I’m trying not to get too depressed about the lack of an outcome at Copenhagen. As one analyst put it – “Leaders came to Copenhagen to rewrite history and left having made a few notes in the margin”. Not good enough. However, with or without a formal agreement, it was always going to come down to each one of us, and the decisions that we make about our lives. So this post is about listing some of the resources in NZ that relate to sustainable living.
This Ministry for the Environment website is a good place to start. It has sections on: Rubbish, Water, Energy, Building, Transport, Gardening and Shopping, with featured information and several case studies of each. It also provides an overview 25 easy steps towards sustainability.
The Sustainable Living Education Trust has a useful site, especially a section on actions you can take under several headings. They also have regional information and contacts here. From the home page: “Our independent practical information and short courses show how you can trim 10% off your carbon emissions, save money and create a healthier lifestyle. If you’re ready to reduce your footprint, this information is designed for you. Sustainable Living has seven years experience running relevant evening classes and single-topic workshop sessions across New Zealand, backed by independent research, local councils, educators and environmental NGOs. Start making a difference for future generations now.”
Transition towns are a neat idea: Transition Towns initiatives are part of a vibrant, international grassroots movement that brings people together to explore how we as communities – can respond to the environmental, economic and social challenges arising from climate change, resource depletion and an economy based on growth. We don’t look for anyone to blame or anyone to save us, but believe our communities have within themselves the innovation and ingenuity to create positive solutions to the converging crises of our time. These are small scale, truly local grassroots groups, there’s probably one near you. Our local group is great, friendly and full of advice, always ready to help amateur gardeners. Check out the transition handbook and the list of useful links.
The Sustainable Business Network is a forum for businesses that are interested in sustainable development practice. Their site lists tools, case studies, and a (very business / product oriented) Guide to more sustainable living (PDF). BusinessCare is a similar business oriented resource.
Other miscellaneous resources: Whitcoulls books on sustainable living, Enviroschools, information on rural recycling, aiming for Zero Waste, Trees for survival, hazardous materials disposal, Waste Exchange, EcoMatters, and The Good Blog. If you know of other useful sites or resources, especially if they provide good practical advice, please list them in the comments.
The next step is up to us. Merry Christmas.
[On a personal note, that's probably it from me until February. I intend to spend as much as possible of the next month in places where the most complicated piece of electronics is the piezo-electric igniter on my gas cooker. Take care all...]