• The Bardolino Artists Retreat on board with Spark Festival 2018
    “At The Bardolino Artists Retreat we have various forms of creativity,” Jennifer Schormann, creator of the retreat explains. “The vision is healing through creativity,” she adds. “It doesn’t mean you need to be broken, it is really just about personal development and self-expression.” The purpose of the retreat is to create a space for diverse artists to live and work in one environment. Bardolino promotes a conscious and sustainable lifestyle by offering everything from dance, storytelling, music and art therapy to meditation sessions and personal development workshops. Jennifer collaborates with various artists and provides them with a space to run these workshops. “Wynand Marais, for example, runs the dance studio offering Ballroom and Latin dance classes. He and his wife Ilse, from the band Havanna; live on site and also offer the drumming, singing and piano lessons.” It is obvious that Jennifer has a passion for arts, crafts and sustainable developmental work. She has a tourism background and has offered tourism development training and facilitating for a wide variety of students. She has trained over 7000 people; young and old, from all walks of life. Bardolino is currently moving towards an off the grid farm; they have their own organic veggie garden and they are looking into water catchment options. They already offer nature walks to the labyrinth, and would like to start a little nature reserve soon. “We are wanting to plant more indigenous trees and medicinal plants – labelling them, so that it becomes an informative nature walk […]
  • Crafted Cosmetics Giveaway
    Crafted Cosmetics and Spark have teamed up for a New Year giveaway. Early in January 2018, one lucky follower will receive a Blackcurrant and Cream hamper which consists of a Natural Handcrafted Soap, a Shampoo and Body Wash, a Room Deodorant and a Natural Body Butter. Spark met up with Crafted Cosmetics’ director, Wendy Sippel, to chat about their products, their base ingredients and how they can help their customers to live healthier and more waste free lives. Crafted Cosmetics soaps are made from a blend of goat’s milk, saponified coconut oil, clay, vegetable glycerine and raw honey, which means they are generally safer for people who struggle with eczema and psoriasis. As clay based soaps, they are hot processed. This means that once you have your soap mixture warm and melted, you can reduce the heat of the substance. You can carefully monitor the process by adding the botanicals when you have reached an optimal cooling temperature. “The value of this is that the volatiles and the healing properties of your essential oils are not lost in the process,” Wendy explains.  “Especially because we use ingredients like African ginger in our soaps and our creams, we are very concerned about the fact that it must be as unprocessed and as natural as possible”. Crafted Cosmetics’ products are also SLES free. Sodium laureth ether sulfate or sulphides are detergents and anionic surfactants. “Now the history of it,” Wendy adds, but pauses: “let’s take you back 300 years”. People made soap […]
  • PPE In-house Solar Project
    PPE HQ In-house 50kW Solar Photovoltaic Solar Project PPE Technologies recently took to designing and installing a rooftop, on-grid, 50kWac solar array at our head office in Nelspruit. Not only is it a statement about our concerns for the environment and promotion of renewable, eco-friendly energy sources, it is also a smart investment. Based on a typical 25 year lifespan of a solar array and including annual de-rating of solar module efficiencies, the company stands to make a conservative estimated saving of 65% on electricity bills. The nature of solar modules dictates that they progressively de-rate and a 25 year lifespan is typically attributed to them; after which the progressive efficiency de-rating results in the array no longer being a viable investment and the system is decommissioned. The solar array was mounted on a pre-existing helipad which had fairly extensive rust damage. Based on the 25 year life-span, the roof was completely restored by sand blasting and an anti-rust coating layered on. With this restoration work, we can be confident that the roof and structures will be in good condition by the time the array is to be decommissioned. The company carried out an extensive cost model in order to validate the fairly high initial cost of a solar project against the cost savings in the solar array’s life span. The pay-back period for the initial investment is estimated to be around the 8year mark. The wide-spread concern of the initial cost of a solar array is being debunked as […]
  • Plan For Africa Mashesha Stoves
    Mashesha stoves 1. Innovation description The World Health organization (2016) report stated that Household air pollution (HAP) is a global health crisis and is responsible for 4.3 million premature deaths each year, making it the single most important environmental health risk factor worldwide. Almost 3.1 billion people still rely on polluting, inefficient energy systems such as biomass, coal or kerosene to meet their daily cooking needs. Women and girls bear the largest health burden not only from domestic pollution sources, but often also from related fuel-gathering tasks. For example, available survey data from 13 countries showed that girls in sub-Saharan African homes with polluting cook stoves spend about 18 hours a week collecting fuel. According to Stats SA, 36% of the rural South African population relies on wood fuel for cooking and roughly 11500 schools use wood to prepare meals for 9 million learners daily.  Semi enclosed shelters are use and the cooks suffer lung and eye diseases from the smoke. This means that around 34 500 women are adversely affected daily .The supply chain to bring the wood to schools has economic and environmental implications. In the face of this overlooked societal need for these “invisible‟ women, the social enterprise, “Sustainability Professionals” (Pty) Ltd (SP) has created a unique, mobile 18kg (66 cm high x 50 cm wide) Mashesha stove. The stove burns with a clean, hot, efficient flame that saves roughly 56% of wood fuel as the design is centered on gasification principles. The Mashesha stove is made of mild steel, painted with high heat black paint for durability. Crafted as a compact double- barreled metal chambered drum with strategically placed air vents, […]
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