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Stop Fracking in the Karoo February 16, 2011

Posted by Andreas in activism, Climate change, Environment, Fracking, Global warming, South Africa.

Large parts of South Africa’s beautiful, but water-poor and ecologically sensitive Karoo region are under threat of being devastated by mining operations to extract natural gas using a controversial technique called hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’.

During fracking millions of litres of water, sand and numerous chemicals most of which are toxic, carcinogic as well as teratogenic (they include benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, xylene, ethylene glycol (antifreeze), diesel fuel, naphthalene (moth ball) compounds, boric acid, arsenic, poly nuclear organic hydrocarbons, only to name a few of 500-odd chemicals used), are pumped into boreholes at high pressure to release natural gas (called shale gas) trapped in layers of underground rock.

In the USA, where fracking has been used extensively, there have been hundreds of documented cases of this process resulting in:

– catastrophic drinking water pollution;

– air pollution;

– health concerns for humans and animals; and

– general environmental degradation.

Right now, Shell and other international and local companies are preparing to explore tens of thousands of square kilometres of land in South Africa for natural gas exploration by fracking. Most of the area under threat is already extremely water-stressed and can not afford any water to be either wasted or contaminated by the fracking process which, once in full production, may involve tens of thousands of boreholes and billions of litres of water.

There is a growing groundswell of opposition to the use of fracking in South Africa by a broad coalition of farmers, environmental organisations and ordinary citizens.

If you are concerned about the likely environmental and health impacts of natural gas exploitation in our country, please join us in adding your name to the following petition.

We, the undersigned:

Call on national, provincial and municipal government to institute a moratorium on all on-shore exploration and exploitation of natural gas in South Africa, especially any operations involving hydraulic fracturing, at least until comprehensive, independent, scientific assessments can guarantee that such exploration and exploitation activities will not lead to detrimental environmental or health effects and until independent and efficient measures are in place to monitor all shale gas exploration and exploitation.

Call on Royal Dutch Shell and other international and South African companies to refrain from endangering the environmental integrity of the Karoo and the health of its inhabitants by engaging in shale gas exploration and extraction using hydraulic fracturing technology.

Please sign the petition here and spread the word!

Find out more about fracking here:

Fractual – a South African website about fracking. Register on the site to receive a regular newsletter about the latest local and international developments.

Gasland – an Oscar-nominated documentary about fracking in the USA

Shell to take gas plan to Karoo communities

Fracking up the Karoo

Climate Benefits of Natural Gas May Be Overstated

Royal Dutch Shell Really Wants to Frack Up The Karoo

14 Members of Earthlife Africa illegaly arrested December 2, 2010

Posted by Andreas in activism, Environment, Nuclear Power, Politics, Press Release, South Africa.
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(Thursday 2nd December 2010: 12h45)


Earlier today, fourteen members of Earthlife Africa ( Johannesburg ) were illegally arrested for participating in a legal picket in front of the Department of Energy’s (DoE) IRP2 Public Hearing in Midrand. The fourteen have been charged with ‘illegal gathering’ and ‘public indecency’ and are presently being held at the Midrand Police Station.

Despite the fact that according to the Gatherings Act of South Africa, any gathering of less than 15 people does not require prior ‘approval’ from police, Earthlife Africa (Johannesburg) had applied for and received, written approval for the picket from the JMPD several days ago.   Nonetheless, when the activists began their picket – to protest against the DoE moving forward with further coal-fired power generation projects and its stated intent to expand South Africa ’s nuclear power generation – they were summarily arrested by Midrand SAPS and forcibly carted off to the police station. Evidently, the charge of ‘public indecency’ was applied because the picketers were wearing bright clothing!

Earthlife Africa (Johannesburg) Director, Tristen Taylor has condemned the arrests as “a shocking example of abuse of police power … We were engaged in a legal protest over crucially important issues of interest to the South African public … this kind of action is totally unacceptable.”

