Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Story from

World Water Day 2011

Last week an interactive water awareness display was erected in the Rhodes library quadrangle to celebrate World Water Day as part of a BYOBlue (Bring your own Blue) social water networking event.

The United Nations Environmental Programme’s (UNEP) theme for World Water Day 2011 - Water for Cities - was depicted in a local context and used to create water awareness in the city of Grahamstown.

The display aimed to create awareness of the location and perception of drinking water in Grahamstown, as well as give an indication of water quality at sites in the urban landscape.

A display of personal water consumption statistics for daily tasks was used to point out individual water consumption intended to create awareness and to encourage responsible water usage among Rhodes students.

The collaboration of Galela Amanzi, South East African Climate Consortium Student Forum (SEACC SF), Catchment Research Group (CRG) and Gaian Revolutions and Social Solutions (GRASS) environmental groups at Rhodes allowed for the interdisciplinary approach to the World Water Day 2011 display.

The display provided a platform for the sharing of information, which will hopefully stimulate interest for upcoming water saving campaigns.

By Kerry Bobbins

Monday, March 28, 2011

Earth Hour cartoon by one of our members - nuff said!

2011 Kicks Off with Earth Hour!

The SEACC SF 2011 has officially kicked off! Though the comm have been working behind the scenes since the calendar said the year began, our first official members event propelled the society into 2011 with a notable force! Hundreds of Rhodes students and Grahamstown community members gathered to celebrate Earth Hour on Saturday the 26th of March. The festivities followed a well-attended screening of the Oscar-nominated documentary, Gasland, and included fire dancers, musicians, poets, and more! A good time was had by all - without a single light needing to be turned on! Thanks to everyone who was a part of the evening! Keep your eyes wide for more exciting events coming soon, including concerts, game drives, community engagement, and more! For more details, watch this space, or check out any of the following links: 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Some more interesting reads

Some interesting reads


Looking for more info on SEACC or just some interesting reads for when you're procrastinating or just plain old avoiding working?

 Check out these links:


Friday, October 8, 2010


SEACC SF has successfully put together a marketing package for the JSE! Lets hope it helps hook us some investors!

We have a lot planned for the coming year! With projects like WildReach, Hamburg and VoW set to have some incredibly notable impacts on the way our generation addresses environmental issues!

Just check out these proposals:

 JSE Marketing Package:

The South East African Climate Consortium Student Forum (SEACC SF) has emerged, from its humble beginnings as a movement consisting of two Rhodes University students in February 2010, into a powerful student crusade aimed at tackling issues of climate change and sustainability, with driven and ambitious committees at Rhodes University, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, University of Fort Hare and Walter Sisulu University..

Together SEACC SF and its partner organisations have jointly engaged in a number of projects to tackles issues of climate change and sustainability, and SEACC SF has done so without any funding, except for occasionally dipping into the rather shallow pockets of the students involved; with funding we believe we can do so much more and further embody the SEACC slogan: “Sustainability through knowledge and action”.

Some of the initiatives we have engaged in thus far include:
Ø  Hosting a number of lectures on climate change and sustainability including both student leaders in their fields as well as prominent individuals such as Professor Sir David King, and other highly esteemed academics.
Ø  Partnering with the Rhodes Zoological Society we helped to host a climate change educational project for school children.

Ø  We have engaged in a number of demonstrations to show our support for decisive action on climate change and sustainability.
Ø  A number of our students have taken part in courses aimed at discovering why it is that our planet is habitable and how we can keep it that way.
Ø  Through successful marketing and public exposure we have grown our membership to over 100 students.
Ø  We have hosted a number of tree planting ceremonies to restore our natural environment and capture carbon. 
Ø  We have developed an online, interactive educational course dedicated to issues of climate change and sustainability, which serves as a knowledge commons, and can be utilised by anyone to upload or download information on sustainability and climate change and much more:

Ø  We have taken part in and contributed to global movements such as Earth Day and the 10:10 Global Working Party Initiative.
Ø  We have helped to raise funds for noble causes such as the Cape Recife Conservancy and the Rhodes University Green Fund.
Ø  SEACC SF will also be one of the driving forces of the Youth Environmental Coalition of South Africa.

 For the rest of the year we will also be engaging in a number of initiatives such as: ocean and river clean-ups; green summits; along with other organisations, running and organising Rhodes University Environmental Week; calculating student carbon footprints to raise awareness; hosting debates and lectures; running workshops and giving demonstrations; and visiting schools to teach them about sustainable development and environmental awareness.

