Environment

COP21: Shows The End Of Fossil Fuels Is Near

The wheel of climate action turns slowly, but in Paris it has turned. There’s much in this deal that frustrates and disappoints me, but it still puts the fossil fuel industry squarely on the wrong side of history.

Parts of this deal have been diluted and polluted by the people who despoil our planet, but it contains a new temperature limit of 1.5 degrees. That single number, and the new goal of net zero emissions by the second half of this century, will cause consternation in the boardrooms of coal companies and the palaces of oil-exporting states and that is a very good thing. The transition away from fossil fuels is inevitable.

Now comes our great task of this century. How do we meet this new goal? The measures outlined simply do not get us there. When it comes to forcing real, meaningful action, Paris fails to meet the moment. We have a 1.5 degree wall to climb, but the ladder isn’t long enough. The emissions targets outlined in this agreement are simply not big enough to get us to where we need to be.

There is also not enough in this deal for the nations and people on the frontlines of climate change. It contains an inherent, ingrained injustice. The nations which caused this problem have promised too little to help the people on the frontlines of this crisis who are already losing their lives and livelihoods for problems they did not create.

This deal won’t dig us out the hole we’re in, but it makes the sides less steep. To pull us free of fossil fuels we are going to need to mobilise in ever greater numbers. This year the climate movement beat the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, we kicked coal into terminal decline and put coal into terminal decline. We stand for a future powered by renewable energy, and it is a future we will win.

This is why our efforts have never been confined to these conference halls. Just as we've carried our messages of justice, equity, and environmental protection into the venues of the climate negotiations, and echoed the collective demand to speed the end of fossil fuels to the faces of our leaders, we will continue to raise our voices long after these talks are over.

We came to the COP with hope. Not a hope based on the commitments we wished our leaders would make, but a hope built on a movements that we have built together with many others. Together we are challenging the fossil fuel oligarchy, we are ushering in the era of solutions, and we are moving the political benchmark of what is possible.

 

While our political leaders walk, our movements run, and we must keep running.

 

From the High Arctic to Brazil, from the Alberta tar sands to Indonesia’s peatlands, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Mediterranean we will stand against those faceless corporations and regressive governments that would risk our childrens' future.

We will push our beautifully simple solution to climate change - 100% renewable energy for all - and make sure it is heard and embraced. From schoolyards in Greece, to the streetlights of India, to small Arctic communities like Clyde River in Canada, we will showcase the clean, renewable solutions that are already here, and pressure our governments to make them available for everyone, fast.

Finally, we will stand with those communities on the front lines of this struggle. They are the leaders of this movement. They are the ones facing the rising seas, the superstorms, and the direct effects of our governments’ collective inaction. We will amplify their voices so the world is forced to hear our call for change.

In 2016 we - the entire climate movement - will escalate the fight. Together we will show the world that if our governments won’t act to stop the carbon bullies, then we will.

History is waiting in the wings, and we’re standing on the right side of it.

Are We Doing Enough To Protect Our Water Sources?

South Africa is currently facing a serious drought and the threat of water shortages in major centres. Although this is a scary notion for city dwellers who are currently dealing with water restrictions, largely as a result of failing infrastructure, we should give some thought to the farmers and communities in far flung rural areas whose very livelihoods are at immediate risk. In the city, we are so far removed from the source of our water that it is inconceivable to turn on your tap and have nothing come out. But for people who rely on water directly out of a river, they understand the true value of the precious water source areas that feed our rivers.

So where do our freshwater resources come from? Certainly not from a tap! In South Africa we have a number of key ‘water factories’ that feed the rivers that supply the dams that fill the reservoirs that pump water to your tap. These water source areas can be mountain catchment areas, such as the Drakensberg; grassland ‘sponges’ like the Steenkampsberg; and dolomitic aquifers like the Marico Eye. These water factories contribute significantly to the overall water supply of the country (as well as beyond our borders) and they support economic development right from their origin to where their rivers meet the ocean.

But many of these water factories are under threat. Some have already been severely degraded – such as the headwaters of the Olifants River (Emalahleni, Ogies) which features a hub of opencast coal mining activity. Polluted water from this area flows through the communal areas of Bushbuckridge and eventually into the Kruger National Park. The source of the Orange-Senqu River is the Lesotho highlands and much of this water is being dammed and transferred into other rivers, often at the expense of local communities’ access to water. The Waterberg complex – another high water yield area – has been earmarked as the next Industrial Development Node and water is being traded off for coal energy. In the Karoo – a highly water scarce ecosystem - fracking may pose a serious risk by contaminating vast groundwater aquifers. In addition, the headwaters of the Mzimvubu River is now facing the threat of fracking by a foreign consortium that is putting both the water source and rural livelihoods that depend on it at risk.

