Category: saving the world

Pain in the butt

The last day of May is World No Tobacco Day.

Luckily I am too young to have to quit smoking because I’ve never started – but I know it’s a really hard habit to kick.

Truth is that smoking‘s bad for you. Not only can it cause lung disease, it can also cause heart problems and can cause cancer almost anywhere in your body too.

Luckily it’s now illegal to smoke with your children in the car – because second hand smoke is almost as bad for you as the real thing. At least people who smoke choose to do so. The kids who get to breathe their parental agents smoke have no choice. That’s just nasty!

Not only is smoking bad for people, it’s bad for environment and the animals.

Lately scientists have figured out that cigarette butts are one of the most abundant types of litter found around. That means there are plenty of butts out there. (Studies estimate that 4.5 trillion cigarette butts find their way into the environment each year.)

Worse, it’s one of nastiest, deadliest forms of waste.

People who would not dream of pitching a cool drink tin out of the car window will happily chuck a burning butt out. Not particularly caring that it can set fire to something. And they do too – burning butts are often the cause of serious veldt fires.

People also drop them on pavements or into gutters, where the wind will blow them into storm waters and all sorts of other places.

Beaches are ideal for putting out butts. One huge ashtray – right? Wrong.

Or… they flick butts casually into water – dams, the sea and rivers.

Cigarette butts are tiny little bundles of toxins. In other words… poisonous. They get into our marine ecosystems and cause havoc with the wildlife and the quality of the water.

And we all know that water is extremely precious – right?

You know what is also really scary – even those people who put their cigarettes out in the designated places have no guarantee that their butts won’t also end up in the water. The bins get emptied. Butts are chucked onto rubbish dumps. Then they get blown around and it’s highly likely that they also end up where they shouldn’t.

Take care where you put those butts please people.

Sibo

 

We’ve got to save MORE water!

Sibo having a shorter shower

Recently we got a letter from Rand Water saying that it will be reducing its supply by 15% in order to try and conserve water.

This is means that we all have to make a plan to save more water.

I know many of us already save water and think that there is not much more that we can do, but if you think carefully about it, there probably is.

Here are some reminders of the easy ways to save.

Shower for 5 minutes or less. No more of those long hot soaks in the bath where the water sloshes around your chin and you pull the plug out every so often to let some water out so that you can top it up with nice hot water. Nope! A short shower is the way to go. Anyway – its summer  now so that is not really a problem – is it?

Wash your dishes in a basin with the plug in. If you have a dishwasher – don’t rinse them with running water either. Use a basin of water rather. Yes, I know it’s a pain – but do it anyway please.

Wash your car with a bucket. Many South Africans are obsessed with having clean cars – I think that’s so silly – I mean – they just get dirty again. Why bother – as long as you can see through the windows – that’s all that counts.

Check that your taps are not dripping or leaking.  Kids can check and report to their parental agents. Remember to check the taps outside too.

If you are staying in a hotel – reuse your towel. Good heavens! It’s not like you get a spiffy clean towel at home every day is it? so don’t expect one in a hotel either.

Turn the tap off when you brush your teeth. Yes really – it’s not hard to do – it’s just a mind-set.

Same goes for when you wash your hands. Run a little bit of water with the plug in.

In fact – do an experiment – you know how I always like doing experiments. Waste a bit of water just once.  Put the plug in but leave the tap running when you brush your teeth… you will be horrified at how much water you have been wasting every single day.

Please people – lets save more water.

Sibo

PS –  If you see any water wastage in town or somewhere that is not your home you can call the toll free number 080 0200 200 and report it. Or you could send an sms to 45174.

PPS – Did you know that you can invite Manzi and he water Wise education team to your school – free of charge. It’s a 25 minute show and it is really fun. I know – I’ve seen it myself!  Email Waterwise@randwater.co.za

PPPS – Hahahaha – sorry – but you can read Sibo Saves Water   free of charge too!

Really useful stuff

Rude Sibo

The other day I was having lunch at my friend’s house and accidentally dropped some food on my jeans. It made a big oily splodge. I dashed to the kitchen and gave it a rub with some sunlight liquid.  Thought I had cleaned it… but no.

When the patch dried, the oily blob was still there.

I was miffed with myself and sad too. Not only were they my favourite jeans, but they were also new and I figured my mum was going to yell at me for messing them up.

Then my friend’s older sister Emma came to the rescue.

“Don’t worry,” she said “I’ll sort them out for you!”

I was a bit worried because she’s an arty type.  I half imagined that she might cover up the splodge with a bigger splodge of paint or something, but instead she took the bicarbonate of soda out of the cupboard and made a little white heap on the oily spot. Then she added a few drops of water to the heap.

A couple of hours later she handed my jeans back to me. They were spotless. I couldn’t even see where the mark had been. It was amazing.

When I got home later I googled bicarbonate of soda – also known as baking soda.

Wow! It’s fabulous stuff. You can use it for literally all sorts of things and it does not mess up the environment like other cleaning products do. It’s cheaper too.

Here are just a few ways of using it that I thought were useful.

  • You can sprinkle a small amount of baking soda into your palm along with your regular shampoo and wash your hair as usual. The baking soda removes all residue that styling products leave behind and makes your hair cleaner and more manageable.
  • If you have a mozzie bite, you can make a paste of baking soda and a bit of water and cover the scratchy spot up. It stops itching.
  • You can also give yourself a refreshing facial and body scrub. Make a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water. Gently rub in a circular motion to exfoliate your skin. Rinse clean. You can even use this every day. (It really works – I’ve tried it myself!)

Here’s a link for more ways to use baking soda  http://www.care2.com/greenliving/51-fantastic-uses-for-baking-soda.html .

Try out this miracle stuff when you get a chance!

Sibo

Oceans apart!

Sibo and the seahorses

Hands up who has been to visit the sea? It’s a fabulous place to have a holiday – especially if the sun is shining and it’s a nice day. It’s also lovely to look at the ocean on a cold stormy day – watch the waves break and the water change colour.

I guess we all take the sea for granted in many ways. Yet humans have been treating the sea very casually and horribly for years and years.

Did you know… waste matter from sewerage and agriculture gets dumped in the sea? This sometimes has revolting things in it that can cause dangerous types of sea plants to bloom in the water near the coast. When these blooms die and rot they use up all the oxygen in the water and then there isn’t any left for the fish. They call these areas “creeping dead zones”.

Just the name sounds incredibly scary.

Worse – a lot of other stuff also gets dumped into the ocean without people realizing it – all sorts of chemicals. Some of those chemicals are called POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants). These ghastly POPs don’t break down and disappear like lots of other chemicals do. They end up staying in the tissues of living organisms – like fish – that we eat. Yuk! Never mind the fact that these make the fish sick, they can also sometimes cause nasty illnesses in humans or even affect the way that we grow.

The oceans are huge and one would think that there are loads of fish swimming around  just waiting to be caught and eaten. Well – this is not quite true anymore either. Sadly unsustainable fishing practices have, in some cases, left dangerously depleted fish stocks which have also jeopardized some marine ecosystems too.

Did you know… 312 million kilograms of seafood is consumed annually in South Africa? Sjoe!

This is why there are things like lists. We are all supposed to eat fish off the GREEN list only.  The fish on the orange and red lists are endangered and they should not be caught. In fact it’s not okay to eat them if you go to a restaurant either because this creates a demand for them. Don’t do it!

Visit http://wwfsassi.co.za/sassi-list/  and see what you are allowed to eat and what is endangered. You’ll be horrified!

Let’s all take better care of our oceans.

Sibo.

Butts are a bit of a problem

Sibo hands

Lately scientists have figured out that cigarette butts are one of the most abundant types of litter found around. Studies estimate that 4.5 trillion cigarette butts find their way into the environment each year.

Much worse, it’s one of nastiest, deadliest forms of waste.

People who would not dream of pitching a cool drink tin out of the car window will happily chuck a burning butt out. Not particularly caring that it can set fire to something. Burning butts are often the cause of serious veldt fires.

People also drop them on pavements or into gutters, where the wind blows them into storm waters and other places.

They also flick butts casually into water – dams, the sea and rivers.

You probably wouldn’t flick a cigarette butt into your swimming pool – but why not? Because you or your family might swallow it whilst swimming and that would be horrible.

So why not care if a fish, bird or animal chomps it instead?

Cigarette butts are tiny little bundles of toxins. They are poisonous. They get into our marine ecosystems and cause havoc with the wildlife and the quality of the water.

We all know that water is extremely precious.

Due to the fact that cigarette filters are specifically designed to accumulate toxins, each butt can contain up to 60 known human carcinogens including… arsenic, formaldehyde, chromium and lead. In fact, there are around 1,400 potential chemical additives.

Toxicological data has shown that these chemicals from discarded butts are capable of leaching into surrounding water where they can hurt aquatic life. Nicotine has been shown to be lethal to various fish, crustaceans, zooplankton, and other aquatic organisms, as well as being a known insecticide.

On top of leeching toxins, cigarette butts present an ingestion, choking and poisoning hazard to wildlife who mistake them for dinner!

