Categories
children climate change local government

Messaging for change

Matt Lawrey currently serves the community as a second term Nelson City Councillor. He is also the creator of New Zealand’s popular cartoon on family life, The Little Things. We talk about he brings from his background in the media, and how he is working to achieve a thriving green society for his family.

How do we design our city for thriving?

Encouraging people to look to the positive.

Our biggest problem is a lack of imagination

How do we fire people’s imaginations?

Questions that make people feel uncomfortable.

Getting more people thinking that engagement is the normal thing to do.

Nature gives us everything we need for free, we just need to respect that.

Giving people something to embrace.

My success is about using my voice to amplify those of others.

Definition: What works for me is how do we continue to live without killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.

Superpower: Resilience (hammer, reject, reject, push, push, push – eventually good ideas come to surface). And speaking out, even when I know it would cost me.

Activist” Wary of the term. Certainly activist energy to give to local government. An important part of change is to take a lot of people with you. Just winning the point doesn’t make change happen.

The voices of the future are only going to get louder

This conversation was recorded in Nelson in April 2019.

Categories
community local government permaculture politics

being better at imagining better

Nándor Tánczos describes himself as a Dad, social ecologist, educator, permaculturalist and a Whakatāne District Councillor. Others describe him as New Zealand’s first Rastafarian MP and one our our first Green MPs. We talk about what drives him, how he became socially active (radicalised in Darlington!), his new project – social permaculture, and our bigger goal – to recreate our society and culture as a homeotelic culture.

Talking points

We need to be better at imagining and rehearsing paradise

That awoke me to the potential – a transformation of consciousness.

The soft infrastructure is just as important for well-being

Social permaculture – how do we apply ideas of permaculture to regenerating society?

We need to avoid ecology becoming a reductionist science.

I’ve been inspired by Goldsmith‘s concept of homeotelic – to maintain and enhance the integrity of the whole. The default behaviour of any healthy part of the system serves to maintain and enhance the integrity of the whole. Human culture was – Goldsmith calls it the vernacular culture – and can be homeotelic – but in our industrialised culture the default behaviour of human individuals serves to undermine and degrade the integrity of the ecological whole. Our industrial society is hetereotelic. It was a real moment for me, realising that the task is to recreate our society and culture as a homeotelic culture. So it’s about mindset.

This whole reality is our collective creation – we can change it.

There’s a profound shift taking place.

Superpower: ability to work with different people

Challenge: Writing. We need people to be painting how things could be different.

Categories
community conservation biology environmental entrepreneur local government

Getting things done


It seems everyone in the Eastern Bay of Plenty has a good word about Bill Clark and his many hats. He is a conservationist, entrepreneur, author, the energy behind the Onepu Community Recreation Park and the restoration of the Tumurau Lagoon, and is a Bay of Plenty Regional Councillor.

Talking points

If you want more whitebait, you have to make whitebait habitat

It gives me a feel good. There’s so many naysayers out there that say if you build it they’ll break it, I accept there will be a little bit of collateral damage… but that’s only one person, there’s 99 enjoying it and looking after it.

Kia ora Bill, how’s our wetland doing bro? – that gives me a great deal of satisfaction

Service clubs: Saw the need for what they could achieve, and got out and did it.

An environmental activist, I don’t go out on the streets, I get out and do stuff.

Our governance and management systems…are working with value systems of yesterday, when resources seemed infinite.

We have yet to realise that our resources are not infinite and we can not carry on the way we are doing things and sustain ourselves on this planet – it’s as simple as that.

Thinking forward

I like my life. Is see what I do in the environment is a form of creativity.

Advice: Enjoy Aotearoa and look.

Categories
local government

Representing environment

Bryan Scott is an Otago Regional Councillor. With varied experience in science, engineering and agriculture, Bryan has a focus on integrating the science and the decision making.

Thriving region with a community focus

Graying of our environment

Unintended consequences of development

We need the environment to be there for our children, but we need to do better than that – a move to regenerative.

Superpower: Keeping going, generating ideas – without caring who gets credit for them

Categories
business local government management

Crowdsourcing development

Dr Jim O’Malley is a Dunedin City Councillor.  We spoke to him about his career as a scientist and entrepreneur, local government, and a crowd funding campaign to buy a chocolate factory (https://ownthefactory.co.nz/).


Talking points.

Things that make a difference

If you feel strongly about something then do something about it

If you say things often enough, it starts to get legs

Rationalisation of money is capitalism at its worst

Large multinationals…are not immoral, they have no moral sense at all, but they are staffed by good people

Sustainability: Sustainability means that the venture lasts way beyond you, there are many economic models out there which are profitable but quickly begin to eat away at the company, what I focus on is finding the balance between a long lasting company and a profitable one.

Success: Getting on the Dunedin City Council.

Superpower: The ability to think before I act and make educated decisions.

Activist: Sometimes, the definition of bravery is knowing what you are facing and still going forward and doing it again, and sometimes I’m a bit too aware so I don’t go forward.

Motivation: Interaction with people, having a varied interaction with people. Sometimes as small as coaching a girls football team, other times as large as getting a factory off the ground!

Miracle: That everybody was quite insightful and we had societies that ran harmoniously and smoothly.

Advice: Do whatever makes you feel right and do the right thing.

Categories
community education environmental entrepreneur local government

Getting stuff done

Vicki Buck on getting stuff done.   And laughing a lot.


It seems to me that it’s self-evident that if you live on a planet that you don’t stuff it up. That you’re here for a relatively short period of time and what you do can make a difference. And if you don’t do that, then you’ve stolen from everybody else on the planet and you’ve defrauded the following generations.

 

Samuel Mann: Tonight’s sustainable lens is Vicki Buck who is the chair of the Innovation and Sustainability committee of the Christchurch City Council. Thank you for joining me.

 

Vicki Buck: Thank you for having me.

 

Samuel Mann: Where’d you grow up?

 

Vicki Buck: Christchurch, in this town.

 

Samuel Mann: What did you want to be when you grew up?

 

Vicki Buck: I wanted to be a teacher and then, when I got to high school, I thought that’s a really dumb idea. So I didn’t want to be a teacher at all. I actually saw an interview on TV when I was at high school from somebody calling themselves the political scientist, a guy I know actually, and thought, “That’s a really good job. I’d like to be one of those.” Not having a clue what they did. I was really interested in languages, I loved languages, so thought I might go and study them. Got some of it [inaudible 00:01:20] but I really liked the politics. And, yeah, ended up I still don’t really know what I want to be. So I’m kind of thinking that when I grow up, I’ll know. But as yet I haven’t a clue.

