Interconnectedness: We often don’t realise that everything, but everything, on this little ball of slowly-cooling lava we call Earth is interconnected. It is worth reflecting on just how our actions – and inactions – affect what happens around us, now and in the future. And also to reflect on how big, and yet how small, the issue of environmental change, degradation and management really is. When you decide to fell a tree that has been growing for decades, because you wish to grade a new road, plough the field in which it grows or do anything similar in the name of “progress”, be aware that you are destroying a habitat for creatures of all sizes and varieties, many of which will simply die as a result. If you cut down enough trees, like in destroying a forest in the name of progress, you risk driving entire species to extinction. There is no quick fix for climate change and/or global warming. To a great degree, ordinary humans are going to have to adapt to a new reality which will include a hotter environment and more violent weather patterns (Pete Bower, Gauteng Smallholder, Dec 2015/Jan 2016).
The green light: Arguments in favour of a green light on legislation to reduce carbon emission are growing stronger by the day. There is no Planet B if the world turns into a microwave oven. (Clem Sunter, co-author of Mind of a Fox, March 2015).
Sweet, sweet basil: Basil is one of the most versatile, delicious and easy herbs to grow. You can never have too many sweet basil plants growing in your garden. Sweet basil is used extensively in aromatherapy for ailments such as stress, migraine, colds and hay fever. It is also quite effective for tension headaches, exhaustion and digestive upsets such as stomach cramps, constipation, diarrhoea and enteritis. Make an infusion by adding two teaspoons of freshly chopped leaves to half a cup of boiling water. Steep for about 10 minutes. Strain and drink hot, three times a day. Traditionally, the dried leaves were pounded and, taken as snuff, used as a remedy for colds. Sweet basil is a most beneficial companion for your other plants. It is a good insect repellent for white fly, aphids and fruit fly (Get It, Joburg West, Dec 2015/Jan 2016).
Quivering forest: The kokerboom or quiver tree is indigenous to the semi-arid northern Bushman Land and southern Kalahari regions of the Northern Cape. Although called a tree, the plant, Aloe dichotoma, is a member of the succulent family. A well-known quiver forest is located about 4km south of Kenhardt on the Brandvlei road. One quiver tree – on the Keetmanshoop-Koës road in Namibia – has even been declared a national monument! (Jaco Visser, Farmer’s Weekly Perspective, 12 September 2014).
Know your alternative agriculture terminology:
Sustainable agriculture is the efficient production of safe, high quality agricultural products, in a way that protects and improves the natural environment, the social and economic conditions of farmers, their employees and local communities, and safeguards the health and welfare of all farmed species.
Organic farming refers to the type of farming that is done without the use of synthetic chemicals such as pesticides, fertilisers, fungicides and insecticides, or genetically modified seeds.
Permaculture is an approach towards designing human settlements and agricultural systems that mimic the relationship found in natural ecologies.
Biological farming focuses particularly on the soil: It is a system that uses both nature and science to build the quality of soil, with the understanding that healthy soil will be able to support healthy crops and livestock.
(Gauteng Smallholder, Dec 2015/Jan 2016).