Durban, South Africa

28 November – 9 December 2011

Since the first United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) entered into force in 1995, the Conference of the Parties (COP) have been meeting annually to assess progress in dealing with climate change on a global level. Now in its 17th edition, the gathering of the parties to the Kyoto Protocol kicks off Monday 28 November in sunny Durban, South Africa… and the city is buzzing with activity and excitement!

Amidst the hustle and bustle of COP17, the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) will host the South Africa Climate Change Response Expo (CCREXPO); a public platform for understanding and debating issues relating to climate change. The Expo provides an opportunity for green economy players to profile their work and products and to signal government’s commitment to encouraging a green economy growth path. It’s main objective will be to create a visitor experience that provides opportunities for the public to make a personal connection with issues of climate change; and to excite and inspire South Africans to make climate-friendly choices.

One of the most stimulating exhibitions at this year’s Expo is “The Living Beehive”, an innovative project based at the Durban Botanic Gardens involving the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), eThekwini Municipality and the Durban Botanic Gardens Trust.

The Living Beehive” is a soon to be completed self-sustaining ecosystem in the shape of a traditional Zulu beehive hut. The structure will comprise stylized ‘living walls’ ie. the steel and concrete framework will be carpeted inside and out with a spectacular array of local foliage. A steel walkway will enable visitors to move through the natural interior and to embrace the seamless integration of infrastructure and environment. “The Living Beehive” will open discussion on how healthy ecosystems can enable society to cope with the impacts of climate change.

As a part of our own green initiative, iKind Media has been involved in documenting the progress of “The Living Beehive” construction for non-profit organization, STEPS. Based in Cape Town, with projects throughout Southern Africa, STEPS aims to facilitate the production of documentaries which ignite discussion around local and global issues. Phase 1 documentary of the “The Living Beehive” construction was released earlier this week and can be seen above.

With COP17 now just hours away, many hands are frantically working on ‘greening’ the infrastructure; the process of completely covering walls and surrounding areas with plant life. We’re continuing to document the transformation and will soon be releasing another video illustrating this intriguing second phase… click the thumbnails below to view a few photos. Be sure to get down to the Durban Botanic Gardens and watch this space!

THE LIVING BEEHIVE – Construction Phase 1



Matt Nefdt


Laurence Dworkin (STEPS)

Camera Operator

Devin Carter


Devin Carter