 

I know I like doing things that I enjoy doing and probably largely unemployable, actually. So I kind of have to go and set up my own companies and do just stuff that’s fun. I can’t see the point of doing it if I’m not enjoying it and having a really good time. So that takes us into all sorts of paths.

 

Samuel Mann: But you’ve been in local government since you were a teenager.

 

Vicki Buck: No. I first stood for council when I was 18, 19, so I was elected when I was 19 and stayed in that for a long time. It was a very part-time thing at that time and you got paid, I think, about $260 a year max. So it wasn’t something that you did as a job. I had to have a job that paid the rent and everything as well. Much later when I was 30 something, 33, 34, I became mayor. So I had been in local government a long time. I got out of it completely after I finished being there. I had no intention of coming back. It was only because I was kind of annoyed at what was happening to the Christchurch area that I came back.

 

And so have been involved in kind of a whole lot of things. Got involved in education because I’d kind of thought that there needed to be some changes and thought, you know, it’d take three weeks to do. I ended up there for about 10 or 15 years. I’m not a teacher. Got involved in a whole pile of climate change stuff that involved sort of deriving fuel from algae and all those sorts of things. And I’m not a scientist either. So I kind of figure I haven’t got any real skills so I just had to play across all of the areas, yeah.

 

Samuel Mann: When you left politics the first time, or perhaps it was the second time-

 

Vicki Buck: First time.

 

Samuel Mann: First time. Off into education despite not being a teacher?

 

Vicki Buck: What I wanted to do was … The bit that excited me was just kids learning around stuff that they love. What excited them. My own son went off to school and was bored completely, so he would deliberately get kicked out of classrooms at age five because he was annoyed with the teacher interfering with his thought process. He was interesting at school. A pain in the neck, I would have thought. I wasn’t keen to do home schooling because I wanted to be doing a whole pile of other things as well. So I thought, well, okay, so we need a different type of schooling because clearly this is not working. And because I’d actually enjoyed school, I didn’t realise how many kids it wasn’t working for.

 

We then discovered, amazingly in a meeting with the Ministry of Education, that there’s a lovely, lovely section in the Education Act, section 156, that enables parents within the state system – because I like the state system, I like the idea that everybody has the same options – that within that, if you don’t like the style of education you’re getting that actually a group of you can go and set up a whole new system within the state system. Well, a brilliant little piece of law. And so, well, we decided we would do that. Ironically and not surprisingly, I suppose, the Minister of Education, who was then that guy Smith. What was his name? He was on TV … forgotten his name.

 

Samuel Mann: Lockwood.

 

Vicki Buck: Lockwood Smith. That one. He hadn’t thought about the possibility either and so later on Wyatt Creech became Minister of Education and he was way more open to the concept of innovation because, I think … Actually, many politicians, I think, come in wanting to do things and then find that they’re kind of held back by here are the rules, here are the regulations. We’re going to take you through this journey that’s going to take you many years of your life. And actually that’s not what they came in to do. They came in to change things and to try things. So he was amazingly helpful. It still took a long time to get through the ministry. And so we discovered that we could actually do it.

 

And, yep, they finally approved it and so we were allowed to start Discovery One, which was still based on a state school so it was free. Based on kids learning around what excited them. If you learn around what excites you, first of all you’re going to probably like learning. Because I think we come into the world being naturally curious and excited about possibilities, and then we gradually get that ground out of us. So like “these are the things that you need to know” and “this is what you need to know for NCEA”, so that’s going to be the be all and end all, and there’s never going to be any technological gains or disruptive technologies or innovation of any sort whatsoever.

 

So I think the really key thing is, one that kids love learning, two that they learn how they do learn and that they have fun along the way. When we wrote the submission I had to take the F word, the fun word, out of the submission to the Ministry of Education. It was not allowed to be included so I had to go and delete it all along the way. People who did know about education helped enormously in the process of doing that. There was about six of us involved in that. So we finally got this up and running. And then, from my own selfish point of view, my son got there just in time, for a year or so, before high school. And so then we had to create a secondary school as well, because otherwise our local school was going to be boy’s mayhem. That was completely unfair on boys I had to do that to them.

 

So we created Unlimited. Actually, we created it in about 10 weeks from the approval to the start of the term, which was way fun because it meant during the holidays we were in there with the plumber and doing all sorts of things that were just, you know, these are the things that you have to do. So a lot of fun. I had enormous fun with both of them. I haven’t been involved with either of them for about four years but we may merge the two. But, yeah, I thoroughly enjoyed just the incredible energy and drive and passion that goes with young people and what they want to do. And the opportunities to learn that are just so widespread and so ubiquitous that it’s mind-blowing. So, yep, that was incredibly good fun.

 

So I think in many ways, as a parent or as a member of the community, we’re all educators. We’re just not recognised as teachers. I’m cool with that. I have no desire to sort of be a teacher or anything. We got to the end of Unlimited and thought, “Hmm, the university system.” But that’s quite controlled in New Zealand so you have to be really tolerant for that.

 

Samuel Mann: So you haven’t taken them on?

 

Vicki Buck: I haven’t taken on the university system, no. Actually, in many ways the university system has, especially – I mean, I work most closely with the University of Canterbury here – has adapted quite a lot. Especially post-earthquake with the student army, with their engagement with what they want the kids to achieve and with their emphasis on community involvement and active internships and all sorts of things. So it’s been great to see that happening. So, no, we haven’t established a university.

 

Samuel Mann: So now back on council?

 

Vicki Buck: Yep. I came back on three and a half years ago when I got a bit annoyed about what was happening in Christchurch and what wasn’t happening, and the opportunities that you could see everywhere that perhaps weren’t being taken advantage of. And just what happened post-earthquake was this amazing energy. There was no-one in control for such a long period of time, or it felt like there was no-one in control, so you just had to do stuff. If you wanted things to happen, nobody was going to do it for you. You just had to do it. And all throughout the city, over and over again, you see people doing stuff that they probably didn’t even know that they could do, just because they had to start doing it.

 

Samuel Mann: So other than the matter of the devastation and so on, it was your dream come true?

 

Vicki Buck: No, I would never have gotten about it that way. I would prefer to have stayed out of politics, actually. There were lots and lots of things that I found … Like, so I was working in climate change technologies, all of which I love, and the climate change website.

 

Samuel Mann: With Nick Gerritsen?

