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Birdwatching in Sierra Leone: Conservation and Emerging Ecotourism

19 December 2011

As conservation filmmakers, it’s always encouraging to read about other conservation initiatives on the continent.

In countries like Sierra Leone, the Gola Rainforest has been declared an important biodiversity hotspot by Conservation International, and the country is investing in ecotourism to protect endemic bird species like the rare White-necked Picathartes.

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Winter Holiday Fun: Pandas Play in the Snow

19 December 2011

It’s less than a week until Christmas, and in some parts of the world, it’s going to be a white one. Here in South Africa there won’t be much snow, but we can appreciate how fun it must be to able to play in it.

This video, although amusing, also draws attention to the still critically endangered status of the Giant Panda- the face of the WWF and symbol of continuing worldwide conservation efforts.

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Penguin Conservation: City of Cape Town Reopens Burgher’s Walk

18 December 2011

Last week, the City of Cape Town announced that Burgher’s Walk boardwalk in Simonstown will be re-opened to the public.

This section of the Simonstown coastline is one of only two land-based penguin colonies in South Africa, and provides nesting grounds for a significant number of these endangered birds. This area was previously closed for rehabilitation.

To see another example of penguin conservation in the Western Cape, watch our award-winning film, The Guardian, which was shot on Dyer Island.

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Global Wheeling: Cycling for Climate Change Awareness

18 December 2011

South African Solo adventurer Kayden Kleinhans is cycling around the world, raising awareness about low carbon transport and climate change through his NGO, the Global Wheeling initiative.

This trailer gives some idea of the epic scale of his African journey, one that is continuing to take place in other parts of the world.

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Some Perspective: A History of Fossil Fuels

17 December 2011

As we face the seemingly insurmountable challenges posed by climate change, it’s enlightening to look back, and see an illustrated interpretation of where our reliance on fossil fuels began.

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New Urban Thinking: Cities as Symbiotic

17 December 2011

According to Cormac Cullinan, climate change is a symptom of the dysfunctional relationship between humans and nature, and this is apparent in the way cities are built- designed to serve a model of industrial production.

However, if we look at our relationship with nature in a different way, cities can be built to serve a more organic model, one that sees humans as just a part of a greater organic and self-regulating system.

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Green Gift Idea: Plant a Tree this Festive Season

16 December 2011

It’s just over a week until Christmas, and many of us are probably thinking about what to put under the Christmas tree.

However, instead of all the waste that comes buying gifts, why not pay it forward by planting a tree?

Greenpop offers individuals and businesses the opportunity to “gift” trees, or you can get involved by volunteering for one of their upcoming planting days.

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Supermarket Consciousness: Shifting to Zero Waste

16 December 2011

In a wrap-up of their best stories of the year, GOOD featured an interesting concept- the idea of a zero-waste, package-free supermarket called in.gredients.

With local supermarket chains becoming more environmentally aware, we’re beginning to see a shift towards using re-useable bags for example, but could we take it a step further by implementing the same kind of store in South Africa?

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Finding Oregon: The Night Sky in Timelapse

15 December 2011

With only about 15 days a year to shoot a night sky timelapse, the Uncage the Soul production team had to work hard to capture this video of the stars in Oregon, USA.

This video was created as part of a travel campaign for the state, and aims to showcase the area’s natural beauty- something we hope you’ll enjoy wherever you are this long weekend.

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Animals and Humans: Interaction, Invasion and Accuracy

15 December 2011

Two amusing videos are doing the rounds this morning- one about a fur seal in New Zealand that invaded a home and snuggled up on the couch, and another about a bearded lizard showing surprising accuracy at an iPhone game.

Maybe these videos are a bit silly, but they bring up important questions about our interactions with wildlife, and it’s interesting to be reminded that in some ways we’re not that different after all.

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Upcoming Conservation Event: Help Catch Lizards

14 December 2011

It’s always great to read about conservation projects, and even better to actually get involved in them.

