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Struik Nature

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Archive for the ‘Lifestyle’ Category

“The Oceans are Dying” – An Interview with Sylvia Earle about Saving and Protecting the Seas

South African CoastsSylvia Earle, marine biologist and advocate for healthy oceans, was recently interviewed by Ian Frazier for Outside.

Earle, who is the author of South African Coasts: A Celebration of Our Seas and Shores and a number of other successful books, believes that the oceans are in serious trouble. She spoke about the various abuses of the earth that have left much of the oceans’ former beauty “dead and rotting” and which continue to wreak chaos and destruction on marine environments.

In an attempt to make a difference to the health of the planet, Earle has established Hope Spots – “protected places in the ocean where dumping, mining, drilling, fishing, and all other forms of exploitation are prohibited” – all over the world.

Read the article:

Almost the first thing Sylvia Earle said to me was, “The oceans are dying.”

We were at a small dinner in Manhattan last fall, celebrating the New York premiere of a documentary about her called Mission Blue. As the world’s best-known oceanographer—Sylvia is to our era what Jacques Cousteau was to an earlier one—she feels a heavy responsibility. In her lifetime, she has seen the ocean damaged in ways humans never thought it could be. The ongoing disaster leaves her mournful, desolate, and sometimes scary to talk to. Since her first dive, in a sponge-diver’s helmet in a Florida river when she was 16, she has spent 7,000 hours, or the better part of a year, underwater. In the depths, swordfish and bioluminescent fish and humpback whales in midsong have swum by her, done a double take, and stopped to check her out. From her life’s experience, she has become no longer really terrestrial. She is like a super-apex sea creature that has somehow wound up on dry land and is walking around and telling everybody about the terminal ruin humans are inflicting on her home.

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Tuluver: The Hoax Bird Invented to Save the Vulture (Podcast and Video)

Sasol 300 Easy-to-see BirdsSasol 300 maklik sigbare voëls van Suider-Afrika100 Common Bird Calls in East Africa

In order to raise awareness about the importance of vultures, and the threat of extinction that they face, BirdLife South Africa recently launched a hoax campaign about a “newly discovered” species: the Tuluver.

The stunt included a video of the fictitious bird, as a way of getting people to pay attention to the “beautiful birds” we are already privileged to have.

BirdLife SA CEO Mark Anderson spoke to Karien Jordaan about the video. He said that although the organisation apologises for causing trouble, the campaign got a huge amount of attention.

Listen to the podcast:

Watch the video about the fictitious Tuluver bird:

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Sylvia Earle Speaks About the Beauty and Importance of the Ocean From 450 Metres Underwater (Video)

South African CoastsAs a world-famous oceanographer and founder of Mission Blue, Sylvia Earle has had many interviews. But for World Oceans Day this year she went above and beyond the norm, or rather below and beyond.

For an interview filmed by Kip Evans, Earle took a trip 450 metres below the ocean’s surface in Undersea Hunter’s DeepSee submersible – a vehicle designed specifically for underwater observation.

Earle spoke about the importance of looking below the surface to understand the ocean fully. She also marvelled at the sheer beauty from the DeepSee submersible: “It’s so blue. I’m trying to describe how many shades of blue; there are no names for most of them.”

Watch the video:

Mission Blue: Beyond Blue from Kip Evans on Vimeo.


Gabriela Diaz wrote an article about the significant interview for The Tico Times:

“Most of the ocean is cold and dark. Most of what is known about the ocean is in that upper 1,000 feet or so. You look at a spot on the map and if you only know what’s at the surface you don’t really know what’s going on, any more than you would know about New York City if you just looked at the tops of the buildings. It’s really important to have information about what’s in the deep sea,” said world-renowned oceanographer and explorer Sylvia Earle during an interview shot 1,000 feet underwater at Cocos Island, Costa Rica’s most remote territory located in the Pacific Ocean.

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Everything You Need to Know About the 2015-2016 Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts

The Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts are an annual opportunity to enjoy some of the best of South African music in the country’s most beautiful concert venue.

Highlights this year include Mango Groove, the Rotary Carols, the New Year’s Eve party with Grassy Spark and Jeremy Loops, and the Cape Town Folk ‘n Acoustic Music Festival in February.

Tickets cost between R110 and R175 for adults. There is a concession for people younger than 21, who pay only R80 and R140. Tickets for the Rotary Carols and the New Year’s Eve party are priced differently (details below). Tickets are sold by Webtickets.