 

Vicki Buck: Yep, and with a range of other people on all sorts of things and on windfarms and stuff, which I was still involved with till a couple of years ago. So there are amazing, amazing possibilities. So the whole thing about sustainability strikes me as the most pressing issue that we have. We don’t really have a Plan B. We have one planet that we’re fast destroying and, you know, even looking forward, never mind my children’s or their children’s lifetime, this will happen in my lifetime. And you can see it with water happening all around. You know, the need to create so-called economic development by taking as much water as you possibly can for intensive dairying. It strikes me as crazy when you’ve got this incredible resource that is going to be one of the scarcest resources in the world and the most important. So water and food and clean air and those valuable commodities that – not commodities, because they’re not commodities, they’re way above commodities – that you just need to treasure. We haven’t and we so need to.

 

So just from a “what is really important” sustainability and just the awareness of climate change and what we’re not doing and what we could do. I mean, I see it as almost … it’s one of the huge issues of our time. Yep, I can’t ignore it.

 

Samuel Mann: Where did it come from, that passion or knowledge in you?

 

Vicki Buck: It seems to me that it’s self-evident that if you live on a planet that you don’t stuff it up. That you’re here for a relatively short period of time and what you do can make a difference. And if you don’t do that, then you’ve stolen from everybody else on the planet and you’ve defrauded the following generations. I don’t even know where it came from. It just seems so apparent, how can I not know that?

 

Samuel Mann: Were you an environmentalist at school?

 

Vicki Buck: I think I’ve always been an environmentalist. I don’t think I understood how rapid and dangerous climate change was to all of us, regardless of where we live, and how it affected people grossly unequally, till probably, I don’t know, 20, 30 years ago. Who knows? Who knows? It wasn’t last week and it probably wasn’t when I was nine so sometime in between.

 

Samuel Mann: Somewhere between nine.

 

Vicki Buck: Sometime in between nine and last week, yeah.

 

Samuel Mann: I don’t know what sort of council you’ve got but is it hard work, are you pushing that up a hill on the council or the council gets that?

 

Vicki Buck: This council and the previous one have actually been quite green in terms of their environmental concerns. So the awareness of climate change is very real. The importance of the quality of our water is felt strongly and the initiatives that we can take, like watch this space later this year for electric vehicle fleets. Entire compact vehicle fleets that we’ve been working on for a couple of years. We’ve got the autonomous electric vehicle out being trialled at the airport, which has been great fun. Those sort of changes that make possible quite different dimensions are fantastic.

 

We’re spending, probably over a five to seven year period, about 150 million on retrofitting the city and cycle lanes so that when you ride a bike you feel safe because you’re separated from the truck or the car. And I think for a lot of people that’s incredibly important. That makes me ride a bike as opposed to not ride a bike, if I feel safe. And I think that’s quite a different perception for women than men sometimes, and some of the research I’ve seen suggests that. But when you’ve got a city that’s already fitted out, retrofitting it with cycle lanes is an interesting process that requires a huge amount of public consultation. And you have to take the public along with you. So it’s not something you can do in 10 minutes but over a five to seven year period it will happen.

 

Obviously you’ll see in the central city that the speed limit is 30 ks, that the emphasis is on walking and cycling. We’ve just put some money on to extend our bike share so that it’s citywide, this one in the central city but it needs to go citywide as a means of public transport. So your helmet’s there, your bike’s there and you can leave it wherever at any of the other hubs.

 

Yeah, so there’s a … I mean, from our point of view, obviously insulation has been seriously important and one of the things, especially in a climate like this, one of the things we’ve been really, really wanting to do is to increase the building code standard. In the district plan we wanted to raise that to about six green star from the current building code, which we think would have added about $1700 to the cost of a building but ensured the wellbeing of children and their health and education and all sorts of things. The government, unfortunately, wouldn’t allow that to go through and the replacement district plan, it’s not there. So you win some and you lose some.

 

Samuel Mann: In fact, in terms of wellbeing they went the other way.

 

Vicki Buck: It’s the building code.

 

Samuel Mann: But in terms of the wellbeing responsibility of council, they took-

 

Vicki Buck: Yeah, slightly different. This is the district plan so we’ve had a very fast process of redoing the entire district plan. It’s not one I’d really recommend. But if you’re rebuilding a city and you’re rebuilding so many houses, you would think one of the most basic things is that you make sure they’re really well insulated, that the VIM envelope is really important, that you actually build them to a standard that guarantees that those kids are growing up in warm, dry houses, or those adults are living in warm, dry houses. Because you know the impact that that has on education outcomes, on housing outcomes. I mean, on health outcomes, everything. So not to be able to do that was infuriating. Annoying, to say the least.

 

Samuel Mann: So as chair of Innovation and Sustainability-

 

Vicki Buck: That’s just this term, so we’re having our first meeting next week, yep.

 

Samuel Mann: Awesome.

 

Vicki Buck: Yep, it’ll be good fun.

 

Samuel Mann: So what’s the first thing on the agenda after-

 

Vicki Buck: There’s a few things. Obviously one of the things that we do here in council is that we have an open session at the council that we started last time called Vox Pop. So anybody can come in with any issue whatsoever that has to do with the city and they get five minutes, and they’re allowed to talk directly to the councillors. So they’re all sitting there, it’s all live streamed, it’s all the media sitting there. Choong, here’s your issue. Make of it what you will. And that’s been wonderful but I think we need quite innovative ways of engaging people. I’d like to see someone involved in some waste minimization things. Obviously I’d like electric fleets, not only at the council but I’d like to see some trial bus routes. I’d like to see us get to the point where that autonomous vehicle was licenced to go on the road. We’ve done all the work on that and so we’re working with a range of research organisations and the HMI has been amazing on that.

 

So there are a whole raft of things. From our point of view, probably the transport fleet is the biggest carbon emitter, although probably the destruction of buildings and the rebuild has used way more than we would … I mean, our carbon footprint will have looked horrific in the last five years.

 

Samuel Mann: I think that’s going to be the most important thing in terms of doing the transition to electric vehicles, is the big fleets.

 

Vicki Buck: So do I, because if you and I want to buy an electric vehicle we’re probably buying a second-hand one. And to get a big supply of second-hand ones into the country, we want a range of things. We want the big companies to be buying them and so what we’re looking at is possibly with 10 other business and government agencies in the city, so it will make a huge difference to the city, just like that when it happens, which I love, those sort of things. But then when they sell the second-hand vehicles, then they become affordable for everybody else to buy. Because I think, although the running costs and they stack up incredibly well, I think that always with renewable technologies there’s that initial capital cost which is hard for people to get past.

 

Samuel Mann: And it’ll normalise it and make it viable for things like mechanics to get training or whatever they need to do to get there.

 

Vicki Buck: Yep. Actually, there’s so few moving parts I think the training will be … you could do it. You could do it as one of your courses.

