web analytics

Sustainability Sunday

Written By: - Date published: 2:47 pm, December 4th, 2022 - 6 comments
Categories: climate change, poverty, sustainability - Tags: , , , , , ,

Quick post with a few ideas that popped up this morning.

This enhances life,

No idea if Pete Seeger did in fact say that (and this is an edited version), but the gist is that not only could we be using a circular economy (transition without having to completely dismantle capitalism), where the relationship between resource use, pollution/waste, and consumption are visible and intentionally designed to focus on renewable resources and processes where the waste can be integrated and used rather than dumped, but we should be doing this as a priority.

It ties in strongly with climate action, biodiversity restoration, and socioeconomic problems. It’s the way out of our current cul de sac. The great thing about it is that it uses all the useful bits of our technological advances and creative monkey brains. Degrowth doesn’t mean reverting back to some imagined pre-industrial life. It means moving into a new way of organising that centres sustainability.

An illustration showing the difference between the take, make waste linear economy approach, and the circular economy approach

An illustration showing the difference between the take, make waste linear economy approach, and the circular economy approach


The problems aren’t technical, we have that capacity coming out our ears. They’re political and social, and the biggest challenge there is the barriers to imagining new ways, how they could work, and how we get there from here.

Fortunately, lots of people have been working in this very thing, sometimes for decades. We don’t have invent a sustainability wheel, it’s already been done.

For instance, the Transition Movement arose in the early 2000s from Permaculture, a design system that was formalised in the late 80s. People in both movements have been working all this time on how society can function within the limits of the material world in ways that enhance human lives.

This 12 minute read, Eat, grow, share: Communities building food resilience from Transition Together in the UK looks at a range of initiatives arising from the pandemic and cost of living crisis and building on the many ways in which communities already function.

This isn’t a “cost of living” crisis; it’s a cost of inequality crisis. It’s a cost of fossil fuel dependency crisis, with its knock on effects on transportation and resources for farm production. It’s a lack of food resilience crisis, in a country where food deserts already existed in low income communities and neighbourhoods. The pandemic, economic instability, war and global trade disruption are showing us all just how vulnerable the essential systems that we rely on really are. But in many places, communities are working towards reinventing local food systems, to ensure everyone can access fresh, healthy, quality food.

Lots of goodies in that post, showing the interconnected nature of our problems, and how the solutions are likewise centred in the relationships between all the things.

Community fridges give open access to food to everyone, create dialogue about food poverty, and open doors to other projects like growing food or cooking clubs.

Slow cookers as a response to the drastic increase in the cost of electricity and gas provides immediate relief to low income people, and is packaged with cookbook, ingredients and access to social connection where people can swap ideas.

So many other good initiatives in that piece that demonstrate that sustainability and community resiliency are intertwined. The sheer numbers of people involved now is heartening at a time when we are inundated with news of what is going wrong and how bad things are. We’ve never had so much choice in what we can do to effect good change.

We know the problems, now is the time to put our attention to the solutions,  what is already working. and then get on with it.

6 comments on “Sustainability Sunday ”

  1. Add fast fashion.

    Add cost of clothing one's family in clothes that are biodegradable, capable of being mended.

    I work with 'waste' textiles. I work with others finding and reusing/repurposing textiles mainly from Op shops but latterly I have been part of a team that has gone to social housing communities to encourage recycling as opposed to landfill. (In the last one of 97 housing units 800 kg of items were able to be either recycled or repurposed and we have just scratched the surface)

    As a general comment the stuff that is not recyclable is the poly stuff mainly cheap from The Warehouse and other places. When I first started doing this about 10 years ago I went to a Op shop to retrieve:

    a) curtains that are suitable for reusing in Curtain banks etc

    b) cotton, linens suitable for using by groups who make quilts for charities such as Women's Refuge, The Nest, City Mission and DCM (in Wellington)

    In a room I found 8 still opened but tamped down wool bales filled with 'stuff'.

    Going through one bale I found less than station wagon load of cotton etc & curtains. The rest was matted, pilled and 'had it' looking synthetic clothes. These can go to places to have buttons and zips removed but basically it is stodge staying in our landfill for ever.

    The thing is that it is cheap for families who have not much money to buy.

    Cotton processing uses huge amounts of water in its manufacture and we want it to be reused and reused. It can be.

