is racing towards destruction right now.  By 2090, we will all be dead.

Is that what you want?  I don’t care, because I am old and will already have died.  What are you going to do to change this?

Fracking, mining, industry, pollution in South Africa

September 8, 2012

South Africa is a water scarce country. She is not a power scarce country, because we have the amazing power of the sun sustaining us most of the time. We have amazing engineers who know how to capture that power and put it into the grid.

Unfortunately, we have a government and some commentators, who do not believe this. Some of them have possibly been corrupted. This does not serve the people of South Africa.

The Fracking of the Karoo and other places is a very bad idea. Purely because we are a water scarce country. Fracking could cause a thirst problem throughout the country and it has the potential to wipe out many communities. Our government is not looking at the possibility of genocide by default, if it makes water unavailable to millions of people. This could be one of the results of fracking, building on top of mining licences in other in appropriate places.

We have a race going on. Will we starve to death from lack of food or die of thirst?

Why do I care?

June 25, 2012

In 1974 I landed in South Africa, bright eyed and bushy tailed with a passion to defeat Apartheid, since going to the USSR and defeating Communism was too daunting.  Well, I should have realised that my then husband was not going to make this easy and he didn’t. He was scared y authority and my parents, who have preceded us, were no better.

However, I had landed in this country and felt my feet rooted into the ground.  I had come home. Africa is my land and where I wish to be.  So much so that I have never left it since the 4th June 1974.  Its tentacles bind me to the soil.

It is the most mesmorising continent.  Great wealth and great poverty exist side by side.  Huge injustices are condoned and fought.  Great mineral wealth is exploited at the expense of water and food.  Human health is sacrificed on the altar of profit.  Animals are destroyed for gain and species are lost for greed.

Human life is discounted.  Rulers are despots and unaccountable even in democracies.

However, the new generation is aware of this and they are questioning and will begin the change that must come.  This is the paradox of Africa – tradition versus change.  This new generation realises that tradition is not making Africa richer but making it poorer.  This is not what should be happening and they are questioning it and will change it.

This enlivens me because these young people are our future.  We have hope and creativity. We have solutions.  And that is special

Water scarce and being made scarcer

June 24, 2012

In South Africa, we are water scarce.  Our water is constantly threatened by pollution from industry, agriculture and mining, especially mining waste.  In addition, people throw their waste out of their cars and buses.  We are a dirty country.  We have no self respect.

It shows up in our child rape statistics.  Our resort to violence to solve problems – which doesn’t work.  And tolerating a government which doesn’t account to its electorate.

We are committing suicide.

When are we going to call our government to account on its failures?  When are we going to respect ourselves enough to build a future?

When are we going to go out and pick up the rubbish?  Love the children and protect them?

When are we going to love ourselves more than bribes and corruption?