 

Samuel Mann: It all sounds so positive to me and so obvious.

 

Vicki Buck: It sounds obvious to me too, so what’s the problem? I don’t actually see that there is a problem. I mean, it seems to me that any authority, whether it’s a council or a large business or a small business, has a responsibility to ensure that the environment that they live in is not made worse by them being there and is, in fact, improved by them being there. That seems self-evident to me. So I don’t see the problem either.

 

I think the other thing that’s always really important is the importance of what I see as the strength of Christchurch, is the 386,000 people who live here. And the brains and the thoughts and the talents that reside in those people. And I think quite often we tend to think of cities, you know, pipes and roads and footpaths and, you know. And those things, believe me, not having had them for a while, we love them.

 

But the really, really important part of any community is the people who live there. And so what you want to do, I think, is make sure that everybody feels that this is their community, that they have a really strong sense of belonging to this community. And that the things that they want to do that excites them, not just in education, not just at tertiary. But, I mean, they’re here for their whole life, or they’re here for 10 years, whichever, that period of time that they’re here, that that sense that they can do the things that they love doing. That anything is possible, so the byline I quite like for Christchurch is that anything is possible. And so that’s what we’re sort of working on. That’s got to be true for every age and you’ve got to maybe make sure that that works for people at certain … so it’s not just true if you’ve got a certain income level.

 

One of other areas that I’ve spent a lot of time on is housing which was, after the earthquake, really critical. Our housing policy spans from making sure there are no homeless, which is quite a good goal in itself, right thought to helping people into their first house, which we’re currently working with government. Touch wood. Not yet sorted. But those things are really, really important. I mean, people’s sense of belonging, it is way enhanced if they are living in a place that they feel is theirs, whether it’s a rental or ownership. And making sure that there aren’t people living on the streets who … Some people occasionally want that for a while. That’s fine, but if they don’t want that, that there are options for them.

 

We’ve done some things within the Mayor’s Welfare Fund, for example, where if we can’t within our own social housing, which we have 2300 of and which is now administered by Ōtautahi or Housing New Zealand, that we can actually provide the wherewithal for a private rental. I mean, one of the neat things about Christchurch at the moment is that houses are actually affordable. So I’m not sure if we should tell this, because I’m not sure how many Aucklanders we want here. No, I’m having them on. We actually like them. But, you know, if you’re looking at a million dollars house in Auckland, that’s really hard to come back from. You can buy a house here for, starting with a three, you know, three hundred and something. And you might need to do it up a wee bit but it’s very livable.

 

And that’s fantastic because you kind of have that affordability factor. For example, I was talking to a research group who were over here doing some research with the autonomous electric vehicle, which is on the Auckland campus, and the guys or the team were from Melbourne. They’d looked at the price of housing over there and they were in their late 20s, early 30s, and they were saying, “We’ve just looked at housing here. We want to relocate our research to here because we can actually afford to buy a house.” And at a million plus, you can’t. I can’t even imagine how much that mortgage must hurt. That’s revolting.

 

So there are cool things, I think, you can do within a city. And I think the key one is talent and the sense of possibility and excitement about living in that city, and the fact that your community is really important. You need to create those deliberate bumping spaces where you bump into people in the community, where you have a nice experience, where there’s events and you come away feeling good. Those are really, really important issues.

 

We’ve got some huge issues in Christchurch in terms of mental health, which is not ours but it’s not something you can turn your back on either. That’s like in education. We’re trying to get to the point where if you’re six or eight or 10, we can somehow make available to you all the learning opportunities that are there in the wider community. Not just at your school with your teacher. And in terms of the city itself, like the opportunities for learning through internships and some other some other sort of internships that we’ll create. It doesn’t exist yet.

 

Samuel Mann: Okay, some questions to end with. What is your go-to definition of sustainability?

 

Vicki Buck: Actually, it’s probably more than sustainability. It’s the fact that you actually leave the planet slightly better than when you came. It’s probably quite a personal one in that I can see my kids, for example, needing, and everybody else’s kids needing clean water, good air, the rivers actually running. I want them to be able to swim in rivers, not wade.

 

Samuel Mann: And to have some water in them to start with.

 

Vicki Buck: I’d like water in them. Yes, it would be novel. And I also think it’s sort of having some obligation to the other, not just people but the other species on the planet. In order to achieve your aims, do you have to completely screw other people? That doesn’t seem like a good idea. I mean, for that reason I can’t get the slightest bit excited about the concept of drilling for oil. It just seems like lunacy to me that you would even contemplate bringing out more oil into a world that cannot actually burn what we already know about without destroying the planet. So where’s the logic in this?

 

Samuel Mann: But there’ll be people in your city that would see Lyttelton or wherever as being a suitable base for a drilling place, don’t you think?

 

Vicki Buck: Actually, very few, I think. Very few people, I think, would see that because, apart from the Banks Peninsula Marine Mammal Sanctuary, we haven’t found much of the thing. And then the drilling part starts right next door, so apparently that oil knows, you know, this is the boundary. Never [crosstalk 00:27:37]

 

Samuel Mann: Well, I wouldn’t go there, no.

 

Vicki Buck: We won’t go there because, you know, there’s a big wall. Banks Peninsula, from our point of view, is just this amazing sort of natural wilderness area. And the sea off Banks Peninsula, and off all of our coastline, is so valuable to us that the idea of anything going wrong, that you can’t control, you’re in deep ocean water. You can imagine, there’s no capacity anywhere in New Zealand to deal with that spill. So wait a minute. We’d have to ring Singapore or China or wherever, or America, and find out where the nearest one is. Seven weeks away? Oh, we’ll just wait here patiently while you completely ruin one of the most amazing assets that New Zealand has. You know, its ocean.

 

No, I don’t think there’s many people that are … actually, I think they need a government. And, you know, even something like Brighton Beach, which for that community is so vital and so loved, that the idea of any sort of crappy oil spill coming up … not welcomed. But no, I can’t think of anybody, actually. I’m sure there are some.

 

Samuel Mann: So what’s the biggest success you’ve had in the last couple of years?

 

Vicki Buck: That’s a hard question. I think possibly changing our usage to electric vehicles will be. I hope. I’ll tell you that in a couple of weeks.

 

Samuel Mann: We’re writing a book of these conversations. We’re calling it Tomorrow’s Heroes.

 

Vicki Buck: Or yesterday’s.

 

Samuel Mann: No, it’s as if we’re looking back and people like you will be the heroes that people will look back who are pleased that you’re doing this kind of work. So what’s your superpower? How do you describe your superpower?