    This charity had this room full of bales, they did not want to send it to the tip, as it cost untold and the people I was dealing with knew about the good stuff there.

    We have curtain manufacturers who would gladly give their scraps away for resale/reuse. Again the quantities are mind boggling.

    We come slap bang up against the fact that many/most of these places are being run with volunteers and mainly older people and mainly women volunteers.

    Building resilience is key and being open to recycling clothes through families/neighbours is part of that. This cannot be done with most of the synthetic stuff. It is single use only.

    Ragging machine operators used to work with underlay manufacturers but these manufacturers now prefer to use wholly new processed materials.

    We need the equivalent of the plastic fenceposts that are made from soft plastics or the ground glass used as road surfaces to happen to textiles.


    we need to ensure that our people have funds to buy better quality recyclable clothing.

    This is the same argument that would put better quality food (no more white death bread) into our children's tummies.

  2. Pleasing to see well made 1970's furniture is popular with the young who are apparently voting for lasting things by buying it on Trademe. Good for them.

    • Hunter Thompson II 2.1

      Trade Me is a good recycling system. I have used it on several occasions.

      I agree it is easy to think the future is bleak because of the many bad environmental events occurring, so news about successful green initiatives brings some balance.

      Recently on Youtube I watched a DW tv programme about humus farming in Germany. Apparently this greatly improves soils and gives good crop yields without needing lots of artificial fertiliser.

      • Shanreagh 2.1.1

        Trade Me is good and also Freecycle. Also giving good stuff to op shops…not matted old poly clothing.

        I also use old cotton sheets, cotton products as a natural weedmat. Cotton pieces can be burnt as a fire starter, I put mine in a paper bag, in the fire. People are often looking for cotton T shirts to cut down to make woven articles. bath mats etc.

        Little Yellow Bird has a circular cotton recycle method and will also send cotton, that is not part of their manufacturing process to be remilled.


  3. gsays 3

    Hey there weka, great post, keep it up.

    Without wanting to be a Derek Downer.. it provides a great illustration of what we are up against. Folk will expend plenty of time, effort and energy on a post that encourages putting the boot into Luxon and the nats. Or thrash themselves into a lather over some war porn. Given the opportunity to influence, question and build their future… crickets.

    Whenever we spend a dollar, we make a political decision. Unfortunately convenience and that renowned kiwi mean-fistedness has too much sway. We can ignore the diesel miles embedded in food and other products or buy the pork that is way cheaper while ignoring animal farming standards that local producers have to adhere to.

    Shifting, as much as possible, to a less energy/carbon dense footprint is the way forward, a'la Transition Towns. Incidentally, this approach helps to build community, another source of strength that has diminished since Labour's 'reforms' of the '80's.

    • weka 3.1

      I love how the good things for say climate are also the good things for community and recovering from neoliberalism.

      I've been thinking a bit lately about why people give more attention to Luxon than climate, or why people are focussed on what's wrong but won't put energy into solutions. Part of it is NZ's political culture, which is very adversarial. Part of it is TS, which has a particular debate culture. Nothing to stop people applying that to transition though, transition would benefit from that. So maybe it's also that people don't want to think about it because it's too hard. Which is ironic because posts like this are about making it easier.