Cigarette filters are also composed of cellulose acetate, a form of plastic that can hang around in the environment for long periods of time. Plastics of this sort have been found in the stomachs of sea turtles, fish, birds, whales and other marine creatures.

You know what is also really scary – even those people who put their cigarettes out in the designated places have no guarantee that their butts won’t also end up in the water. The bins get emptied. Butts are chucked onto rubbish dumps. Here they are blown around and it’s highly likely that they end up where they shouldn’t as well.

So what is the answer?  Stop smoking of course!

Loving Life

Sibo with ants 2

On the 22nd of May – that’s next Sunday – it’s International Day of Biological Diversity.

That sounds like a real mouthful but actually all biodiversity means is different sorts of living things. Life!

Often we take these things for granted – the in-your-face ones like different breeds of dogs and cats or trees, plants and flowers. Then you get varieties of birds and beautiful different types of butterflies – to name just a very few.

With global warming many species are being compromised. Because some areas are getting hotter – or colder – and several species of plants are dying out.  You might wonder what difference it would make if one little type of plant no longer existed, but actually it does make a huge difference.

Some insects might live on that particular plant and they are eaten up by some other animal. If you take the plant away – there is no food for the insects and no insects for the animals… you see what I mean. Suddenly a whole chain is wiped out.

The bees are also being compromised. Bees might seem like pesky little critters that do nothing other than sting us which hurts like crazy, but they pollenate all sorts of plants and flowers and are vital in the food chain. One of the ways this is happening is that the farmers are spraying with nasty stuff that keeps the crops alive (true – this is very important) but it kills off all sorts of insects – including the bees.

People always tend to think that if all the plant and animal life died out, that humans would be the last to survive. Well – I’ve got news for you – we are actually halfway down the list. Not last at all.

My storybook – Sibo Likes Life is all about the subject of biodiversity. We are having a worldwide on-line event on the 22nd May and you’re all invited to join in if you want to. If you go to my website – http://www.sibo.co.za   you can read this e-book absolutely free of charge.

There will be a competition too, where you could win the book – a real book – not an e-book.

You can also join the event on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/246259775763801/ .

We all need to do as much as we can to help save this precious earth of ours. After all, we only have one earth and one life.

Love your life!

Sibo

Tricky Trash

Recycling

Hearing about the Pikitup troubles started me thinking about rubbish.

We all generate lots of trash every single day.

How many people do actually recycle their stuff? I know that some places have bins that are easily accessible for people to throw their paper, plastic or glass in and all it requires is a little bit of effort. Other places provide special bags for recycling stuff and it gets specially picked up every week. That’s also relatively easy to do.

Then you get the places are not so jacked-up and it actually does require a fair amount of trouble to recycle properly.

If your area does not have good recycling habits there are other things that you can do to help out.

Most places in South Africa have people who trawl around the bins in residential areas on rubbish day. They take out all the plastic, glass and paper to be recycled. They get money for this stuff – and often this is their only source of income.

I know some people whinge and mutter because they don’t always leave the bins nice and tidy as they found them, but actually they’re doing the earth a service.

Why fill up the landfill more when we can recycle?

So… the nice thing to do is to help out and try and segregate your own rubbish.

Save all your glass bottles and jars and put them into a separate bag in the bin.

Do the same with tins, plastic, paper and cardboard. Make sure you wash out tins and plastic containers first. It must be really horrible for the people who collect this stuff to have to grovel out yukky miffy old disgusting cans with bits of mouldy dogfood or baked beans clinging to the sides.

You could also find out if any of the play schools in your area need stuff – like the inside cardboard roll in the toilet paper, cereal boxes, plastic trays, jars etc.  They often use things like that for craft projects or for storage.

If you have batteries, bulbs or ink cartridges you can usually recycle those in the bins in Pick ‘n Pay. They know how to properly dispose such nasty things. Some batteries have mercury in them and you really don’t want those to end up in the landfill.

All it takes is a bit of time and organisation.

Give it a go!

Sibo

Antics

Sibo with ants 2

The other day our house was besieged by ants. Long columns of them marched around our kitchen. At first we thought somebody had left something sweet by the sink and that’s what they were attracted to, but then we realised that they were going for the water.

Mum wanted to spray them all with Doom. I thought that was a bit harsh and convinced her to leave them alone for a while to see if they disappeared as fast as they had arrived. Lucky for them, they did.

This got me wondering about ants. I googled to find out some more.

Turns out there are three kinds of ants in a colony: The queen, the female workers and males. The queen and the males have wings. The workers don’t have wings. (The workers are the ants that we usually see scurrying around the place.) The queen is the only ant that can lay eggs. The male ant’s job is to mate with future queen ants and they do not live very long afterwards. Once the queen grows to adulthood, she spends the rest of her life laying eggs!

