Mike Baillie

Who are you calling radical?

The planet needs activism. It is being drilled, mined, excavated, pumped, and fracked more than ever before. Rivers are clogged with clingwrap, Simba packets, and toxic dyes; saturated with the run off from crops that are lathered in pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilisers. Forests are being wiped out: Even in the DRC where the Congo…

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The Arctic: Why you should give a damn

The Arctic is melting. The Arctic is thawing — reaching record lows this decade as Arctic temperatures are at their highest in the last 44 000 years. Climate change is heating our planet, and we could soon see ice-free summers at the North Pole. In their latest climate report, scientists around the world are more emphatic…

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Ecuador, ‘our rainforest’ and growing money on trees

It was an incredibly bold plan to begin with, and heart-breaking when it failed. Rather than drill for oil in the Yasuni rainforest, Ecuador would keep the forest intact and biodiversity flourishing in exchange for compensation of $3.6 billion. That’s roughly half of what the country would have made if the drilling went ahead. Earlier this…

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Three scary numbers

Last week I came across three numbers that left me numb[1]. Together they brought home the essence of the climate fix we’re in — and the massive profit margins that are riding on us failing to deal with the challenge. In essence it’s about the amount of carbon we pump into the atmosphere, and the…

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Our alien mother ship

I’d just watched the new Tom Cruise sci-fi about alien machines who invade the planet to suck up Earth’s resources. The movie has a happy ending, though: the alien mother ship is destroyed and Tom gets back to his rustic cabin, his family, nature. Like in most sci-fi’s, the planet is fought for and saved,…

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Eskom crippling our water resources

It’s a simple truth: water is fundamental to life, we can’t live without it. The problem, though, is that water is becoming an increasingly scarce resource; one South Africa is running short of. By 2030 it’s expected that our demand for water will outstrip what’s available by a staggering 17%. Already more than 98% of…

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Something worth saving

We’re about 300km off the coast of South Africa, sailing in the high seas of the Indian Ocean. During the night we caught up to a Spanish longliner, one of the many foreign vessels fishing in the region, others coming from places like Taiwan, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Since yesterday morning we’ve been in…

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Why isn’t shark finning news?

I saw six sharks being cut up for their fins yesterday. And as monstrous as it was, it won’t make headlines, it isn’t News: currently the fins from between 26 million and 73 million sharks are sold a year, that’s up to 8 000 sharks killed an hour. And the market is booming. I’m currently…

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Drilling Africa’s Arctic

The Virunga National Park, Africa’s oldest Unesco World Heritage Site, is situated along the border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Uganda. It contains more species of mammals, reptiles and birds than any other protected area on the continent. It has an exceptional diversity of landscapes stretching from the glaciers of the…

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Did you buy into Nedbank’s greenwash?

As the bank with “green answers” – according to their marketing campaign – I have a few questions for Nedbank. Nedbank has put a lot of effort into creating the impression of being a ‘green’ bank. They have an entire website devoted to the environment, and a range of account options with a green ‘flavour’….

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