Be Prepared for Life

Activity Kit Two:
"At home in the City"

Part 3. Living on Busy Street


Busy street is where the shops are and where the shoppers go. It is also the place we make decide how to spend our money. Everything has a price but the shopper doesn't always have to pay the full price himself.

For example...

Is this fair? Is it alright just because the shopper can afford the price on the item?

Today more people are saying - NO!

Project 10: Check your Shops


List all the shelf detergents powders.
Note those that claim to be biodegradable, [several] and phosphate free [fewer].

Detergents, unlike soaps, are not natural products. They are made from scarce oil resources and should be carefully used.

Many contain powerful chemicals, bleaches and enzymes that may harm river life before being broken down by bacteria.

Detergent residues may last 10 times longer than soap residues in our rivers [up to 25 days]. Some degrade more quickly!

Most detergents contain phosphates which fertilise water and may cause algae to grow quickly to undesirable levels especially in river water near city sewage outfalls.

Detergents are useful cleaners in `hardwater' where soap is less effective. But in the 'softwater' of our cities they are a convenience rather than a necessity.

Plain soap and rubbing in hot water goes a long way cleaning clothes.

Ask your shop manager where he stocks the environmentally safe detergents that are available elsewhere.


List all the disposable products you can find.
Razors, nappy liners, foam cups, paper plates, foil pie dishes, plastic bags, pens etc.

List an alternative product that can be reused in each case.


The toys we give to children to play with are meant to prepare them for life.

List the types of toys available to boy and girls and suggest the sort of life these toys are preparing them for.

What can your group do about your findings?

You can hold a slide show for parents and interested friends pointing out the dangers.

You can make a list of safe products with environmental reasons for choosing them and distribute them along your streets.

You could send a copy to the manager of your local shop. Point out the danger of these products to nature and people.

You can begin to change the shopping habits of parents and your community and encourage managers to stock safer products.


In the last few years a huge hole in the ozone layer has opened over the southern hemisphere every summer.

It gets bigger every year. This ozone-hole allows harmful ultra violet light to reach people while outdoors. It causes cataracts in the eyes resulting in early blindness, increases the rate of skin cancers and damages plants. Many South Africans are exposed to these harmful radiations on our beaches in summer as the hole is opening as far as Cape Town and Durban at present.

This damage has been caused over the past 35 years by the use of chlorofluorocarbon propellants [CFC's or freons] in aerosol cans, in refrigerators and air conditioners and in making polystyrene foam. We believe that these CFC compounds are breaking up the ozone creating a health hazard that could last at least another 100 years.

Project 11: Aerosols for life

Many products are still sold in aerosol cans. But those with harmful C.F.C propellants are rapidly disappearing from our shelves.
List all the brand names.

Deodorants; furniture polish; insecticides; cooking sprays; duco paints, tooth paste, shaving creams etc.

Look for the ozone friendly sign on the aerosols.
List separately those products that are claimed to be ozone safe and circulate their names to shoppers living in your street.

Prepare a large poster showing the harm caused by CFC propellants and advertise it in the local chemists window. We can protect ourselves from these UV radiations using effective sun screen lotions and good sun glasses.


We really need shoppers that are responsible earth sharers. Would you allow someone to pollute the air you breathe or put dangerous products into your water?

Do you do that to other people? What happens to your wastes? Does it matter that much of it is poisonous somewhere else? How can we reduce our harmful impact on the earth?

'Green shoppers' show they care by...


Part Four: Living on High Street

© Copyright 1991 - 1994
Dr Frank Opie for the South African Scout Association