Ant colonies also have soldier ants that protect the queen, defend the colony, gather or kill food, and attack enemy colonies in search for food and nesting space. If they defeat another ant colony, they take away eggs of the defeated ant colony. When the eggs hatch, the new ants become the “slave” ants for the colony. Some jobs of the colony include taking care of the eggs and babies, gathering food for the colony and building the anthills or mounds.

Did you know…

  • There are more than 12,000 species of ants that can be found all over the world?
  • An ant can lift 20 times its own body weight.
  • Ants do not have ears. They “hear” by feeling vibrations in the ground through their feet.
  • Ants also don’t have lungs. Oxygen enters through tiny holes all over the body and carbon dioxide leaves through those same holes.
  • When ants fight – they usually fight to the death.
  • Some queen ants can live for many years and have millions of babies. Queen ants shed their wings when they start a new nest.
  • When searching for food, ants leave a pheromone trail so that they know where they have been.

Sjoe! Ants are actually quite amazing.

Let’s not step on ants.

Have a great week.

Sibo

New Year’s Resolutions

Sibo bed-head

Hi Everybody!

I hope that you all had a happy and peaceful festive season. I can’t believe that it’s almost time to go back to school.

I decided to make some New Year’s Resolutions – not too many because it is always hard to keep them. We usually start off with such good intentions and then get lazy or we just can’t be bothered. In fact, a few weeks into the year it seems like most or all of them have fallen by the wayside.

I decided to keep mine really simple as well.

I’ve written them out and stuck them up on the wall by my bed – so I can remember them each day.

  1. Smile at a stranger every single day. (More than one is even better.)
  2. Be grateful for all the lovely stuff that I have (even if I sometimes wish I had something else).
  3. Be nicer to Mum and Dad. (I can only have one hissy fit a week.)
  4. Make friends with kids who look lonely at school.
  5. Save as much water as I can. (Turn the tap off when I brush my teeth.)
  6. Remind Mum to recycle more. (Even if it means taking stuff out of the trash.)
  7. Ride my bike to school at least 3 times a week

See! They are not really hard ones – are they?  I should at least manage to do half of them.

The smiling stuff is really easy – and you know – people tend to smile back at you, which makes you feel good.

Number 6 might cause me to have some of my allotment of hissy fits with Mum. She gets fed up when I remind her to recycle – but I’m not ready to give up yet.

Number 7 might be a bit hard too, especially when it’s so hot. But the exercise is good for me and it saves my Mum petrol. Plus my friend Lizzie and I have great fun cycling to school. We are very careful because there are lots of hooligans driving around on the road who don’t always worry about bicycles.

They seem to think that we don’t have any right to be on the road – but we do.  Although some cyclists just cruise straight through stop signs or red robots – they don’t bother to adhere to the rules of the road or traffic signs.

That’s just silly.

Hope that 2016 is a great year for all of us.

Be happy

Sibo

Crowdfunding for Sibo Looks Right.

Sibo cutie face

A couple of months ago (sjoe – so long – time really does fly) I told you I’d found out about a weird way to make money.

Called crowdfunding – remember?

When lots of people give small amounts of money towards a project in order to make it happen.

My friend Ginny is actually doing one of these campaigns and so far they have raised R47,450 towards our book on road safety. That’s not too shabby hey?

Their tipping point – this is the amount of money that you have to raise to be able to keep all the money that you have already raised towards the project – has long since been passed.

In their case, they want to raise R140,000 in order to print 3000 “Sibo Looks Right” books on road safety and give them out free to schools and libraries around South Africa. Their tipping point was R25,000. When they reached that amount they knew they would be able to make an e-book which they will be able to share with many kids and their parents around the world – never mind only in South Africa.

Thanks to an incredibly generous donation from Nash Nissan in Alberton they passed this tipping point in just three days of starting their campaign. How awesome. These guys really care about kids and road safety.

You could donate too – if you wanted to. They call them “rewards” and for just R100 you could get your name written in the back of the book to show that you care. You’d also get the e-link to the book to read and share.

This is cool – another of the “rewards” is if, for instance, you had a motor dealership – you could have your logo in the book. And maybe challenge other dealers that you know to also contribute towards the project. It’s only R300 – not that much to show that you really care about road safety. Hey? These are great marketing opportunities.  Even if we only reach the R80,000 mark – we’ll be printing 1000 books. Then you could have some of the real books to distribute to your local school – with your logo on it.

Check it out. You might also want to raise funds like this one day.

Remember, in the meantime… look right, look left and look right again before crossing the road.

Be safe,

Sibo