Community, Community group, Ecosystem & Biodiversity, Education, Food & Health, Household / individual, Like-minded, New Zealand, Non-profit organisation, Oceania, Otago, Projects, Recycling & Waste, Schools, Upper Clutha, Wanaka, Water

Community Involvement

After working on ourselves and improving our households as much as we can, getting involved in our community is a powerful and accessible way to make a positive change. Over the years, I have volunteered in many groups depending on what’s on and the children’s activities. Unsurprisingly, I tend to focus on sustainability-related initiatives. Today, I am leading or committee member of these groups:

Aspiring Conversations - Cool It!
Meeting Tim Flannery with
Team Green students in 2016

MAC Team Green facilitator. For 10 years, I’ve been supporting, encouraging, coordinating students – always different over the years- in making a change in our college. Recycling, fair-trade, solar panels and energy-savings… are fantastic achievements! And we are starting water monitoring as part of the Touchstone project soon.

ALREC secretary. Alpine Lakes Research and Education Centre is an awesome project set up in 2015-16 by late Dr Maggie Lawton and taken forward by her daughter Ella, both my good friends.

PBFW17 Committee meeting
PBFW committee meeting

Plastic Bag Free Wanaka is Anna Van Riel’s initiative to phase out single-use plastic in our region. Her energy and enthusiasm has brought me into her team of uber-efficient women, having a lot of fun on the way too!

Local Food Wanaka started in 2014 to promote and support the relocalising of food production in the area. Its main event is the very successful  Autumn Apple drive.

Friends of Wanaka Wastebusters is a bi-monthly involvement role where we exert our role as guardians of the shares of Wanaka Wastebusters Ltd on behalf of the community.

Timebank secretary. I inherited this hat more than I wanted to have it… From 70  people really eager to create this initiative, it went progressively down to just 2! We are currently switching software and will do a lot more advertising when this is done.

Te Kakano Flo Gary Roys Bay 9 June 2012
Te Kakano Tree planting in Roys Bay, June 2012

I am also volunteering with Te Kakano as often as I can. Tree planting is the simplest most satisfying way to restore the future.

2 cups of tenacity, 2 cups of altruism, illimited adoration/admiration of nature and life, 1 cup of curiosity, 1 spoon of positive intention, 3000 spoons of time – extracted from super-organisation, 1 pinch of risk-taking and 1 pinch of idealism, this is how I end up with several -probably too many!- hats.

These volunteer activities satisfy five of my fundamental human needs. I feel part and connected to a network of great people. It has taught me a lot over the years, I contribute to positive change and defend what I stand for and most importantly, it is FUN!

Do you want to participate too? Feel free to contact any of these friendly groups.

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Action for Positive Change

The Montreal Protocol is perhaps the most successful international agreement so far. It demonstrates (and gives hope) that with collective action and political will, catastrophic environmental trends can be reversed. The ozone layer depletion observed in the 1970’s was subsequently attributed to CFC gases (and others). In 1987, the Montreal Protocol was signed. Government policy makers, politicians, industry people, technologists and consumers contributed to making a change. And now, 10 years after reaching its worst in 2006, it is now confirmed that the ozone hole is reducing and projected to be “filled” by 2065. Whew!

ozone-hole-peak
Source:http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/WorldWithoutOzone/

Good news is always worth celebrating, but the point here is that major problems can be solved with global action. Solutions exist -if we start looking-, we just need to decide to make a change. This video, from the UNEP Youtube channel, explains this history of disruption and solution.

Let’s apply the same will and principles to the huge problems we face. All levels must collaborate, international organisations, policy makers, businesses, individuals… The climate crisis is multi-faceted but not impossible to solve. Specialists and scientists have been researching for decades to define, trial and refine many solutions. By aiming at sustainability, we stop contributing to the problem and become part of the solution.

The world is changing; either we choose to change with it or we are left behind. Change can be exciting!

  • Change before you have to” said Jack Welch, a great businessman
  • Everything is hard, before it’s easy” stated Goethe
  • Comply is not a vision” exclaimed visionary entrepreneur, Ray Anderson
  • The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it“, emphasizes explorer Robert Swan
  • If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.” warned U. S. Army Chief of Staff, General Eric Shinseki.

These quotes urge us: Stop procrastinating. Stop blaming others. Embrace our responsibilities.

All you need is to take the decision to become sustainable. We can help you change, enjoy the challenge and reap the benefits in the process.

Featured image: Largest Antarctic ozone hole ever recorded (September 2006), over the Southern pole, NASA, 2006