The question that we should be asking is: how important is freshwater, really? Do we need to sacrifice our key water factories in the name of unsustainable short-term economic development? The Endangered Wildlife Trust believes that there are smart solutions to both the water and development challenges that we, as citizens of this country, face and it is imperative to address these challenges in a far more strategic and sustainable way. Collective action and strong partnerships are key to effecting real change and we have seen the impact this has had on issues such as university fees and e-Tolls. We would like to see civil society working together with government and industry more frequently and effectively to plan sustainable economic activities; ensure equitable access to water; and implement water-smart solutions at the catchment level. Furthermore, a loud and unified voice, speaking out against the destruction of water source areas is the basis of ensuring a supply of clean water for every South African.

South Africa has developed the National Water Resource Strategy 2 (NWRS 2) and we have identified our National Freshwater Ecosystem Priority Areas (NFEPAs). We know what needs to be done. The NWRS 2 sets out key strategic actions under Water Resource Protection, with the following objectives:

  • Manage for sustainability by using Resource Directed Measures (RDM) to set and approve a management class, and associated reserve and resource quality objectives, for every significant water resource in the country.
  • Invest in strategic water resource areas by increasing their protection status.
  • Maintain National Freshwater Ecosystem Priority Areas (NFEPAs) in good condition and include them in protected area network expansion plans, where appropriate.
  • Protect riparian and wetland buffer zones and critical groundwater recharge areas.
  • Invest in the strategic rehabilitation of key catchments to improve water quality and water quantity through Natural Resource Management Programmes (NRM).
  • Minimise pollution from wastewater treatment works into surface and groundwater resources.

But knowing and doing are not the same thing. If we are serious about protecting our precious water resources, we cannot allow unsustainable and destructive activities to proceed in key water source areas and we need to plan economic development at the catchment level, with a clear strategy for maximizing benefit-sharing to all who share the catchment.

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) works in partnership with the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) and Conservation South Africa (CSA) through the Healthy Catchment Alliance (HCA). This Alliance provides a platform to share experiences, provide a diverse set of skills and expertise to a range of projects, and to create a loud and unified voice when it comes to protecting our water resources. The work we do includes; securing water source areas under Biodiversity Stewardship, rehabilitating mountain and grassland catchment areas, diversifying and greening local economies and empowering communities to monitor, value and protect their rivers. We are currently working with local partners, such as Environmental and Rural Solutions (ERS) and the South African Institute of Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB) in uMzimvubu, uMzimkhulu and Amathole catchments in the Eastern Cape and southern KwaZuluNatal, with plans to expand into other priority catchments over the next few years. The Healthy Catchment Alliance was selected as a finalist in the Biodiversity category of the EcoLogic Awards for our collaborative approach to solving environmental challenges in the region.

It is critical that we protect our water source areas and maintain their natural functionality if we are to ease the effects of water scarcity. Climate change predictions do not bode well for water availability and we need to disrupt the current status quo of water management if we are to build climate resilient communities that value water above all else.

Gardening During The Drought

South Africa has been going through a bad drought and there are huge water shortages in Phokeng in the North West province where I live. A lot of articles in the media talk about the water crisis, its impact on farmers and communities and what government is doing to help alleviate the problem.

Sometimes I find myself laughing hard at what people say, not because it’s funny, but because I want to cry and laughing stops the tears. On the one hand we are encouraged to grow as much of our own food as we can to help reduce the spiraling food costs, yet the water shortages make it extremely hard to do so. How do I grow my own food when drinking water is limited?

I’ve tried to be as prepared as I can for the extreme heat and semi-arid climate of Phokeng (located just outside Rustenburg), where every year mid-summer temperatures skate close to 40 degrees Celcius and the water shortages are becoming a norm, even when nationally nobody talks about drought.

The odd advantage I have is that I inherited my home from my parents who invested heavily in self-sufficient practices during the apartheid years, as they had no access to municipal water. They dug a borehole, which supplies a 5000 litre tank linked to my household supply. When I started to grow my food year-round, I also invested in a 10 000 litre tank, which provides for the garden solely. You’d think with all that storage drought wouldn’t be one of my biggest issues right now, would you?