SEACC SF has harnessed the energy, creativity and ingenuity of the youth to develop a number of project ideas which are aimed at: helping rural communities to sustainably co-exist with their environment; reducing the ecological footprint of their universities and communities; bringing together students from across the globe to work together on forging a new way of life based on the principles of the green generation; and shifting the paradigm of development within Southern Africa.

What follows is a brief summary of some of the project ideas we have discussed and would like to take up. More details on the projects specifics can be obtained through contacting SEACC SF (contact details to be found at the end of this document).
The greater aim of WildREACH is to empower local communities in the Eastern Cape by using knowledge as a driving force to create an interest in wildlife conservation in the region while revealing the direct social and economic benefits of conserving wild areas. The programme follows a participatory paradigm to conservation.

WilldREACH would involve getting SEACC SF student volunteers (or student mentors) involved in helping local youth between the ages of 15 and 18 to develop or further any existing interest in wild areas, the natural environment and their importance. This will mainly be driven through field trips directly concerned with conservation through knowledge sharing, in the form of presentations, talks, game drives and other stimulating activities.
Greener Campuses and Communities Initiative
Through a number of different projects we aim to reduce the ecological footprint of both our university campuses and the surrounding communities. Here are just some of the ways we aim at doing so: installing and developing recycling systems; installing renewable energy technologies such as solar geysers and micro-wind turbines; promoting responsible consumerism through knowledge sharing and active community engagement programmes; and raising awareness around issues of sustainability and climate change through lectures, knowledge sharing, demonstrations and educational programmes.

Varsities of the World
South Africa stands in a unique position as it is a potential host for the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17) of the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC). SEACC SF thus ambitiously proposes to play a part in hosting a parallel meeting of representatives of environmental student organisations from all over the world. Together with organisations such as the United Nations Environmental Programme and the Youth Environmental Coalition of South Africa, we aim to push forward and unite environmentally conscious students across international borders, encouraging discussion and developing recommendations, proposals and solutions to environmental problems currently facing this generation.

Hamburg is a coastal community situated on the coast between East London and Port Alfred. The community has one of the highest numbers of HIV positive people per capita in the country. The community also has extreme shortages of wood, food and water and thus is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. SEACC SF aims to engage with the Hamburg community in order to assist them in developing sustainable solutions that will better equip them to deal with climate change in a sustainable manner. Some of the Hamburg projects we have proposed thus far include:

Small-scale Wind Turbines

Due to the water-shortages in the area, and a degrading vegetable garden we propose to install small-scale wind-turbines that involve the use of wind energy to meet water access and electricity needs. Water can be provided for the community in general as well as for the vegetable garden (which is a fifth of the size it use to be). The vegetable garden provides fresh vegetables for the community and it is situated right next to the HIV/AIDS clinic and thus provides vitamins and nutrients for the patients. The wind turbines can simultaneously provide renewable energy for the SEAS Centre or other community buildings.

Fuel-Efficient Coal Stoves
Due to wood shortages and deforestation, fuel-efficient coal stoves offer communities a more fuel-efficient way to prepare their food. In this way the reforestation efforts that we will be embarking on in the area will be more effective as these stoves use 50% less wood than an open fire does to the same effect. Most importantly this addresses global sustainable needs as well as preventing the many smoke-related illnesses, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) and acute respiratory illness (ARI), that present themselves in the developing world as a result of constant interaction with open fires.

Some other Hamburg Projects:
Ø  Reforestation and spekboom planting contributing to the development of a spekboom maze at the cultural village in Hamburg to replace the previous maze that was built out of a hazardous plant that carries poisonous milk. This will hopefully serve, amongst a number of educational and recreational purposes, as a tourist attraction, which can serve to increase the economy of Hamburg.
Ø  Developing a community-owned nursery, through which the community can both profit and restore their natural environment.
Sustainability Education and Skills (SEAS) Centres and SEA Pledges
Together with the Sustainable Seas Trust (SST), SEACC SF aims to work on developing SEAS Centres in coastal communities in South Africa. The purpose of SEAS Centres will be, amongst other things, to sustainably provide skills and education to communities, in order to empower them to sustainably lift their communities out of poverty. Through canvassing organisations and individuals to make commitments and contributions to lead sustainable lifestyles and to contribute to SEAS Centres through SEA Pledges, we aim to facilitate those who can afford to lead sustainable lifestyles to do so and also to help others who have no choice but to unsustainably harvest natural resources. SEAS Centres simultaneously deals with issues of poverty and economic development,  education and sustainability. Outcomes will be an improved environment, greater prosperity, better understanding and reduction of anthropogenic contributions to global warming.
These are just some of the projects that SEACC SF envisages, and we believe that utilising the passion, dedication, innovation and commitment of the youth, combined with the guidance and wisdom of the more senior SEACC, as well as the much needed funding of sponsors, that all these factors will allow us to carry out these projects par excellence and in doing so make a tangible difference to South African communities and our natural environment.

