• Traditional medicine for today: why we should pay attention

    Adél Strydom and Shaun Dunn, 16 November 2018

    Traditional medicine and herbal remedies have been part of cultures around the world for Millenia. The first written recording of its use dates back 5000 years to the Sumerians (modern day southern Iraq) and the use of herbs and plants to cure ailments span Ancient Egypt, the Ayurverdic traditional medicine in India, and Chinese traditional medicine dating back to the dynasties. This rich tradition has persisted into modern civilisation and is receiving renewed attention for its benefits in a world where western medicine is not seen as the only cure for sickness and disease anymore.

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  • Nutrition in the townships

    Adel Strydom & Aabida Davis, 11 October 2018

    Our failing food system

    Our current food system is riddled with polarities. According to the World Health Organisation, 462 million adults are underweight while 1.9 billion are overweight.

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  • From cotton to khadi

    Amelia Pretorius, 2 October 2018

    Before setting off for India, I did not quite know what to expect. This is the first time I travelled and felt ‘blind’ in terms of visiting a new country.

    Reflecting back, I see this as a good thing as many times our preconceived ideas influence what we take in and how we experience a country, so my mind was completely open to a new, immersive learning experience. I think that these wise words from Gandhi encompasses the best way to approach a journey such as this: “Man is neither mere intellect, nor the gross animal body, not the heart or soul alone. A proper and harmonious combination of all the three is required for the making of the whole man and constitutes the true economics of education.”

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  • A system built by people

    Shalli Mbwette & John Twesige, 21 September 2018

             This past winter two engineering students, Shalli Mbwette and John Twesige, chose to spend their required six-week academic internship at the Institute. Their task was to develop a working manual that captures and maps all the systems (energy, water, waste collection, wastewater and storm water) and all other technical information for these systems in the Lynedoch Eco-Village.

    They did a tremendous job and the outcome will assist the Institute and village to keep capturing the valuable knowledge of our unique working environment. It was such a pleasure to have them with us and to get to know them better. They share their experiences with us.

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  • The cost of remedying environmental degradation: The Proposed Domestic Carbon Tax

    Dr Marco Lotz, 12 August 2018

    There has been a lot of talk about the proposed domestic carbon tax and it has been a long process. This process started with the approval by Cabinet of the National Climate Change Response White Paper in 2011 to where we are today, knowing that the tax will be phased in from 2019, but anxiously waiting to understand the nitty-gritty of the implementation. Supposedly more information regarding the implementation of the carbon tax will be clarified through information provided throughout 2018 by national government.

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  • Alumna explores the linkages between feminism and climate change

    , 12 August 2018

    Neoka Naidoo is a PGD alumna and is currently completing her MPhil in Sustainable Development. Neoka has recently written an essay for a book called Feminism Is: South Africans Speak Their Truth, in which she explores the linkages between climate change and feminism, and shares her experience of the world of climate change negotiations, still very much a male-dominated arena. On 23 July 2018 the Sustainability Institute hosted Neoka as a guest speaker for our Soil, Soul, and Society series to discuss her essay and the topic of feminism and climate change in general. 

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  • Experiencing sustainability in a Post-Apartheid South Africa: my time at the Institute

    Caroline Florence, 3 August 2018

    We recently said farewell to Caroline Florence, who interned with us for eight weeks. She is currently halfway through her undergraduate studies at Washington and Lee University in a small town in Virginia where she studies Economics and Environmental Science. Here is what she has to say about her experience with us.

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  • New study into state capture lifts the lid on SASSA

    State Capacity Research Group, 24 July 2018

    The State Capacity Research Project today released a new report, How One Word Can Change The Game:  A Case Study Of State Capture And The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), which provides a rare detailed example of the mechanics and modus operandi of state capture.

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  • Graduate gaining valuable experience at the United Nations in Rome

    Olive Zgambo, 16 July 2018

    Olive Zgambo graduated with a Master of Philosophy in Sustainable Development Planning and Management from Stellenbosch University in March this year. Before that, she was part of the 2016 group of Postgraduate Diploma students in Sustainable Development, presented at the Institute. In a bold step she applied for an internship at the United Nations' food and agricultural organisation, and we were so proud when she shared the news that she was accepted! This is a wonderful achievement and opportunity Olive! She shared her story with us here. 

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  • Communicating Climate Change

    Stefanie Swanepoel, Director: African Earth Rights, 13 July 2018


    Climate change communication needs to encourage new ways of thinking and of understanding the world to bring about the necessary behaviour change. There are, however, significant challenges in crafting these messages because of the complexity of the message, the significant scientific uncertainty of climate change effects and the diversity of demographic groups in the world, each with particular world views and understanding.

    This synthesis report is drawn from presentations made on climate change communication at the Adaptation Futures Conference 2018 held in June in Cape Town, South Africa. It presents key challenges, opportunities and findings regarding the communication of accurate climate change information that aims to shift behaviour. The report was compiled by Stefanie Swanepoel, Director of African Earth Rights and a facilitator of the Diploma in Sustainable Development programme.

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  • AgroEcology students are changing how Kayamandi eats

    Adél Strydom, 28 June 2018

    The AgroEcology programme at the Sustainability Institute is producing passionate and driven young people changing the way their communities eat. Three of our students, Bonga Ngceni, Mlondolozi Mnxeba and Simlindile Patekile, have built from the ground up an inspiring urban vegetable garden project in Kayamandi.

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  • Reflecting on our academic and research programmes

    Amelia Pretorius, 14 June 2018

    The academic programme has been delivered over the past 17 years by a unique partnership between the Sustainability Institute, the School of Public Leadership and the Centre for Complex Systems in Transition at Stellenbosch University. Our experience in research, teaching and practice, is building a track record of meaningful programmes and projects made possible through the work of our faculty and students. 