For further information and comment contact:

TRISTEN TAYLOR on 084 250-2434

Empty Oceans, Empty Nets November 2, 2010

Posted by Andreas in activism, Cape Town, Environment, Film screening, Sustainable Living.
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Empty Oceans, Empty Nets, an acclaimed documentary that explores the deepening crisis of the world’s marine fisheries, will be shown at the Labia on Orange cinema in Cape Town on Tuesday 9 November at 6:15pm.

This event is brought to you by the Marine Stewardship Council, the world’s leading certification and eco-labelling program for sustainable seafood, which works with fisheries, seafood companies, scientists, conservation groups and the public to promote the best environmental choice in seafood.

Empty Oceans, Empty Nets explores the marine fisheries crisis and the pioneering efforts of fishermen, scientists and communities to sustain and restore these fisheries and our oceans. The film begins with a sequence of stunning images that reveal the immense volume and diversity of fish caught in a seemingly limitless ocean. From Indonesia to Japan to the Bering Sea, the cameras document an ever-growing, high-tech fishing effort that yields over a hundred million metric tons of seafood each year. These marine fisheries provide food, income and employment for 200 million people worldwide, but how long can the massive hunt be sustained?

There are signs that the ocean’s bounty may well have reached its biological limit. According to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, 15 of the world’s 17 major ocean fisheries are either depleted or over-exploited. A long-term, comprehensive study conducted by a team of marine scientists concluded that 90% of the large fish species in the world’s oceans (such as tuna, swordfish and cod) have been fished out in the last 50 years.

Yet the news is not all bad: Empty Oceans, Empty Nets documents some of the most promising and innovative work being done to restore marine fisheries and to protect essential fish habitat. These efforts include new market initiatives that now give consumers a powerful vote in deciding how our oceans are fished.

A welcome drink and snacks will be available on arrival.

The screening will be followed by a facilitated audience discussion.

Tickets are R20 and can be reserved by calling The Labia at (021) 424 5927. This is a once-off screening and we strongly recommended that you reserve tickets to avoid disappointment.

This event is brought to you by the Marine Stewardship Council, the Labia and While You Were Sleeping, a Cape Town-based non-profit film collective committed to bringing progressive, non-mainstream documentaries with important social, political and environmental messages to South African audiences.


The Labia:
021 424 5927

For further information about the Marine Stewardship Council contact:

Michael Marriott

Tel: 021 551 0620



While You Were Sleeping:
Andreas Späth
084 772 1056

IWW documentary screening and public meeting October 12, 2010

Posted by Andreas in "The Economy", activism, anarchism, Cape Town, Film screening, Politics, Society, South Africa, Work.
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Join the Cape Town Branch of the IWW for:

A screening of the short documentary “Together we win: the fight to organise Starbucks” followed by a public meeting on “Organising as casuals and contract workers”.

Most workers today work in casual and precarious jobs. In many parts of the world, including South Africa, most unions have not been up to this challenge, and have often failed to organise casual workers.

The IWW Starbucks Union, however, is different. The entire union is made up of casual workers who are organising themselves at Starbucks stores. In tribute to their comrades in the IWW Starbucks Union, the Cape IWW branch is presenting a documentary made by these workers themselves. This inspiring movie tells the remarkable the story of how casual workers in the Starbucks chain of stores fought for and won the right to organise.

Date: Saturday 16th October 2010

Time: 14h00

Venue: Cape Town Democracy Centre, 6 Spin Street, Cape Town

For more information or to RSVP contact us on iww-ct@live.co.za

Chernobyl Day Commemoration April 21, 2010

Posted by Andreas in activism, Cape Town, Environment, History, Nuclear Power, South Africa.
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R.I.P. Howard Zinn January 28, 2010

Posted by Andreas in activism, anarchism, History, Politics, Society.
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“Protest beyond the law is not a departure from democracy; it is absolutely essential to it. “

Howard Zinn: August 24, 1922 – January 27, 2010

“For every seat in the new Cape Town stadium…” January 27, 2010

Posted by Andreas in "The Economy", activism, Cape Town, Politics, Quotes, Society, South Africa.
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A shocking fact of the day from Equal Education, one of the most dynamic and awesomely brilliant NGOs in South Africa:

” for every 7 seats in the 68 000 capacity R4,5bn stadium in Cape Town we could have had a brand new fully stocked school library.”