Helene Basson, a Masters student at Stellenbosch University, will be conducting field research at Landroskop in the Hottentot Holland Mountains from 12-15 January 2012, and needs volunteers to help catch 60 lizards.

If you’re interested in helping out, contact Helene by emailing her directly: heleneb@sun.ac.za

Image: Stellenbosch University

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Latest Film Release: Elgin Free Range Chickens

14 December 2011

Earlier in the year, we went to film Jeanne Groenewald’s independent free range chicken operation- Elgin Free Range Chickens.

Jeanne’s philosophy centres around providing the healthiest food for her family, and ensuring that the chickens from her farm are cared for in the best way possible, and given ample space to roam.

This philosophy is matched by her dedication to upholding strict quality standards, which is why she has also been included in Woolworth’s “Meet the Heroes” series, which forms part of their Good Business Journey.

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Urban Sports: Taking Freeskiing to the Streets

13 December 2011

With the climate change challenges that we face, it has become increasingly important to shift towards low-carbon forms of transport.

For some, this means bicycles and public transport, but for JP Auclair, getting around in his Canadian town during winter is as easy as clicking into his skis.

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Animal Update: Seals on Cape Peninsula Beaches

13 December 2011

News that hundreds of dead seals have washed up along Strandfontein and Kommetjie beaches this week is a poignant reminder of the constant fight for survival in nature.

According to the Cape of Good Hope SPCA, many of these were young seals or “yearlings” which had presumably died from drowning or exhaustion after rough weather.

As it is now the seal pupping season, the SPCA emphasizes that both live and dead seal sightings are going to become more common, and urges people not to disturb any “hauled out” seals, but to contact the SPCA if they come across any that are visibly in distress.

Seals Travelpod

Image: Travelpod

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Breakthrough Deal or COP Out: Perspectives on COP17

12 December 2011

Scanning the news headlines today, there seem to be differing perspectives on the outcomes of COP17, the UN climate change talks that took place in Durban over the last two weeks.

On the one hand, leaders are exultant that an agreement has been reached to work on legislation that is scheduled to be approved in 2015, and will come into effect in 2020.

However, environmental groups like WWF are disappointed, as we are, with the lack of urgency shown in preventing catastrophic climate change, which raises the question- will we be able to deal with the effects global temperature rise in time?

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Sad News: Rhinos in Our Films Victims of Poaching

12 December 2011

It is with sadness that we start the week, knowing that three of the rhinos we have filmed in the past few months have been killed.

First it was Tanner 2, the injured orphan rhino who barely survived a poaching incident, and had to be euthanised. Now, two more of the rhinos which we filmed at Fairy Glen for Woolworths have also been attacked by poachers.

According to the latest figures from SANParks, 405 rhinos have been killed in South Africa this year alone, a scary 22 percent increase from last year- please continue to support rhino conservation efforts to stop this madness.

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Weekend Escapism: Where the Trail Ends

11 December 2011

It’s been a busy last two weeks, with an overwhelming amount if information circulating about COP17, change and sustainability.

So to kick back, and in celebration of International Mountain Day, here’s a mountain biking film trailer that will at the very least get your heart rate up.

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Hero: A Picture Patiently Penned with Dots

11 December 2011

Often, it takes time to create something beautiful.

For Miguel Endara, it’s not clear how long it took to create “Hero”, but it is clear that his patiently crafted portrait is ridiculously impressive.

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Urban Pace: A Birds Eye View of City Traffic

10 December 2011

We live high-pressured crazy lives, often having to negotiate between hundreds of other people trying to do the same thing.

It’s the same in cities all over the world, but this timelapse of traffic in Ho Chi Mihn City in Vietnam gives a birds eye view on congestion craziness- a huge concern in a time where it is becoming imperative to switch to low-carbon forms of transport.

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The Importance of Branching Out for a Green Economy

10 December 2011

COP17 has re-emphasized the importance of addressing global environmental issues, including the imperative to move towards a low-carbon economy.

This animated film, narrated by the inimitable David Attenborough, highlights the necessity of a “green economy”, something that all of our future livelihoods depend on, in one way or another.

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