      Hey ho. Thanks for the encouragement, it does make a difference.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Advancing our relationship in India
    Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta departs for India tomorrow as she continues to reconnect Aotearoa New Zealand to the world.  The visit will begin in New Delhi where the Foreign Minister will meet with the Vice President Hon Jagdeep Dhankar and her Indian Government counterparts, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government Northland housing investment to spark transformational change
    Over $10 million infrastructure funding to unlock housing in Whangārei The purchase of a 3.279 hectare site in Kerikeri to enable 56 new homes Northland becomes eligible for $100 million scheme for affordable rentals Multiple Northland communities will benefit from multiple Government housing investments, delivering thousands of new homes for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Battle of Ohaeawai remembered
    A memorial event at a key battle site in the New Zealand land wars is an important event to mark the progress in relations between Māori and the Crown as we head towards Waitangi Day, Minister for Te Arawhiti Kelvin Davis said. The Battle of Ohaeawai in June 1845 saw ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • More Police deployed to the frontline
    More Police officers are being deployed to the frontline with the graduation of 54 new constables from the Royal New Zealand Police College today. The graduation ceremony for Recruit Wing 362 at Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua was the first official event for Stuart Nash since his reappointment as Police ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Further support for upper North Island regions hit by significant weather
    The Government is unlocking an additional $700,000 in support for regions that have been badly hit by the recent flooding and storm damage in the upper North Island. “We’re supporting the response and recovery of Auckland, Waikato, Coromandel, Northland, and Bay of Plenty regions, through activating Enhanced Taskforce Green to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • The Princess Royal to visit New Zealand
    Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has welcomed the announcement that Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, will visit New Zealand this month. “Princess Anne is travelling to Aotearoa at the request of the NZ Army’s Royal New Zealand Corps of Signals, of which she is Colonel in Chief, to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government and horticulture sector target $12b in exports by 2035
    A new Government and industry strategy launched today has its sights on growing the value of New Zealand’s horticultural production to $12 billion by 2035, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said. “Our food and fibre exports are vital to New Zealand’s economic security. We’re focussed on long-term strategies that build on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Cost of living support extended for families and businesses
    25 cents per litre petrol excise duty cut extended to 30 June 2023 – reducing an average 60 litre tank of petrol by $17.25 Road User Charge discount will be re-introduced and continue through until 30 June Half price public transport fares extended to the end of June 2023 saving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • More Kiwis in work as rising wages match inflation
    The strong economy has attracted more people into the workforce, with a record number of New Zealanders in paid work and wages rising to help with cost of living pressures. “The Government’s economic plan is delivering on more better-paid jobs, growing wages and creating more opportunities for more New Zealanders,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government boosts fund for Auckland flooding
    The Government is providing a further $1 million to the Mayoral Relief Fund to help communities in Auckland following flooding, Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty announced today. “Cabinet today agreed that, given the severity of the event, a further $1 million contribution be made. Cabinet wishes to be proactive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Cabinet focused on bread and butter issues
    The new Cabinet will be focused on core bread and butter issues like the cost of living, education, health, housing and keeping communities and businesses safe, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has announced. “We need a greater focus on what’s in front of New Zealanders right now. The new Cabinet line ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Prime Minister to meet with PM Albanese
    Prime Minister Chris Hipkins will travel to Canberra next week for an in person meeting with Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese. “The trans-Tasman relationship is New Zealand’s closest and most important, and it was crucial to me that my first overseas trip as Prime Minister was to Australia,” Chris Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government makes first payment to Auckland Flooding fund
    The Government is providing establishment funding of $100,000 to the Mayoral Relief Fund to help communities in Auckland following flooding, Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty announced. “We moved quickly to make available this funding to support Aucklanders while the full extent of the damage is being assessed,” Kieran McAnulty ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government steps up to assist Auckland during flooding
    As the Mayor of Auckland has announced a state of emergency, the Government, through NEMA, is able to step up support for those affected by flooding in Auckland. “I’d urge people to follow the advice of authorities and check Auckland Emergency Management for the latest information. As always, the Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Poroporoaki: Titewhai Te Huia Hinewhare Harawira
    Ka papā te whatitiri, Hikohiko ana te uira, wāhi rua mai ana rā runga mai o Huruiki maunga Kua hinga te māreikura o te Nota, a Titewhai Harawira Nā reira, e te kahurangi, takoto, e moe Ka mōwai koa a Whakapara, kua uhia te Tai Tokerau e te kapua pōuri ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Enhanced Task Force Green Approved following Cyclone Hale
    Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Social Development and Employment, has activated Enhanced Taskforce Green (ETFG) in response to flooding and damaged caused by Cyclone Hale in the Tairāwhiti region. Up to $500,000 will be made available to employ job seekers to support the clean-up. We are still investigating whether other parts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • General Election to be held on 14 October 2023
    The 2023 General Election will be held on Saturday 14 October 2023, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “Announcing the election date early in the year provides New Zealanders with certainty and has become the practice of this Government and the previous one, and I believe is best practice,” Jacinda ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces resignation
    Jacinda Ardern has announced she will step down as Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party. Her resignation will take effect on the appointment of a new Prime Minister. A caucus vote to elect a new Party Leader will occur in 3 days’ time on Sunday the 22nd of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago