Durban green group celebrates 25th anniversary
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Durban - THE South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) marked a milestone 25th anniversary this week by saying their quest for equality and environmental justice was just as relevant today, with the climate crisis and Covid-19 pandemic.
The organisation, founded by veteran activist Desmond D’sa, initially worked with the diverse communities of the South Durban Basin.
“They were divided along racial, ideological and economic lines. However, these communities were united in their common suffering from the high levels of toxic pollutants in their neighbourhoods. They shared, too, the impact of this pollution on their health, and the resultant high rates of cancer, leukaemia and asthma prevalent in their communities,” he said.
The SDCEA no long restricts its activism to the South Durban area and works with communities across the country.
“It’s all about knowledge-sharing, we’ve developed this knowledge base and know our environmental rights, and share this with communities and especially the younger generation who will carry our work into the future.”
D’sa said the power of mobilising communities was demonstrated during the Covid-19 lockdown when subsistence fishers from around the country united to lift the ban on subsistence fishing.
“We started here in Durban, working with our fishing community. After we went online, people from the Cape and other areas joined the campaign and we were representing more than 60 000 people who were locked out of their livelihood. The pressure was too much and Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Barbara Creecy, had to lift the ban. It was a wonderful victory.”
D’sa says while that battle was won, the war for environmental and social justice was still being waged.
He said the SDCEA continued to fight for environmental justice and health, promoting community awareness on health issues and the dwindling air quality in areas where large industries operated.
AFTER years of homelessness and hard living, Tim Shea has swapped the sharp corners in his life for the round, flowing design of his new 3D-printed home in Austin, Texas.
In August, Shea became the first person in the US to move into a 3D-printed home, according to Austin-based developer Icon, in what advocates say is a milestone in efforts to boost the national supply of affordable housing.
This month New York-based firm SQ4D listed what is purported to be the country's first 3D-printed house to go up for sale, while Icon completed the largest 3D-printed structure in North America – a military barracks.
Shea, 70, said his new house – which he moved into for free and is located in a community of formerly homeless people – has saved his life.
“It’s just phenomenally beautiful ... it just wraps around and gives me a feeling of life security,” Shea said from his 46m² home.
The house’s high ceilings, large windows and skylights make it feel larger than it looks from the outside, he added.
Shea got to watch his home being built on site by a large new “printer”, developed and operated by Icon, a process which the company said took about 48 hours and is being reduced further as the technology improves.
Large-scale 3D printing is gaining steam around the world as a quicker, cheaper and more efficient way of building housing, with some projects producing a home in 24 hours of printing time for just a few thousand dollars.
Icon constructed the first permitted 3D-printed building in the US in 2018 and is one of the few 3D construction firms focusing specifically on affordable housing.
Last year, Habitat for Humanity's Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter helped an Indian company called Tvasta build India's first 3D-printed home, which brought construction times down by more than a third and reduced waste by about 65%.
“3D printing technology has huge potential to boost the affordable housing sector,” said Patrick Kelley, the centre’s vice-president.
Using 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, for construction goes back to at least 2004, when a University of South Carolina professor tried to print a wall.
Unlike other uses of 3D printing – such as medical devices or complex modelling – the process typically uses some form of quick-drying concrete laid precisely by a computer-controlled extruder.
The approach has been used for niche projects in recent years – such as the world's first 3D-printed bridge, which opened to the public in Madrid in 2016. But it is now at the cusp of a major expansion, according to market analysts.