Some of the many examples of communities coming together to make a
FOOD: Transition Towns Otaki’s weekly Seasonal Surplus Stall brings together gardeners with excess to sell and shoppers seeking local-grown fruit and vegetables at the height of their freshness. Less waste, less transport-related greenhouse gas emissions, stronger communities.
WASTE: ‘Toss it? No way!’ – Repair Cafés started in Amsterdam in 2009 and have spread to over 400 locations worldwide. Volunteers reduce waste and increase solidarity amongst neighbours by repairing broken items together. Could Kāpiti host the first in New Zealand? The starter kit is available here: http://www.repaircafe.org/start-a-repair-cafe
TRANSPORT: The Ministry of Transport’s Household Travel Survey 2009 tells us we are spending more time in our cars. New Zealand adults now average four and three quarter hours a week driving, up from less than four hours 20 years ago. In 1989/90 more than half of our primary school children walked or cycled to school. Now, it’s less than a third. Hastings and New Plymouth are going against this trend, as they seek to become New Zealand’s first model walking and cycling communities. The stories of their journey can be found at www.nzta.govt.nz/planning/process/doc/modelcommunity-story-single.pdf
ENERGY: Blueskin Energy Project is developing New Zealand’s first community-owned wind cluster. In addition to renewable energy, Blueskin residents will have better control over their electricity, greater understanding of their energy use, warmer healthier homes and less fuel poverty going into the future. www.blueskinpower.co.nz
DIVESTMENT: Bathurst Resources, the company which plans to mine the Denniston Plateau for coal, is financed by Westpac. Some Westpac customers are closing their accounts to show they won’t help finance new coal mining at Denniston and they won’t stay with a bank that doesn’t take its commitment to sustainability seriously. Campaigns such as these can help starve the growth of the fossil fuel industry. See www.350.org
ENVIRONMENT: One of the major impacts of climate change is on biodiversity. Scientists predict that a warming planet will force many plants and animals to migrate to find the conditions that allow them to thrive. The creation of native corridors of vegetation to connect existing areas of intact bushland will aid this migration. In Australia, the Great Eastern Range corridor will stretch 3600 km from the Grampians in western Victoria to far north Queensland. See www.naturespace.org.nz for NZ biodiversity projects.
To these I’d add Wildpoldsried – a German town of 2600 residents which has transformed itself into a world leader in energy efficiency and forward thinking. You can find an overview at http://green.blorge.com/2011/08/wildpoldsried-germany-now-has-an-energy-surplus-generating-5-7-million-in-revenue/