 

Vicki Buck: Probably optimism. Probably a belief that all of us can do, actually, pretty much anything. And that may be a completely irrational belief. But actually, the more you believe it the more it comes true, which is kind of weird. And probably the ability to laugh a lot. So when I do something completely insane, which is regularly, I’m not hugely distressed.

 

Samuel Mann: Do you consider yourself to be an activist?

 

Vicki Buck: Yes. Yes, I always have.

 

Samuel Mann: Why?

 

Vicki Buck: Because the opposite of that is being passive and it sounds so boring. I’ll just sit here passively and go through life. Like, jeez, I’ve only got one of them that I know of. You know, I’m willing to have more. But why wouldn’t you use everything you’ve got to make happen the things that you want to have happen. I can’t see any reason why you would do it any other way.

 

Samuel Mann: What motivates you? What gets you out of bed in the morning?

 

Vicki Buck: I just like the fact that you can make cool stuff happen. There was a lovely interview with somebody from the airport, and he said, “My job is to make cool shit happen.” I thought, “Oh, that’s my job description.” So, yeah, just making cool shit happen. I’ve stolen that from [inaudible 00:31:05].

 

Samuel Mann: What’s the biggest challenge you’re looking forward to in the next couple of years?

 

Vicki Buck: In the next couple of years? I don’t know. I don’t know. It could be different tomorrow from this day. It’s not like I can plan a couple of years ahead. About a week is good.

 

Samuel Mann: Alright, take the time off then. What’s the biggest challenge you’re looking forward to?

 

Vicki Buck: I don’t know. I like them all. I like the idea of completely altering the way we do education here. Which is nothing to do with council, really, but I don’t think anybody will notice for a while. I like the idea of some initiatives that people will come up with that we can help. I don’t think we have to do it all. Really, we’ll delegate it to anybody and everybody. There’s 386,000 of them out there.  So, yeah, just the fact that … what excites me is that I know that today and tomorrow and the day after, people will come up with cool ideas.

 

We just put a thing on, on Facebook, about a community fridge. And three groups, like, I’d really like to see these. You know, people have got surplus food, just put it in a pantry or fridge and it’s available to anybody in the community who needs it. Three groups have come back and said, yeah, we’d like to do something about this. I just love the currency of ideas that people can make cool stuff happen all the time. Actually, the thing I’m probably looking forward to is getting back into our house which has been completely rebuilt, not as an insurance thing but as a leaky house. Which is not the way you want to do it but it’s going to, in theory, be a 10 star one, which will be a lot of fun.

 

Samuel Mann: Awesome.

 

Vicki Buck: Yeah.

 

Samuel Mann: If you could wave a magic wand and have a miracle occur by tomorrow morning, what would you have happen?

 

Vicki Buck: Actually, at the moment I’ve been watching that famine in South Sudan and Yemen, and watching those kids not have food. I can’t stand it. I can’t even watch it. And you feel kind of quite powerless about it, so my miracle would be that one … Well, actually, I’d like lots. But one that they’re fed and they get a chance to live their lives. Another one? Would it have something to do with Trump? Yeah.

 

Samuel Mann: Are those the things that go beyond your optimism? Is everything achievable but there’s things outside that-

 

Vicki Buck: [inaudible 00:33:56]. Really, what were you thinking? No, I tend to be optimistic anyway, so it’s kind of ingrained. I can’t get rid of it. Even after half an hour of Trump I can still get over it. Yeah, yeah, he does test it to the limit. He’s tests it completely. And his advisors, Sean Bannon particularly.

 

Samuel Mann: Lastly then, do you have any advice for our listeners?

 

Vicki Buck: No, I wouldn’t be so presumptuous. I wouldn’t have a clue.

 

Samuel Mann: So if you were to have a billboard that’s not at election time, that you could put up on a big motorway somewhere, what are you going to write on it?

 

Vicki Buck: Probably life is short, have fun.

 

Samuel Mann: Awesome. That F word’s back again.

 

Vicki Buck: Yeah.

 

Samuel Mann: Thank you very much for joining me.

 

Vicki Buck: My pleasure indeed.

 

Categories
education local government

Lively communities taking sustainability seriously

Alexa Forbes

If I can’t gain the trust and respect of the people that don’t understand how they are harming the environment, then I can’t do the work anyway.


Alexa Forbes is a researcher and development and sustainability advisor for Otago Polytechnic’s Centre for Sustainable Practice. She is a District Councillor for the Queenstown Lakes District Council. She is a musician, a journalist and founder of a successful communications business.

We open the conversation with her context – where did you grow up, what did you want to be when you grew up? It turns out that Alexa has a colourful background with a lot of stories so it takes longer than usual to get to what she is doing now.

Talking points

Going to Vermont as an AFS student – shaped a lot of my future thinking

I’ve never really been on much of a mission – things just happen.

Where did sustainable practice come from? I’ve explored that recently – I’m studying for a Master in Professional Practice – it comes from my childhood. An interesting childhood, I come from a doctor and an activist, artist musician mother. A lot of environmental concerns built in really early in my life. We were always in the bush, camping, tramping, learning to fish, to hunt – learning to be careful of the environment, to respect it, and to try not to damage it and to be part of it – that was always important.

Sustainability was a spearhead for me – I was working as a journalist, and watching tourism grow…exponential growth…impact on the Queenstown environment

I thought I would love Queenstown to start thinking about the impact of tourism

There were campaigns – take only photos, leave only footprints – and I thought these were feel good, but a lot was being left, damage to our ecosystems that was not being acknowledged, not being addressed.

There’s something in this…

Tourism and the environment is a major tension in Queenstown – most of my job is drawing attention to the tension

I’ve sat in rooms with tourism leaders when I’ve challenged them on environmental impact, and they’ve looked at me like I’m mad and said “we love this environment, we make a living from this environment, we would never hurt it”, which tells me something about the massive amount of ignorance. But I wouldn’t get very far by telling them that, clearly, so I have to be quite careful and unpick some of the knots in people’s thinking.

I’ve never considered myself a greenie – I just think I’m sensible, and a good mother.

Do I need them to vote for me? We if I don’t, I don’t get in and I can’t continue my work, but that doesn’t really concern me either, because if I don’t have their buy in then I can’t continue my work anyway.

I feel that I’m better off on inside than outside.

If I can’t gain the trust and respect of the people that don’t understand how they are harming the environment, then I can’t do the work anyway.

(Compromise?) I operate from a set of values.

I don’t know – none of us know – whether we’ve gone past the ability to retrieve or regenerate ecosystems to a level that they are still friendly to humans, we don’t know if we can managed that or not. But concentrating on recycling schemes and changing lightbulbs is pretty much just rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.

