Just over a month ago, writer Melissa Andrews set off with photographer husband Christopher List on a carbon-neutral scooter safari across Southern Africa. Their aim? To spread awareness about green lifestyles and sustainable travel as they source eco-friendly establishments, highlight various permaculture projects and raise money for Food and Trees for Africa (FTFA).
According to Melissa, this dynamic NGO works to realise sustainable development through greening, climate change action, sustainable natural resource management and permaculture food security programmes, with a strong focus on environmental and global warming awareness and education.
She discovered the concept of permaculture while living as a raw vegan in Dubai. Finding fresh, organic fruit and vegetables proved to be quite a struggle back then.
But what is permaculture you may ask? Simply put permaculture gardening involves working with nature to produce a sustainable garden design.
Bill Mollison, a wildlife biologist, spent decades in the rainforests and deserts of Australia studying eco-systems, and witnessing their destruction. He concluded that with the widespread use of conventional agriculture and the mechanisation of our food production, 70% of the world’s soils have been destroyed and 40% of our water has been contaminated. In our quest to feed the masses, agriculture itself had become a weapon against nature.
Together with one of his students, David Holmgren, he coined the word ‘permaculture’, a contraction of permanent agriculture’ and ‘permanent culture’.
The aim is to create systems that are ecologically sound and economically viable, which provide for their own needs, do not exploit or pollute, and are therefore sustainable in the long-term.
After attending a permaculture design course in Stilbaai, South Africa, she and Christopher began planning The Great Africa Travel Adventure: Cape Town to Dubai.
This is the first phase of their trip and it involves them riding LML/Vespa scooters through the whole of South Africa, visiting and volunteering at permaculture projects and planting trees in as many locations as to ensure the trip is not only carbon-neutral, but is beneficial to the environment and the communities they visit.
Their adventure continues until November 2012 – to get involved contact them via their website – www-eco-friendly-africa-travel.com