Shows start between 5 and 5:30 PM, and gates open at 4 PM. Going early to secure a good picnic spot is a good idea. Going even earlier to enjoy the beautiful gardens before the music begins is a great idea!

Read all about the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens in these Struik Nature books:

KirstenboschKirstenboschAdventure Trails in KirstenboschKirstenbosch JournalKirstenbosch


Have a look at the exciting line up:
22 November 5:30 PM Freshlyground (youth: R110 / adult: R150)

29 November 5:30 PM Zonke Dikana (youth: R110 / adult: R150)

6 December 5:30 PM Arno Carstens (youth: R110 / adult: R150)

13 December 5:30 PM Mango Groove (youth: R110 / adult: R150)

17 December 5:30 PM Rotary Carols at Kirstenbosch (age 2-5: R20 / age 6-18: R65 / adult: R90)

18 – 20 December 5:30 PM Rotary Carols at Kirstenbosch (age 2-5: R25 / age 6-18: R75 / adult: R100)

27 December 5:30 PM Jimmy Nevis (youth: R110 / adult: R150)

31 December 7 PM New Year’s Eve Concert: Jeremy Loops and Grassy Spark (all: R330)

3 January 5:30 PM The Parlotones (youth: R140 / adult: R175)

10 January 5:30 PM Prime Circle (youth: R110 / adult: R150)

17 January 5:30 PM Karen Zoid and Francois van Coke (youth: R110 / adult: R150)

24 January 5:30 PM Mi Casa (youth: R110 / adult: R150)

31 January 5:30 PM The Soil (youth: R110 / adult: R150)

7 February 5 PM Cape Town Folk ‘n Acoustic Music Festival (youth: R110 / adult: R150)

14 February 5:15 PM Matthew Mole and Rubber Duc (youth: R110 / adult: R150)

21 February 5:30 PM Goldfish (youth: R110 / adult: R150)

28 February 5:30 PM The Cape Philharmonic Orchestra (youth: R110 / adult: R150)

6 March 5:15 PM Shortstraw and The Plastics (youth: R80 / adult: R110)

13 March 5:15 PM Al Bairre and Bye Beneco (youth: R80 / adult: R110)

20 March 5:15 PM Zebra & Giraffe and Monark (youth: R80 / adult: R110)

21 March 5:30 PM Fundraiser: Performer to be confirmed (TBA)

27 March 5:15 PM Beatenberg and John Wizards (youth: R110 / adult: R150)

3 April 5:15 PM December Streets and The Vanilla (youth: R80 / adult: R110)


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Get Involved with Clean C’s Coastal Clean Ups in Cape Town (Podcast)

South African CoastsPippa Hudson recently interviewed Greg Player of Clean C about a beach clean up day at Strandfontein and Sunrise Circle on her CapeTalk radio show.

Player says that the volunteers on the two beaches picked up about 1,2 tonnes of litter. While some of this litter is left by lazy picnickers, Player explains that a large amount is deposited on the coast by rivers. He estimates that about 80 percent of the rubbish found on beaches is from up country, because litter gets significantly worse when it rains.

Clean C runs beach clean ups on the first Saturday of every month in Cape Town and surrounding areas, and they also facilitate corporate clean up events. Player invites everyone to get involved.

To find out more about our beautiful beaches, check out South African Coasts: A Celebration of Our Seas and Shores by Sylvia Earle.

Listen to the podcast:


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100 New Herbs by Margaret Roberts – An Indispensable Guide to Organic Gardening and Cooking with Herbs

100 New HerbsStruik Nature presents 100 New Herbs by Margaret Roberts:

Margaret Roberts is a well-known proponent of the use of natural products to enhance health and wellbeing. In 100 New Herbs she introduces readers to an exciting range of new plants that can be used in the kitchen, and medicinally.

Roberts offers practical advice on how and when to plant, grow and harvest the featured herbs, and includes recipes that harness the medicinal, cosmetic and edible nature of these plants. The accessible, down-to-earth text is laced with personal anecdotes and historical information about the use of herbs. Colourful photographs aid identification in this beautifully designed book.

An indispensable guide for anyone interested in health, wellness, organic gardening and the use of herbs to enhance cooking.

