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Sustainability is an attempt to provide the best outcomes for the human and natural environments both now and into the indefinite future. Sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.  Sustainability relates to the continuity of economic, social, institutional and environmental aspects of human society, as well as the non-human environment.

Cape Town's electricity blackouts during the winter of 2006 when Eskom couldn't meet the city's power needs raised the importance of sustainability, but it needs to become part of our everyday lives.  The days of plentiful electricity are over; oil is a finite resource; water rationing has been part of city life for many years; and climate change threatens future generations.

On these pages we will bring you the best examples of sustainable development – those that make a difference to our planet.  Some will have the noble goal of sustainability, but many will be practical solutions to everyday challenges that people face – financial, available resources, etc.

Have any examples or great ideas?
We welcome submissions for our content.  Please email us if you have or know of anything.  You can also add your comments to the form at the end of this page.

The City of Cape Town has developed short and long term measures in its Energy and Climate Change Strategy to assist companies.

These measures include:

  • establishing a task team with local business to develop an energy efficiency action plan, which will highlight the benefits of an energy efficient approach on an economic, social and environmental level
  • the promotion of the use of efficient lighting
  • mandatory energy audits for all large energy users
  • investigating the feasibility of tax or other incentives to assist in the implementation of energy efficient measures
  • establishing an 'Energy Advice Centre' to assist the sector with information and advice on energy efficiency
  • promoting cleaner production technology in industry

    The City is also working to get its own house in order –
  • identifying council-owned buildings that have a high rate of electricity consumption, to make these buildings more efficient.
  • consultation with key stakeholders regarding a possible by-law on solar water heaters.
  • preparing guidelines to support the development of "Green Buildings", that is, buildings that are energy efficient right through from construction to operation.
Counting the pennies
Thirty years ago, anyone visiting the chairman of Woolworths in the old head office in Cape Town might have been surprised to see a sticker on the light-switch: "Turn off when you leave your office." Well, that sticker appeared on every light switch in every office in the building. Maybe it had less to do with conserving energy that simple financial common sense!
Ban the Bulb
Australia has announced plans to ban incandescent light bulbs and replace them with more energy efficient fluorescent bulbs. The move could cut the country's greenhouse gas emissions by 4 million tonnes by 2012.
The decision will make Australia the first country to ban light bulbs, although the idea has also been proposed in the US state of California.
Serious about sustainability


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