The equivalent of more than 9000 school libraries

Some relevant facts, again from Equal Education:

  • Only 7% of public schools in South Africa have functional libraries of any kind. (DoE’s* 2007 NEIMS Report.)
  • These 7% of public schools that have libraries are the former model-C schools who are able to establish libraries and employ librarians through their own funds, collected through fees.
  • Since 1997 the DoE has produced 6 drafts of a national school libraries policy. None have been adopted as official policy.
  • The DoE offers no specialists school librarian posts. All posts are for teachers, and most schools cannot spare a teacher to run the library because of high learner:teacher ratios.
  • The DoE closed its School Libraries Unit in 2002.
  • In November 2008 the DoE published for comment ‘National Minimum Uniform Norms and Standards for School Infrastructure’ which, in tables 15 and 18 states that every large primary school and every large secondary school should have a library of 80m2. The regulations still remain unconfirmed by the Minister and therefore are of no assistance to teachers, learners or education planners.

(*DoE = Department of Education)

The Really Really Free Market – Cape Town November 12, 2009

Posted by Andreas in "The Economy", activism, anarchism, Environment, Facebook, Life, Politics, Society, South Africa, Sustainable Living.
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We’re having the very first ever Really Really Free Market in Cape Town this Sunday (at Zandvlei in Muizenberg where the kite festival normally happens)  and Meghan made this beautiful flyer:

Colour flyer-2

Colour flyer-1

Join the Facebook group and pray for good weather 😉

Garbage! August 6, 2009

Posted by Andreas in activism, Environment, Film screening, Sustainable Living.
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Garbage! The Revolution Starts at Home, a feature documentary about the environmental impact of the huge amount of rubbish we produce in our households every day, will be shown at the Labia on Orange cinema in Cape Town on Sunday 16 August at 6:15pm, on Monday 17 August at 8:30pm and on Tuesday 18 August at 8:30pm.

Concerned for the future of his new baby boy Sebastian, writer and director Andrew Nisker takes an average urban family, the McDonalds, and asks them to keep every scrap of garbage that they create for three months. From the plastic bags they use to the water they drink out of bottles, from the air pollution they create when transporting the kids around to using lights at Christmas, the McDonalds discover that for every action there is a reaction that affects them and the entire planet.

“Household waste is a huge factor in the degradation of our environment. There is an unspoken and ongoing acceptance of extraneous packaging, for instance, mostly in the name of branding, resulting in tons and tons of garbage that we really can do without and this is visually portrayed in the film,” Nisker explains.

FireShot capture #13 - 'Garbage! Documentary Film by Andrew Nisker' - www_garbagerevolution_com_buy_html

“Society is tired of waiting for slow moving politicians and corporations to implement change, but the truth is we don’t need to wait. From the bottom up, the time has come to change our own worlds starting at home and to send a message to the polluters that we have all chosen a green path. Viewing Garbage! The Revolution Starts at Home empowers audiences to make those changes, now, by making simple lifestyle choices,” says Nisker.

Everyday life under a microscope has never been so revealing. By the end of this trashy odyssey, you are truly inspired to revolutionise your lifestyle for the sake of future generations.

The screenings will be followed by a facilitated audience discussion. Tickets are R20 and can be reserved by calling The Labia at 021 424 5927. Reserving tickets is strongly recommended to avoid disappointment.

This event is presented by The Labia and While You Were Sleeping, a Cape Town-based non-profit film collective committed to bringing progressive, non-mainstream documentaries with important social and environmental messages to South African audiences.


The Labia:

021 424 5927

While You Were Sleeping:

Andreas Späth

084 772 1056



Beyond Elections documentary screening July 9, 2009

Posted by Andreas in activism, anarchism, Cape Town, Film screening, Politics, Society.
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While You Were Sleeping, the non-profit film collective I’m involved in, is showing a great movie about participatory democracy in action at the old Labia cinema on Orange Street on July19, 20 and 21.


Get more info here.