agriculture community community garden food tourism transition towns

Strengthening community

Anisha Lee

My miracle would be a very big thing, but would require a lot of small things.

Anisha Lee is involved in community development in Oamaru. We talk about her experiences in farming, geology, botany, tourism, environmental farm plans and community gardens. we talk about all of these things, along with plans to bring Ooooby to Oamaru.

Talking points

From a personal responsibility level there seems to be a change in the dairy industry – this is beneficial for everybody if we take responsibility for the decisions you take.

The environment will win in the end if you destroy the thing that is feeding your business – the soil – but it will take casualties on the way through.

No one wants to do bad. But they only know how to do good in the context of what they know is good. People do listen to their managers, but it’s an apprenticeship system without regulation – they think they’re doing good, but they’ve been taught by people who didn’t know either. All genuine people who believe they are doing the right thing.

The best way to bring about change is to get farmers who are doing a great job to run groups – to build a sense of community people who know and are doing a good job of environmental management.

International visitors hear “clean and green” don’t realise that it is provided by an irrigator – it’s not naturally green around here. They realise we have a genuine problem, that we’re not as environmentally friendly as we look on a postcard. It is definitely going to damage tourism is we don’t stop saying something we’re not.

They see environmental mayhem with a small reserve on the edge and are appalled at we call a clean green country.

If we take care with what we do to meet our animalistic desires and requirements, then the other stuff might come a bit easier

Making sure we’re not polluting and are supporting an environment that will keep producing food and preventing poverty and assisting in communities being healthy, more rounded people as well as looking after the facilities around us that provide us with food.

Seeing beginning of the tipping point.

But we’ve been removed as society from understanding what is really important to us.

People are starting to realise that what we eat – where it comes from is really important. It is easier to drive to the supermarket, but in the long run that is not better for everyone.

Helping people have more connections within the community.

(Success?) Graduating. Being involved in the fantastic and enriching Summer School

(Activist?) If it means someone who screams and yells outside and doesn’t do much else, then not really. If it means someone who takes action, then yes.

(Motivation?) I like helping people, being around people, seeing people happy. I see a lot of non-happiness in the world, and I try my best to change that.

(Challenges?) OOOOBY, Education material for the cape re-vegetation project.

(Miracle?) My miracle would be a very big thing, but would require a lot of small things. Happy people, that don’t have to deal with poverty and an unhappy environment around them. Coming up with a solution that means we’re not reliant on petroleum for everything. And getting back to our roots without having to lose too much of that comfort that we’ve managed to acquire.

The smallest thing that anyone could do that would make the biggest impact is to go and talk to your neighbours. Get to know the person who lives next door and be pleasant to them. We’ve all got to live together, whether we like it or not.

(Advice?) Be nice to everybody. Have some compassion, everybody has their struggles. They might tell you what they need and you might be able to help if you’re just prepared to listen.

This series of conversations in Oamaru was prompted by discussions with Phoebe Eden-Mann following her OU Geography field trip to explore Oamaru as a transition town.

We are very grateful to the helpful folks from 45 South Television for the use of their studio.

Conscious Consumers food marketing tourism

Megan Williams

Megan Williams

Megan Williams is the Otago coordinator for Conscious Consumers. We talk about Megan about background in sustainable tourism and Sustainable Wanaka. Conscious consumers is a non-profit sustainbility and ethical accreditation programme in New Zealand. Initially based in Wellington, Conscious Consumers has recently expanded nationally, including Otago.

We talk about the recently released smartphone app that allows consumers to find ethical businesses and check in to support them.

Shane’s number of the week: 2. The two extra colours added to Australian weather maps recently to represent the extreme temperatures.

Sam’s joined-up-thinking: Sam revisits Klinenberg’s 2003 book Heatwave that examined the deaths in the 1995 Chicago heatwave.

conservation biology tourism

Community service conservation

Imagine having lived near a forest reserve for years, finding that it isn’t a reserve but for sale and to be cleared, then convincing a few friends to join you in buying that forest, having it reclassified as a reserve and developing a heritage interpretive trail, and only then go looking for money to fund it (and, incidentally, find that money in the Rainbow Warrior retribution fund). Fergus Sutherland did just that – Shank’s Bush is now owned and managed by the Papatowai Forest Heritage Trust – and this is just one of his stories of community service in conservation.

Fergus and Mary Sutherland are pioneers of ecotourism. We trace Fergus’s amazing career bridging conservation, farming and tourism in one of the world’s most special places. Fergus and Mary now run run Catlins Ecotours.