I’m operating within a value system, I would get nowhere by holding a firm activist position, I do view myself as a bit of an activist, certainly an environmentalist,

I’m an activist in that I try to get people to recognise and to question what they are doing.

I don’t expect the helicopters to close down, but I do expect them to accept that they are externalising costs onto a future community

That’s what I want people really understand – when you are doing what you are doing, how are you thinking about mitigating the costs that you are putting onto your grandchildren? That’s a line in the sand, people should know that I won’t move from that.

I follow the Natural Step System Conditions. (see previous SustainableLens conversations)

We’re still very head-in-the-sand in New Zealand, we still believe the 100% Pure. We can still pull that wool over our own eyes.

None of us has come up with how we can do this quickly enough to make a difference.

I have to operate from my values in the most pure way that I can.

It disappoints me that our government refuses to take responsibility – I don’t know what they are thinking. Making it worse in so many ways. Allowing the dairy industry to externalise its costs. All over the country ratepayers are paying to clean up after the dairy industry – it’s not good enough.

It appals me, I can get really angry, or I can go back to my own values, and say I’m not going to allow traffic to increase in Queenstown under my watch.

(Can Councils deliver intergenerational equity?) It’s the only vehicle we’ve got.

You have to take that into account when you are voting, what are you voting for? Are you voting for peoples’ values? We have to get away from a from popularity contests

We (with Ella Lawton) stood for Council because we thought it was a place we could make some change. I think we’re making headway – enough for me not to have thrown up my hands in horror.

I don’t concern myself with whether I’ve got a job tomorrow – I’m quite capable of going back to my old job – and frankly, Council pays a lot less – so it’s not about that.

Here we are, sitting in this amazing nexus of change – exponential change in technology and exponential change in our environment, and in that nexus we face exponential social change. Every thing is changing so fast technologically, everything is changing environmentally much faster than we expected, much faster than we ever thought it would, so it is making us socially incredibly uncomfortable.

I’m one of those people that think that technology will save us if we let it, but we have to change – we have to understand our true natures.

Part of that for me was understanding our waste.

(Success?) I just got a distinguished alumni award from Otago Polytechnic. Selling my business and being willing to embark on a new Masters and a a new career.

(Motivation?) I love life. I really do love life. I love my work with Otago Polytechnic, and I love my work with the Council.

(Activist?) I’m starting to be. I didn’t think I was, but I am starting to think that I am now. I try to keep it low key. I’ve only just realised that my opinions are a bit more radical than most people. I though that most people thought like me until quite recently, so now I’ve become a bit more outspoken – I didn’t realise that it was unusual. So I’m comfortable with that box – I’m an activist on the inside really. I like to stir people up and challenge their thinking. I don’t want to hurt them, and I don’t believe that I’m always right. My own thinking needs challenging, and I don’t want to take hard and fast positions that force people into corners because it’s not helpful and I might not be right.

I go for a consensus model, but I’m not sure that’s right. Looking back on the last three years we’ve always gone for consensus…but I think it has watered some things down too much. That’s a hard one. When you vote against something, personally you’re counted as voting against that and that may have some personal benefit, but – and this is why I’ve gone for consensus, are you better to just go a little way along the way, to put the shot across the bow, planted the seed, let’s move on. So in the past…once it is lost…let’s make this the best it can be, but I’m not sure that it is always right.

(Challenges?) Moving my projects on further. Transport Strategy…would positively affect so many people’s lives. And in education, the programme we offer really on the edge we need to mainstream sustainability – or the education for it

(Miracle?) People will have woken up to the environmental challenges and to their externalisation of costs to the next generation, and that the y want to educate themselves to stop doing that.

(Advice?) Please wake up, look at what you do and ask “am I putting costs onto my children and grandchildren by doing this? How could I do thins properly? And it’s not just about recycling. Look at yourself, look at the way you live, look at why you are, how you are – that’s a most enjoyable thing to do. Give yourself time to reflect properly on where you’ve come from, why you’re here, and what you want to leave behind.

Categories
communication local government

Nature’s tales

Neville Peat

Wake up each day and salute the sun if it’s out, appreciate the natural processes around you, We’re here for a short time on this beautiful planet and we’re here in a caretaker role.


Neville Peat is a writer and photographer, and a Dunedin City Councillor.

Talking points

I’ve always enjoyed conveying stories about our landscape, and issues of the day.

Growing up we weren’t really conscious of the wildlife on our doorstep.

You’re telling a story, trying to convey ideas.

It’s about finding an angle, describing what you see in as few words as possible, my most recent effort (in the ODT) described the Milford Track as “mountains of water”.

The environmental movement was continually banging its head up against applications for resource consent for this that and the next thing…so we set up an organisation that could carry the message of sustainability or doing things good for the environment through the Green Business Challenge, that became the Dunedin Environmental Business Network. The idea was to get alongside people in business.

This was a new way of working, we weren’t just banging on doors and writing submissions, we were working proactively to get our message across.

This led to the Otago Regional Council – I knew I could make a difference. We set up a Biodiversity Committee, the first in NZ, I was chair of that.

But in my nine years in the Regional Council, I can only think of two good examples of sustainable management of natural resources based on a scientific tool. (Tussock burning based on 3 tests: coverage density, dry weight matter and height). Here at last, I thought, we can actually measure whether this classic snow tussock grassland would actually be sustained. (Secondly, irrigation allocation in the Kakanui catchment).

The Regional Councils are primarily responsible for the sustainable management of natural resources, you would think a whole range of tools to help them, but really they haven’t. They continue to monitor decline in a whole lot of areas, without giving us a way forward, a tool, something we can grasp.

Shrinking baseline is such an important concept. It’s so easy for each generation to come along and say “that’s the normal” (not even new normal), “that’s how much quality we can expect out of this river, wetland or whatever” and not realise that it has shrunk in their parents’ time. With each generation you get a steady decline in quality, which can only be countered by action of some sort – and this is starting to require a behaviour change in people. And as we know…changing people’s behaviour…whether its giving up on driving to work or doing something to enhance the environment they live in, plant more food in the backyard, or whatever, that’s hard, the easiest way is just to do nothing, a laissez-faire attitude, just hope we can ride it out, “why should it be my responsibility?”

(Is there a formal way of considering future generations in decision making?) Only if you keep waking up in the morning thinking “what’s the definition of sustainability? – it does include “without compromising the needs of future generations”. If you wake up with that you get a clear sense of your role. You are here not as a user, but a caretaker. It’s up to you to do your best.