The problem is that access to water in my community is a sporadic thing. So those of us who have stored water or boreholes end up sharing what we have until municipal water starts running again.

I’m never sure when the water will come back, so I ration to the water from the 10 000 litre tank very carefully, with every household allowed 40 litres daily, where there are no children, and 80 litres for households that have children. So far, the system sort of works for all of us – my gate is always open, and everyone knows how much they can take.

Water Tank

But, back to food gardening, my conundrum is this: how can I water my food garden, which is supposed to provide up to 80% of our vegetables and 100% of our herbs, when my neighbours don’t even have water to drink, cook, bath or flush their toilets? I’m afraid it would feel like a slap in their faces to watch me “throw water onto the ground,” when they need it to drink. So for now, I don’t water my garden. Much.

My poor garden is still standing though. And it’s still productive, though not as much as I would like. Here are some of the strategies I’ve employed /plan to employ to aid my food garden’s survival:

Plant Early

Phokeng is always hot in late Spring and Summer and rain remains sporadic due to the climate. So right from the beginning, I’ve had to learn optimal times to plant so that by the time the daily heat is high, my plants have a strong hold on the ground.

Choose Plants That Do Well With Limited Water

I’m still struggling with my plant selection, trying to find vegetables that can survive prolonged droughts and heat year after year, but which my family will enjoy eating. It’s no use growing cactus-based plants if my family won’t eat it!

So far, I’ve found that root vegetables like carrots, beetroot and onion do OK but not wonderfully, in drought periods. I also struggle with cabbage, though kale and rape do well enough. For now, my garden is restricted to very basic crops: greens like spinach, chard, kale and rape; a variety of beans, zucchini (summer squash) and artichokes. My onion and leeks are struggling. It is my hope they’ll survive the dry spell.

Mulching Is Necessary

Irrigation is not only about watering the garden; it’s about retaining whatever moisture the soil may already have. Unfortunately, I learned that the hard way.

Reduce Competition For Water In The Soil

When there are big amounts of rain, I’m happy to let my garden to grow wild and for seeds from previous seasons to unexpectedly sprout and surprise me. Unfortunately, when there is a water shortage I don’t have that luxury. All the weeds and unplanned seedlings have to go, so that the crops that I’m nursing through the process can have as much water as the soil can retain.

Grey Water Adds Much-Needed Moisture

So far we water with grey water when we remember to carry it out of the house with buckets. It’s hard work. But it’s worth it, because I can water my garden without any feelings of guilt. So next time I have two cents to rub together, I’m going to invest in a piping system from the house, so the water automatically goes to the garden.

Collect Rain Water (When It Comes)

When I was growing up, my grandfather had several tanks collecting rainwater from the roof gutters. We used some of the water for the garden, and the rest for laundry and cleaning in order to save money on the petrol we required to run the generator for the borehole. When we began to get municipal water, we relaxed on that, thinking we didn’t need to collect rainwater anymore. That was a mistake. It’s better to collect as much rainwater as we can, when we can, so that we have some stored for dry periods such as this one.

Cover And Shade

My garden is a busy mix of fruits, vegetables, and herbs, all interspersed. Long-term, the fruit trees will provide shade for plants that are sensitive to the sun, so that they can grow midsummer without going crispy. Big leafy plants such as artichokes also provide shade for smaller plants like chives, spring onions and “cut and come again” lettuce.

Mostly, I find myself constantly re-evaluating my gardening practices to check if they can help me keep my family fed while also using as little water as possible. What can I change without compromising my crops? What can I do in terms of planning for the medium-term because clearly, this drought is not a once-off thing? Chances are, next year and the year after will also be dry, and as a result, food prices will keep climbing and my garden will become a critical part of my regular food supply.

I hope that other gardeners will also start exploring this topic and proposing possible solutions that can help those of us who rely on our gardens for most of our meals.

Slowing Down: Spring Unfolding

Can you make room for slowness in your life? To feel and appreciate the sounds, sights and scents of spring life unfolding?

After the winter months, I have been experiencing a profound surrender to what is.

A very practical impact of this on my daily life has been a slowing down and letting go of rushing, planning and controlling. I feel more receptive to the wonder of life in each moment, a softening into my heart which feels as if I’m able to bring the gentle power of my heart more easily to each experience. Of course, there are situations that still push my buttons! I’ve also learnt that I can do things quickly with a slow frame of mind helping to transmute tension into relaxation.

