| Media Information
(& Archive below)
Sustainable Living is within reach of many households, if only they knew how. Useful free information is published on a website managed jointly by a group of local authorities: www.sustainableliving.org.nz (you are visiting it now) and it is soon to be updated in a new format - join our media list to ensure advance notification.
Cutting your carbon footprint at home and in travel, without losing quality of life, is part of the practical content in the Sustainable Living evening class series. These classes are available at many locations and also look at money savings, healthy lifestyle choices, water use, building, gardening and shopping choices.
Media enquiries on Sustainable Living to National Coordinator Rhys Taylor phone 03 693 8726 or 021 462 260
Are we living now, in the Age of Stupid?
In a new drama-documentary, which premiered in New Zealand in August 2009, celebrated British actor Peter Postlethwaite plays an archivist looking back from a dangerously warmer and much-damaged future in 2055. He reviews evidence from the first decade of the century and asks: "Why didn't we stop climate change while we had the chance?"
The film's title describes our times, seen with hindsight, as 'The Age of Stupid'. It is available on DVD. Producers include New Zealander Lizzie Gillett, from Dunedin.
Sustainable Living Education Trust welcomes the arrival of this movie: "It offers a public wake up call and a challenge for us to reach well beyond changing lightbulbs at home, useful though such small action may be," says Rhys Taylor, SLET National Coordinator, who was among speakers at the local Christchurch launch.
Rhys comments: "We help households across New Zealand to take effective action on what they can influence by everyday choices, which can certainly cut their carbon footprint. But tackling the barriers to further change, such as methane emissions from agriculture, using coal-burning for power generation and lack of public transport infrastructure will require concerted action through and between governments. This movie challenges policy-makers to set bolder targets for reducing carbon emissions and do this urgently, as the planet warms. I'm encouraging our tutors and course participants to see and to discuss it."
Budget 2009 cuts to community education through high schools
(released June 2009, content updated Aug 2009 & Jan 2010)
Sustainable Living evening classes were offered in many areas of NZ, including most of the urban centres, with active involvement of high schools, plus a few REAPs, WEA and other non-government organisations. See much reduced listing by region here at our website http://www.sustainableliving.org.nz/Sustainable-Living-Regional-Info.aspx.
These short courses (typically 6 to 8 evening sessions in one term) have related intelligently to all five existing Tertiary Education Commission criteria for funding eligibility, and are popular with community education organisers and independent tutors because they have ready-made professional quality teaching materials and national marketing support.
The Sustainable Living Education Trust's local government partners have found that evening class delivery, using tutors who are locally contracted by high schools but supplied with centrally prepared education materials on CD, is a straightforward and efficient way to get 'education for sustainability' content and methods out to the interested public. It builds a motivation to take action: that reduces carbon footprints, cuts solid waste, and encourages fuel water and power efficiency and also healthy home food production. If the school-based community education system had not existed we would have to construct one. The current system has worked well and meets a demonstrable community need.
From research evidence, the group learning process through these evening classes is an effective and popular learning route, which certainly does prompt household action. (peer reviewed internationally published papers are available, written in conjunction with Landcare Research.)
Current cost to participants, charged by TEC-supported high schools (e.g. $35 to $45 for a one term series), are affordable. That fee level does not deter too many from participating, but we know from interviewing our participants that much higher non-TEC-supported fees would begin to deter involvement. This is a programme which is essentially about domestic and consumer issues of strong public relevance, and is delivered in a context of environmental and climate concern in society, interest in maintaining family health and in helping future generations to prosper. This is not really a 'personal hobby or craft activity' although it has been grouped with such courses by the Education Ministry.
The Trust objected to these short-notice 2010 Budget cuts, to the lack of any consultation, and to the inefficiency of resulting under-use of school facilities. We noted potential damage to other aspects of public policy (including social welfare and mental health) which will result from the cuts. We note that many others share this view.
The course responds to growing public awareness of energy issues, and people's search for impartial information on what can be done domestically. Sustainable Living has for eight years been supplying independent information and assistance on action at household level by 'early adopters'. We reach deeper than the basics of TV or leaflet advertising campaigns, and offer much more than awareness-raising, as our group learning approach generates motivation and action. This produces the champions or role models of beneficial social change, who can then encourage others.
Meanwhile independent tutors continue to offer Sustainable Living classes, through some schools, through polytechnics and university extra-mural deparments(until their funding for non-qualification courses was also cut) and also to provide one-off public workshop events plus a few courses that are being directly funded by local government or NGOs. We also offer our website information and self-help study groups, operating without tutors.
National Coordinator for Sustainable Living Education Trust
(for the Trustees)
Office Ph. 03 693 8726
Issued 10 June 2009, updated 14 Jan 2010.
Sustainable Living on TV1 (April 2009)
Coordinators Rhys and Jennifer were interviewed together on TV1 Good Morning in April, first on Peak Oil and subsequently on home energy efficiency. A seven-minute video clip on energy efficiency can be viewed, using Flash software at: tvnz.co.nz/view/video_popup_flash_skin/2629134.
And also at tvnz.co.nz/view/video_popup_windows_skin/2629134 (an advert shows first).
Rhys Taylor, National Coordinator, talks about the Sustainable Living Programme to Rodney District Council staff and NGO guests, in April 2008:
Presented by an independent filmmaker in five x 10 minute segments, as posted on You Tube:
- Sustainable Living Part1 - Introduction to the speaker and to this local government-led community education programme, in the context of Peak Oil and Climate Change. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SF-4dLpop4A
- Sustainable Living Part 2 - The Sustainable Living Programme, its audience and content described, starting with the energy topic. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-zz6LdOWQI
- Sustainable Living Part 3 - Programme content continued - waste topic, how learning happens in facilitated groups, shopping topic, gardening. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYAaxCvKn3c
- Sustainable Living Part 4 - Programme continued - from water topic, to buildings and travel. What motivates action? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJGbr83SN8A
- Sustainable Living Part 5 - how these courses are delivered, their impact, who is running the Programme around NZ - councils, business, schools, UNDESD endorsed, compatible with TEC funding criteria 2008, & how to contact: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1wGPVuHrHI
Background Information for NZ Media
The Sustainable Living Programme is innovative community education programme helping people change their environmental habits at home and work. Managed by a local government-led trust, the programme is delivered by a mix of high schools, environment centres and other NGOs, in addition to information available anytime at this website
The programme has grown in coverage and experience since a 2001-2004 pilot project of 8 councils, to involve 25+ regions, districts and cities now. The Ministry for the Environment was also backing the programme in 2008-9 as part of its drive for household sustainability and acknowledged the Programme in its Environment NZ 2007 publication (p72).
- 20+ Case studies are available, featuring typical class participants describing their experience and actions resulting - see the newsletter page of this website for examples.
- Media contacts: National Coordinator: Rhys Taylor Ph. 03 960 2656 or 021 462 260 Email: rhys (at)sustainableliving.org.nz
- Original Programme Manager: Annie McDonald, Environmental Education Officer at Marlborough District Council. 03 578 5249
From October 2008: Chair, Sustainable Living Education Trust, Tony Moore, Principal Sustainability Advisor at Christchurch City Council. 03 941 8779
- Contacts are available in all the partner councils at our regional pages here, or on request as a PDF file from Rhys Taylor:
- Logos are available for media publication alongside stories about the Programme. Note that these are a registered trademark, and protected from unauthorised use. Note that the Programme does not endorse products or services available from third parties or allow un-licenced use of this logo by businesses.