17 Sustainable Development Goals

  1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
  3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
  5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
  7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
  8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
  10. Reduce inequality within and among countries
  11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
  12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
  14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
  15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
  16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
  17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

How Hanglip fares with Sustainable Development Goals:

End Poverty

We comply in terms of remuneration. The Labour Department seems only interested in us meeting the National Minimum Wage, which we exceed. Maeder Osler developed a methodology around remuneration over the years, the aim (and result) being to reward and retain people whom we admire and want to continue their work here.

End Hunger

We aren’t aware of anyone going hungry here. In spring, the farm provides seed, and most staff plant and cultivate a variety of vegetables in their allotments.

Our livestock don’t go hungry either. We have not needed to feed animals during recent droughts. They find enough for their needs in the veld. For “drought-proofing”, we have good results growing sprouted barley. This has proved palatable to all but one of our hard working horses, and was taken hungrily by our laying chickens, geese, turkey and pigs.

As part of plans to regenerate worked out old croplands, we intend planting some fruit trees. Peaches grow well in Colesberg itself, but Hanglip’s ecosystem is colder than the dorp, and not all trees survive the frosts. Our lowest recorded temperature in Winter 2019 was minus 14 degrees Celsius! Pehaps global warming may change this, so that in time, some trees will survive frost in the coming decades, or … will there be no frost?

Healthy Lives

Apart from assisting nutritionally as above, we are fortunate to be close to the Hantam Community Education Trust Clinic. During school terms, transport is provided for staff for health care on “clinic days”.

Quality Education

As above, we are fortunate to be close to the Hantam Community Education Trust school. Children of our farm workers attend school, ferried to and fro in schoold vehicles. In the current COVID–19 lockdown, plans are afoot to (as safely as possible) provide some “maths help” to pupils.

Jasper has recycled an old tower PC into a “Linux Box”, serving currently as a Typing Tutor. Our experience is that simply learning touch typing leads to greater computer literacy. People who can’t type are easily frustrated on a PC.

Gender Equality

We know that role playing patterns are established early in life. In holidays, girls arrive at the Groothuis, wanting to do chores for holiday money. Boys’ holiday money comes from teaching horseriding, maybe gathering firewood. It appears these roles stem from parents, or just from ‘tradition’ and we tend to go along with them, so as not to rock family boats!

We noted also, on arrival of our graduates, that the two female graduates do not ride horses. They certainly did not flinch when asked to do work on fences, and mucked in willingly with every conceivable farm work task thrown at them, but evidently horseriding is for men only! Well, we continue to encourage everyone to do whatever they feel like doing, and are happy if women hit the trail to fetch sheep and cattle. It just hasn’t happened. Yet. Nothing to do with us. When we had a braaivleis, it was a male graduate who prepared the “roosterbrood”, not a female!

Jasper has helped pupils with school maths. Two girls and one boy, from different grades were helped. We try to meet needs, will always encourage people to do and achieve what they wish, regardless of gender, but maybe we need to consult staff families more about this.

Water and Sanitation

As the world gets more aware of issues around water and sanitation, so we mull over options around both.

Water

Availibility of water in the Karoo has, since the arrival of the windmill, been energy-related. For example, windmills pump only when there is wind, solar panel-powered submersible pumps work only during daylight. The natural cadences of wind and sunlight tend to “rest” a borehole, as against an Escom-powered pump, which, unless it has a timer, will pump continuously, day and night (as long as there is electricity), sometimes drying a borehole up. This feels like a bad thing.

Apart from availability, there is the matter of how we use water. We know what large and small livestock water needs are, and the larger farm is an extensive network of mill-fed reservoirs supplying water to the livestock camps gravitationally from high points.

One has to assess whether growing crops will strain water resources: we can’t, for example grow crops that take water away from livestock.

