Spring cleaning

It’s spring, and the day was enjoyed with some winter rain in Cape Town. Not everyone agrees that the 1st of September heralds the first day of Spring. Some measure spring from the equinox, or September 22/23 in the southern hemisphere. Still others, such as those following the Asian solar calendar, see the equinox as mid-spring, with spring itself beginning on August 4.

Still, let’s not argue. My garden doesn’t care about our units of measurement and, taking its cue from the warmest year since recordings began, it’s been resplendent in full spring regalia a while now, and is not going to be told it’s wrong by anyone! With the sun rising before 7am from this week and setting after 6.30pm, the winter hibernation is well and truly over.

Out with the old…
Last Sunday saw the implosion of the Athlone towers. I remember growing up under their gaze, as well as the black soot that occasionally covered our windowsills and washing when the wind blew in our direction. The coal power station had not been used for a few years, but it was still highly symbolic for much of Cape Town to see them collapsing to the ground. It wasn’t long before a hoax rumour began that it’s being replaced by a wind power station, but sadly there is no Eskom spokesperson “Mark Schoon”.

While at least one coal power station is no more, solar power is seeing a huge increase in investment. Currently, Germany has the greatest capacity – almost 10 GigaWatts, followed by Spain (4GW) and Japan (2GW). It’s the country in 4th place where it’s all happening though. The US has just over 1GW currently installed, but 23GW in active development, enough to electrify about four and a half million US households, and investment is going through the roof. Almost half a billion dollars was invested in the last quarter, almost three times the amount invested in the same period in 2009. It’s good to see that the tide is turning from the huge amounts of money supporting the oil, coal and nuclear industries.

And South Africa? Eskom currently pays a “green levy” of 2c per kWH – a tidy R3.7 billion for the year. Unlike other countries, which ringfence their green taxes, the money may not actually go towards any green projects, but it does provide a R3.7 billion incentive to move to cleaner energy!

What’s new?
We’re continuing to add to our coffee range, all of course organic and African. This week you can try the Ethiopian Harrar, which claims a rich cherry aroma with winy to fruitlike acidity and thick body, and spicy chocolate and cinnamon flavours. Decide for yourself, and let us and others know what you think, here on our blog, or on our Facebook page.

To order, head on over to www.ethical.org.za.

Have a wonderful week,
Ian and the Ethical Co-op team