Environment

SACSIS is concerned about the impact of climate change and environmental degradation on the lives of the poor. The poor carry a disproportionate burden as result of environmental injustice. SACSIS supports the ethical, balanced and responsible use of land and renewable resources.

World of Clean Energy 'Feasible' by Mid-Century

Picture credit: Reve Tim Radford - A global low-carbon energy economy is not only feasible, it could double electricity supply by 2050 while actually reducing air and water pollution, according to new research. Even though photovoltaic power requires up to 40 times more copper than conventional power plants, and wind power uses up to 14 times more iron, the world wins on a switch to low-carbon energy. These positive findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Edgar Hertwich and Thomas...

The Call for a Referendum on Nuclear Power in South Africa

Picture credit: Demonstration against the nuclear power plant in Garona, close to the Basque Country courtesy Jon Diez Supat/flickr. Gerard Boyce - In a story that has dominated headlines worldwide over the past few months, Scots were recently asked to decide whether Scotland should become an independent country or remain part of the United Kingdom. They chose to retain the status quo in what was ultimately a very close poll. Regardless of one’s opinion on the outcome thereof, this referendum exemplifies the type of situations, viz. when leaders seek a mandate to pursue major political changes, which will alter the nation’s...

300,000 March for Climate Action in New York Ahead of UN Summit

Picture credit: New York City, Sunday September 21, 2014. In an historic show of strength more than 300,000 climate activists marched through the streets of Manhattan (courtesy Stephen Melkisethian) Cliff Weathers - Organizers claim that more than 310,000 people attended the People’s Climate March in New York City on Sunday. And while it might not have been that big, it certainly was immense and easily the largest climate action in world history with people attending from across the United States and around the world, with 2,808 other climate rallies held today in more than 150 countries. The New York march was attended by notable figures in politics, entertainment, science and the environmental...

Using New Energy Platforms for Industrial Capability: Where Is South Africa's Industrial Policy Positioned?

Picture credit: Making It Magazine Saliem Fakir - There are three aspects of energy supply that lend themselves to shifting the diversification of a national economy. The mix of supply should reduce dependence on any source, especially if the source creates a foreign dependence or a systems path-dependence that eventually leads to wider risks for the general economy. In South Africa, coal is becoming too constraining. Our long-term dependence on coal for the majority of our energy, both electricity and liquid fuels, makes it hard to...

12 Ecologically Sustainable Countries and Why They Should Be Admired

Picture credit: Currently pending construction in Singapore, the EDITT Tower will boast photovoltaic panels, natural ventilation, and a biogas generation plant all wrapped within an insulating living wall that covers half of its surface area (courtesy Inhabitat). Jodie Gummow - With last week's news that Earth’s resources have slipped into an "ecological deficit" for the rest of 2014, many countries around the world have come under scrutiny for taking more from nature then their own ecosystems can supply. What exactly is this ecological debt? Essentially, it means we have used up all the planet’s natural resources available for an entire year—think deforestation, soil erosion and carbon dioxide emissions—so now we’re...

Johannesburg's Appalling Air Quality: We Can't Let Sasol and Eskom off the Hook

Picture credit: Arnold Paul/Wikimedia Commons Glenn Ashton - The air in the interior of South Africa is amongst some of the most polluted in the world. It is killing our people. We see photographs and reports of air pollution in China and elsewhere but seldom do we see any comparable local coverage of the scourge of South African air pollution. Our coal addiction silently kills thousands of people every year, with impunity. Over the past two decades South Africa has developed some of the most comprehensive environmental legislation in the world....