With droughts, through the years, it was perhaps natural that we retreated from crop growing. Sometimes, it was less to do with water supply, more that results were not totally ideal. For example, lucerne was grown for years, but lucerne, grown on this particular farm, caused bloat in the animals. Many other crops were grown, but crop growing in the Karoo doesn’t happen without some form of irrigation, and that comes with problems for the soil, whether compaction (flood irrigation) or build-up of salts (sprinkler or pivot irrigation). When it comes to growing for the markets, we are far from them, so what we grew was for our own needs, since we could not compete with farmers who are nearer to main markets.

Then again, accountants work from a financial bias, and their advice was that buying from specialist, large-scale grain and fodder farmers was more feasible and cheaper than growing our own. Thus, the trend to gigantism and agri-business began and has increased through the years.

The advice is to increase income by acquiring more farms. It has its own truth, but agri-business, compared with plain, old-school farming, appears to us as “farming without a human face”, and we only once dabbled with leasing another farm.

Growing sprouted barley fodder proved to our satisfaction that we can drought-proof our livestock when necessary that way, in place of planting and irrigating crop lands. Crop planting demands expensive inputs of diesel, soil treatments and labour. At the end of a growing season, there is a pile of grain and some stover for the livestock to graze, but they wait for four months for it. Sprouted seeds take a week, and the inputs of water (very little) and labour (half an hour per day) are minimal.

Sanitation

This is a daunting question. The old flush toilet (three gallon “Darnley rush”) gets a bad rap nowadays. We have looked at replacing our flush toilets and septic tanks, but found that retro-fitting will be an impossibly expensive process. All alternatives involve extensive building alterations, whether to accommodate new “green” style toilets, or to build whole new outbuldings to accommodate them.

Refuse

With several families living in the staff village, and seasonal accommodation in shearing season, we need to extend our efforts in terms of waste disposal. We believe that what comes from the dorp (tin, glass, plastic) should return to the dorp, where there are recycling facilities.

Energy

We touched on energy above in the section of water. Currently Escom electricity for the entire farm is a major expense, and we are looking at ways to generate our own. The challenge with solar, although prices continue to drop, is that one pays a lot of money upfront for panels and batteries. Five years ago the pay-back period would be 20 years, but we believe that panels and battery storage will pay for themselves in shorter periods in future. Still, it’s a big financial hit, still under consideration.

This (human settlement energy) overlaps with the section on Human Settlements below.

Probably the biggest cost item, especially in winter, is hot water geysers. Solar water heating units suited to our temperature and climate extremes are not cheap, and we would appreciate people sharing experience about these, since the going ‘urban legend’ is that these don’t really work all that well.

Winter space heating is another issue. There is plenty of dead wood to be found on the farm, but it’s impossible to say how long that will be true, and then there is the smoke …

Electricity heaters are exensive to use. Some dwellings have “chip geysers”, wood fired boilers, and at least one house fires them up round the clock to provide some space warmth through our freezing winter nights, with a bonus of hot water for kitchen and bathroom.

All of our human settlements were built “like we always did it”, which in SA means no attention is paid to passive heating and cooling, with neither double glazing nor roof insulation. We build cheap, then pay and pay and pay …

Economic Growth, Employment, Decent Work

This is a large subject! Economic Growth, as a concept, is getting a bad rap from many quarters, especially from Climate Change activists.

People tend to forget that Economic Growth is a figment of gigantism more than anything else, and there is nothing “inevitable” about economics. Economics is a human creation.

Although our government has recently classified a spaza as a supermarket, most economic studies ignore them, consigning them to what economists know as the “informal sector”. On farms, a lot of what we do is squarely in that informal sector. How do we then contribute to “Economic Growth” on the scale this generally covers? For example, from well before anyone even knew about the concept of Economic Growth, people treated cattle as wealth, yet buying and selling them has a tendency to not find its way into the record books. In most rural areas, it is completely informal, and most of the currency involved is not recorded in any books, nor by any banks.

There are points of impact from farms. Buying a tractor, for example, adds to our Gross National Budget. However, since tractors are not manufactured in South Africa, they also swell imports. This has Foreign Exchange side effects, not only in terms of the purchase price of a tractor, but of the cost of imported fuel it will use in its lifetime.