We are just here temporarily on a planet that is supremely beautiful.

Often you get a moment of inspiration, a moment where it all seems right, its almost a mystical effect.

It’s more effective to convey an idea than to say it…that’s what my work is all about conveying an appreciation of nature.

The Dunedin draft Environmental Strategy is setting the scene for future generations.

How do we relate to this planet – because we’ve only got one.

The Dunedin natural environment is unbelievably special.

(Success in last couple of years?) New edition of Wild Dunedin. Environment Strategy.

(Activist?) Not as much as I was. I’m still active. I’m working pretty hard really, but I’m not a foot soldier any more – I’m trying to be a bit more of a leader.

(Motivation?) Nature has to be given full expression, the moment we have conquered nature in any form we lose the plot. The mysteries and mystique of nature have to be retained. When my ancestors came here in the 1850s they saw nature as something to be conquered. Now five generations later, I’m saying let’s embrace nature for what it is and not as something to be beaten down.

(Challenges?) More writing.

(Miracle? or smallest thing that would make the biggest impact?) The stoat in the Orakanui ecosanctuary

(Advice for listeners?) Wake up each day and salute the sun if it’s out, appreciate the natural processes around you, We’re here for a short time on the planet and we’re here in a caretaker role.

Categories
democracy dunedin ecology local government

Environmental strategy

Jinty MacTavish

We need infrastructure and systems to support positive environmental outcomes.


Chair of the Dunedin City Council’s Community and Environment Committee, Councillor Jinty MacTavish on the draft environment strategy Te Ao Tūroa – The Natural World.
Good friend of the show, Councillor Jinty MacTavish is back to talk us though Dunedin’s draft environment strategy Te Ao Tūroa – The Natural World.

The draft strategy has three themes:

  • Theme 1: Treasuring the environment / Kaitiakitaka
  • Theme 2: Healthy natural environment / He ao tūroa, he ao hauora
  • Theme 3: Environment for the future / Mō tātou, ā, mō kā uri, ā muri ake nei
  • Consultation on the strategy is open until the end of August.

    Talking points

    Not having had an environment strategy has been a fraught thing for five years because it means that environmental concerns or issue have, I think, been inadequately considered as part of report development and subsequent Council decision.

    This is a starting point for conversations rather than a final document.

    Staff went back through the last 5 years of submissions, 11,000 submissions and pulled out the key themes people we telling us about the environment.

    (Mayor Dave Cull’s introduction – all part of the Dunedin Ecosystem) Yes, I don’t think we’re entirely there yet, that concept of humans as part of ecosystem isn’t quite reflected right the way through the document, but he intent is there.

    .

    Ecotourism is an activity that leverages environmental strength

    (11% of City protected, cf 33% nationally) Proportionately, we could be protecting more of our land. In terms of a gradation from natural environments to human dominated space, we’ve got a bit of work to do in thinking about projecting land for its natural value alone.

    When we started this strategy, we quickly realised that if we were just doing for Council’s influence in terms of land it owns, it would be pretty limited when we’re talking about the environment.

    I fought hard to get in here human connection with environment… there is challenge for us in helping people understand their role in the ecosystem when they are only seeing a very small part of it.

    The presence of the Otago Regional Council as an environmental regulator doesn’t mean that we ought not have people dedicated to getting outcomes on the ground in terms of this strategy. we’re hoping for feedback from the community on the types of roles that will be needed. The Economic Development Unit, for example, is populated with people who are charged with delivering on specific projects under the Economic Development Strategy.

    Working with different stakeholders, range of mechanisms and incentives…

    Whenever you are writing an environment strategy, it is tempting to think of the environment as something that it “out there, that we can put a fence around and as long as we’re protecting it from possums and not developing it then it’s fine”, but we all know that that’s not going to work, that we are part of this ecosystem and that we need to be adapting and changing the ways that we are operating if we are to ensure that our environment in the broadest sense has a future.

    Clearly our systems are not sustainable. We are too carbon intensive, we are destructive in that how we create our systems at present. We need to be starting to think about how we design our infrastructure and systems that support positive environmental outcomes rather than being just less bad.

    Unless we as a population really understand what it is to be part of an ecosystem, and understand and treasure and feel connected to the ecosystem of which we are a part, we’re simply not going to care about protecting it. You need that motivator, you need that connection, you need that physical connection.

    We should be designing infrastructure that enhances connection, not cutting off connection.

    I would love to hear from people what parts of the environment they don’t feel connected to, and what would facilitate that connection.

    The theme is about community connection, it’s not just about me caring.

    I think there is a growing sense of the collective

    We need infrastructure and systems to support positive environmental outcomes.

    We need to move beyond the minimalist mentality, the mentality that says we can only ever do less bad. Then we can start to think about setting some aspirational targets in terms of giving back to our environment.

    You can clearly have appropriate development, and you can have inappropriate development – and what this document is saying is that we want to set some pretty high standards for the type of development into the future to ensure that environmental concerns and aspirations are wrapped up in that development and taken into account at the front end. So that we don’t see the sort of development that erodes the life supporting capacity of our systems.

    We have to as aspirational with this document as we have been with all of the others.

    We have to be aspirational with our environmental goals, because when we get to conversations about trade-offs or synergy points, the environment strategy needs to be putting just as strong a stake in the ground as any of the other strategies.

    (Is it possible to tell the percentage of Council spend that will come under this strategy?) No, everything the Council does will be influenced by this strategy.

    Categories
    climate change local government urban

    Cities of change

    Jinty MacTavish

    Cities all across the planet are coming from the same place – a desire to ensure that our communities are prepared to play our role in both responding to and mitigating possible future shocks.


    Jinty MacTavish is a Dunedin City Councillor. She recently returned from presenting a Council initiative at ICLEI resilient cities in Bonn, and took the opportunity to visit several inspiring developments across Europe.

    This is a wide ranging conversation, with many highlights, including:

  • ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability. Resilient Cities Congress 2014. Jinty talks about various blue-green approaches such as Copenhagen’s stormwater management.
  • Copenhagen said ‘we need to have a Climate Change adaptation strategy that prepares us for these big rainfall events that we’ll be getting on a more regular basis, how do we do that instead of just putting in more pipes and more channels and more grey infrastructure, how do we do that in a way that promotes other outcomes – that promotes biodiversity, promotes our city’s livability, the needs we have around recreational space, avenues for active transport. With that overlay, as soon as you start to see things in that way…their entire climate change adaptation programme is based around expanding green space and enhancing water retention capacity in their blue space.

    The Copenhagen approach is to say “we don’t want this climate change adaption to be a negative, we want it to work for us in terms of improving livability”.

