Categories
climate change community electricity generation

Energised community action

Scott Willis believes in community action. We talk about all the ways the manager of the Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust has put that belief into action. Recent successes include the launch of the Blueskin Energy Network that provides a market to encourage small-scale renewable community energy sharing. The completion of the first Climate Safe House was a real milestone on a project to progress new housing models to demonstrate adaptation and innovative ownership options.

The vision is to energise our communities, to be talking about and taking action on the big issues

As I move away from myself, my influence gets less, but the potential sphere impact increases…community is a great scale to affect good change.

Demonstrating what we can do at the flaxroots, we can make change at a different scale

Energy enables us to thrive more than survive, but our profligate consumption has caused the long emergency

We need to engage with the cost of profligate use of energy

We’re democratising our electricity sector

There is always something we can do, but don’t feel burdened to get it right, be humble enough to know we are always learning how to make a difference

Working on solutions makes me happy.

Acting despite uncertainty

Categories
community health nursing rural

Compassion for Rural Communities

Dr Audrey Snyder is associate dean of nursing – experiential learning and innovation at University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is President of the global Rural Nurse Organisation.

We talk about the personal development of the ethic of care – asking can we train for that? A passion for making a difference to other people is crucial. We talk about the challenges of caring for rural communities whose aging small populations are spread out which means special challenges across the sphere of nursing from emergencies to mental health to community wellbeing. This community wellbeing also applies to rural nurses themselves with challenges for maintaining a community of practice.

Audrey was in Dunedin for the Australasian Nurse Educators Conference.

Categories
agriculture art community education geography

Rural imaginings

Professor Valentine Cadieux is Director of Environmental Studies and Director of Sustainability at Hamline University in St Paul, Minnesota. She studies collaborative knowledge practices related to food, agriculture, and land in the context of settler society cultures in Canada, the United States, and Aotearoa New Zealand.

Talking points.

Incentivised to explore the woods behind my house.

How to colloboratively define rural environments

Imagination of wilderness

People describing themselves as “rural people at heart” but don’t know any farmers.

Questions around what keeps people in the city when they’re living in rural areas?

Say your objectives out loud – in time you can hear them

Embedding sustainability across the curriculum

Validating what people are doing already.

Pieces of sustainability that dwarf the carpooling. Social justice, transformative change.

Sustainability has been “owned” by the environment, but more and more people are realising that it’s the connection to people – social justice, processes of change – that makes that special.

Institutions of higher learning promote value sets that are more consumerist than they intended. So we have to teach them (students) what is excessive.

Making food access and food liberty a part of being educated.

Students are so anxious about the future of the world. We’ve seen a huge reduction in scare tactics – they’re scared already, we have to present positivity as a message.

Permission to do the things you find pleasure and joy in.

A course: Planetary Home Care Manual.

How do you contribute as much as you take in a collaboration?

Definition: Conditions under which all can thrive

Activist: Social relationships are core – without them the technical won’t work.

Motivation: A surprisingly cheerful reaction to adversity.

Challenge: Not getting boxed in to recycling. Although that is a springboard to energy conversations.

Advice: Work with people who are joyful and find joy in the work. Be joyful and creative.

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 food permaculture

building earth

Louise Shaw describes herself as an earthbuilder, a teacher, a gardener, a mother (and new grandmother). She and her family live near Whakatane where we talk about building soil and regenerating ecological systems.

We need to change our view of capital, a bigger picture, a longer picture – soil is our capital, we need to build and improve that.

I can’t be self sufficient unless I’m living in a sufficient world

Ordinary but extraordinary

The more you start making (our impacts) visible, the more ugly it becomes. We’ve become good at hiding that, but we need to fix the ugliness.

People talk about better life not a lesser life, and it’s true, we’re so rich it’s awesome.

We can’t just be self-sufficient, we have to be community sufficient.

Positive, but shit-scared.

There’s so much learning in every single day. These things add up to big things.

Superpower: Doing it. Sniffing out other people doing it. A virtuous circle and community.