Concentrating on Economic Growth as a concept tends to bypass the “little guy”.

Having said all this. The bottom line is that Economic Growth depends on creating surpluses, producing more than we need for ourselves and selling that surplus, whether it is grown (agriculture) or dug out of the ground (mining), or pulled from rivers, lakes or the sea.

At scale, Hanglip produces wool and meat, but it’s possible to do this on a small scale too (small because we don’t have limitless water), which we deal with under various SDG categories: empoyment and decent work creation can be the result of regeneration of worked out old crop lands.

Infrastructure, Industrialisation, Innovation

On Hanglip, infrastructure means:

  • buildings

  • water pipes

  • reservoirs

  • roads-

  • fences

  • gates

  • communications (as in recently added internet access)

Some of our infrastructure is old, and we are soon beginning repairs and upgrades to (mostly) fences.

A livestock farm is not necessarily where one expects to find industrialisation but there are overlaps: Welding, for example, can go beyond repairs: workers can get creative and make useful things. Aside from welding, our Allen Uithaler knocked together useful refuse collection points using nothing more than wire and fencing standards.

Inequality

There are ways in which we can never be equal. I could never, ever bat, keep wicket, or field (or even bowl) as well as AB de Villiers. There is always going to be someone who can do some things better than me, and there will likewise always be someone who can’t do some things as well as I can. Take Lionel Messi. According to Wikipedia, he is worth US$400 million. Let’s say we need to replace him. Can we replace him with 400 footballers earning US1 million each? It will cost the same, but it doesn’t work that way!

However, we are not talking about that type of inequality. What the UN is concerned with are other inequalities. It only takes a few questions to know what they mean:

  • do women earn the same as men?
  • how many women CEOs are there compared with men?
  • how many girls start school compared with boys?

The answer in some countries can be quite shocking. A few years ago, the Washington Post ran an article about an all female crew landing a jetliner in their country, Saudi Arabia. But they were not allowed to drive home from the airport, because women there were not allowed to get a driving licence.

At Hanglip we don’t make rules about which gender does what, and a wage rate applies for a job irrespective of gender.

Cities and Human Settlements

We are a farm, so we’ll pass on cities for now, but we do have human settlements, and are considering others. We think we do better than comply with the law when it comes to staff housing. We have currently no plans to build any more dwellings at Hanglip, but we do think it may a good thing to erect some comfortable seating and shady places along the river. Maybe for campers only, we haven’t decided.

The requirements are: inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. Inclusive means everbody gets to use them, resilient means they will weather storms and winds, and sustainable means they should be neither pollutive, nor hard on the environment, and preferably be made from local materials. We will comply if we do erect anything new.

Consumption and Production Patterns

As hinted elsewhere, we are concerned about consumption in terms of refuse. We want to implement a system of “what comes from the town, returns to the town”, particularly glass, plasics and tin cans. Most times on our inward trips to the dorp, the bakkie is empty, but returns with a load, so ideally we should jack up our recycling efforts and take these (sorted) items and dump them in their respective recycling points in the dorp. Other than goods purchased from town, we make almost no waste, so our production patterns are harmless at this point.

Urgent Action - Climate Change

We expect our mean temperatures to rise a little. This may mean that certain trees, shrubs and plants that have not survived frost here in the past may now or in future be viable here.

Then, since we know that livestock perform better when shade is available, we should expect them to need more shade with rising temperatures. There are a number of brakkolle (bare earth, grassless patches) throughout the camps. We will fence these off as we go, planting shade trees, and hope that within a year or two we can take down the fences and the trees will be large enough to survive and go on to provide shade.

Conserve (ocean, seas, marine resources)

We are far from the sea!

Terrestrial Ecosystems Strategies

We hope to make the riverine setting a gun-free area for a start, and maybe even a conservancy going forward.

Peaceful, Inclusive, Just, Sustainable Societies

We think education is our best bet working on these.

Strengthen Means of Implementation

What does one say about this? If anyone needs to improve implementation, that would be government. Can we help? Do they want our help?

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