When we rush we skim the surface of life experiences and miss a depth of connection with people and with the aliveness of life itself. We seek to cram in as many experiences as possible and seem to have lost the art of doing nothing, of slowing down and simply being – with ourselves and stillness. Speed and busyness have become an addiction and a distraction.

Fast can feel busy, controlling, aggressive, rushed, analytical, stressed, superficial, impatient, quantity over quality.

Slow can feel calm, careful, receptive, still, intuitive, unhurried, patient, reflective, quality over quantity.

Every living being, event and process has its own inherent rhythm – nature teaches us this. Be slow when it makes sense to. Be fast when it makes sense to. In this way you choose a way of being that can feel alive, connected and wise.

“Do you see that everything in the universe is simply doing its dance – expressing itself the only way it can… and this is happening in every moment. Seeing this clearly brings instant relaxation and peace. Why? Because everything is doing the only dance it can, what is there to worry about?” Bhakti Maa

Keeping Fit Outside The Gym

South Africa's sunny skies in the festive season are enough to make anyone crave the outdoors, with gym routines being forgotten as a result. The irony of it? Summer is when we strive to be in the best shape possible! If you want to keep fit while still enjoying the feel good factor of the holiday season, here are some activities to get you there.

Hit The Water

Our warm weather should already have you in the water, so make the most of it! Stand up paddle-boarding remains one of the most popular, family-friendly and physically demanding watersports of the moment, but you can get back to basics and enjoy skiing and tubing – while torching a lot of calories. Kayaking and paddle-boats are easier options if you’re going it alone or just with a partner. Another firm family favourite is a nearby waterpark.

Bounce It Out

As adults, jumping on trampolines is often a foreign and forgotten pleasure. The benefits are also endless, with rebounding improving everything from core strength, bone density and joint health to cellulite and skin tone! Join the kids and make the most of trampolines, whether at home or at your holiday destination. You can even pencil it in properly and try out the new bouncing facilities cropping up nationwide that are essentially wall-to-wall trampolines lined with foam.

Join A Community

It’s still scheduled exercise, but gathering at the beachfront or park for a communal run adds an element of festivity to your average 5km. Join one of the many free running or trail running clubs in your area (parkrun is guaranteed to be available in all big cities) and bring the whole family along. Keep an eye out for specific family events like colour runs and night cycles as well.

Make Your Home A Playground

Gardens and driveways provide the perfect space for badminton or volleyball nets. Set them up for your kids and their friends – and for you and yours as well! Having a fun and social activity at home will encourage your kids to get active and enjoy time with the family.

Hit The Roller Derby

A little more alternative, maybe, but definitely no less fun! This typically American female-dominated contact sport is finally trickling down into South Africa and will have you sweating out your calories in a big way. If you’re confident on rollerskates, you can sign up for weekly games at a small fee – and if the trend hasn’t hit your area yet, simply don your skates and hit the promenade instead!

Explore The Sea

Snorkeling and diving are one of the most pleasant ways to exert energy outdoors. Start light with some easy snorkeling, or take it to the next level and enjoy a scuba diving course. If that’s a bit intimidating, rent a seawalker and enjoy walking on the ocean floor! The resistance of the water will tone without you noticing.

Explore By Foot

Whether you’re in a new destination or home for the holidays, be a tourist and plan a walking tour. Pick a trail route, picnic site or a historical monument and plan a walking route around it.

Plan A DIY Holiday Project

This could be for you, or the family as a whole, but take on a fairly physical DIY project for the holidays. Maybe you want to build that veggie patch, make a small treehouse for the kids or use pallets for outside furniture. It could even be as simple as painting an outside wall a different colour for a fun upgrade. Get creative and physical at the same time and enjoy a tangible reward at the end of it.

Walk And Talk

Do you and your bestie love your weekly catch ups? Skip the wine and chocolate on the couch and meet up in a nearby park or communal garden instead. Map a route and enjoy a brisk walk while catching up as usual – a coffee at the end of it could serve as a reward when you’re done.

