Green Glitterati and Sniffer Dogs

Words: Linet Engelbrecht, Hippo Communications | Photos: Wayne Hanscombe from aaa photos

The who’s who of the environmental movement in South Africa converged at Maropeng, Gauteng, to honour the winners of the 2012 Eco-Logic Awards hosted by The Enviropaedia.



Twelve top South African environmentalists were recognised and given a truly beautiful Eco-Logic Award trophy, together with many finalists and candidates who received commendations, at a glamorously green and eco-friendly ceremony at the Cradle of Humankind, Maropeng, last week.


From more than 400 award entries, the final 50 candidates were assessed by a diverse team of highly competent judges ranging from veteran environmental scientist, Dr John Ledger, Douw Steyn of Plastics SA, and Francois van Wyk of Rand Water.


"It is time for a more enlightened and constructive mindset to deal with the environmental challenges we face today," said David Parry-Davies, MC for the evening and publishing editor of The Enviropaedia (South Africa’s environmental encyclopedia and directory launched in 2000). “The doom and gloom messages of environmental crisis have not created constructive change in our world. We need to raise both our levels of consciousness and ambitions to create a beautifully harmonious and sustainable world to live in. I have no doubt that we can achieve this, and we have identified a set of principles and values that are designed to create progress towards this goal. We call these principles Eco-Logic, because they are both logical and life supporting of the Earth’s eco-systems.


"The first principle involves an intelligent reconnecting with nature and that’s why the dress code for the awards evening is ‘green’ – to honour our Earth. I am dressed in full dinner jacket with bow tie and tails, resembling a penguin, to show my respect for the brave and determined little African penguin, but also to symbolise the fact that eco-logic is a value system that transcends black and white racial issues. It is an operating logic that can unite us irrespective of our skin colour, age, gender or religion."


Ed Worster, acting general manager of SABC3 (the lead supporting partner of the Eco-Logic Awards), paid tribute to the veteran eco programme 50/50, and added that SABC3 is becoming even greener by screening programmes such as Shoreline and Green Tips, and through tree planting with NGO, Carbonfree.


The keynote speaker was Jason Drew, who became an ‘eco entrepreneur’ after suffering two heart attacks. "The first revolution was started by capitalism. The next will be a sustainability revolution," he told the audience.


“Two million chickens are kept in sheds in Saudi Arabia. Slaughtering causes waste that attracts flies. Chickens traditionally eat flies. So I worked out how to use the chicken waste to produce fly larvae to feed chickens. This saves farmers money, and every ton of flies eaten means a ton of fish saved. This is nutrient recycling at its best.”


Drew has also created sterile mosquito males to introduce around homesteads in malaria ridden areas. Each mosquito only travels 300 metres, so the areas around these homesteads now have fewer mosquitoes.


His most recent eco-entrepreneurial innovation is selling urine. He has built 60 toilets in the slums of Kenya, which locals pay to use. Urine is diverted one side and solids to another. The solids are composted and urine fermented, and then sold to farmers as liquid nitrogen and phosphates.


Boy band December Streets (three guitars, drums, sax and trumpet) from Rocking the Daisies played a lively repertoire while guests enjoyed unfracked Karoo lamb and other local, lekker and in-season culinary delights. The place was awash with red organic Stellar wine and green glitterati – including Ella Bella and this year’s Miss Earth SA Tamerin Jardine, TV personalities Michelle Garforth-Venter and Braam Malherbe, veteran elephant and rhino conservationist Clive Walker, Founder of Food and Trees for Africa Jeunesse Park, CEO of the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) Yolan Friedmann, and Wildlife Rehabilitation Specialist Karen Trendler.


The EWT brought along Rico, the Belgian shepherd sniffer dog, to show how quickly he could find ground up rhino horn in a suitcase. A representative of Rand Water wore cascades of white and blue, while the girls from Glorious Green People made themselves gorgeous frocks out of old shopping bags and walked off with a few high-value prizes for their innovative fancy dress.



It was with great ceremony that the following individuals and companies were honoured for their eco-logical products, services and initiatives, and the Eco-Logic Awards 2012 winners were as follows:
• Biodiversity was sponsored by the Department of Environmental Affairs, and won by the Endangered Wildlife Trust.
• Climate Change was sponsored by Paarl Media, and won by Food and Trees for Africa.
• Eco-Innovation was sponsored by Standard Bank, and won by Bottleworx, which patented a range of functional PET bottles that can interlock to reduce the transportation footprint and be re-used as building bricks for houses, classrooms and other functional buildings.
• Energy Saving was sponsored by Enviropaedia, and won by RISO copiers, which are low energy and solar powered – every school in Limpopo should have one.
• Recycling was sponsored by the Plastics Federation of SA, and won by Rocking the Daisies for getting youth keen on recycling.
• Sustainable Transport was sponsored by Airports Company of SA, and won by Rocking the Daisies for organising environment-friendly transport to concerts.
• The Water Award was co-sponsored by SAB and Rand Water, and won by EcoWash, which has a product that cleans a car using only one litre of water compared the usual 250.
• The Youth Award was sponsored by Pick n Pay, and won by Generation Earth for making ‘green’ issues trendy.
• The Eco Angel Award was sponsored by Simply Green Magazine, and won by Marcelle Meredith of the NSPCA.
• The Community Award was sponsored by SABC3, and won by Oyster Bay Reserve for reviving the Mossel Bay estuaries, as well as uplifting the previously disadvantaged community.
• The Lifetime Achievement Award was sponsored by Sappi, and won by Clive Walker, who said, "Never underestimate the effect you can have as an individual."
• The Eco Warrior Award was sponsored by MTN, and won by TV personality, Braam Malherbe of the DOT (Do One Thing) campaign, who bounced barefoot onto the stage and said his son told him, "You grown-ups don’t dream; you just have nightmares. We have to believe that everything is possible." And that said David Parry-Davies is entirely consistent with the principles of Eco-Logic!



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Related articles:

Touring Through Baobab Country (Issue 18, p. 24)
Green in Africa (Issue 18, p. 128)
Of Mermaids and Warriors (Issue 13, p. 30)