  • Berlin’s Templehof airport as a centre for urban regeneration (, 2).
  • Leipzig urban regeneration and Clara Park
  • Freiburg integrated transport planning (Academic paper 1, )
  • Freiburg has seen 30 years of unflinching investment in integrated transport hub with a focus on active and public transport.

    I get frustrated with the speed of change, we can’t move the discussion on fast enough, part of that is that we are hindered by finances, we can’t do things fast enough and comprehensively enough that we can’t prove it works, we do these bits…people say it’s not connected…now we’re focussing on a complete network

  • Locality: Local by Default
  • Bristol: Bristol Pound and Bristol 2015 European Green Capital
  • Local currency has transformed the visitor experience in that community.

    You really get a sense of what an empowered community can achieve when you visit Bristol – there’s not a street that doesn’t have some form of community enterprise on it

  • Cardiff Food Council
  • Categories
    dunedin energy local government waste

    DCC sustainability

    dcc_staffMariaCathNeville


    Sustainability at the Dunedin City Council is increasingly being seen as part of everyone’s role. The role of sustainability at the council itself is twofold, they have to reduce their own footprint, and help lead the city to a sustainable future. We explore what one of the world’s greatest small cities is doing to act locally.

    Cath Irvine is the Waste Strategy Officer. She discusses the TV takeback scheme and the Waste management and minimisation strategy.

    Neville Auton (who we’ve had on the show before) discusses Warm Dunedin, developments in street lighting and the development of an Energy Plan for the city.

    Maria Ioannou (who we’ve also had on the show before when she worked for CSAFE) is the Council’s Sustainability Advisor. We talk about how sustainable thinking is becoming mainstreamed across all Council activities. Particular work areas for Maria include climate change adaptation, and the work towards development of an environmental strategy.

    Shane’s number of the week: 1 million. Hectares of bamboo forest in Ethiopia which hopes to become the main supplier for Europe’s softwood supply. But is it sustainable?

    Sam’s joined up thinking: Sam explores the implications of the convergence of four developments in the technology space: crowdsourcing, citizen science, gamification and ubiquitous computing.

    Categories
    heritage local government

    Living heritage



    Dr Glen Hazelton is Dunedin’s Heritage Policy Planner. Glen argues that a buildings tell a story about a place that has a past, and that this gives a message about where that place might go in the future. While Dunedin’s European heritage might only be 160 years old, our settlers built in a classical style in a new country to impart a sense of permanence. Coming from a culture protecting their place, they over-engineered on purpose. This, combined with economic downturns, has left Dunedin with a huge stock of Victorian buildings. Glen stresses though, that the job is not just about the Victorian buildings, to become old, buildings have first to be young – and no-so-young. Heritage then, is about a living heritage, the fabric of the place that tells the story of the place. We ask if it is possible to build a new building with the intention of it becoming heritage.

    Shane’s number of the week: 1200. That’s how many Sperm Whales where believed to be in the area of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. How many of these were harmed or killed is just starting to come to light.

    Sam’s joined-up-thinking: This week saw the finals of the Otago Young Enterprise scheme. A highlight this year was the prevalence of corporate social responsibility in the fledgling businesses. Without being required to,many of the student businesses donated a sizable chunk of their profits to community organisations and charities. Sam judged the award for Excellence in Sustainable Business Practice, and was pleased to see one business in particular – Grow Girls from St Hilda’s – take a systems approach to sustainable business. They sold compost derived from waste materials – coffee grounds, chicken manure etc. Grow Girls also won the overall Otago excellence award.

    Categories
    local government

    City as communities


    Paul Coffey is Community Advisor at the Dunedin City Council. After a brief and unexpected foray into the world of Boccia – of which Paul is an international judge, we talk about the Council’s Draft Social-Wellbeing Strategy. The vision is that “Dunedin will be one of the world’s great small cities”. Paul tells us how this strategy

    We will be a city with connected people, cohesive communities and quality lifestyles

    through Manaakitanga, stronger communities and better homes. The draft strategy is open for feedback until the 21st September 2012.

    Shane’s number of the week: 76. That’s degrees Fahrenheit (or 24.4 degrees C) which was the average temperature in July in the US: the hottest ever according to NOAA.

    Sam’s joined-up-thinking: Sam continues to be challenged with Phil Ker‘s call for global education. He explores what might be the implications of an international open education system.

    Categories
    local government

    Jinty MacTavish too


    Does being elected dull the activist? Not if you’re Dunedin’s Jinty MacTavish. She is passionate, articulate, and convincing.

    It’s a year since our first show so to celebrate this double rainbow event, we’ve invited back our very first guest Jinty MacTavish. It has taken a year as Councillor, but now Jinty is excited about statements of intent for holding companies, about long term budget models and activity management plans. These things, she says, get things done. We’re sceptical but Jinty is articulate, passionate and convincing.

    Shane’s number of the week: 45. That’s $45B (NZ) that BP estimates it will pay out in compensation and clean-up costs for the Deep Water Horizon oil spill. Drilling is proposed for Otago in water that is deeper and rougher. We put that scale of money in context of NZ’s annual spending on Health, Education and Social Welfare – it is just under these three major areas combined (NZ Govt functional classification 2011).

    Sam’s joined-up-thinking: In memory of forester and mountaineer Don Slocum who we farewelled today, we talked about Leopold’s Land Ethic (read more>>>).

    Trainspotting. We don’t mention the stadium. Doh.

    Categories
    dunedin energy local government power

    Neville Auton


    Neville Auton is Energy Manager at the Dunedin City Council.  Neville works an ‘internal consultant’ within the Council, helping managers of the various business units to identify energy savings.  He talks about the huge reduction in impacts already being realised and the potential for more savings without affecting services to the city’s citizens.

    Shane’s number of the week: 13.6.  The British honeybee population declined by 13.6% over the past winter, rising to a more severe 17.1% in the north-east of the country.  This is despite weather conditions that should have favoured the bees.  The cause appears to be a class of pesticides – the neonicotinoids.

    Sam’s joined up thinking: Sam argues that the chaotic card game Fluxx is a great introduction to sustainability (more>>).

    Categories
    climate change local government

    Cr Jinty MacTavish


    Jinty MacTavish is a youth worker, film maker, and now a Dunedin City councilor. Jinty talks about the potential affects of climate change on Dunedin city.

    Shane’s number of the week: 200,000 to 300,000 – this is the estimated number of  child soldiers in the world.

    Sam’s Joined-up-thinking: Making the invisible visible: looking at the world and understanding the invisible dangers and consequences of our actions on sustainability.