Hit The Gym – Outdoors

That’s right – all the benefits of a regular gym, cleverly structured for outdoor use! These amazing innovations may seem like a strange set of jungle gyms at first glance – but don’t be fooled. The outdoor gym equipment lets you train muscle groups with added resistance, and is both free and open 24/7! All our main cities are well-equipped with outdoor gyms, and these are but a few of them offered nationwide! Browse online for an outdoor gym in your area and enjoy a fully-equipped gym workout in the fresh air.

Warning: Got Milk?

Let's take a look at why we should be thinking twice about genetically engineered milk: This product forces cows to produce more milk than they are naturally equipped to give, and as a result destroys the physical condition of the animals, interfering with their breeding cycles (when it doesn't destroy them outright), and also causes infections in their udders. In turn, farmers are compelled to increase their use of antibiotics, aggravating an unhealthy dynamic whose ultimate result will be enhanced enemy microorganisms. The milk produced by the implementation of this engineering method contains elevated levels of a growth hormone implicated in a variety of cancers and other diseases.

The costs of producing milk in this manner are significant. Starting with the costs of the product, then adding to that the costs of the labor involved in injecting them, the extra feed needed to help the cows sustain the unnatural burden to their systems, and finally the veterinary costs that are so inevitably linked to the product's use that the manufacturer included vet vouchers as a sales tool to help offset that expense. The recommended feed to help cows survive the demands of these antibiotics is animal protein, which raises the specter that the product's use could advance the spread of other diseases.

By appealing exclusively to large dairy herds, the product threatens to pit the large farmer against the family farmer, so much so that it works as advertised and helps big farmers produce more milk. This only adds to the chronic oversupply and helps depress milk prices further, thereby throwing more family dairy farmers out of business. And by reducing consumer confidence in the safety of milk, it limits demand for milk as well as other dairy products, again depressing prices and threatening the livelihood of the small farmer.

Think twice about where and how your dairy is produced, and when in doubt...got Almond Milk?

How The Tech Industry Can Help Save The Climate

Connecting people across continents. Delivering breaking news. Enabling government transparency. Facilitating social revolutions. Stopping global warming?

The Internet is capable of doing so much, but perhaps the idea that it can help rescue the planet from runaway global warming comes as a surprise to you.

Every time we post a Facebook status to our friends, watch the latest episode of our favorite show on Netflix, or tweet to our followers, that information is housed in giant data centers which require a lot of electricity. These data centers are a key part of the cloud, and a single one can require as much energy as a medium-sized city.

If cloud computing were a country, it would rank sixth in the world on the basis of how much electricity it uses, and the amount of data shuttling around the world is expected to triple in the next few years as more and more people get connected.

The Internet we love, and the companies that run it, are at a crossroads in terms of where their energy comes from. Many of these companies have already chosen the road to a green internet and a sustainable future. Facebook, Apple and Google have committed to 100 percent renewable energy, in response to users around the world who have asked them for a greener internet. Other fast-growing technology companies, like Salesforce, Rackspace and Box, have joined them in making the same commitment, proving that 100 percent renewable energy is 100 percent possible for any company with the will.

By contrast some of the most popular online companies, including social media sites that we use every day like Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr, still power their platforms with fossil fuels and nuclear energy. The largest cloud company currently is Amazon Web Services, a division of Amazon.com, and hosts the data for some of the most popular online brands in the world. But unlike other major online brands like Google and Apple, Amazon is still primarily powering its digital empire with the dirty sources of energy that threaten our communities and our climate. Of course, Amazon doesn't have to remain stuck in the energy sources of the 1800s. Energy sources like wind and solar made up for more than half of all the new electricity in the United States in 2012.

Meanwhile digital pioneers are making our world greener, both online and offline. Apple is operating the largest privately owned solar installation in the U.S. at one of its data centers. Facebook pushed a U.S. power company to supply its data center with 100 percent wind energy. Google has pioneered the use of clean power purchases, buying wind energy to provide electricity for its services like Gmail and YouTube, as well as the rest of the power grid.

If Amazon and others want to stay innovative and relevant, it's high time they made the switch to the abundant, sustainable, renewable energy of today.

Simply put, we need a greener online to preserve a greener offline.

The Internet has helped move the world to more freedom, transparency and democracy. It's only natural that it moves the world to a clean energy revolution that will last for generations to come. These companies can make that happen, but only if they hear from you.

Join me in asking our favorite Internet companies to commit to 100 percent renewable energy for their data centers.