About the author

Margaret Roberts is a household name, having made her mark in the world of health and gardening. She pursues her passion for all things natural that can uplift, heal and inspire, by creating gardens, teaching about the wonders of herbs and developing medicinal and nutritional plants at her Herbal Centre. She has published many books and articles on flowers, herbs, health and gardening.

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Have a Cuppa – New Studies Find that Rooibos and Honeybush Can Aid in the Treatment of Cancer

Tea: 60 teas to revitalise and restoreBiochemists from Stellenbosch University have found that two South African teas – rooibos and honeybush – contain properties that could fight cancer.

Professors Amanda Swart and Ann Louw presented their research at the CANSA Research in Action Conference earlier this year.

Health 24 reports that the studies, albeit still in the testing phase, show that rooibos and honeybush could treat cancer.

For more about the healing properties of tea, consult Tea: 60 teas to revitalise and restore by Margaret Roberts.

Read the article:

Swart is cautiously optimistic saying that although the effects of rooibos are favourable in cell models, it should not be seen as a cure.

“The research is ongoing and our findings may implicate rooibos to support therapeutic approaches to prostate cancer,” says Swart.

Another SU biochemist Prof Ann Louw studied the cancer-killing abilities of another fynbos variety also used for tea, honeybush. The idea of testing it for medicinal purposes came from anecdotes that communities in Langkloof Valley in the Eastern and Western Capes use it to treat menopause symptoms.

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“Be Glad You’re Alive Now”: Sylvia Earle Gives Advice to Students on the Gift of Life (Video)

South African CoastsSylvia Earle is a renowned oceanographer, marine biologist and author of South African Coasts: A Celebration of Our Seas and Shores.

In the video, Earle talks to Paula D McClain from her alma mater Duke University about her career and her advice to students on how to live life to the hilt.

Reflecting on her lifelong commitment to the environment, Earle says: “I never thought that I would be doing as much as I have been over the years as a spokesperson for the ocean and for science generally. You never know what’s around the next corner in your life.”

Earle says all her activities are centred around her mission “to explore the ocean and do everything possible to take care of it”.

Her advice to graduate students is to “be glad you’re alive now”. “Life is a gift! Think of the alternative of not being alive, not being here as a witness to the universe.” She warns against wasting one’s time and quotes from a poem by Lord Alfred Tennyson on enjoying every moment:

Flower in the crannied wall,
I pluck you out of the crannies,
I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
Little flower — but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, all in all,
I should know what God and man is.

Watch the video:

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Join Margaret Roberts for a Tea Tasting and a Talk about Teas for Health and Vitality at Garden World

Tea: 60 teas to revitalise and restoreMargaret Roberts, author of Tea: 60 teas to revitalise and restore, and Sandy Roberts will be presenting a talk about teas, with the opportunity to taste delicious herb teas and restorative eats, at Garden World.

The event is taking place on Saturday, 22 August, at 9:30 for 10 AM. The cost is R130 per person, which includes tea, snacks and a goodie bag. There will be prize giveaways, and copies of Tea will be on sale.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Saturday, 22 August 2015
  • Time: 9:30 AM for 10 AM
  • Venue: Garden World
    249 Beyers Naudé Drive
    Muldersdrift | Map
  • Speaker: Sandy Roberts
  • Refreshments: Tea and eats
  • Cover charge: R130
  • Bookings: Garden World, 011 957 2545 or 011 956 3003, 083 997 6142

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Video: UNEP Honours Sylvia Earle for Her Lifetime Achievement as a “Champion of the Earth”

South African Coasts“We have through all of human history taken from the natural world without understanding the limits.”

These are the words of Sylvia Earle, renowned oceanographer and author of South African Coasts: A Celebration of Our Seas and Shores. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has honoured Earle with a Lifetime Achievement Award as a Champion of the Earth.

UNEP has shared a video of Searle speaking about where her love for the ocean came from, why the ocean is worth protecting, and how each and every person can make a difference:

“We have to respect the natural systems as the source of our wealth, the source of our health, the source of our very lives.

“Our highest priority should be to make the world a hospitable place for our children.”

Read UNEP’s article on Earle, and watch the video:

Dr. Earle’s achievements appear as boundless as the oceans she works so hard to protect. She is the founder of Deep Ocean Exploration and Research Inc., of Mission Blue and of the Sylvia Earle Alliance. She is also chair of the Harte Research Institute’s Advisory Board, Chair of the Advisory Council for the Ocean in Google Earth, and leader of the National Geographic Society Sustainable Seas Expeditions.

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