At Londolozi, we have always been mindful of our environment, recognising that it is the basis of all that we do here and all that we rely on. This year, however, we re-commit anew to this as we enter into a re-invigorated phase we now call the ‘new normal’.
This ‘new normal’ incorporates a zero tolerance litter policy, diminishing the use of plastics, harnessing solar energy, minimising electricity usage and general mindfulness of our behaviour and the impact that it has. One of the greatest drives at the moment, is conservation of water though. As has been mentioned in previous blogs, this north eastern part of South Africa is experiencing a severely dry rainy season and so everyone at Londolozi is doing their bit to recycle water. What has completely blown me away is how Londolozi’s children have stepped up to the plate, showing what the next generation can offer.
All over the staff village, you will see buckets capturing water that condenses on the pipes of the air conditioning units and drips onto the ground below. From one office alone, we managed to capture 100 litres of water in just one week. Most of the dripping from air conditioners is just condensed water vapour that comes from the air inside the building and so is completely safe and hygienic. What we have been using it for though, is watering plants and vegetable gardens, attempting to keep these plants alive.
In the Londolozi creche, four little helpers water their vegetable garden daily from the water dripping from the Learning Centre. It is quite the process and each one wants to get involved. First they take turns to carry the bucket across as a team and once their brightly-coloured jugs are full they carefully feed the plants, making sure that each one is well- nourished.
In this garden are carrots and spinach in the early phases of growth. This little garden forms part of the greater Londolozi Food Garden Initiative. The aim is to become closer to our food source as well as create sustainable micro economies. Within the co-op garden initiative, Londolozi staff produce vegetables here that they then sell to the kitchen. This means we get top quality produce with a zero carbon footprint that can also provide a small, additional income to staff working at Londolozi.
The Imrie kids have also been at the forefront of this ‘new normal’ drive by using the water from both their home and their grandmother, Ruth’s home. Their favourite place to dispense the water is into a bird bath which is visited by many species of birds, thirsty nyala and bushbuck and even some monkeys and baboons.
Under the guidance of Ruth, they have also come up with a very simple and smart way of syphoning their bath water. A narrow tube runs from the bath inside the house, submerged and held there by magnets and the water runs through the pipe and out into the garden. The process is watched carefully by the kids and each tree is given its fair dose of bath water.
It really has been so heart-warming to see how this drive for greater care of the environment is being led from the front by Londolozi’s youth. These children truly care about what is happening to the world around them and are doing their bit to tread lightly in these times that call for a greater environmental consciousness. We thank them for all their effort and enthusiasm and for inspiring the rest of the Londolozi family to follow suit.