Our Mission

SEACC SF recognise that students, as potential leaders and key players in society, have a responsibility to respond to what has become one of the strongest moral callings of our time by exerting our influence to create more sustainable societies in order that we can protect our natural environment, as well as the rights of current and future generations to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being, as enshrined in Section 24 (a) of the South African Constitution.

Under the patronage of Prof Mervyn King SEACC SF aims to establish across South East Africa and beyond, as a moral and social norm, amongst students and non-students alike, a responsible engagement with issues of climate change and sustainability.

For more information:

Phone: Alex Lenferna +27 72 372 4144 or Olek Kaminski +27 73 210 9010

 “The world is in our hands, and only together can we carry the weight.”
Alex Lenferna
SEACC SF Chairperson
Rhodes University


o   Background
Over the last two decades, the Eastern Cape has transformed in terms of land use, from a primarily agricultural province  to an internationally recognised wildlife area, with over a dozen game reserves offering ‘Big 5’ safaris and many other wildlife conservation  areas. This transformation has presented countless profitable opportunities for local communities and has quickly proven that wildlife conservation can be far more lucrative than any previous land use.  It is a case in point for the desire for environmental and social sustainability.
There are very few, if any, student societies or initiatives at Rhodes University (Grahamstown) that are directly concerned with the conservation of biodiversity – particularly wildlife conservation.  There is a void waiting to be filled in terms of getting Rhodes students involved in an initiative concerned with promoting social and environmental sustainability through wildlife conservation. Many students - particularly those taking courses in Zoology, Environmental Science, Botany, Ichthyology and Entomology – already have a good idea of the importance of conservation and sustainability. However, local underprivileged communities, while possessing invaluable traditional knowledge, do not have access to the kind of knowledge that Rhodes University students have access to. This means that they are not afforded the opportunity to learn about and develop an interest in the benefits of conservation in terms of the social upliftment and economic empowerment created by the development of tourism /conservation in the Eastern Cape.  Equally, Rhodes University students studying courses related to those mentioned above may have a surprising amount to learn from their fellow countrymen in terms of traditional knowledge and mindsets as applied to wild areas and their preservation.
o   The Initiative
The greater aim of WildREACH (Wildlife Outreach) is to empower local communities in the Eastern Cape by using knowledge as a driving force to create an interest in wildlife conservation in the region while revealing the direct social and economic benefits of conserving wild areas. This is vitally important and as John McNutt, Director of the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust aptly put it: “Success in any conservation effort anywhere in the world will depend on the social and economic security of the people who live directly in its shadow.
WildREACH proposes to foster a valuable relationship between student volunteers and local communities in which knowledge is shared and applied in an effort to promote social and environmental sustainability through wildlife conservation.  Outreach will entail getting student volunteers (which we will call student mentors) involved in helping local youth (which we will call mentorees) between the ages of 15 and 18 to develop new or further any existing interest in wild areas, the natural environment and their importance. A larger project will involve taking a group of about 20 – 40 mentorees, approximately 10 student volunteers, and any potential speakers for a weekend away at a local game reserve, such as Thomas Baines, Addo Elephant National Park, Amakhala or Kwandwe. Over the course of the weekend, there will be various activities directly concerned with conservation through knowledge sharing which may, for example, include:
·         Presentations by student mentors on what they are studying/interested in and how it is related to environmental sustainability – simplified for impact and understanding
·         Small group conversations and smaller presentations in which the mentorees voice their views, concerns and opinions on the matters at hand (reciprocal knowledge sharing)
·         Talks by local game reserve managers on the importance of conservation
·         Talks by local game scouts or camp staff on how the game reserve has provided a source of livelihood, purpose and income in their lives
·         Game drives (while mentors chat with the mentorees about what is seen)
·         Documentaries on wildlife conservation
·         Educational games organised and managed by the mentors
·         Feedback assignments and quizzes in which the mentorees have a chance to show what they have learnt
All the above activities, and any others, would require active participation on the part of the student mentors in terms of ensuring that the various WildREACH aims are reached. It must be noted that the programme would not be aimed at educating the mentorees alone, but also at developing the students’ understanding of wildlife conservation – after all, teaching is one of the best ways to learn.  The mentorees themselves will also be able to make a valuable contribution by sharing their traditional understanding of and attitude towards wild areas and their preservation.
Smaller projects and activities could involve:
·         An educational visit to Albany Museum in which each student mentor is assigned to a group of mentorees and is responsible for guiding his/her group around the museum; also, talks by various museum staff or zoology/entomology/ichthyology lecturers could be organised.
·         An educational trip to SAIAB similar to that above.
·         Educational Afternoon lectures /talks/presentations in Rhodes seminar rooms or lecture halls.
·         Small trips to visit the field research site of a postgraduate student in Botany/ Zoology/ Ichthyology/ Entomology etc.
