• 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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  • The end brings a new beginning

    Amelia Pretorius, 23 January 2018

    Thirteen MPhil: Sustainable Development students presented their completed theses during the annual Research Colloquium that took place on 9 and 10 November 2017. Yet again, an interesting and brave mix of topics were spoken about.

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  • Identifying greater value for the Mohair industry through Systems Dynamics

    Suzanne Smit, 14 December 2017

    The South Africa Mohair Cluster in collaboration with Sustainability Institute (SI) Projects held the first ever stakeholder engagement workshop in Port Elizabeth from 14 to 15 November 2017. The main aim of the workshop focused on identifying opportunities and facilitating coordinated efforts to enhance the industry competitiveness and sustainability. 

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  • Urban Metabolism: How cities can reduce their environmental impact

    Blake Robinson, 28 September 2017

    “Urban metabolism” is fast becoming a sustainability buzzword. It represents a relatively new way of thinking about how cities can reduce their environmental impact by managing their resources more effectively.

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  • Imagining a new future: Social Entrepreneurship as an empowering narrative

    Vanessa von der Heyde, 27 July 2017

    “The future is already here. It is just not evenly distributed” – William Gibson

    There are growing calls for a new economic system that allows us to maximise human well being by meeting the basic needs of every human on earth, whilst staying within planetary boundaries. As the World Economic Forum (WEF) suggests in this short video on the fourth industrial revolution, exponential leaps in technology may enable us to do this.

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  • The silver linings of work and study – a reflection

    Robyn Bowden, MPhil 2017, 6 July 2017

    Trying to finish the Sustainable Development Masters in one year is no simple feat. So when Candice Kelly (Programme Director: Food Systems Centre) told me my research funding came with an obligation to work for the Food Systems Centre (FSC) during that year (2016), I thought “farewell surfing and social life.”

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  • Enabling #BrightFutures for the children of the Lynedoch Community

    Amelia Pretorius, 30 June 2017

    A few months ago, we embarked on a journey to raise funds for a new bus that would enable us to transport the children from the Lynedoch valley to and from the schools situated in the Lynedoch Eco-village safely. We are grateful and excited to announce that the end of the journey has been reached as we have raised the R250 000 that was needed!

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  • Less harm, more positive impact

    Jess Schulschenk, 18 May 2017

    Our Director, Jess Schulschenk, recently spoke to Bouteco Hotels about sustainable travelling. For those looking to leave lighter, more respectful footprints, there are an increasing number of opportunities to stay, travel and explore in ecologically and socially minded ways. We share here the article that was published on the Bouteco website. 

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  • International recognition for the Rainmakers of Nganyi

    Amelia Pretorius, 18 May 2017

    This is the story of how new research is bringing ancient and modern ways of knowing together to build climate resilience in Africa.

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