Natural Minty Mouthwash

Having fresh breath is wonderful. It makes you confident to talk to people without having to worry about what they're smelling throughout your conversation. I have to say that when I changed my lifestyle to cleaner eating I didn't have the yucky feeling in my mouth anymore so no more chewing gum or minty sweets. I do still love to have fresh breath and using a mouthwash is a nice way to freshen up.

If you have a look at how many ingredients there are on normal mouthwashes, and how many you don't even know how to pronounce you start to get a little concerned. Now I know you don't usually swallow the mouthwash but what about your kiddies? They swallow the mouthwash quite regularly and all these potentially toxic chemicals are going into their little bodies. It doesn't seem like a lot but when you add up those toxins as well as other body care products, house hold cleaners and pollution in the air, there is quite a toxic load going into your system. Making your own mouthwash and reducing even just this little toxic load can go a long way in improving your health.

Chewing on parsley, mint or swirling lemon around your mouth also helps freshen up your breath. But if you don't have these on hand then you can make your own mouthwash:

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 glasses of purified water
  • 2 tablespoons of food grade hydrogen peroxide
  • 2-3 drops of mint essential oil
  • Stevia for a bit of sweetness (optional)

Pop all the ingredients in your bottle and shake to combine.

To Use: Swirl around in your mouth after brushing your teeth and then rinse with water. This is such an affordable way to make a non toxic mouthwash... Fresh breath here we come!

 

Recipe from http://www.easyrecipeplugin.com/

Skip The Pharmacy! Natural Pain Relievers

Many of us fall victim to niggling aches and pains, and some of us experience worse offenders, like migraines, back pain and arthritis. Chronic pain meds can help, but they come with their own set of side-effects, and we build up immunity to them over time as well! So, what’s a sore person to do? While I’m not saying you should throw in the towel on doctor-prescribed meds, these natural alternatives may offer relief to your individual symptoms. In the case of herbal remedies, remember that they need to be administered by a homeopath.

Endorphins

Before you blow this off as a weak option, remember that endorphins block pain signals on their way to the brain. Any activity that gets your blood pumping for over 15 minutes will release pain-relieving endorphins into your body. Since exercise also decreases aggravators of chronic ailments, like anxiety, stress and obesity, I think this is a double-win.

Heat Therapy

Heat therapy is a powerful way to relieve pain. Not only does it suppress the pain signals being sent to your brain, it increases the flow of oxygen to the damaged areas to assist with healing. Try a hot water bottle, beanbag heating pad or even just a hot bath.

Ice Packs

If your pain is caused from inflammation, ice is your best natural way to reduce it. As I’m sure you’ve experienced firsthand, ice also acts as a natural anesthetic by slowing down nerve impulses and therefore pain signals in the sore spots.

Stretching

Almost all of us can benefit from regular stretching. Our bodies are meant to move, and our often restrictive motion can cause muscles to tighten, reduce motion and become painful as a result. Daily stretches, recommended moves by a physiotherapist, yoga and using a foam roller are great ways to incorporate stretching into your life.

Capsicum/Capsaicin

Found in hot chilies, this pain-reducer actually desensitizes nerve receptors temporarily, and has been reported to reduce pain for as much as 3-5 weeks! Capsicum cream applied to the nasal passages of migraine sufferers has also shown good results.

Cherries

These little wonders are said to have the highest anti-inflammatory properties of any food and behave much like aspirin. This makes them powerful agents for relieving pain in ailments like arthritis and other joint pain.

Cranberry Juice

Gastric pain, ulcers in the stomach and intestines and urinary tract infections can all be healed effectively with cranberry juice. It is responsible for killing the bacteria causing the infection, so drink up – just make sure to take in the real deal: no added sugar!

Devil’s Claw

This is most recognized for effectively treating problems like heart burn and liver disease. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, devil’s claw has shown great success in several studies in the treatment of osteoarthritis.

Ginger, Turmeric And Basil

In Ayurvedic medicine these three herbs are highly acclaimed – and with good reason. All three are extremely powerful anti-inflammatories and immune boosters, and ginger can also sooth a sore throat and stomach. Add basil into salads or blend into pestos, make a ginger, honey and lemon ‘hot toddy’, and try out this delicious golden tea to take in your daily does of turmeric.

Birch Leaf

This is actually one of the first natural pain relievers ever used, thanks to its cortisone-like powers. It has been useful in treating everything from arthritis to lupus and other autoimmune disorders. One of its main chemical compounds – methyl salicylate is antifungal, analgesic, diuretic and antispasmodic.

Peppermint And Clove Oil

Peppermint has always been a great natural remedy for joint pain, skin irritation and headaches. Both peppermint and clove oil act as powerful painkillers of toothache when applied directly to the affected area.

Arnica

This is a well-known herbal rub to use after heavy exercise and injury. Whilst the true source of its healing power has still not been identified, this herb derived from a European flower does have anti-inflammatory properties.

Banting For Dogs

A landmark study conducted by animal science researchers in California now demonstrates that feeding dogs fresh, healthy, whole food diets instead of highly processed kibble and cans results in improvements in measures of health.

The true judge as to whether a diet is “perfect” for both dog and human is based on whether they are able to provide the correct pH balances, with a leaning towards alkalinity. Thus, when one looks at popular human diets, this important formula is always fulfilled.

The Banting Diet, promoted by our own legendary Professor Tim Noakes, fulfils these requirements. Often his proposed diet is misunderstood. He is actually advocating a high fat diet with low refined carbohydrates, rather than a high meat protein diet. Looking thoroughly into his diet and recipes, the contribution of his veggies (predominantly alkaline) supersedes and balances the acidity from the meat content. Remember, fat, mostly has a neutral impact on PH.

Therefore, when preparing diets for our pets the same considerations should be applied as to the way we prepare human nutritional foods. A Banting Diet for Dogs would be an exceptional dietary plan suitable for the whole family.

Looking at commercial pet foods in pellet/kibble form, it is quite clear why such diets cannot perform. The main ingredients are refined carbs - brewers rice, wheat and corn gluten, potato meal, soya meal and animal meals. As a matter of fact, such refined carbs are rated as “extremely acidic” and their contribution way overrides any alkaline ingredients that may come from this diet.

The same arguments follow for diets that contain copious amounts of meat (raw or cooked). In the last few years, there has been a trend to feed our companion animals a high raw meat diet. Meat too is classified as an “extremely” acidic.

Acidosis will lead to inflamed cells, reduce immunity and lead to an array of health ailments like skin disorders, arthritis and the formation of kidney stones.

The recent landmark veterinary studies from West Hollywood California support what human nutritionists have been advising for decades – “stay clear of heavily processed foods, and eat wholesome, balanced meals that are prepared fresh from the highest quality ingredients available, are lightly cooked, and have no preservatives. This same advice appears to be true for our canine best friends.”

Based on these findings, let’s see how Professor Tim Noakes’s Banting Diet would fulfill the nutritional requirements of our dogs by looking at some of his golden rules:

  1. This is not a high protein diet. It's a high fat, medium protein, low carb way of eating
  2. Choose real foods that look like what they are, and cook them from scratch
  3. Fat is not the enemy. Enjoy it! – Fat is essential for our dogs
  4. Eat only when you are hungry; eat until you are satisfied we control the feeding of once or twice a day

Therefore, whether you are preparing a meal for yourself and children or your four-legged companion members, The Banting Diet, is recommended for the entire family.

Banting diets are well established already and there are hundreds of recipes to follow. It is lifestyle choice. What we are saying is that if you are a “banter” or follow any popular human diet, they are all appropriate and excellent for your dogs.

Guidelines and Recipe

There are only two considerations in formulating a natural and nutritious home cooked meal for your companion animals. The first is the ingredients that you use and the second is the method used to cook these ingredients.

  • Your recipe should include up to third meat, a third wholesome grains (non refined)gand a third vegetable and greens. The meat can be beef, chicken (pref free range), mutton and/or ostrich.
  • The grains should include brown rice, lentils, barley and soup mix. Your vegetable mix should include blended raw carrots, garlic, a variety of fresh herbs and cold pressed olive oil.

What is important to note when cooking, is that the grains must be cooked thoroughly. This will make them easily digestible and maintain all there nutritional values. Only afterwards, once you have turned off the gas/electricity will you add your meat content.

Finally you mix in your vegetable blend. Herbs like mint, sage, lemon verbena are also very useful herbs for treating the skin.

by: Paul Jacobson

Paul Jacobson is a regular guest on Radio 702 and Capetalk Radio and writes for many health and animal publications on natural and holistic pet care. Paul is a pet food nutritionist, qualified chef and owner of Vondis Holistic Pet Nutrition. Vondis was a finalist in the Nedbank Capetalk Small Business Awards for their contribution to animal welfare and care.

Cron Job Starts