The list of wildlife reserves in the vicinity of Grahamstown is plentiful; names like Kariega, Addo, Amakhala, Great Fish River, Kwandwe, Pumba and Thomas Baines are all familiar.  Furthermore, there is certainly no shortage of local rural schools full of youngsters and youth who would undoubtedly jump at the opportunity to become empowered through knowledge.
o   Relevance and support
I, WildREACH founder Timothy Kuiper; hope to kick-start this initiative in 2011 as a project under the umbrella of the South East African Climate Consortium Student Forum (SEACC SF) and the Rhodes University Zoology Society.  SEACC SF is a newly established student movement that aims to tackle issues of climate change and sustainability. I am a projects task team member of SEACC SF and the committee has expressed interest and enthusiasm in supporting WildREACH as one of its projects in 2011. The SEACC motto is “sustainability through knowledge”; an outlook that ties in well with WildREACH’s proposed approach to conservation education.  Additionally, I am the Vice Chairman of the Zoology Society for 2010/2011 and I have presented these ideas to the Chair of the Zoology society, Chris Gornall, who is also excited to make the Zoology society more educationally focused through such an initiative. Chris and I have already discussed and planned to include a “conservation education trip” as one of the Zoology Society weekend excursions in 2011.
On the 17th of September 2010, The Zoology Society at Rhodes went on a community engagement day trip to Addo with four committee members (of which I was one) and six grade 11 learners from the local Nathaniel Nyaluza secondary school.  The trip was a great success (the photograph on the proposal cover was taken on the trip) and the high-school students were enthusiastic and eager to learn. It was a small example of what WildREACH hopes to achieve in 2011. Contact has also been made with various local game reserves and schools regarding WildREACH involvement with positive results.
WildREACH has also spoken with Dr. Dan Parker, a lecturer in terrestrial ecology and African vertebrate biodiversity at Rhodes and a supervisor for various African wildlife zoological research Masters and PhD students. Dr.  Parker has indicated that he will be willing to get involved in guiding the development of such an initiative and in getting the Zoology Department at Rhodes involved. There is a possibility that WildREACH may be incorporated into the Zoology Department’s undergraduate curriculum in an effort to increase students’ social awareness and its importance in conservation.  He is the first member of the WildREACH advisory committee of Rhodes University Staff that has been set up to formalise the initiative and ensure that its development follows an effective trajectory.  WildREACH has also met with the Dean of Science at Rhodes, Prof. Ric Bernard, and he has indicated that he will support the initiative in its development and perhaps endorse it as an initiative supported by the Faculty of Science at Rhodes when it gets off the ground.
I have a passion for African wildlife and its conservation and am in the process of mapping out my future based on this passion.  I have some personal experience in volunteering on two zoological research projects and I am currently studying towards a BSc in Zoology. I worked for three weeks at the Botswana Predator Conservation Programme in the Okavango Delta and more recently in June/July 2010; I worked for three weeks as an assistant to Miss Tanith Grant for her Masters Leopard research in the Marula area of Zimbabwe. Later this year I plan to work for a PhD student Gareth Mann on another leopard research project, in the Little Karoo. From my personal experience, I can testify to the wonderful opportunity that lies in getting practically involved in wildlife conservation.
o   Future Prospects
It is hoped, that by the end of 2011, WildREACH will be a fully fledged SEACC SF project with a year of experience under its belt. This will allow it to become an effective and official independent society at Rhodes University in 2012. It is part of Wild Reach’s vision to continue indefinitely as a student initiative at Rhodes University and perhaps become a part of undergraduate curricula within the Faculty of Science as mentioned earlier. Ultimately, WildREACH aims to make a significant contribution towards social and environmental sustainability in the Eastern Cape through wildlife conservation. With the relevant institutional and financial support, there is no reason why WildREACH should not fulfil this aim.
o   Appeal For Funding
WildREACH, although a promising prospect, cannot take off without the relevant financial support. A formal funding proposal is in the early stages of its development and will include a formal budget and details of WildREACH trip dates and which particular schools and game reserve will be involved.  It is, however, necessary to procure funding as soon as possible in order to develop a clearer idea of what WildREACH is capable of and where it might be heading. It has been decided that WildREACH will launch early in 2011 (March/April) with a day trip involving 12 mentorees from a school in Grahamstown (Nathaniel Nyaluza Secondary School, to be confirmed), 5 student mentors (The SEACC SF committee), a professor in Zoology (Dr. Parker) as well as a postgraduate zoology student (to be confirmed).  The trip will involve a visit to one of three game reserves in the vicinity of Grahamstown: Addo Elephant national Park, Kwandwe private game reserve or Amakhala game reserve. Activities will involve a game drive, a visit to the conservation education centre (present at all three aforementioned reserves), a talk by Dr Parker and the postgraduate zoology student, a short wildlife documentary and a picnic lunch. Obvious costs would be game reserve permits ( , transport ( , food (  and educational material for mentorees such as note pads, pens, wildlife booklets etc. (  to give a total of . This is the minimum amount needed to set this initiative in motion. This is indeed an informal funding proposal, but it is vital for WildREACH to procure any sort of funding early on to help it get off the ground.
Therefore, this particular proposal may be viewed as an appeal for funding. At this stage, WildREACH would greatly appreciate any form of financial support, however small. If this proposal has reached you as a potential funder and you are willing to contribute to this cause financially, please do not hesitate to contact WildREACH on any of the contact details at the end of this proposal (see below).