We only have an hour but you get the feeling this conversation could go on for a very long time. We didn’t even get to talk about painting, or stone walls, or penguins, or gardening, or oral history, or the Otago Conservation Board, or Forest and Bird, or writing, or… (I think we’re going to have to have him back).

Some of the places we talk about (ex Sam via Flickr)

Shank’s Bush

“Possumer’s Track” Papatowai (through Tahakopa reserve)

Papatowai Catlins bush

Shane’s number of the week: 2.6% reduction in world harvest, which despite being the third highest on record is low enough to produce a global deficit of food.  Shane discusses George Monbiot’s argument that we may have gotten our understanding of the relationship between food and climate change very wrong.

Sam’s joined-up-thinking:  The 2012 report of Education For All was released today.

Train spotting: More pictures from the Catlins

adventure education tourism

Outdoor leadership as sustainability

Andy Thompson is prorgamme manager of outdoor leadership at Otago Polytechnic. He quite possibly has the best job in the world. And he does it with an activist’s eye for sustainability.

Shane’s number of the week: 20. All of the world’s energy needs could be provided for solely by wind power, according to new research from the Carnegie Institute and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Sam’s joined-up-thinking: Is anyone else struggling with the giant light poles and really ugly fence appearing along the West Harbour shared path (cycleway)? While we appreciate the cycleway tremendously, the way it is being built seems quite short-sighted. The poles and fence are separating residents both physically and aesthetically from our beautiful harbour. To really value our city we need to see the whole landscape as the place we live and enhance connections between people and our place. What we’ve now got seems have instead to have focussed solely on engineering utility (with approval from the DCC: ODT 12/12/11). I realise that this is a NZTA project but I’d like to see the Dunedin City Council take more responsibility for the guardianship of our place.

business psychology tourism

psychology of humanitarian work

Dr Steven Atkins leads research at Otago Polytechnic’s School of Business. He tells a tale of childhood dreams of space flight leading to an astronomy degree, rocket launchpads, a Masters in engineering and a PhD in industrial psychology. Unease with a focus on optimising work for the corporate ethos, Dr Atkins has been instrumental in the development of humanitarian work psychology. This emerging field reflects an increasing humanist perspective that includes study of the psychology of poverty. Major projects include undergraduate voluntourism, online volunteerism, SmartAid, and Consultants without Costs.

Shane’s number of the week: 4.1 million square kilometres. This is the lowest extent ever recorded for Arctic sea ice. Things are changing. Fundamentally.

Sam’s joined-up-thinking: Prompted by British American Tobacco’s retrograde approach to marketing with Sam has made a web2.0 companion site

Trainspotting: Three Sustainable Lensers in studio – together – wow.

landscape tourism

Dr Anna Thompson

This is a rollicking session that has something for everyone: growing up in a National Park; working as park interpreter; renaissance art; visitor surveys; gardening Mt Cook; wilding pines; 1080; the greening of the McKenzie; valuing landscape; the corporatisation of landscape; wicked spirals of land-use; the outdoors; and the future of tourism.

Anna Thompson is co-director for the Centre for Recreation Research in the Otago University Department of Tourism. Her PhD (1998-2004) examined the management of visitors’ experiences of cultural values for landscapes in New Zealand, with a focus on integrating cultural values within interpretation. The research investigated issues relating to natural and cultural heritage management, cultural tourism and visitor interpretation in New Zealand. She has been a visiting researcher at the University of Stavanger (Norway) in 2006. Anna sits on the NZ Mountain Safety Council National Research Committee and is a director of Te Ana Whakairo (Ngai Tahu Maori Rock Art Centre Trust).

Anna has published in the fields of eco tourism, adventure tourism, entrepreneurship and visitor interpretation. Her other research interests include: wilderness recreation planning, sustainable SMTEs and destinations, cultural landscapes and the history of alpine and polar region recreation. From 1999 to 2002 Anna worked alongside Professor James Higham on a nationwide FRST funded project investigating Ecotourism in New Zealand: profiling visitors to New Zealand ecotourism operations. Recent external funded work includes conducting three surveys and qualitative research for the Department of Conservation in the Hakatere, Ahuriri and Ruataniwha Conservation Parks. Most recently she has led a SPARC funded project – ‘Family preferences, experiences and benefits associated with outdoor in Aotearoa’.

Shane’s number of the week: 4.3 is how many people get killed worldwide by sharks each year (average 2001-2010). Meanwhile 100,000,000 sharks are killed by humans.

Sam’s joined-up-thinking: Next week Sam is taking the Live Below the Line Challenge. He will be spending only $2.25 per day on food to raise awareness of extreme poverty.