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  • Rooftop solar: While municipalities focus on feed-in tariffs, a much larger problem persists

    Adél Strydom / Geeta Morar, 30 May 2018

    Putting up rooftop solar is a topic of conversation that is gathering momentum in South Africa. Increasingly, homeowners are considering investing in rooftop solar systems for a variety of reasons, one of which is to ensure a degree of energy security for their homes. There is, however, a general consensus that should our national policies create more incentive for homeowners to invest in small-scale embedded generation (SSEG), many more would consider it.

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  • The Sustainability Institute to be FIELD Global Partner for Harvard Business School

    Harvard Business School, 23 May 2018

    The Sustainability Institute recently had the opportunity to host a team of students from Harvard Business School for one week as part of a required first-year course at Harvard Business School called the FIELD Global Immersion. The Institute was one of 157 FIELD Global Partners spanning 13 countries around the world. Together these Global Partners combined to host more than 930 Harvard Business School students in all.

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  • Students competing in Solar Decathlon Africa

    Adél Strydom, 18 May 2018

    Solar Decathlon Africa, the international collegiate competition, kicked off this month. Team Mahali is one of the 20 selected teams and the only team from Sub-Saharan Africa chosen to compete.

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  • Immersive travel for the curious mind – 14 days of transformative learning in Brazil

    Adél Strydom, 6 April 2018

    Brazil is a country of contrasts and contradictions. Crowded urban centres give way to massive soy and cattle farms, while traditional communities live simply in the world’s most biodiverse reserve on the earth. It’s vibrant and captivating – every traveller’s dream destination – yet Brazil faces many social and environmental challenges invisible to the average traveller.

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  • Innovation and imagination: The keys to a sustainable urban future

    International Resource Panel, 27 April 2018

    Today the long-awaited 'Weight of Cities' report was launched at the 9th Global Forum on Urban Resilience and Adaptation in Bonn, Germany.  Building on the work of the ‘City-Level Decoupling’ report of 2013, this new report looks at the resource implications of projected urbanization, and calls for substantial changes in urban form, governance and design. Coordinated by Mark Swilling and Blake Robinson of the Sustainability Institute, the report features contributions from an international panel of experts, including Josephine Musango and Paul Currie of uMAMA Africa at Stellenbosch University.

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  • Purposeful, African travel for nature enthusiasts

    Adél Strydom, 6 April 2018

    A rugged, landlocked country at the horn of Africa, Ethiopia is traditionally known for its archaeological history, religious sights and wildlife. Few experience its enchanting forest reserves and the authentic conservation methods based on indigenous knowledge that thrive beyond the top listed destinations. Visiting Ethiopia with local nature and community NGO, MELCA, will bring you to experience a sense of place and encounter a deep-seated respect for nature.

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  • A smart city conference in an old city

    Elzette Henshilwood (SI Alumnus), 19 April 2018

    I found myself in the beautiful city of Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, for a few days in April. This city has a mesmerising charm with its walkable streets, patterned cobblestone pavements and buildings adorned with decorative tilework, a practice dating back to the Moorish rule in the 15th century.

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  • Purposeful, sustainable travel for conscious, curious explorers

    Adél Strydom, 6 April 2018

    Our food systems are calling for radical change. While a third of the world’s food is spoiled before it can be consumed, more than 800 million humans are going hungry. Industrial farming practices are degrading the soil and making farmers increasingly dependent on harmful fertilisers. Many small farmers already live in poverty, with climate change set to increase the prevalence of floods and drought.

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  • Becoming Mindful about Water

    Adél Strydom, 6 April 2018

    “Water is the earth’s eye, looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.” – Henry David Thoreau

    Water has always been front of mind at the Sustainability Institute and in the Lynedoch Eco-Village where we are based, given the long standing water scarcity in the region. We have learnt a lot over the past two decades through experimenting and piloting approaches for water conservation – something most Capetonians are now acutely aware of as well.

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  • Tailored workshops motivates and guides MPhil students

    Adél Strydom, 20 March 2018

    This year the Sustainability Institute is offering workshops specifically tailored to MPhil students. A masters is often a lonely and stressful process and the workshops are designed to support students on their journey by offering both academic and emotional support throughout the year. It’s also a place where students can reconnect with each other and the Institute.

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  • Eskom’s first Smart Embedded Residential MicroGrid Project piloted at Lynedoch

    Adél Strydom, 28 February 2018

    Energy experts believe a sustainable energy future requires a decentralised energy system based on renewable energy and it seems Eskom is catching on. The utility is planning to introduce renewable energy based mini-grids throughout South Africa and has chosen the Lynedoch Eco-Village as the site that will be pioneering this technology.

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  • Making big dreams come true in 2017

    Amelia Pretorius, 22 February 2018

    In this past year, we have focused on the Lynedoch Valley to consider deeply the need for and impact of our work in our community. We have dedicated our mission as a non-profit trust to have a transformative impact on the lives of the children and youth in the Lynedoch valley through the educational programmes we offer.

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  • Redefining the bottom line in complex and turbulent times

    Adél Strydom, 9 February 2018

    “How you climb a mountain is more important than reaching the top.”  Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia 

    We’re doing business in interesting times. While our economy is challenging our business success on a daily basis, we’re also aware that we can’t continue doing business the way we’ve been taught for decades. Increasingly the terms ‘sustainability’ and ‘sustainable development’ surface – in our boardrooms, our annual reports and even our tearooms.

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