o   Final Thought
Success in any conservation effort anywhere in the world, whether directed at an endangered species or tropical forests, will depend on the social and economic security of the people who live directly in its shadow.” – John W McNutt

Thank you,
Timothy Kuiper (Founder)
Cell:       072 301 4601


Varsities of the World
Climate Change Conference Proposal

South Africa has been shortlisted as a potential host of the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17) of the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) set to take place between the 28th of November and the 9th of December 2011. This provides an incredible opportunity to discuss and starting point for the implementation of various measures across a variety of political, geographical and social scales to combat climate change.

South African students find themselves in a unique position to become involved in the planning and implementation of real world environmental policy. Crucial to ensuring that this opportunity is maximised, are student organisations. Thus, the committee members of the South East African Climate Consortium Student Forum (SEACC SF) propose a plan to engage student participation in COP 17.

SEACC SF would like to propose a meeting of representatives of environmental student organisations from all over the world. This conference would seek to unite environmentally-conscious students across international borders, encouraging discussion and developing recommendations, proposals and solutions to environmental problems currently facing this generation.
The conference will be hosted by Rhodes University in Grahamstown and will take place subsequent to the Youth Environmental Coalition (YECO) mid-year summit to be held in June/July 2011. YECO is a coalition of South African environmentally-based youth initiatives, and serves as a means of connecting such bodies across South Africa and plans to act as a representative of South African youth at both VoW as well as at COP 17.

The aim is to bring together as great a number of students from as wide a variety of institutions as possible, with the main purpose of developing a credible and relevant proposal and set of recommendations to be put forward to decision makers at COP 17 in November/December on behalf of the world’s student environmental movements. Those parties who are unable to attend the conference in Grahamstown will be able to partake in the discussion via video-conferencing.

The urgent nature of the deadlines pertaining to both the YECO mid-year summit as well as to the VoW conference necessitates immediate action. To that end, SEACC SF has already begun the processes of:

  • contacting international student organisations
  • applying for sponsorship from private companies and environmental NGOs
  • sourcing accommodation for visiting representatives of student organisations
  • procuring venues for the conference and ensuring that they have the appropriate facilities
  • researching suppliers of transport for all participating student organisations as well as for video-conferencing equipment
  • initiating fundraising events

Needless to say, this is an undeniably simplified ‘to-do list’, but SEACC SF stands confident in its ability to research for, plan and implement a successful international conference – with the aforementioned steps as a mere basic guideline for actions to be taken now.

The VoW conference will act to connect environmentally-conscious student movements around the world so as to bring like minds together – albeit via teleconference – in the hopes of producing constructive and implementable plans to combat environmental issues for presentation to decision-makers at COP 17. This conference promises to be an extraordinary opportunity for students to come together on a global scale to effect worldwide change, and has the potential to provide an annual platform for the great minds of tomorrow to showcase their ideas with regard to maintaining the wellbeing of our planet and its people.

Thank you,
SEACC SF Committee 2010/11


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Upcoming projects

Environment Week is appraoching! And so is 10:10:10! SEACCSF is getting ready for the Green Fund Run (check out: ), debates, forums, guest speakers, demonstrations and more! And we're refining other project ideas too! Including the WildReach programme, the universities of the world pre-COP17 conference and a plethora of community engagement projects as a part of our go green campaign! Dont forget to follow us on Twitter ( and to join the Facebook group ( )!