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
community management policy poverty religion social enterprise social work values

Social justice management framework

Bonnie Robinson is exploring the intersection of social justice and management.  She is drawing on a career in social services and putting it into practice in her role as Chief Executive of HBH Senior Living, focussing on meeting the needs of vulnerable older people.


Talking points:

Change comes about from change at systemic level

You can make a difference to individuals’ lives, and we should, but it shouldn’t be all you do

We need a funding system which allows for much greater flexibility and innovation.

We are actually here to help people have fullness of life and allow them to continue to grow, not just provide medical or disability care.

It’s about acting to achieve positive change.

It is not morally tenable to make a profit out of distress.

I’m no longer marching in the streets waving placards, but I’m trying to shift people’s thinking about an issue.

Social justice and sustainability are interwoven – a lack of justice is not sustainable

Challenge things that need to be challenged

 

 

 

Categories
community volunteering youngleader

Authentic change making

Scout Barbour Evans is many things – a student, an over committed volunteer, a transgender activist, a mayoral candidate to name a few.    We talk about an open society, where we value openess and authenticity and the importance of being openly mentally unwell and queer.

Scout is committed to keeping learning and is a student in Otago Polytechnic’s Bachelor of Leadership for Change.


Talking points:

I really don’t believe in being someone else to get a part.

If I could wave a magic wand I would like everyone to be safe and healthy and have their basic needs met.

My advice is to be genuinely you.

There is an aspect of playing the system to change the system.

Participate in democracy everyday.

Categories
community education leadership youngleader

Passion for creating change

Ashleigh Smith is Co-founder and Board Chairperson of Sticks n Stones, New Zealand’s largest youth led bullying prevention organisation.   She is a Queen’s Young Leader and a student in both the Bachelor of Nursing and Bachelor of Leadership for Change.


Talking points:

If you are unhappy about something, do something about it!

I have such a passion for creating this change you know the things that are really important to you in your life you just have to make time for.

Last year I came to this awesome conclusion:  the most amazing feeling I’ve ever had in my life was standing actually just being kind to someone else

Sometimes we get so incredibly busy within our own lives that we miss all the opportunities to be kind to the people around us, and I actually think that realising and acting on that is the best way to change the world.

Sometimes in life you have to take a step back and look at the other persons perspective, and even though you think they may be wrong you have got ask yourself what value they can add to the situation, and just do you best to try and look through that.

If I could wave a magic wand I would make everyone more aware of how our choices as consumers can have an effect on the world.

Sometimes you have to realise that you are doing your best.

Connecting to your why.

Categories
community computing

Creative technical innovation

Dr Will Simm is a Senior Research Associate with the School of Computing and Communications at Lancaster University. He works in short lifecycle community-led digital technology innovation projects.

Playful in space you wouldn’t expect

Prototypes to understand problem space, not as a solution

Perhaps the grandest challenge of our time, but beyond problematising individual’s behaviour.

Equip policy makers to change the system

Categories
community dunedin youngleader

Empowering for change

Connor Boyle of the Malcam Trust has a diverse range of interests stretching including climate science, growing and cooking food, writing and playing music, mindfulness and mental health, social enterprise development, and building interactive digital sculptures. His current work focusses on engaging young people in making a difference – to their own lives and the community.

I’m motivated by my love of people, the natural world and music.

We have to learn how to be human in an enviroment which we have a profound ability to effect.

You shouldn’t need permission to stand up for the things that you believe in.

Categories
community environmental entrepreneur Inequality maori

Change through questioning

Mawera Karetai wears so many hats it hard to know where to begin.  Mother, Business owner, blogger, RMA Commissioner, Benefits Review panelist, Conservation Board member, school board member, Capable NZ facilitator and Otago Polytechnic’s first doctoral student.  But underneath it all, and not very far from the surface (if not completely visible) is a passion for social justice.


Talking points

Social justice is intolerable to me

Be mindful of the things that you can do

It breaks my heart

Sustainable:  That it’ll still be around for my great grandchildren to enjoy. By being mindful.  That’s the Māori way.  That’s how whakapapa works.  We represent everything that came before us and everything that will come after us.  So where I stand right now, I’m not standing for myself, I’m standing for all of them.   We all have to have that mindset – every decision we make is not for us, it’s for everyone who came before us who got us here and everyone who will have to live with the consequences.  That’s mindful decision making.

Success:  My kids – extraordinary human beings.  Thoughtful, environmentally responsible, socially responsible and intolerant of injustice.  They’re fair, kind, loving human beings – and if they are representative of our future then I feel like I’ve done a bloody good job.

Superpower: Questioning things. Disruption by questioning things.

Activist: No, noI don’t really know what it is, but it has a lot of negative connotations.  I’m a lover.  I love people, I love life, I love my environment. I love the future and I love the past. I love everything, and there’s no negative connotations in that.

Motivation: That I can make change happen.    I lie in bed at night and think ‘what did I do today’ – reflect on my day, ‘was there anything I could have done to make it better? is there anything I wished I hadn’t done?’.  Every day is another opportunity to make change happen.   Some days it’s just changing your socks, other days it’s changing the world.  It just depends what opportunities present themselves that day.

Challenge:  Honouring people who have been victims of a system that has failed them over and over again.  And hopefully having found some way to prevent it happening any more.

Miracle: Impossible dream.  100 billion dollars and go forth and do incredibly good deeds. Buy rainforests, buy polluting  companies buy all the dairy farms in New Zealand and the water bottling plants, buy them all and close them down.   But I know that’s an impossible dream – there is no such thing as a magic wand, so instead I’ll just go and ask people a whole bunch of questions because I can do that for free.   Impossible dream one question at a time.

Advice: Question – When you get out of bed tomorrow morning what can do you do to make a difference in the world that you live in.

Categories
community

Making little things count

Tony Smith is chair of Sustaining Hawkes Bay Trust.   We talked about that role, and his career through computing and education. Tony’s family live in a wonderful home, built to celebrate a sustainable future so we talk about that too.


Talking points

See connections, join the dots.

It’s not a matter of environmental values being at odds with financial economic values – those things align.

Sustainability:  An all encompassing term.

Success: At personal level, electric car.   Hawkes Bay, traction on zero waste.   But not for profit sector is highly fragmented.

Superpower: Being aware of sustainable concepts in day-to-day decisions.  The awareness that the little things we do do add up and make a big difference.   Super-mini-man, making things count.

Activist: Probably not, I was more active.

I don’t see a conflict of activism and being a professional.   The definition of a profession is that it is self-monitoring.  So that works at an individual level.  The whole point of being a professional is that you analyse, you meta-cognate on what you are doing and why you are doing it.   If you see something that you don’t like then it is your professional ethical responsibility to do something about it.  So I don’t see activism being in conflict with professionalism at all.

It would be nice if people had more of a view of their similarities rather than differences.  I would like people to look for commonalities rather than try to create divisions.  It’s all to do with “them and us”.   My hope for humanity is that we get better at having a bigger “us”.

Small things do count.

 

Categories
community leadership participation politics

Generating good

Georgie Ferrari is Chief Executive of the Wellington Community Trust.  Before that she Chief Executive Officer for the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria for 14 years and before that a variety of roles in the not for profit sector in Australia and New Zealand.  But before all that, she grew up in Dunedin.  Home for a brief visit we talked about making a difference through advocacy.


Talking points

I didn’t want to use my labour to turn a profit for someone else.

To use my power for good, not evil.  So that meant working in the not for profit sector – putting my energy into organisations that generated good in the world rather than money.   I’ve been true to that.   I’ve been driven by that.

Engaging the voice of young people…that’s powerful work

It’s easy to live in a bubble in activism world, we assume that all voices are heard.  And so we live in that bubble…an echo chamber, it’s important to remember that there’s a range of views out there.

We have to read conservative newspapers and engage in the conservative debate, otherwise we forget that a huge percentage of the population think like this.  And then we don’t understand what their arguments are or what their mindsets are and we can’t fight against them.

I’m not spouting some leftie Communist manifesto, I’m just making some pretty basic sense, if a child is traumatised in their lives…no one is looking after them, them trauma plays out, then we lock them up. that’s not working, I think that’s common sense.  If even a deeply conservative politician can go and spend a couple of hours at a youth justice facility and come out and see that, then we can change every heart and mind.

Energised by work I was doing.

Ethical investment: If we give money out in the environment space, but we’re invested in a company that’s degrading the Great Barrier Reef…I’m not interested in doing a little bit of renewal in a creek bed if over here we’re funding a corporation millions of dollars to degrade the Great Barrier Reef – it doesn’t make sense.

Or funding refugees and government bonds of governments creating those refugees – it doesn’t make sense.

And ethical investments strategies are doing no worse over the long term than broader investment strategies,  so the argument is going away.   We have to know that we’re not feeding the problem over here and trying to ameliorate it over here.

 

Sustainable: Living gently on the earth.

Success: Growing an organisation in Victoria that it is not only financially stable and productive, but also deeply harmonious and gentle and supportive of all the staff.

Superpower:  Collaborative leadership.   I’m not afraid to make decisions, but I’m very keen to engage everyone involved.

Kind corporate.   Efficient and effective, but care about each other.  We do need training in that.

Activist: Yes.  (in my new job I have to manage that a bit differently) there are causes to champion, how I need to be an activist is to be provide evidence that these are things we need to fund.   Back room diplomacy rather than in your face advocacy.

Motivation: Knowing that there is far more good done in the world than bad, and wanting to contribute to that good.

Challenges:  Reintegrating back into New Zealand that’s different to what I left.   My responsibility as a Pakeha woman.   Philanthropy across New Zealand can be more effective by working smarter and together to make it easier for our grant seekers.

Miracle: Elimination of all forms of violence.  (smallest thing that would make a difference) Live peacefully ourselves.

Advice: Be kind to your mother.  Ring your Mum.

 

Categories
community conservation biology design education

Loving life: Taking action

Tahu Mackenzie and Harvey Penfold won Audacious this year for their development of PekaPeka – a movable, predator-proof bird-feeding platform designed to feed a range of native birds anywhere.   Tahu is the lead educator for Orokonui Ecosantuary, while Harvey is completing a Bachelor of Product Design at Otago Polytechnic.


Talking points

Teaching people what we can do, what’s been lost and what we can come back to.

10 years into a 1000 year restoration plan

(we asked both Tahu and Harvey these questions – you can decide who said what).

Sustainable:   Closed loop production cycle.  Emotional connection with nature as priority.  Emotional well-being in environment.

Success: Audacious.  Meeting Jane Goodall.

Superpower: Love. Thinking.

Activist: Yes.  Yes.

Motivation: Make dreams come true, working for yourself and provide a great home life.   I feel the most inspired, loved and powerful in nature – I would like everyone to have the opportunity to experience that.

Challenges: Growing business.

Miracle.   Remove predators.

Advice:   You can make a difference in so many different ways – however you passionately connect with the world, I’d encourage people to take action and feel good about it.   Design has made such a difference to me, but I didn’t do it for so long.  So if you feel like you would enjoy something then you should look for ways to make that happen. .

 

 

Categories
business community ecology electricity generation

Empowering communities

Dr Paula Roberts is a Senior Lecturer at Bangor University.  Growing up in Llanberis she was “concerned about the natural world” and became a Countryside Manager.   Eventually though, she became an environmental scientist – specialising in soils of polar regions.   Passionate about change making, and the Welsh language and culture she now finds herself running a community power company.   Paula also runs an MSc in environmental management and business management – attempting to close the gaps between environment and business.


Talking points

Doing something rather than complaining.

Success: We have an interesting project about reclaiming coal mines in Indonesia, restoring previously damaged and degraded land into a productive resource.

Superpower: Tenacity, the ability to stick with it and keep going.

Activist: Yes, because you’ve got to push boundaries to get resulting change.

Motivations: I’m a cyclist and a mountaineer so I like to keep moving… I like to see places that haven’t been trashed.

Challenges: Getting another community energy project underway.

Miracle: It would be nice to find yourself in a place where the government and the policies are on your side, where they work with you instead of making yourself hit your head against a wall.

Advice: Life is a bit of a rollercoaster, you really never know where it is going, so you just have to learn to stay on.

 

This conversation was made with help of the Sustainability Lab at the Bangor University.

Categories
behaviour change communication community

Positive mindful interaction

Dr Liz Shepherd  specialises in sustainability and wellbeing with a particular interest in energy efficiency and renewable energy.  Liz works with Cartrefi Conwy to improve their overall sustainability and improve the energy efficiency of their housing stock as a means of addressing fuel poverty and improving quality of life for tenants.  Liz is also Bangor University’s Campus Environmental Performance Team’s Energy and Water Co-ordinator.  She is resolutely positive towards a transformative future, and we talk about what that would take.

 


Talking points

The sustainability as “less bad”, without “more good” is not enough.  The world requires a significant change, sustainability has to more revolutionary than that.

We need a transformative level change

The future is bleak without significant change, we’re kidding ourselves with little changes.

Pessimism not a good place to promote change

Nudge and use choice architectures, you should not police

Sustainable: Sustainability is about ensuring that the way we live currently doesn’t have excessive negative impacts on the environment and the people that have to live in it.  Mindful interaction

Success: Writing the sustainability strategy for the Cartrefi Conwy and having it being approved by the board without any need for revision. Another personal achievement was getting a food waste recycling system implemented in the Cartrefi Conwy, which dramatically reduced the amount of food waste going to the landfill.

Superpower: I’d like to think that I am enthusiast and I can make other people enthusiast and things that they weren’t previously enthusiast about, including food waste. (as well as making an awesome cake!)

Activist: No, well I am, but not as much as I think I should be.

Motivation: I believe in the work that we do here, I really enjoy working with the people and meeting and enthusing previously unenthusiastic people, getting people interested in sustainability.

Challenges: Definitely taking on the environmental and energy management for the university, it is a big change for how the university on a whole has managed its environmental impacts. On a personal level it’s not something that i’ve done on such a large scale before, so I see a lot of opportunity for improvement.

Miracle: Firstly, Make everyone vegetarian. Secondly,  find a infinite fuel for everything that we currently use that doesn’t release carbon into the atmosphere and isn’t nuclear.

Advice: Always keep trying no matter what happens, and try and stay positive!

 

 

This conversation was made with help of the Sustainability Lab at the Bangor University.

Categories
business community creative

Creating entrepreneurs to create change

Jesper Kjellerås is the Founder & Managing Director of Impact Hub Stockholm.   A change maker, process facilitator, team coach, business coach, Jesper believes we can change society in positive way through entrepreneurship.

 


Talking points

Being the change we needed to see

How do we change behaviour to actually care for each  other?

Drive a prosperous community that can be the change you need to be.

Everybody will have an impact

See unlikely allies as potential for collaboration

The goal is to solve the issue, this needs a business model to be viable, and that means scalable.

Innovation at the edges

Not just the best in the world, the best for the world

Creating entrepreneurs to create change

Sustainable: I don’t really like the world sustainable, because really what is sustainable… does that mean that nothing happens and it’s just sustained?

Success:The scaling program that we did with eight different houses in Europe was a huge success.  

Superpower: My ability to not give up, I’ve done this for many years now, I’ve been on this rollercoaster and it’s just been going really steep down hill… but somehow we always seem to get up again.

Activist: I grew up with both of my parents as activists, so in some ways yes I have it in my blood. In a present sense, I’ve tried to do it now by creating a framework for others to try and take action.

Challenge: We just launched the SDGhack (Sustainable Development Goal Hack ) our upcoming challenge is developing our role as a creative workspace in stockholm, we are really taking on these sustainability goals.

Motivation: My children, probably my five year old who wakes me up in the morning. Being able to hear their struggles, ideas and creativity… it’s so motivating.

Miracle: I would put women in power, not just an equal power share but a comparable amount of power that men have now. Just flip the imbalance.

Advice: Be yourself, whoever you are meant to be and be transparent about it. Don’t be ashamed if you think differently to others, just embrace it.