Environmental

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Cars

This article by Simon Gear first appeared in the Khuluma in-flight magazine in 2011

If you’ve grown up in a South African city, you probably no longer notice the fences.  Everything about our cityscapes faces inwards.  New developments display kilometres of blank wall presenting only one message to the outside world – Keep out! 

Chameleons

This article by Simon Gear first appeared in the Khuluma in-flight magazine in 2011

I miss chameleons. It’s sobering to realise that there are species that have gone extinct in Johannesburg suburbs in the 35 years I’ve been living there.  Bush babies are limited to a few secure estates in the concrete nightmare of Sunninghill/Fourways.  I’m pretty sure snakes are now gone from most areas.

Telecommute

This column by Simon Gear first appeared in a Green Office Week newsletter in January of 2011

Quite possibly the best way to green your office is not to have one at all.  There really is no longer any reason for most of us to come in to work.  High speed internet, email and Skype have removed any technical objections that managers might have had, but there remains a deep suspicion that if you stop watching someone, they’ll stop doing what you pay them to do.

SKA

This column by Simon Gear first appeared on the 'Don’t Be a Passenger' blog in November of 2010

You’ll have noticed headlines of our battle with the Aussies for the rights to build the Square Kilometre Array telescope.  It is also fair to say that most punters are not terribly sure why or if we want the SKA, or indeed, what it is exactly.  Allow me.

If it makes you happy...

This article by Simon Gear first appeared on the MoneySmart website in March 2012.

Measuring a country by its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is like measuring a schoolboy’s academics by his attendance. True, it gives a broad idea of how things are going, and provides a rather blunt ruler by which to rank things, but in terms of intelligent analysis, it comes up woefully lacking

Why Bother

This column by Simon Gear first appeared in a Green Office Week newsletter in December of 2010

The drive towards a green office is an interesting one.  You would be quite right in pointing out that compared to an opencast coal mine, the environmental damage you do by printing out your emails is negligible.  Your office lighting doesn’t even register as a blip on the power radar of an aluminium smelter.  Thoughtful landscaping is nice but even the most kikuyu obsessed office park does less damage than a pesticide-happy farmer.

Bond: Going Green? Pay Yourself First

This article by Simon Gear first appeared on the MoneySmart website (www.moneysmart.co.za) in Feb 2012.

The first criticism of investing in green technology is always cost. Just about any drive to efficiency (because that is all that most green tech is) involves a willingness to spend money now to better order your resources, in the hope of reaping greater returns down the line.

End Game

This column by Simon Gear first appeared in a Green Office Week newsletter in February of 2011

It has been snowing for 6 weeks in the US.  The North American media, with typical restraint, have dubbed the season Snowpocalypse. Australia’s second most expensive hurricane, Tropical Cyclone Yasi is pummelling Queensland, dumping yet more water into a state that was already boasting a flooded area the size of Belgium, from an extremely wet December.  Last year saw record-breaking droughts in Russia and floods in Pakistan.

Water - Getting Tanked

This article by Simon Gear first appeared on the MoneySmart website (www.moneysmart.co.za) in Jan 2012.

What got YOU conserving electricity? My bet is that it was a combination of the flood of publicity during the dark days of the 2009 load shedding and the simple expedient of being flayed with a 25 % increase year on year for three years. Focuses the mind somewhat, doesn’t it?

Too Many of Whom?

This article by Simon Gear first appeared on the MoneySmart website (www.moneysmart.co.za) in Jan 2012.

I’m always interested by the overpopulation crowd.  For reasons that I have never fully understood, every person who comes up to me after a presentation to pitch the idea that human population is the root of all environmental evil will always preface their insight with, “I know it’s taboo to talk about this but…

Most Recent

Recycling
This article was written by Simon Gear. Who’s got time to recycle? I mean, look at my life. I’m schlepping off before dawn to provide a report that no one believes on a TV channel that nobody watches. Then it’s a rush back home to clean up dog poo, make the wife tea, explain to my daughter that she can’t have chocolate for breakfast and explain to my son how income tax works.
Swiss Diss
This column by Simon Gear first appeared on the Don't Be a Passenger blog (www.dontbeapassenger.com) in July of 2010. Last week, a Swiss friend of mine was outraged because she had just been nailed with a €1350 fine for straying a smidgeon over the suburban speed limit. Well, maybe I must clarify. If she was truly Swiss, I doubt she would have been that angry (or indeed have been fined in the first place).
Driving
his article was written by Simon Gear. There is a craze in Japan and the States called hypermiling. Petrol heads with too much time on their hands, and I suspect, not enough female energy in their lives, compete with each other and themselves to have the lowest possible fuel consumption in their cars.
Chicken or Beef
This article was written by Simon Gear. Forget carbon footprints. Water is the big bear in the woods for South Africa. Already, it seems like Cape Town barely needs a week of sun in winter to set them back for the rest of the year. Everywhere else relies on ingenious but massive projects to shift water over mountains and between reservoirs to ensure that our towns don’t run dry.
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